This is a great story at ScienceDaily about a neurosurgeon, Dr. Jason Huang, who is trying new things on soldiers serving in Iraq who sustain powerful blast injuries to the brain. Here's a sample:
"Most of the soldiers still face a long rehabilitation process, including intensive physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, at Walter Reed Medical Center," said Huang. "But the fact that they survived the most devastating head injury, considered unsalvageable by most civilian physicians, is in itself a miracle."
One key was aggressive therapy, such as large craniectomies performed immediately.
"Sometimes, aggressive therapies can be critical for patients who, previously, might have been assumed to have very poor outcomes," said Huang. "The lesson is that the GCS score is not entirely predictive of outcome. There is hope for these patients.
"In Iraq, we have a young, very healthy population of U.S. soldiers who have an exceptionally strong will to survive, along with a well-structured support network for rehabilitation back in the United States. In addition, in Iraq, no soldier is more than two hours away from treatment by a neurosurgeon, and speed is essential."
Dr. Huang's story is interesting too. He's a native of Shanghai who took part in and was arrested after the Tianamen riots in 1989. Then he came to the States, where he is now a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester.