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 Back from the Brink pg.64-71

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Alicia Szczepanski



Number of posts : 9
Registration date : 2010-09-27

PostSubject: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Sat Mar 19, 2011 5:33 pm

I know that this article is really long but Iím telling you that it is worth reading. Basically this article is about minimally conscious people and how science is beginning to bring back some of their brain function. There are many examples of patients in this article and Iím just going to point out a couple that really stood out for me. There was a patient who was beaten and kicked in the head a few years back. He was considered minimally conscious. About 30% of the time he was able to follow instructions, showing yes or no by looking at a card but he mostly just kept his eyes closed. Researchers have been placing these people in MRI scanners and then stimulating their brain to see how much activity there was. When they played a recording of this patients motherís voice, his brain (the regions where hearing and language comprehension are and the visual cortex) fired up just like a normal brain would. This intrigued the researchers. They thought that deep brain stimulation would help. They placed basically a neural pacemaker in the thalamus which would hypothetically activate the rest of the brain. After two months they began doing tests to see if it would work. They showed him a picture of a red radio flyer and immediately he said wagon. Months later he is able to hold a cup, name objects, speak short sentences and smile. Another patient was in a minimally conscious state for 19 years and suddenly in 2003 he woke up and said ďmom, pepsiĒ. Within days he was speaking fluently. His brain was rewiring itself, there where new axons in his brain that were sprouting. Nobody would have believed that after almost 2 decades the brain was able to reconnect itself.
This article was truly incredible. For a while I thought that once a person was in a coma or brain damaged to the point where they were minimally unconscious, there was no going back. I thought that once there was damage in the brain there was no way to repair it. After reading this article I know now that what I thought before was completely wrong. There are some cases where people just wake up or where doctors can insert neural pacemakers and people can wake up from their minimally conscious states. I think that these findings will give researchers and doctors a new outlook on whether people should Ďpull the plugí on their minimally conscious loved ones. I personally would not want to be kept alive if I was in a vegetative state, but reading this article maybe it is worth it. Maybe if people just kept their loved ones alive for a while, researchers would be able to bring them back. Obviously they would not be the exact same person; there would still be limitations. But you could have conversations with them.
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Josh King Konu

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Number of posts : 150
Registration date : 2011-02-09

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Sun Mar 20, 2011 1:34 am

that's very interesting!
what we have to realize is that the body is a very smart piece of work
in certain situations it can program itself in a way to get you safe Fight or Flight response!
in relation to brain repair i am very shocked i would never have thought of something like this happening but it makes
me wounder what other things that are seriously damaged can be repaired and to what extent?
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Josh King Konu

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Number of posts : 150
Registration date : 2011-02-09

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:53 pm

in doing research on brain repair i found an article that talks about 3 different ways the brain repairs itself

The brain repairs itself naturally in three ways - collateral sprouting, substitution of function, and neurogenesis.

Collateral Sprouting happens when axons grow new branches to compensate with adjacent damaged and non-functioning neurons. Picture a spider fixing a hole in its web.

Substitution of Function happens when the function of the damaged area is taken over by another area in the brain.

Neurogenesis happens when new neurons are generated in the brain.

if we can understand neurogenesis better we can possibly find the cure for Alzheimer and Parkinsons! bounce
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AnthonyMattia



Number of posts : 46
Registration date : 2011-02-21

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:24 pm

WOW, that really is fascinating! It is great to think that individuals who people may have seen as being in a comatose state for the rest of their lives might actually have a chance at regaining some of their mental ability. Knowing that scientists are making advancements in this area really opens the doors wide open for people who become impaired after a variety of different accidents/injuries. Knowing that families may no longer have to 'pull the plug' on a loved one is very heartwarming.
If more and more research is done in this area i definitely think people will be able to make great strides towards getting better. As stated before me, I agree that they will not be able to become the exact same as they were before, however, some improvement is better than none.

Maybe this type of treatment will also be able to help people with neurological disorders, and not only people who have entered a comatose state after an accident, etc? Smile
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Josh King Konu

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PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:13 pm

hopefully our advances in learning about these types of repairs wont be slowed down by unuseful technology! king
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Ciara Toppin



Number of posts : 28
Registration date : 2011-02-22

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:54 pm

I found this article very interesting and hopeful, after reading this I thought about what I would do if a loved one was in a minimally conscious state. Now that I know there is hope they would recover, even enough to the point where I could hold a conversation with them, I would keep them alive in hopes they would soon get better. This article opens up many possibilities for patients in comas and suffering from being minimally conscious and after reading this article there is so much inspiration and hope for the families as well as the people.
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Paolo Posteraro



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Registration date : 2011-02-21

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:55 pm

this is truly cool because how science and technology is slowly envolving to become very useful. finding ways on how to get people back to normal state is great. Vegetative state recovery can range from a matter of a few weeks or months to no recovery at all for many years. The rate of vegetative state recovery can vary according to the age of the affected individual and the extent of the brain injury. the retrieval of consciousness where the person becomes aware of his body as well as the surrounding environmental stimuli. the retrieval of functions like communication, mobility and participation in activities. enormous debates on the implications of the vegetative state and whether patients who have been in a vegetative state for long periods of time should be allowed to die (mercy killing). There have been cases of patients being in vegetative state for years without showing any signs of recovery. They survive as long as they are connected to a feeding tube. There have been a number of legal issues too, related to mercy killings over the last few years and there are a number of people both for and against this. but if this contuines then problems like these wont occur and everything could work out with no worries
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Loteyk

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Number of posts : 40
Registration date : 2011-02-16

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Thu Mar 24, 2011 11:09 pm

sounds exactly like something my boy HOUSE would do!
Pure amazing! this article is my favourite in the magazine. And i totally agree with paolo, science is evolving! What will they find out next?

CURE TO CANCER COME SOON PLEASE! bounce
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Ashley Bacchus



Number of posts : 64
Registration date : 2011-02-06

PostSubject: Re: Back from the Brink pg.64-71    Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:23 pm

This is a really interesting article and it's just amazing what the brain can actually do. I mean it's such a complex organ that doctors and scientists don't fully understand it yet. And the fact that people can just wake up after a coma because the brain rewired itself just shows how incredibly complex it really is. It's also great to see that you know some of the technology we've created, like the neural pacemaker can possibly bring back minimally conscious people. I think it's a great advancement in neurological science because if doctors and researchers can figure out more about how the brain works and how to target the specific areas that need to be repaired and make new technologies that can successfully do this, it would definitely help those who have neurological disorders.

And with the possibility that people can recover from a comatose state, it gives so much hope to the families that maybe just maybe their loved ones can come back to them. And I agree that even though patients wonít be able to fully recover, it would still be really wonderful to see any kind of improvement.

But I'm just wondering like for the neural pacemakers how damaged can your brain be for it to work properly? I mean how do they determine if your brain is too damaged? Because I'm sure that some patients who are considered "brain dead" and such aren't given the opportunity of this neural pacemaker because they're too far gone. Or does it not matter? Like is there the possibility that anyone who has entered a minimally conscious state can be given the neural pacemaker and that it could potentially work?
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Amy Chu



Number of posts : 31
Registration date : 2011-02-17

PostSubject: Back from the Brink pg.64-71   Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:26 am

I agree! the brain is able to do so much, that even scientists don't know everything about it. Scientists can always keep researching and go more in depth with what the brain can possibly/actually do and find out all of its function, but it's not going to be easy. Our body is created in such a unique way, meaning you never know what your body can do to help/cure you.

I am happy for the patients who are able to have their brain reconnect itself. If only this happened to every patient who experiences serious coma or brain damage then there would be no sad endings. Although they would still forget some parts of their past, at least they can start making some new memories. Also, I am positive that anyone would rather see a living person who slowly gets better, then some one who never gets well. In my opinion, the brain is so important, that it should be further research and understood, From the researches done, hopefully a cure will be found for every patient who suffers brain damage in the future.




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