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How Comas Work

2009-01-27 | 🔗

Several conditions can cause comas, including brain tumors and overdoses. Tune in as the crew discusses the causes and treatments of comas -- including some miraculous recoveries -- in this HowStuffWorks podcast.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This podcast dynamically inserts audio advertisements of varying lengths for each download. As a result, the transcription time indexes may be inaccurate.
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Camry, it's ready. Are you welcome to stop? You should know from Housetop Work, Stockholm. This episode sponsored by go daddy dot com, the world's largest web hosting domain name registration with domains as low as a dollar. Ninety nine investing for less than five dollars a month in a promo code, stuff, ten, a check out! You say ten percent off your entire water. Your piece of internet go to dot, com, blown wealth into the podcast Josh. The red light is on. We have one as it has now been in there. We totally leave it usually just stay here, pretty subdued pressing right. Then we note a girl. You start talking like talking, monkeys German, the german trains,
that's very efficient! Yes, in his turn chuck, as you know, it's been altogether rotten day so far right here has been our best and what is it like? Three, three thirty in the afternoon? Yes, okay, so um, luckily it'll be over soon enough. Yes, and it's Friday, I am even worse than it was before because, rather than getting my usual fresco, I got a dietary cope by accident and you know all respected, whole company- I dont really well for themselves, but dietary cookies, atrocious likelihood suffering through it. Anyway. I read it. I always get you now, I'm gonna make do, but some honourable you're as bad as our day has been near. I can tell you somebody who's day was even worse, whose First say that I actually just set up the set up for the podcast anything you blow. In my mind, there's this woman named Patricia Rightful and she was it
She D, Indian, from outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico and back when she was a lovely young, twenty eight she's, giving birth to her fourth I'll Sunday Mark and she was giving birth vs ie section in their complications. In this Jerry and MRS White Bull developed a blood clots nor long and it actually cut off oxygen, your brain and she laughs into a coma. Well, ok, so comas actually happen they can happen fairly frequently there not uncommon right but Miss MRS White Bulls type of coma, actually very rare. She was in a coma for sixteen years, holy cow, which is that's really vessel. Long time to be in a coma. It is so on. There are other people out there like her. Have you heard of sunny bomb bulow reversal of fortune sure yeah
Oh she's been any coma for nineteen years really a couple years back. Actually she was moved from the some very, very expensive care facility to a slightly less expensive one. It was estimated her family spending about a half, a million dollars on her care, as well as hairstyle, Allison, writers and stuff. Like that, they finally had to say we gotta move you my right arm wishing to come from the attempted murder, guess really, allegedly by her Been classified bureau recently passed away correct. Actually it was she who passed away. Ok, she did, and this is actually and a common, I'm not sure how she passed away, but people in comas sometimes pass away from pneumonia or something like that right there, their bodies not functioning very well right. They can second,
things like that, while apologies for not being upon my fine bulow history, pacing here pellets, okay, things move pretty fast in this crazy world war. So back to MRS Wiper, while Missus Van Bulow never woke up MRS or actually did after sixteen years. This is amazing, which is exceedingly rare, while rare than sixteen plus your coma is waking up from sixteen pleasure. Color, basically a she woke up, one day while her. Whenever caregivers was adjusting the sheets on in bed, real Anne, she lifted her head and shouted. Don't do that again, scared, I imagine the daylights out of this woman, oh yeah and, after that she was writing notes to reflect all their mother to say merry Christmas, as happened in December. Ninety ninety nine. She s arm. And within a month she was at a mall shooting deceive. You know how the world a change
so she went to him all. She went through a moloch, actually pretty good place to start right because I mean back when she fell into a coma Reagan. Just started is sick. Turn right right there. They just think about how much the world changed between night. Eighty four and ninety ninety nine right now getting as you woke up just in time to get nervous for White UK yeah, the time of year, while its autumn it never it's kind of in uplifting, stir wicked into right here, and I would be happy probably I would to actually but we're not now. So you want to talk about common. I think so I created from that. So, yes, well, let's chuck. Let me start ok, because I haven't spoken enough so far. I agree. The I'm just gonna kick off with coma. Come from the greek word coma appropriately in right with a K.
The key. That's the big distinction, and that word is to sleep in the greek dialect and is actually pretty misleading, as it is because when you're sleep you can make up and if you're in a coma you're not waking up you dont responder stimuli like a site or motor functions stuff like that yeah, you can sit there and shut all day to come. A patient they're not waken up right; they also don't respect, respond to pain stimuli. True there there's either just basically out right. That's the brain functions it part of it. That's right! Ok! So we should probably talk about the brain to understand a comin. Can I have ever minor understanding of the brain. I major understanding major exactly so, we ve got basically three parts: yes, that that work to make us these talking, monkeys that we are right, you get the three cerebellum in the brain stem and they communicate with one another.
So you're cerebrum. What that your higher brain yeah that's control things like emotion, memory, intelligence, personality reason learn on textiles. What most people think of when they think of the brain are all that good stuff in their right and is the largest part two and then you get Belgium, which is in charge about movement right, also very important and then the most ancient part of the brain Evolution, airily speaking, is the brain stem right. This is like the basic part of the brain. It controls like come breathing blood pressure, right, bow movements, actually yeah body, but only from exactly so You put all these together and you got us intelligent reasoning. Pooping you yeah rapid Skull around it and some skin and you gotta Human, exactly All these things have the kind of communicate right with one another it is certainly the thalamus they sank. Chemicals
ignore to one another that makes your lungs inflating deflate and makes you think this person's making fun of me or thereafter mere something right there. There's all this stuff combined, as you said, makes us this way. If they start talking to one another, you got yourself in instead of consciously exactly and there's quite a few of those yellow. You wanna talk about some of the other altered states. Why others? state of state that a lot of people get confused with coma. It's not exactly the same thing and register they'll say is actually type of coma, but your generally awake
unresponsive, so your eyes can be open, but you're still unresponsive. It is generally confused with with come up because they usually comes after a coma correct. These people, like MRS White Bola, MRS Von Bulow, who were in comas for doesn't veer tens of years were in a vegetative state after x amount of time right. So, if you're in a coma- and you go into a vegetative state you're, probably in a lot of trouble, you probably not going to come out right. You you, some part of your brain stem, responds to similar stimuli, like maybe a sound. So in your eyes, which are no record needs the kind allowing around, but both in the same direction towards the sound, but there's no awareness of it. You're not you're, not using any of your higher bring folks. Sound. Is it's just like a basic response
write your eyes can move a believed that could be like yawning, even Yon Yanukovych doing that kind of thing blinking in the one real hallmark of vegetative state is people in it have sleep cycles. So so you know during their diurnal. Still during the day. They will blank or their eyes lol about their head or there too little turn their their head toward something. And then at night there not doing other sleeping sure, ain't, Como, you're, just used appear to be sleeping exactly so that's one. There is another one that is one of my particular favorite altered states of conscious, stupor that actually Apparently, if you are worked out, your skull on drugs in Europe, stupor you're like one or two steps away from comatose yeah. It's all! the same process is going on. I guess to a slightly different degree right, but it is that's alarming. Had his so watch out, buddy I'm watching out, but I
How do you know any which, when you are going to talk about the useless to say steeper and here the one I like the most locked in syndrome here, can't leave. I just said that dealt with one eye like the most the one you find most fascinating. Thank you. Chuck locked in syndrome is basically where year you can move your higher and, as for you can't move you're totally aware, though your higher brain is functioning exact you are, he locked in your body and base The only thing you can move are your eyes typically right and all that, the girl, John Dominic Bobby from the dome bone, the butterfly right, which is a great movie. We were just talking with Jerry Producer beforehand. We both seen film is really really really great, but you have not because you're too fizzy watching Magnum Pr Quiet,
I have. I know enough about the story when it came out- and I was an Mp Are- they are talked about that like seven days in a row again thrilled get em but the guy, because he can move his eyes and he had a computer software system. Then he he could type with it yeah.
But each he any wrote a book in his end, this locked in state, yes right and he typed every single letter of this book by looking it at the choosing like a cat or rank or from from like a computer screen keyboard. I believe that would happen. That's nuts, hello friends! I want to tell you about love book, the very easy way to personalize a book to someone you love in three easy steps. Love books, helps customers express the sentiments that may be difficult to say out loud for some of us looking in anyone's particular direction, users can create characters that look just like themselves and the recipient right down to the outfits and accessories customers have the option to personalize each page as much as they like, but the express option creates a complete book with just a few clicks. Low book now offers a membership programme as well. You receive a free book when you sign up
two percent off any additional books, unlimited free digital books and discounts on gift, rap and other products, love books of the perfect gift for all occasions, or just because so right now you can check out love books. By going to love book online dotcom, Slash crush, you will receive a special twenty percent discount, that is it love book online come slash crush, they mean. Imagine, then imagine being locked in in knowing exactly what was going on. A very frustrating imagines very much like the Metallica view. One synthetic move right, which was from the thumb, Johnny got his gun and thank you very much out in the film knowledge today. So those are a couple of other altered states of consciousness and kiss your interested. If not, you should invest forwarded to less what men and half the enemy to and we're back to coma again. Okay, so somebody falls into a coma. How does this happen worrisome? The waiting come come with flowers, a bunch of ways
one way is from brain injury, obviously you have severe had trauma. You can get an impact that actually your brain move within your skull, and I now that, if your brain, hit your skull. That's what a concussion is correct, a bully, sir, but the more severe than that can cause, nor a blood vessels and nerve fibres to swell up and that can actually cut off the flow of blood and therefore oxygen to the brain and ass when you're in trouble. You want your school to be stationary at all times, yet it in here you want your brain to be stationary at all times in your skull. Yes, that's just not good when it slaps around in there so you can also become comatose. If you have diabetes, right, diabetes. I'm certain diseases like meningitis can make it happen. Drug overdose can make it happen. Yeah, although I believe you tell me they don't even know exact
how the happens I don't know how it happens. I couldn't find out what leads to it. The way I took it was that there is a it slows, your response it may be, it slows the oxygen to your brain in the flow of oxygen rain or it just relax his muscles that need to be more. I don't know I certainly off the top of my head right. I sense a neurosurgeon, not a male in the near future, to hold ups lives near. I hope, too that we like, I want to ask, Neither there are. There are plenty of ways that you can slip into a coma annexed. You can slip into a coma. You can go through stages of altered, consciousness right and then end up comatose, which is the Grandaddy worst. One of all, although our reluctance, probably worst right but having gradually that's a good point, Lord, what inhabitants for very quickly like round through a major concussion through car accident, or something like that, if you slipped into a diabetic common that would happen gradually, usually right exactly you might get feverish.
Dizzy and lethargic, and then all the son you're in a coma which is frightening, it is the of diabetes, now mean either. I might one day, though I think my father got it later in his life is a genetic. I don't know. I since another letter from me a type linguistically that at this point, would you just started in question. We said we do do like a twenty reader male segment right, creating ourselves. Everytime good idea, So what do you do if you're? In a coma I mean here? In say one thing: real, quick, after researching Comus You know how, when you have a heart attack, your heart actually isn't stopped. It's it's gone out of its rhythmic beat
sure. So, when you are that right, when they, when they hit you with the paddles, what they're doing is actually stopping your hard to give it a chance to restart right with a coma. It seems like the the pattern of of of discussion between the different parts of your brain that make you consciousness. Here they ve it's been interrupted, but we don't know how to zap it back into place exactly it's good ways it. But you know I mean you still have to care for these people exactly You can't say: well, you know you don't really know how to do anything to make, right! There are some ways: drug overdose. If you keep, if you sustained someone's life processes, they can come out after the drug begins aware offer soon, with alcohol poisoning right down, a diabetic coma there can be a real yeah, but one say like from a major brain injury. You may be in big trouble right or stroke sure that I think the first thing has happened,
Doktor has to determine whether or not you actually in a coma. That's the first that yeah. How do they do that? there's a couple of arm but couples else they used to determine your level of alertness, and one is from glasgow- is called the Glasgow Coma scale, those that how it said it there's no accident associated with it. I'm not gonna. Try my scottish exit, there's the Rancho Llosa meagre scale. No, I'm not going to do that either. We can remain respectful in this one basically, the doctors easy to scales in their varying test of our response. With your eyes, verbal responses, motor responses today, Stimuli- and so they do this- to determine the use both of these scales actually to debase. We gave alert, you are and whether or not you are in fact in a coma. So is it like that type loudly next year, ears and command you to sit up or something like that. I would say so. I mean these like. Do your eyes open when some speaks? U yours do
I open when there's pain involved, so there's all kinds, little ways that they can check and either I guess they wanted determine whether you're in a coma or whether you just you know resting your eyes, are playing Possum right has of what come after that right and they, while they assign you score and arrange from three to fifteen right, a thriving, very deep, coma and fifteen being less right now, I'm about fourteen, but yet I so we ve established you're in a coma. It's awful you're three right now writes a year completely debt to the world, but you still alive amazingly right. That would be comatose and unresponsive as the official classification of that deep overcome, okay, so you're in there you're in a car injury. What they're going to do? They're, gonna Trio's, your symptoms problem right So if you re in a car wreck or something you have injuries from that again at you know, control the bleeding kind of fear. They want stabilize everything else, first right without first, but once you want you able, though
you're still in a coma the then you can't care for yourself any longer, so they that's kind of like they're gonna poke around and determine what causes. Maybe they use in E G electro in several aggravate bright or mri. F, MRI rise, basically, MRI for the brain right or us. He scan which computed demography dry. Other, though, usually the basically there look inside and he D actually is basically I'm kind of like cooking into your electrical system and checking out. You know what how the impulses right there they'll diagnose, you know, maybe what caused the calm of that kind of thing so once when she once your stabilize diagnosed in a coma, you know you you ve been given the scale rating you're in for the long haul. Clearly right, you're, stable yeah there they're gonna, basically use machines to care for you like feeding, tubes, right
often times. Somebody in a prolonged, coma and vegetative state build perform a tracheotomy sure, so they don't have to innovate you because, after a while the innovation to buy him as he gets real, you know. Comfortable right. It there actually so much so that you would prefer a holder, the throat right now. Let me as little side when my best friends, Ganem agents, baby in sixth grade his mom started, choking in a restaurant and actually had in emergency tracheotomy with a stick knife and apply or donor. There is a doktor there who did it and he just went holy cows breathing again. That's worst case scenario agency, This little scarves does his empire so those. But while he was crazy, as only person I ever knew, who had an emergency transparency is a lot that was something to see you get on your house or exactly that happens and have it.
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come as another thing that is often done. Is a physical therapy just to keep the muscles moving? They'll, though the nurses will move the patient, Brent, Bedsores NIN, move the muscles flex, the legs to keeping atrophy from setting wreck or, if your room with them- and you can do a really focused- you know, regime right within an eight hour period and you'll be walking again and so on. We need to bring us down a little bit, though we accept yeah I've because researching it it's when you really get a grasping almost the entire. The peculiar nature of them in just the fact that we have no way to bring somebody out of a calmer right, it's kind of heartbreaking, to think that their families out there who will go to the hospital and every day or every week, hoping it yeah and you hope, because there's people like pictures all right who sit up all of a sudden and there you have it. You know somebody come out of a along comments. That's rough true, I've gotta
before he, that mining courage? You a bit I'd, love to hear it from two thousand six from my doctor, Adrian Owen of Cambridge University in Euro scientists and he's trying to determining, consciousness metre for people income as in vegetative state, So what he does is he hooks normal healthy person up to an ever more I machine region out. You understand how that works. Well, it. Basically, it is a useful magnet magnetic imaging to see through the skull and basically is watching the brain is watching the electrical activity in the brain. Ok, so if you know the prefrontal cortex lights up, when you tell somebody to enact the when somebody sees a bunny, you'll know that the prefrontal cortex is involved, taking Tunis in context or something much impressed us so he'll hook up a healthy person and then someone in a calmer vegetative state and ask them to do something. Imagine, playing tennis, I believe, is what use on one woman and he
on that on the brain activity was really similar for both of these people, which led him to believe that There may be a lot more brain activity going on in some of these different states of minds either that pretty much flatly contradicts our understanding of vegetative states. But it also this was one one person. I believe that it was successful man and I'm sure, there's been one study sense, but he himself said that you know we need to keep studying this kind of thing without making a determination, yeah yeah. We need to basically figure out how to bring people are a coma thrive does happen. You can come out of account. No Vitali can't you can bring someone out of a coma, but I think they said that are seven percent, who score three or four on the scale within the first twenty four hours. Our law key to either die or remain in the vegetative states. That's no good and but on the other side, eighty seven percent
were between eleven fifteen are likely to make a good recovery, so it makes sense. I mean if you can shake somebody's hand when they tell you to write your. Make it but apparently says: first, twenty four hours are really telling guy would amend. So that's that's coma. That's my understanding of the great medical mystery. It still remains solve windy, maybe around. Killing shock you wanna do listener, may on the illicit sir mail and I'm starting to separate listener mounted different categories: the cream from the rest of the crop as exactly the men from the boys. Well, like a good life. Women from the girls shut it. So first of all, we decide to change this one part to stuff we should now. This is instead of correction, A lot of times are not an actual correction but some listener, his added that we did not realise and stuff. We should have known stuff. We should
rinkitink, but that in the next came from Brian Smith of California suggested we call it yet. We are actively following our listeners. Command rises. Poyser. We appreciate the yeah the title there we're gonna use, so something we did miss any body, armor episode. We talk about a light, comes a volume just good, but we. EL dimension. One new, very awesome, one called dragon skin armor and apparently these are little small overlapping ceramic, this sort of, the medieval scale, mail and system inversion centrally and is more effective from repeated hits from a bullet so alive. Quite a few people, citizen Michael shifts retired naval officer officer, but retard? U s name. Reno Marino,
or rename Marino from Brooklyn and Devon, Montedison, California, and I'm sure we missed the fewer. Yet we actually got a lot of mail about the dragon skills. I'd say I find it footing and know that were advancing light years now right and I have one more quickly- and this is apropos to our top they have come as John more Queen is a doctor in Massachusetts, John wrote in and said I thought we'd would never happen, but I heard a mistake on stuff. You should know exorcism. Apparently, you said this is not you said that someone with epilepsy eat could throw somebody in an MRI machine and look at the parts of the brain see that someone is epileptic and says it. Actually, you would not see epilepsy in an mri, see are diagnosed with the EU mission, which is why we spoke about cancer. We appreciate that
Yes, thank you. Is it from farming to Framingham from Gardener Mass well exe, Ex oh, oh to Oliver listeners who sent mail in you too, can send mail. You can send it to stuff podcast at how stuff works, dot, com I gotta tell you, there's plenty more information. I e commerce, in the great article on the site, called how comas word just tat Those three little words in your hand, search bar at of course, has to worse a more or less in thousands of other topics is it has to work. Sakharov brought you by the reinvented two thousand twelve Camry. It's ready you may say the seventh daughter again, Reed mines conjure voices from the great I'll do all that, so you shall, from the creator of the control group, comes a new scripted podcast this
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Transcript generated on 2020-01-28.