New Orleans doctors help regrow toddler's brain after drowning

22 July, 2017, 00:44 | Author: Garry Little
  • YouTube

The apparent success of scientists in reversing brain damage in a two-year-old who almost drowned in a swimming pool has been called a "miracle" by her family.

Researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and the University of North Dakota School of Medicine have released information about their unique treatments, and the results are nothing short of a miracle: Brain scans have shown that the gray matter in Eden's brain - which showed significant damage after she was rushed to the hospital - now show an "almost complete reversal" of the damage.

One reason hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been met with skepticism is that it's been hard to explain how this treatment works, he said.

An MRI scan a month after the 40 HBOT session showed nearly complete reversal of the brain damage initially recorded.

Twenty-seven days after her last treatment session, doctors said she had only mild residual injuries.

With this treatment the child recovered from the brain damage and can now eat, speak and is alert and responsive to commands. However, Miller said he found the report "to be really underwhelming in terms of its evidence". The child had also suffered a cardiac arrest, and the lack of oxygen led to a severe brain injury. To reverse the damage, scientists made use of oxygen therapy.

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"Taking those first steps", Kristal said. In these studies, participants received either a hyperbaric oxygen treatment or a "sham" treatment that was not expected to have an effect. The hyperbaric oxygen "just didn't help the people" any better than the control-group treatment, he said.

Eden's mother Kristal Carlson, from the southeastern USA state of Arkansas, told ABC's Good Morning America she found her daughter "floating face down in the water" at their home in the southeastern U.S. state of Arkansas.

USA Today identified the girl as Eden Carlson. That neurological improvement can only be explained by improvement in brain function which is consistent with the regrowth of brain tissue. "And the result is that we were able to demonstrate an obvious and large re-growth of brain tissue that is inarguably the result of this therapy".

Under the pressurized conditions of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, the lungs can take in more oxygen than they would when breathing at normal air pressure. This raised the oxygen in the child's blood.

Harch added that it was impossible to tell from Eden's case whether the combination of normobaric and hyperbaric oxygen therapy was necessarily more effective than hyperbaric oxygen therapy on its own. Her case is reported in the Medical Gas Research Journal to educate other doctors on this treatment's potential.

Dr Harch offers the experimental treatment, which has always been used to treat divers suffering from decompression sickness known as "the bends" but is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical treatment for other diseases.

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