Showing posts from December, 2023

Use of the Term "Vegetative State" is Dehumanization in Its Most Literal Form

By   Sherry Phipps The term “vegetative state” has been used in the medical field for decades to describe patients who have lost cognitive function due to severe brain injury. However, the use of this term is increasingly being criticized for its dehumanizing connotations. This article explores why the term is problematic and suggests alternatives that respect the dignity of patients. The Problem with the Term The term “vegetative state” is derived from the word “vegetable,” implying a lack of consciousness or awareness. This comparison is not only scientifically inaccurate but also deeply disrespectful. It reduces a human being, with their unique history, personality, and potential, to the status of a plant. Moreover, the term can lead to harmful misconceptions. It may cause people to believe that these patients are incapable of experiencing pain or emotions, which is not always the case. Some research suggests that certain patients in a so-called vegetative state

The Four Score: A Revolution in Coma Grading

  By   Sherry Phipps Coma grading is a critical aspect of neurological assessment, providing vital information about a patient’s condition and prognosis. Traditionally, the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has been the gold standard for this purpose. However, a new tool, the Four Score, is gaining recognition for its comprehensive and nuanced approach to coma grading. What is the Four Score? The Four Score is a clinical grading scale developed by renowned neurologist Dr. Ronald Wijdicks and his team at the Mayo Clinic. It assesses four key aspects of a patient’s neurological function: eye response, motor response, brainstem reflexes, and respiration. Each category is scored from 0 to 4, with a total score ranging from 0 (deep coma) to 16 (fully conscious). Advantages of the Four Score The Four Score offers several advantages over traditional coma grading scales: Comprehensive Assessment : The Four Score provides a more detailed neurological assessment by evaluating brainste

Vagus Nerve Stimulation in Disorders of Consciousness

Preliminary studies have suggested that stimulation of vagus nerve  can enhance the levels of DOCs in both unresponsive wakefulness state (UWS) and minimally conscious state (MCS) . The following video shows a few ways to get started even if you don't have access to the treatments in the studies.

Music therapy is a powerful and effective form of treatment.

  By   Sherry Phipps Music therapy is a powerful and effective form of treatment that can be used to improve the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social well-being of individuals of all ages. This innovative approach to healthcare uses music as a tool to help people express their feelings, improve communication, and promote healing. Music therapy can be used to help individuals with a wide range of conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, autism, and chronic pain. It is also used to help people with physical disabilities, such as stroke or traumatic brain injury, to improve their mobility and coordination. One of the key benefits of music therapy is its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress. Music has a calming effect on the body and can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can lead to improvements in mood, anxiety, and sleep. Another benefit of music therapy is its ability to improve communication and social skills. Music can be use

Breakthrough Brain Implant Technology for TBI

  After suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2001,  Gina Arata would often trip over things, get mad easily, and forget basic information. Today, however, a tiny implant is enabling Arata to live more like her pre-accident self. The device delivers targeted electrical stimulation to a part of the brain’s thalamus, with the goal of  “overdriving” it to restore brain function  — similar to how a pacemaker restores heart function, the researchers said.  Read the full article here:

Highly Recommended Reading: Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics, and the Struggle for Consciousness by Dr. Joseph J. Fins

Rights Come to Mind: Brain Injury, Ethics, and the Struggle for Consciousness by Joseph J. Fins is a book that examines the ethical and social issues surrounding patients with severe brain injury who are at the edge of consciousness. The book is based on the author's experience as a physician, bioethicist, and researcher in the field of disorders of consciousness, such as the vegetative and minimally conscious states. The book tells the story of Maggie Worthen and her mother Nancy, who fought for Maggie's right to receive adequate care and rehabilitation after she suffered a devastating stroke that left her in a minimally conscious state. The book also explores the scientific advances in neuroscience and neuroimaging that challenge the conventional view of brain injury as a static and hopeless condition, and reveal the potential for recovery and communication in some patients. The book argues that society owes these patients a duty of care and respect, and calls for a reform of