Thursday, May 25, 2006

ADVENTURES IN MEDICINE

"He'll be discussing a subject that seems to carry a body count with it no matter where it goes: 'privacy.'"

Some stories make me wonder how on earth this came about in the first place. For example, recently doctors have discovered that giving some comatose or vegetative patients doses of the sleeping medicine Zolpidem will awaken temporarily:
An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug and wore off after four hours, when the patients restored to their permanent vegetative state.

Patient L had been in a vegetative state for three years, showing no response to touch and no reaction to his family.

After he was given Zolpidem, he was able to talk to them, answering simple questions.

Patient G was also able to answer simple questions and catch a basketball.

Now, how on earth did a doctor decide to attempt this? Why would someone ethically give a comatose patient sleeping pills, what prompted the idea? Ace of Spades Headquarters carried the story, ending with this wry point:

In related news, Michael Schiavo just said "Whew! That was a close one!"

Commenters awoke:
Schiavo's speaking at Yearly Kos, you know. Go over to the event site and look in the tentative schedule section.

He'll be discussing a subject that seems to carry a body count with it no matter where it goes: "privacy."
-by Allah


Ritalin, a stimulant, calms down hyperactive children.

Now we find that Zolpidem, a sleeping pill, can revive some people in a vegetative state.

Well, based on scientific extrapolation from the above data points, I've decided that the best way to sober up is to do a few shots. I plan to field test this ground-breaking theory before work tomorrow morning. If all goes according to spec, your old pal Sandy is gonna make millions.
-by Sandy Burger

Wasn't this a Robin Williams movie? With Robert DiNiero?
Awakenings. This was a true story, too. Possibly the best movie Robin Williams has done (low bar I know). DeNiro was an encephalitis victim which caused Parkinsons like symptoms, mainly uncontrollable shaking, which ultimatley manifested into a paralyzed state. Williams gave him L-dopa, which was being used for Parkinsons and it brought him around.

Unfortunately, much like Parkinsons, stronger and stronger doses of the medicine were required to keep the symptoms away until ultimately no does would suffice. Brain diseases are still very mysterious and very, very sad.
-by JackStraw

Gotta wonder about the person who came up with this approach. How did that thinking process go?"
"How can I get this SOB to stop breathing so I can collect the life insurance, yet not have bleeding wounds that make it look like murder?"

-by Purple Avenger

Having practiced nursing for over ten years, (nope, never did get it right) and having followed medical research closely for a lot longer, I'm convinced that humans are much more complex than anyone realizes. Just think about the medical research, and the conclusions that have become, "facts," and have later been debunked.

I was told, not long ago, that anyone in a coma for an extended period of time was beyond recovery, and should be, for lack of a better term, "Schiavoed." Now, more and more cases of people in, "irreversible," comas, and even those who have been diagnosed as, "brain dead," who have awakened, are coming to light.

My question: Are these people being misdiagnosed, or are things not what they have seemed for the last several years?
-by JannyMae


People can function with gigantic brain damage. People in a full-on coma can wake up after years. Doctors are in no better position to know what constitutes consciousness and what goes on inside damaged skulls than anyone else. They just see more examples. The good ones acknowledge that.
-by S. Weasel


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1 comment:

Muslihoon said...

Thanks for highlighting that thread.

I admire Ace for his stand on the Schiavo case, and for continuing his apparent stand.

Medicine is really complicated, as are humans. Which is why if someone promised me a cure for diabetes, I would politely decline. Sure, I may not have diabetes anymore but what side-affects might there be, especially those that may not be known or that may be peculiar to me?

The more I learn about the human body, the more surprised I am that we actually function.