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Sharon's Brain Function Improves Slightly

A woman prays for Ariel Sharon outside Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where the Israeli leader is being treated (epa) 10 January 2006 -- Doctors treating Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said today that Sharon’s brain function shows a slight improvement and his life is no longer in immediate danger.

Sharon was hit by a massive stroke and brain hemorrhage on 4 January.

Professor Shlomo Mor-Yoseph, director of Jerusalem's Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital, which is treating the Israeli leader, said Sharon moved his left hand today. Yesterday, doctors began the process of gradually easing him out of a drug-induced unconscious state in order to begin testing brain function.

Mor-Yoseph said Sharon's breathing, blood pressure, and the pressure in his brain are all within the normal range.

But Dr. Yoram Weiss, the anesthesiologist treating Sharon, called for patience, saying that it was not yet possible to know if there is any improvement in Sharon's cognitive functioning.

"Well, it is too early to tell about his ultimate condition, and so we'll have to see still,” he said. “To return to work, he would have to [have] cognitive function."

Doctors said yesterday that it will be several days before they can fully assess the damage Sharon suffered as a result of the stroke.