Scientists have found a new technique to check the level of awareness in case of a brain-damaged person, in a coma. Thereby they can calculate if the patient can recover from a coma or not! Anyone who has gone through the misery of watching a loved one in a coma can now have some indication if he/she would wake up or not. This would relieve the relatives to make the hard call of whether or not to take their loved one of life support.
A Test known as FDG-PET can tell if patients will recover from a Coma or not. Here is more:
The revolutionary test in question is a general type of a PET Scan which measures the amount of sugar being eaten by the brain cells of the patient. Off-late many hospitals have been using this test to check the difference between patients in a total coma, or in a vegetative state with partial awareness.
But, now researchers have concluded that the test can actually predict whether a patient will wake up or not!
Lead researcher Ron Kupers, from the University of Copenhagen and Yale University, said,
In nearly all cases, whole-brain energy turnover directly predicted either the current level of awareness or its subsequent recovery.
The test basically measures sugar metabolism, thereby calculating the amount of energy being used by the brain cells.
Ron Kupers further added,
In short, our findings indicate that there is a minimal energetic requirement for sustained consciousness to arise after brain injury.
This well-established procedure can now not only tell the responsiveness of a person but also if that patient will wake up from the vegetative state or not.
To verify this research, 131 patients with severe brain damage were subjected to PET scan to measure their use of glucose and the results were compared with 28 healthy people’s scan.
It was found that patients in a coma are much more likely to regain consciousness if the scan detects their brain is using about half of the energy as compared to a fully-functioning brain.
These scans successfully mapped the chance of consciousness within a year in 94% of cases. That’s success and great news!