New tests on comatose former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon show significant brain activity.
Mr Sharon, 84, responded to external stimuli at Soroka Hospital in Beersheba, said a team of scientists from Ben-Gurion University.
He was shown pictures of his family and listened to recordings of his son's voice while undergoing a special brain imaging scan.
The university said "significant brain activity was observed ... indicating appropriate processing of these stimulations".
However, Mr Sharon remains in a deep coma.
Mr Sharon led Israel from 2001 until suffering a stroke in 2006. Since then he has been in a vegetative state, connected to a respirator.
Mr Sharon was a military officer who fought in three wars before entering politics.
He unilaterally withdrew Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005.