New method to predict whether coma patients will wake up


Belgian scientists at the universities of Copenhagen and Liege have developed a new method that can quickly predict whether patients will recover from a coma.

The precise diagnosis of patients who have sustained serious brain damage is often a complicated clinical challenge, because some patients do not appear to react to anything, but nonetheless retain a certain level of consciousness. It goes without saying that such situations are generally distressing for the families of coma patients.

Professor Ron Kupers, who works at the University of Copenhagen, has now developed a method, along with a team of neurologists from the University of Liege, to diagnose these patients much more objectively.

Based on the assumption that the slightest level of brain activity also implies a degree of energy supply, the new method assesses how much glucose (sugar) is consumed by the brains of coma patients. Using the data obtained, it is possible to identify the patients who have the best chance of regaining consciousness.

The research was published in the authoritative journal ‘Current Biology’.