More than one million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury leading to a state of unconsciousness known as a coma. Most are caused by severe head trauma due to traffic accidents or violence and one out of every five-war injuries result in comas. Patients in this state can range from having a great deal of brain function to absolutely none at all, and most people do come out of comas after a few weeks.
It is however, the return to life as a functioning human being that is the issue at hand, and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can be a big help in this department. Even more exciting is the belief that more than 300,000 soldiers who have come home from Iraq and Afghanistan with brain injuries may be able to live normal lives once again.
TMS can be used to either stimulate or turn off parts of the brain (specifically brain neurons) through the use of strong magnetic fields. Stimulation will increase the activity of the brain neurons as the magnetic field of the TMS interacts with the electrical energy in the brain, creating a snowball effect by jumpstarting the surrounding neurons. Although generally thought to be safe, there can be some side effects that may include: seizures, minor headaches and fainting.
Various case studies have indicated that TMS has the capability to bring comatose patients back to a functioning level where they can speak and recognize their loved ones and even transport some back to living a full life.
What better present can we give those who have suffered defending our freedom than a return to the life they left behind?