Mon, Apr 24, 2017 | updated 08:46 PM 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)

Ahmedabad surgeon performs India's 1st robotic surgery

Updated: Apr 24, 2017 18:43 IST     

Ahmedabad (Guajarat) [India], Apr 24 (ANI): A unique robotic surgical procedure, said to be the first of its kind performed in India and third in the world, was recently performed by a doctor at Sterling Hospitals on a 37-year old patient to relieve him of acute pain caused by a rare condition of Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome.

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This 3-D skin printer can heal severe burns faster

Updated: Apr 23, 2017 07:11 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 23 (ANI): A newly-developed method for using a modified printer that covers wounds with healthy skin cells can make the traditional burn treatment a history.

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Turns out, you can 'point out' a man's education

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:51 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 21 (ANI): Knowing a man's education is as simple as looking at his fingers, according to a recent study.

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Just when you thought brain games made you smarter

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:39 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 21 (ANI): You may want to be skeptical of ads declaring you can rev up your brain's performance by challenging it with products from the growing brain-training industry, according to a recent study.

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Accomplished female scientists often overlooked

Updated: Apr 21, 2017 14:17 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 21 (ANI): Turns out, gender gap still exists in the STEM fields-science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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Port Blair [India], April 21 (ANI): In a first of its kind study, peptides, from the venom of cone snails, have been identified that opens up possibilities of drug research for several human ailments.

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Antarctica's biodiversity 'falling between the cracks'

Updated: Apr 20, 2017 22:49 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 20 (ANI): The popular view that Antarctica and the Southern Ocean are in a much better environmental shape than the rest of the world has been debunked.

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Washington D.C. [USA], April 18 (ANI): Keep your worries at bay as Azithromycin group of medicine is no more linked to an increased risk of irregular heartbeat, says a study.

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Even with head-up display, texting while driving not safe

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 12:38 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): Despite relatively less distraction from the head-up displays, a recent study has suggested that texting while driving is still a bad idea.

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Now, sketch your way to better learning

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 11:31 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): Sketching exercises can help students learn many subjects, but they are woefully underused in classrooms, according to a recent study.

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Randomness peaks when you're 25

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 10:18 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): 25 is the "golden age," when people's ability to make random choices or mimic a random process, such as coming up with hypothetical results for a series of coin flips, peaks, according to a recent study.

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Why having a 'nice' boss may be 'bad' for you

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 10:02 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): Those feeling stressed at work may want to rethink before blaming their bosses as it turns out, an unsupportive manager can actually be good for you.

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Are you all ears? Your eyes indicate if you are

Updated: Apr 16, 2017 09:06 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 16 (ANI): Turns out, the eyes really are a window to the soul as a recent study has found that your pupils give away whether or not you are listening.

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Our ancestors defeated virus from HIV family 11m years ago

Updated: Apr 15, 2017 12:46 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 15 (ANI): Viral fossils have revealed how our ancestors may have wiped out a primordial virus around 11 million years ago.

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Understanding money can keep those old-age worries at bay

Updated: Apr 14, 2017 20:34 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 14 (ANI): Those possessing a greater understanding of finance are less likely to fret about life in their twilight years, according to a recent study.

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A stranger's eye can help you pick best profile picture

Updated: Apr 14, 2017 18:14 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 14 (ANI): When it comes to your profile picture, you may want to let a stranger do the choosing as a recent study has suggested so.

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Now, a method for 3D printing extraterrestrial materials

Updated: Apr 13, 2017 14:16 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 13 (ANI): When humans begin to colonize the moon and Mars, they will need to be able to make everything from small tools to large buildings using the limited surrounding resources.

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Turns out, college students study best later in the day

Updated: Apr 13, 2017 07:55 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 13 (ANI): Students learn more effectively between 11 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. than at other times of the day, according to a recent study.

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Washington D.C. [USA], April 13 (ANI): In a major revelation, scientists have unearthed fossilised remains of more than 245-million-years old giant dinosaurs in southern Tanzania indicating that rather than walking on two legs, they walked on four crocodilian-like legs.

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And you thought your smartphone was secured with fingerprint?

Updated: Apr 12, 2017 11:55 IST     

Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 12 (ANI): Turns out, smartphone fingerprint scanners are less secure than we are led to believe.

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