In a what has been described as a world's first, scientists have been successful in using oxygen therapy to reverse brain damage in a toddler who drowned in a swimming pool.
Using the new treatment, scientists were reportedly able to restore the young girl's ability to walk and talk within months of the accident, during which she was under water for 15 minutes.
In February 2016, then-two-year-old Eden Carlson fell into her family's swimming pool and virtually drowned. For two hours, Eden's heart didn't beat on its own. After finally being resuscitated, it was concluded that Eden had suffered severe brain damage and was no longer responding to stimuli. MRI scans of her brain showed losses of both white and gray matter and deep neurological injuries.
Upon hearing about the tragic incident, LSU Health New Orleans of School of Medicine, as well as the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, began to use oxygen therapy in a bid to restore the little girl's brain functions.
More than a year later, a new MRI showed that Carlson's brain damage has almost been completely reversed due to the treatment and the fact that her young brain is still developing. Dr. Paul Hersch, who worked on the treatment said, "The startling regrowth of tissue, in this case, occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration."
The doctor also said while it's not yet clear whether the same therapy would work on other brain-injured patients, the fact that it worked for little Eden is a very promising sign.
"Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning," he explained.
Stories like these only further prove the inherent value of life, and breakthroughs in this type of medicine are sure to help save and restore many lives in the future.
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