Scientists Reverse Brain Damage In Toddler Who Drowned

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For the first time in history, scientists have reversed brain damage in a 2-year-old toddler who had fallen into her family's swimming pool.

For the first time in history, scientists in the United States claim to have reversed brain damage that occurred in a toddler who drowned in a swimming pool last year, Newsweek reported. 

In February 2016, 2-year-old Eden Carlson had escaped through her baby gate and fell into her family's swimming pool. She was submerged in 5-degree Celsius (41-degree Fahrenheit) water for 15 minutes before her family found her. According to a YouTube video chronicling her journey, she "technically died for nearly two hours."

At the hospital, she remained unresponsive, however constantly squirming. MRI scans showed severe damage to her brain's gray matter, and that she had lost white matter as well.

Researchers at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and The University of North Dakota School of Medicine used normobaric oxygen therapy, which sends oxygen at sea level, and hyperbaric oxygen, which sends pure oxygen at a pressure higher than the atmosphere's. These two types of treatment, plus Carlson having a young and developing brain, attributed to her successful recovery.

Through her nasal cannula, Carlson was given two 45 minute-long normobaric oxygen treatments per day, starting 55 days after her accident. At the 78th day mark, she began HBOT therapy sessions that were 45 minutes long for about five days a week. For this treatment, she "dove" in a chamber, a statement by LSU Health New Orleans School for Medicine said.

By session 10, she was almost back to normal, just missing her motor function. By her 39th session, she could walk and talk again, just like her pre-accident days. At the 40th HBOT session, an MRI scan showed the brain damage to be almost completely reversed. 

For researchers, Carlson has been a scientific achievement. But for her family, we're sure it means much more.

Thumbnail/banner image credit: Flickr user oatsy40

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