Our brain injury attorneys know there is a wide range of injuries that can occur if you hit your head causing a brain injury. You may be lucky enough to only suffer some external cuts and scrapes, but what if you suffer from more traumatic brain injuries? If you suffer from a brain injury severe enough to cause a coma, there is a possibility you could also wake up from that coma in a vegetative state, a condition of serious brain damage. Some patients in this state never recover fully and never return to the life they had before their injury.
Recently, a clinic in Belgium has been conducting research with a 29-year-old person who is in a vegetative state following a car accident. Their research has revealed traces of brain activity when given commands by doctors. Doctors have been asking questions to this patient such as “Do you have any brothers?,” and activity seen on a brain imaging machine suggest a “yes” or “no” answer from the patient.
Experts have said the new findings can change the way some severe head injuries are diagnosed. The report posted online by the New England Journal of Medicine doesn’t suggest this can happen in all cases, but the ability displayed by this younger person is rare. The report also says the findings do not apply to people with severe oxygen depletion, nor is the new test ready for wide use.
Researchers in Belgium and Britain studied 54 patients’ states of persistent unconsciousness. Of those 54 trial, 23 patients were in vegetative states. The others were defined as “minimally conscious”, meaning they were intermittently able to respond to commands by moving or blinking.
In 2006, one patient responded to commands by thinking of tennis (making her motor cortex respond) or being in her house (causing spatial areas in the brain to be active). The same idea worked on three other patients. Biological questions like “Is your father’s name Thomas?” and “Have you ever been to the United States?” were used with some success.
Our brain injury attorneys believe this could be the first step in a new way to diagnose and treat patients whose brain injuries are so severe, they cause serious brain damage. Research like this proves that there is some brain activity in some patients, which gives hope to other patients living with this condition.
Please contact us for a free consultation with an experienced brain injury attorney — we speak both English and Spanish — at (800) 655-6585. Click here and you may also submit your case for a Free Review. No fee if no recovery.