Discovery of brain activity in severely brain injured patients who 'wake up' with sleep drug

Monday, 25 November 2013 06:46

George Melendez has been called a medical miracle. After a near drowning deprived his brain of oxygen, Melendez remained in a fitful, minimally conscious state until his mother, in 2002, decided to give him the sleep aid drug Ambien to quiet his moaning and writhing. The next thing she knew, her son was quietly looking at her and trying to talk. He has been using the drug ever since to maintain awareness, but no one could understand why Ambien led to such an awakening.

Now, a team of scientists led by Weill Cornell Medical College has discovered a signature of brain activity in Melendez and two other similarly "awakened" patients they say explain why he and others regain some consciousness after using Ambien or other drugs or treatments. The pattern of activity, reported Nov. 19 in the journal eLife, was identified by analyzing the common electroencephalography (EEG) test, which tracks brain waves.  

Like to know more? Read the full story at the EurekAlert! website.


Brain Still Injured from Concussion After Symptoms Fade

Monday, 25 November 2013 06:39

After a mild concussion, special brain scans show evidence of brain abnormalities four months later, when symptoms from the concussion have mostly dissipated, according to research published in the November 20, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
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"These results suggest that there are potentially two different modes of recovery for concussion, with the memory, thinking and behavioral symptoms improving more quickly than the physiological injuries in the brain," said study author Andrew R. Mayer, PhD, of the Mind Research Network and University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque.  

Read more at the ScienceDaily website.


Post-concussion return to learning also a tough decision

Tuesday, 19 November 2013 17:51

After Krista Rickards' daughter Sarah suffered a severe concussion on a high school volleyball court in September 2010, the teenager returned to school in a matter of days. Sarah looked just fine. But she quickly became a regular at the school nurse's office, complaining of dizziness and severe headaches triggered by the noise and chaos of the halls and lunchroom, by overhead projections used in classrooms, and by long days and nights of books and homework.  

Read more at the website of the LA Times


What neuroscience can learn from brain injured patients

Thursday, 07 November 2013 12:38

Neuroscience has seen several major technological advancements in recent decades, but group and individual case studies remain crucial to understanding brain disorders. As neuropsycholgist Jenni Ogden says, it's each person's individuality that makes them so valuable to science.   

Read more at ABC Radio's "All in the Mind" website


From football to flies: Lessons about traumatic brain injury

Thursday, 17 October 2013 16:06

Faced with news of suicides and brain damage in former professional football players, geneticist Barry Ganetzky bemoaned the lack of model systems for studying the insidious and often delayed consequences linked to head injuries.

Then he remembered an unexplored observation from nearly 40 years ago: a sharp strike to a vial of fruit flies left them temporarily stunned, only to recover a short time later. At the time he had marked it only as a curiosity.

Now a professor of genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Ganetzky is turning his accidental discovery into a way to study traumatic brain injury (TBI). He and David Wassarman, a UW professor of cell and regenerative biology, report this week (Oct. 14) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the first glimpses of the genetic underpinnings of susceptibility to brain injuries and links to human TBI.  

Read the full story at EurekAlert!


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