Brain Death vs. Physical Life
Here is an interesting article about brain death vs. physical life.
It is focusing on the most private of matters, an individual's right to die and what does the word "alive" mean?
The cerebral cortex is the home to our essential humanity, our personality, ability to communicate, our awareness and memories. And the base of the brain controls the basic bodily functions. If you're brain death, then both the cortex and the base of the brain aren't functioning. If only the cortex stop functioning, you actually are fallen into a kind of grey zone between brain death and physical life.
Writing a Living Will can be very helpful to inform about right-to-die decisions. Also discuss with family what is important to you, may be a kind of key to ensure your wishes.
Schiavo case published in the April 21 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (PDF).