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Researchers help man regain consciousness after 15 years

The newfound method shows a positive note in restoring a person’s consciousness in an extended comatose state.

PHOTO: VIMEO

A joint group of clinicians and researchers from Lyon, France were successful in a nerve stimulation test which restored a 35-year old man from his comatose state of 15 years.

The method, known as Vagus Nerve Stimulation or VNS, involved sending a series of small electrical energy bursts at set times to the brain’s vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is necessary for bodily functions as it is linked to a series of body parts. Its function is necessary for basic tasks like walking and being alert.

“Brain plasticity and brain repair are still possible even when hope seems to have vanished”

– Angela Sirigu, ISC Marc Jeannerod

The treatment via VNS was administered for a month before the patient showed signs of responsiveness. The 35-year old man, who is a car accident survivor, now shows progress in his attention span. He is seemingly alert as his therapist reads out to him at the Institut des Sciences Cognitives (ISC) Marc Jeannerod.

Tests conducted to assess the patient’s brain capabilities have shown positive signs in segments of the brain related to sensation, awareness and movement. There are also positive notes on his neural functional connectivities.

PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

In summary, the study shows that there is a positive outlook for patients suffering for more than a year in consciousness ills, something that has otherwise been deemed a helpless matter. The research team intends to expand its studies to further support their findings.

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