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Brain injury findings may indicate recovery potential

People here in New York suffer brain injuries in a number of ways, but when they happen due to someone else's negligence, they may be all the more traumatizing for everyone involved. A brain injury that causes a person to lose consciousness may be particularly serious. This type of injury could have long-lasting cognitive and physical effects, even if the person eventually wakes up. A recent study showed some promise however, as it found a simple way to determine the possibility that an unconscious patient might eventually regain consciousness. 

The study looked at patients who suffered a traumatic brain injury that rendered them unconscious. Researchers were hoping to determine if the results of any sort of testing would indicate an increased chance of the patient regaining consciousness. They found that patients who reacted in a certain way to the presence of a strong odor were more likely to wake up. All patients who showed a change in respiration due to the strong smell eventually regained consciousness. 

However, the researchers say that more testing needs to be done. They found that more than a third of patients who did not respond to the "sniff test" still eventually woke up. The good news is that this is a fairly inexpensive and easy way to determine the likelihood a patient could regain consciousness. Interestingly, they also found no difference between the response to pleasant odors or unpleasant odors, only the strength of the smell. 

While these findings are exciting, they cannot stop a brain injury from occurring or even guarantee what a patient's life might be like after waking up. Treatment for traumatic brain injuries is often expensive and continues throughout a person's life. Those here in New York who have been affected may want to file a personal injury suit against any parties believed responsible for the injury. It may be the best way to ensure that a patient receives care that may be desperately needed.

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