Permanent Vegetative States: Not So Permanent
posted at 4:12 pm on May 23, 2006 by Bryan
I’ve had this story sent in by a couple of different sources. Given recent history, it’s fascinating for more than just the oddity that sleeping pills wake some people up:
A sleeping pill can temporarily revive people in a permanent vegetative state to the point where they can have conversations, a study finds.
Zolpidem is usually used to treat insomnia.
South African researchers, writing in the NeuroRehabilitation, looked at the effects on three patients of using the drug for up to six years.
Each of the three patients studied was given the drug every morning.
An improvement was seen within 20 minutes of taking the drug and wore off after four hours, when the patients restored to their permanent vegetative state.
Attach the usual science caveats to this story–it could always fall apart. Might this scientific advance have helped Terri Schiavo? We’ll never know, will we. It’s such a good thing they killed her before we could all find out.
(h/t Chris and Allahpundit)