Sat, May 27, 2017 | updated 09:42 AM IST

New test can predict if coma patients will wake up

Updated: Jul 16, 2016 13:15 IST      
New test can predict if coma patients will wake up

Washington D.C, Jul 16 (ANI): For families with a loved one in a coma, a recent study is offering hope that doctors will soon be able to predict a patient's outcome with a simple test.

The University of Copenhagen researchers have evidence that readily obtainable measures of the amount of glucose (sugar) consumed by the brain can directly predict a person's current level of awareness, or the likelihood that they will recover awareness within a year.

"In nearly all cases, whole-brain energy turnover directly predicted either the current level of awareness or its subsequent recovery," said researcher Ron Kupers, adding "In short, our findings indicate that there is a minimal energetic requirement for sustained consciousness to arise after brain injury."

In the study, team aimed to develop more-reliable diagnostic markers for the assessment of current and future levels of consciousness to complement routine bedside clinical examinations. To this end, they quantified and mapped cerebral glucose metabolism in 131 brain-injured patients, all of whom were suffering from either full or partial loss of consciousness.

The researchers measured glucose metabolism using FDG-PET, a well-known imaging technique in which glucose labeled with a radioactive tracer molecule is injected into the bloodstream. The labeled glucose makes it possible to capture and map glucose uptake in any organ of interest, in this case, the brain.

Their results showed that the patients' individual levels of behavioral responsiveness were strongly linked to their overall cerebral energy turnover. In fact, patients with glucose metabolism below a well-defined threshold of 42 percent of normal cortical activity appeared to be fully unconscious and did not recover consciousness at 1-year follow-up. In contrast, nearly all patients with brain metabolic activity above this energetic threshold either showed signs of awareness at the initial examination or had recovered responsiveness a year later.

Overall, the researchers report, the cerebral metabolic rate accounted for the current level, or imminent return, of awareness in 94 percent of patients.

"The take-home message [for now] is that consciousness is a highly energy demanding process, involving the brain at large," Kupers says. "This fundamental physiological trait can help clinicians determine the potential for recovery of awareness in patients suffering from severe brain injuries of any kind."

The researchers say it will be important to verify the findings in an independent patient population. They also hope to explore how brain metabolism changes over time in brain-injured patients.

The study appears in the journal Current Biology. (ANI)

Here's how hand amputation, reattachment affect brain

Updated: May 26, 2017 08:20 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 26 (ANI): When a person loses a hand to amputation, nerves that control sensation and movement are severed, causing dramatic changes in areas of the brain that controlled these functions. As a result, areas of the brain devoted to the missing hand take on other functions.

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Soon, toy cars that'll help get kids with disabilities moving

Updated: May 26, 2017 08:19 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 26 (ANI): Two new modified toy car designs have been developed for children with disabilities in an effort to encourage them to further explore, play, and engage in physical and social activities.

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Being 'cruel to be kind' really works!

Updated: May 25, 2017 07:29 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 25 (ANI): Can making people feel bad really help them? Yes, according to a recent study.

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DNA may have only modest impact on sexual assault arrests

Updated: May 24, 2017 19:06 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 24 (ANI): Most arrests in sexual assault cases occur before crime laboratory results are available, a new study found, suggesting that DNA testing may influence arrests in just a small number of cases.

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Your eyes can reveal if you have the post-disaster blues

Updated: May 24, 2017 16:01 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 24 (ANI): Turns out, your eyes really are the windows to your soul as a recent study has found that depression risk following a natural disaster can be predicted via pupil dilation.

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Size of whale has evolved in the recent past!

Updated: May 24, 2017 11:03 IST     

New Delhi [India], May 7 (ANI): Interestingly, blue whales, the largest vertebrate animal that ever lived, have recently evolved into giants.

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Washington D.C. [USA], May 7 (ANI): A team of researchers discovered that deep portions of earth's mantle might be as hot as it was more than 2.5 billion years ago.

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Death by Kissing Bugs more common than thought: Study

Updated: May 22, 2017 13:26 IST     

New York [USA], May 22 (ANI): Kissing Bugs, who like to bite humans around their lips and faces, as they sleep, are more dangerous than you have ever thought of.

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Now, deaf-blind can 'watch' television with this technology

Updated: May 21, 2017 14:15 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 21 (ANI): In a first, researchers have developed a new technology that types Braille or subtitles of television channels in real time and helps deaf-blind people "watch" television without intermediaries.

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Planting trees cannot replace cutting CO2 emissions!

Updated: May 18, 2017 17:15 IST     

New Delhi [INDIA], May 18 (ANI): According to a new study, growing plants and then storing CO2, taken up from the atmosphere, is no viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning.

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Washington D.C. [USA], May 17 (ANI): Large families and strong social ties may help female rhesus macaques live longer, by reducing their chances of dying by 2.3 percent in one year, reveals a new study.

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Turns out, 'drunk you' not that different from 'sober you'

Updated: May 16, 2017 07:21 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 16 (ANI): Your personality may change when you drink, but less than you think, according to a recent study.

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Researchers find ways to make solar energy affordable

Updated: May 14, 2017 21:20 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 14 (ANI): In a recent study, researchers used data science to determine and predict the effects of exposure to weather and other conditions on materials in solar panels.

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Washington D.C. [USA], May 14 (ANI): Just like students choose their flatmates, Briton researchers have found that males of great tit birds are quiet selective when it comes to neighbourhood and opt to nest together with like-minded neighbours to improve their chances of survival.

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Washington D.C. [USA], May 13 (ANI): A group of international scientists studying China's Yellow River has come up with an analytic formula that could help officials better predict and prevent its all-too-frequent floods, which threaten as many as 80 million people.

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'Winged' snakes once slithered the Earth

Updated: May 13, 2017 12:54 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 13 (ANI): A mysterious 5-million-year-old "winged serpent" has finally been identified as a new species of ancient snakes.

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Newly-found distant 'warm Neptune' has primitive atmosphere

Updated: May 12, 2017 10:33 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 12 (ANI): A team of scientists has discovered a distant Neptune-sized planet that has clear skies and an atmosphere almost entirely composed of hydrogen and helium, scientists have discovered.

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New 3-D printed 'bionic skin' lets robots 'feel'

Updated: May 11, 2017 12:27 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 11 (ANI): A team of researchers has come up with a revolutionary process for 3D printing stretchable electronic sensory devices that could give robots the ability to feel their environment.

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Washington D.C. [USA], May 11 (ANI): African lion is the next big cat species to become extinct as they have lost most of their prey, according to a recent study.

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The hidden cost of helping your co-workers

Updated: May 10, 2017 19:56 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], May 10 (ANI): If you're a co-worker who helps other, you are likely to feel good, but are those good feelings coming at a price?

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