There may be hope in the future for people with severe brain injuries after a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease helped speed up some semblance of consciousness among the patients.
Researchers at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute and Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute conducted the study on 184 patients. The researchers found that giving amantadine for four weeks helped the patients regain cognitive functioning faster than those on a placebo.
The researchers said that the study provides hope to thousands of patients who suffer from brain injuries which are often believed to be too severe for treatment. However the researchers added that the rate of recovery declined within two weeks of stopping the treatment and that it is not yet known whether the drug could provide long term improvement.
"Our study leaves an important question open: Do we help get people to their same ultimate destination on a faster track, or do we change their ultimate destination? We shouldn't trivialize that. Psychosocially, if you are a family waiting for your family member to regain function and interact with you, it will make a lot of difference whether you have to wait a long time or a short time", John Whyte, who worked on the study, said.