The Newsroom    Published Monday, Mar. 20, 2006, 2:33 PM
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Drug-induced comas questioned

St. Paul Pioneer Press (Internet / Print) 03/18/06 http://www.twincities.com/mld/twincities/living/14118783.htm To deal with a trauma, or "insult," the brain works harder, sucking in more nutrients and swelling up to accept them. But because it is encased in the skull, there is little room for it to expand. If the pressure is not relieved, the patient probably will die in a matter of days. One way to reduce the pressure is to "turn off the brain" so it does not need as much fuel, said Marc Mayberg, executive director of the Seattle Neuroscience Institute. Some medical experts, however, view the drug-induced coma as an experimental treatment. "We're clear about what is therapy, and we're clear about what counts as research, but experimentation falls in between the two," said Ronald Carson, an ethicist at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. "There are risks involved in doing something, as well as risks involved in doing nothing. We don't know what the person is going to be like at the other end." (This article has continued to appear throughout the United States and abroad.)



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