UCLA scientists successfully ‘jump-start’ people’s brains in a coma-like state


A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Room

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Room
Photo: Fred Dufour / AFP ()Getty Images)

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles continue to have success using ultrasound, which “jump starts” to get people stuck in a less-than-conscious state. in Report good In this month, they expand to two patients with chronic and severe brain injuries who experienced an improvement in their awareness of the outside world after treatment. Scientists are now expecting more about the future of ultrasound of these difficult cases.

In 2016, California resident Bradley Crehan was hit by a car, causing severe brain injuries. After surgery, Crehan was put into a medically induced coma to recover. But after waking up Krehn showed some signs of awareness And was largely unable to communicate with others. That was then Given An experimental treatment calledIntensified ultrasound (LIFU) by scientists at UCLA.

Treatment involves Ultrasound pulses directed to the brain’s thalamus – an area that helps us coordinate our motor and sensory functions and one that is thought to play an important role in consciousness – awaken the dormant activity during coma For five minutes, hoping to do. One day after treatment, Crehan started showing signs of recovery and was aDesigned to identify and access objects. Days later, he was able to answer questions through Nimish. And within four months, as quickly as doctors had predicted, he was fully conscious and able to leave the hospital, although he would still require ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation.

As amazing as Krehn’s recovery was, it is certainly possible that there was no ultrasound therapy reason. People who recover spontaneously from a coma-like condition are not unheard of, especially after the initial days and weeks. It was possible that the technique was simply a red herring and that Krahan would not care what the doctors did.

in new report, Posted on This month in Brain Stimulation magazine, the author says that they are now There is more evidence that ultrasound can actually help people on the edge of consciousness.

He used the technique on three patients living with chronic brain injuries that left him in a minimally conscious state One year. In one patient, ultrasound did not improve its function. But in the other two, doctors saw improvement within the first days of two the treatment. A patient – a 56-year-old man who suffered Stroke – was able to answer certain commands, answer yes-or-no questions, and was able to identify family members in a photo. The second — a 50-year-old woman who suffered a cardiac arrest — can now recognize objects and communicate with others.

“What’s notable is that both have demonstrated meaningful responses within a few days of the intervention,” study author and UCLA psychologist Martin Monti said in a statement be released By the university. “This is what we had hoped for, but it is amazing to see it with our own eyes. Two of our three patients who were in chronic condition improve a lot during treatment days, this is a very promising result. “

Because patients such as chronic coma are less likely to recover spontaneously than spontaneously compressed patients, researchers are more confident That ultrasound made the difference here. Importantly, there were also no safety concerns noted, allowing patients to have significant symptoms throughout treatment.

Unfortunately, the treatment of these patients Did not lead to the same Amazing That recovery Crehan experienced that. 50-year-old woman continued Awareness improved after months, but that While still considered minimally conscious, the 56-year-old man’s condition had reached his baseline by the time of a follow-up visit three months later. It is likely that restoring people to consciousness will in many cases remain a difficult and impossible task, even if this technique is proven to work.

Nevertheless, for families of these patients, even some level of regenerated awareness would be meaningful, and there may still be ways to improve the effects of this and similar brain stimulation techniques being studied. is. For now, UCLA scientists Are continuing their research with ultrasound and ASHA Soon to pursue clinical trials with a large group of patients. He also planned to study how this technology is changing the brain.

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