miércoles, mayo 24, 2006

Somniferos despiertan del coma

Sleeping pills offer wake-up call to vegetative patients

Michael Hopkin

Clinical researchers have discovered that they can rouse semi-comatose
patients by giving them, bizarrely, a common sleeping drug
. If more
wide-ranging tests are successful, the drug could become the first
effective treatment for 'persistent vegetative state', the condition at the
centre of the US legal battle over sufferer Terri Schiavo last year.

British and South African doctors have reported the cases of three
semi-comatose patients who were revived for several hours at a time by
zolpidem, marketed to millions of insomniacs under the brand name Ambien.
The drug allows the semi-comatose patients to talk with friends and family
for several hours before the effect wears off, they report in the journal

The patients, two of whom suffered severe head injuries in motor accidents
and a third who was left brain damaged by a near-drowning incident, have
been taking the pills every day for several years, with no severe side effects.

"The effect is amazing to say the least," says Ralf Clauss of the Royal
Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, UK, who discovered it along with his
colleague Wally Nel of the Family Practice in Pollack Park, Springs, South
Africa. "They can interact, make jokes and speak on the phone." One of them
even mastered catching a baseball.