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Findings catch up to "Awareness in Severe Brain Injury"

As reported in Neurology medical journal on February 8, 2005, severely brain injured patients indeed build neuronal tissue in response to environmental stimuli.

"In our subjects, the resting minimally conscious (MCS) brain preserves an ability to recruit (nerve) networks necessary for cognition and interaction," Dr. Joy Hirsch, at Columbia University in New York and her team reports. The possibility "presents a humanitarian imperative to further investigate the state of consciousness of these and other brain injured patients".

Further, functional MRI scans have confirmed to these researchers that in response to speech, brain patterns from these patients are no different than those of healthy people.

Family members read stories to 2 brain injured patients in a minimally conscious state and to 7 healthy subjects while their responses were monitored by functional MRI. A functional MRI was also taken to document responses to hand touching.

"The MCS patients studied have showed remarkably similar brain activity to that evoked in healthy control subjects," the authors report.

"These findings raise important questions related to whether MCS patients have a greater capacity to experience subjective states but also to benefit from therapeutic interventions," suggests the report by Hirsch and her group.

This last statement reveals what hyperbaric doctors have known fro some time through their practice of medicine for neurological conditions - the brain can and will repair itself given the proper stimuli and environment.

For many years we have heard of neurons that are reawakened and reactivated when the right proportion of hyperbaric oxygen and physical activity instigates the healing process.

While the conventional field of neurology is still catching up with the technology of hyperbaric oxygenation, there is nonetheless comfort in knowing that the entire medical field is moving in the same direction - understanding and healing brain injury.

Source: neurology, February 8, 2005

Reprinted with Permission