Sharon, 84, presumed to be in a vegetative state and declared permanently incapacitated, showed "significant brain activity" during 2 hours of tests last week, doctors in Israel said, noting he appropriately processed stimuli when shown pictures of his family and heard his son's voice.
"He's been in a very bad situation for years, but it is a comfort to his family that, on some level, they are getting through to him," said Dr. Ilan Shalef, head of medical imaging at Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, Israel.
The tests use functional magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, scans to measure brain responses, CNN reported.
Sharon was Israel's prime minister from 2001 to 2006 and previously served in a number of Cabinet-level positions.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]