JERUSALEM (CBSDC/AP) — Scientists say former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has shown signs of brain activity despite being in a vegetative state from a stroke since 2006.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports that Sharon’s brain showed “significant activity” when seeing photos of his family and hearing his son’s voice during tests conducted at Soroka University Medical Center.

“Information from the external world is being transferred to the appropriate parts of Mr. Sharon’s brain, however, the evidence does not as clearly indicate whether Mr. Sharon is consciously perceiving this information,” Martin Monti, professor of psychology and neurosurgery at the University of California Los Angeles, said in a statement to the Telegraphic Agency.

Despite the significant brain activity, Sharon remains in a coma and connected to a respirator.

Sharon, 84, was prime minister from 2001 until 2006 when he suffered the stroke.

During his tenure, Sharon withdrew Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza.

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