Long Coma

The case of a woman from the United Arab Emirates who regained consciousness after a 27-year coma-like state provoked by a brain injury has startled the world. But it’s not quite right to say that they simply “woke up”, experts told AFP. Munira Omar was 32 when, in 1991, they was injure in a traffic accident after picking up her son Omar from school in the city of Al-Ain.
They lost consciousnessand didn’t regain it until May 2018. Her son Omar—who is today 32—was in the car but did not suffer serious injuries. “I always believe that my mother would get better,” he told AFP by phone. Not if by that one means “the patient suddenly wakes up, as after a long sleep, as everyone does in the morning,” the German doctor who treat her, Friedemann Muller, told the magazine Der Spiegel.

Short amount of time

Strictly speaking, the woman was not in a coma, but rather a state of minimal consciousness. Even before they became more fully alert, they “was able to look at something for a short amount of time, said Muller, chief physician at the Schon Clinic in Bad Aibling, Germany. They react especially strongly to her son’s face.

Omar suffer from disorder of consciousness, an umbrella term for three distinct conditions; hence a full on coma, in which the patient is neither awake nor responsive; a vegetative state characterize by “non-responsive wakefulness“; also finally a state of minimal consciousness.

The last applies to people who have pull out of a vegetative state and potentially regain some measure of conscious perception,” Benjamin Rohaut, a neurologist at Pitie Salpetriere Hospital’s Brain and Spinal Cord Institute in Paris, told AFP. Concretely, people with minimal consciousness can follow someone’s movement with their eye; show signs of trying to withdraw an arm when pinch in a pain-response test.
Technically the patient was as per the doctor’s description already awake, explain Martin Monti, an associate professor in the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, they certainly seems to have emerge from a disorder of consciousness. They did so very gradually, note Mueller. Eventually”they was able to pronounce her son’s name, greet us, and quote some verses from the Koran.

Exercise to help reduce spasticity

Muller’s approach was a multi prong treatment: muscle exercise to help reduce spasticity; hence a common consequence of brain lesions; general physiotherapy; and exposure to all kinds of stimuli, including contact with family and friends. They call this a holistic approach the aim is to maximise; so the potential for recovery,” said Rohaut from Paris. It is possible, they added, that lowering the dose of the epilepsy medication Omar had taking help her emerge from the coma like state.
In the case of brain lesions, They sometimes mistakenly diagnose epilepsy; which is often treat with drugs that have a sedative effect,” Rohaut said. Muller insists that Omar “can now consciously interact with her environment and return to family life. That said, expectations for her should not rise too high. They still has suffer a very severe brain injury, so nobody should imagine that they will miraculously go back to being exactly and fully the person they was before, they said.
The length of her coma like state makes a complete come back even less likely, add Kitzinger. It is possible to recover from a short period of unconsciousness relatively well; but the longer one is in a disorder of consciousness the less likely, and more limited, any recovery is likely to be, they said.