Five years ago, a team of scientists from the University of California, led by Professor Martin Monti, first used directional ultrasound radiation to stimulate the brain of a person in a coma. They focused it on the thalamus, the central organ of the brain, and they were immediately successful – a 25-year-old man regained consciousness, was able to talk and answer questions. However, he was already on the mend, so the results of the experiment were considered controversial.
After refining the methodology, Monty’s team performed three new surgeries. They have designed a compact emitter, the size of a smartphone, that fits to the side of the patient’s head. The treatment of the brain with low-intensity radiation lasts 10 minutes, 10 sessions of 30 seconds each. The total radiated energy is less than in a traditional ultrasound machine, so this effect is safe.
The first patient was a 56-year-old man who spent 14 months in a coma after a stroke. After the first exposure to ultrasound, he was able to catch the thrown ball and recognize the people in the photo, after the second – to answer questions and write text. The second patient, a 50-year-old woman, spent 2.5 years in a coma after cardiac arrest. Her results are worse – she regained consciousness and was able to recognize simple objects, such as a comb and a pen, but nothing more.
Alas, the third patient, a 58-year-old man who had been in a coma for 5.5 years after an accident, did not respond to ultrasound. Apparently, the degradation of the patient’s nervous system in a comatose state over time becomes too complex. On the other hand, the very possibility of getting people out of it in just a few days is very encouraging. scientists.