Connect with us

Sci/Tech

Scientists Restore Consciousness in a Man Who Spent 15 Years in a Vegetative State

This breakthrough challenges the belief that disorders of consciousness lasting more than a year are irreversible.

Avatar

Posted

(

)

A A A

Scientists at the French National Center for Scientific Research have made a major breakthrough in the study of consciousness disorders. A 35-year-old man who had been in a vegetative state for 15 years after a car accident has shown signs of consciousness after neurosurgeons implanted a vagus nerve stimulator into his chest. The man is still a long way from full wakefulness, but his case challenges the belief that disorders of consciousness persisting for more than a year are irreversible.

The vagus nerve connects the brain to the gut and other parts of the body. Stimulation of this nerve has been shown to benefit people suffering from depression or epilepsy and to help in the process of waking up and staying alert. Angela Sirigu of Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod in Lyon, France, co-author of the study titled “Restoring consciousness with vagus nerve stimulation,” wondered if the vagus nerve can help restore consciousness to patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome.

Sirigu and the rest of the research team wanted to pick a difficult case to test the theory.

Sirigu sought the patient who had gone unconscious the longest without any improvement. The patient chosen had a car accident at the age of 20 and remained unresponsive for the next 15 years.

A month of stimulating the patient’s vagus nerve with a current of about a milliamp yielded results.

Source: Pixabay

The man was able to turn his head on request. His eyes were also able to follow a moving object, and he was able to stay awake longer when reading. The man also spontaneously opened his eyes wider when someone rapidly approached his face. After 15 years in a vegetative state, the man had entered a state of minimal consciousness.

This breakthrough provides hope for families with loved ones who have remained unconscious for years.

Source: Pixabay

Sirigu was quoted as saying:

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

And their team’s findings, reported in Current Biology, state:

“These findings show that stimulation of the vagus nerve promoted the spread of cortical signals and caused an increase of metabolic activity leading to behavioral improvement as measured with the CRS-R scale and as reported by clinicians and family members. Thus, potentiating vagus nerve inputs to the brain helps to restore consciousness even after many years of being in a vegetative state, thus challenging the belief that disorders of consciousness persisting after 12 months are irreversible.”

View Comments

Sci/Tech

ADHD Is A Complete Hoax, Claims Renowned Harvard Psychologist

According to Harvard professor and acclaimed psychologist Jerome Kagan, “ADHD isn’t real. “

Mark Andrew

Published

on

Aside from teaching at one of the most respected universities in the world, Jerome Kagan has likewise made a name for himself in the field of psychology. In fact, he has been listed at #22 among the most eminent psychologists of the 20th century, putting him a rank higher than Carl Jung, famed Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, who is at #23.

With his impressive background in mind, we can all assume he knows what he's talking about when he says something. Recently, he did come up with a pretty bold claim saying ADHD is not a real condition.

According to Harvard professor and psychologist Jerome Kagan, ADHD is a big hoax.

Continue Reading

Sci/Tech

Lab-Grown Leather Might Just Be the Next Big Thing in Fashion

The fashion staple is getting an upgrade.

Avatar

Published

on

When you talk about fashion staples, a trusty leather jacket is always on top of the list. It's a style classic and a flexible piece of clothing. While some may still prefer genuine leather when filling up their closets, the movement to a more responsible consumer culture has encouraged even the pickiest shopaholics to go for alternatives to genuine leather.

And soon, a new, science-backed option could become available to all. A New York-based company is saying bye to the cow and hello to the lab as they create lab-grown leather.

Modern Meadow is a biofabrication company that grows animal-free leather made from living cells.

Continue Reading

Sci/Tech

Plastic-Eating Fungus in Islamabad Could Be The Solution To Waste Problem

Could this help solve our plastic waste problem?

Avatar

Published

on

Even though green is in and reducing waste is all the rage today, humans still consume great amounts of plastic every day. Much of these plastics end up in dumpsters and our oceans. And since plastic does not break down the same way and as fast as organic materials do, it can stay in our environment for hundreds of years. It can clog drainage systems, endanger animals, and release harmful chemicals.

In addition to environmental cleanups, eco-friendly lifestyles, and worldwide green campaigns, there might be a new way to deal with the world's plastic waste problem. Scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Kunming Institute of Botany in China have recently discovered a fungus that uses enzymes to rapidly break down plastic materials.

The soil fungus, Aspergillus tubingensis, was found in samples taken from a rubbish dump in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Continue Reading

Popular