(Houston Chronicle) – As a physician-scientist, I have stood at the bedside of a man as an electrical current was passed through central structures of his severely injured brain and heard him utter words for the first time in more than six years.
Though it was more than a decade ago, I remember my thoughts vividly. In that moment, I knew with great certainty that the brain’s plasticity – its ability to heal and change – could be harnessed for far greater recovery after a major trauma than we had ever imagined.
Since then, multiple studies have shown the brain’s ability to change even after severe injury. In some cases, late improvement has come with physical therapy; in others, simply with the passage of time. It has been surprising and illuminating to see the continuing advance of the science of recovery after brain injury.
And yet, the pace at which these discoveries have translated into even basic applications in patient care has been haltingly slow. CONTINUED