When the electrical recording devices monitoring brain activity of a coma patient displays a flat line, it is assumed that the patient has reached the deepest stage of a coma. However a new study published in the journal PLOS One reveals that researchers have discovered a new stage of coma that is deeper than the 'flat line' coma and that the brain activity can recover from their stage.
The researchers initially observed this in a patient who was in a drug-induced coma and later on carried experiments on cats.
On deepening the coma after administering a higher dose of drugs, the researchers recorded minimum but widespread neural activity across the brain. The researchers made use of an electroencephalography (EEG) to detect brain activity which was displayed by the device in form of waves, also known as nu-complexes.
"Nu-complexes appear in a deeper state of coma, provided that neurons are well-fed, well-supplied with blood and oxygen and in good shape. We want to know if this state is beneficial for the brain. At this point we don't know if any [brain] modifications are set into motion by such a deep coma", lead researcher Florin Amzica said.