Scientists reverse brain damage in a two-year-old girl after drowning

Image Credit LSU

A toddler from Arkansas who almost drowned in her family's swimming pool is rebuilding her brain with the help of hyperbaric treatments in Marrero.

"There is no evidence in humans that supports the suggestion that hyperbaric therapy could be effective in treating brain damage suffered after drowning".

After 39 sessions, the hospital said that the girl was able to walk with assistance, could speak at a level greater than she was capable of prior to drowning, had normal cognitive function and close-to-normal motor function and showed improvement on almost all neurological abnormalities. The video explains how the toddler got around the safety of the family's gates and ended up in the pool for 15 minutes that fateful day. In total, she spent 2 hours without a heartbeat, and was not expected to survive, her family said in a YouTube video. Although she was alive, she didn't respond to touch or sound. She experienced episodes of "storming" when her body trembled and shook uncontrollably. MRI revealed deep injuries to Carlson's deep gray matter and loss of white and gray matter, which points to brain damage. Fifty-five days post-drowning, he began short duration treatment with 100% normobaric oxygen for 45 minutes twice a day through a nasal cannula. Gait improvement was documented immediately upon returning home.

Dr Harch said, "She had lost both gray matter and white matter and usually they continue along that line of atrophy and more shrinkage". Scientists also noted eye-tracking movements and some speech.

Before doctors attempted two types of oxygen therapy, Carlson was unresponsive to all stimuli. The therapy involves a patient to be exposed to pure oxygen but within a strictly controlled pressurized chamber. Footage of Eden's precocious nature prior to the accident and her appearance afterward is also chronicled in the video. She was able to walk and talk again.

In essence, the hyperbaric oxygen therapy helped to "wake up" Eden's brain by providing Carlson with oxygen that helped to increase the oxygen in her blood, fix her brain and regrow tissue.

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"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", hyperbaric specialist Paul Harch from LSU Health New Orleans said in the case report.

This is one study and not proven in any other case.

Three weeks after the accident, the toddler was moved to a hospital in New Orleans that had a hyperbaric chamber.

A team of doctors managed to reverse brain damage caused by drowning in a two years old girl.

Despite these miraculous-sounding results, the treatment still needs further evidence to confirm its efficacy in "similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning".

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