Some Nerve

Some Nerve

One of our ESL students shared some exciting world news that will change the lives of brain trauma victims forever. Hancock International College Were excited to learn that Nerve stimulation recently restored a level of consciousness. Here’s more:

Goodnewsnetwork.org says, “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 small nerve stimulator.

Using a simple 20-minute surgery, the simulator was attached to the vagus nerve in the patient’s chest. The outcome challenges the general belief that disorders of consciousness that persist for longer than 12 months are irreversible, the researchers say. The findings reported in Current Biology this week show that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) – a treatment already in use for epilepsy and depression – can help to restore consciousness even after many years in a vegetative state. By stimulating the vagus nerve, we show that “it is possible to improve a patient’s presence in the world,” says Angela Sirigu of Institut des Sciences Cognitives Marc Jeannerod.

The vagus nerve connects the brain to many other parts of the body, including the gut. It’s known to be important in waking, alertness, and many other essential functions. To test the ability of VNS to restore consciousness, the researchers, led by Sirigu and clinicians lead by Jacques Luauté, wanted to select a difficult case to ensure that any improvements couldn’t be explained by chance. They looked to a patient who had been lying in a vegetative state for more than a decade with no sign of improvement…

After one month of vagal nerve stimulation, the patient’s attention, movements and brain activity significantly improved, they report. The man began responding to simple orders that had been impossible before. For example, he could follow an object with his eyes and turn his head upon request. His mother reported an improved ability to stay awake when listening to his therapist reading a book.

After stimulation, the researchers also observed responses to “threat” that had been absent. For instance, when the examiner’s head suddenly approached the patient’s face, he reacted with surprise by opening his eyes wide. After many years in a vegetative state, he had entered a state of minimal consciousness.

Recordings of brain activity also revealed major changes. A theta EEG signal important for distinguishing between a vegetative and minimally conscious state increased significantly in areas of the brain involved in movement, sensation, and awareness. VNS also increased the brain’s functional connectivity. A PET scan showed increases in metabolic activity in both cortical and subcortical regions of the brain, too.”

Full Article: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/after-15-years-in-a-vegetative-state-nerve-stimulation-restores-consciousness/

Idiom of the Day

A Battle of Nerves

Meaning: Psychological warfare used to wear down an adversary’s resolve through fear tactics.

Example: Election cycles have become a battle of nerves as both parties continually try to scare the voters into electing their representative.