Harvard Medicine

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Trauma Care

 Photo credit: iStockphoto.comThe influenza medication amantadine hydrochloride may speed the pace of functional recovery for patients with post-traumatic disorders of consciousness. The finding, reported by HMS researchers at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in the March 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, comes out of a multinational study aimed at improving the treatment of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states. The researchers found that a four-week regimen of amantadine administered within four months of traumatic brain injury prompted these patients to recover at significantly faster rates than patients administered a placebo.

Study leader Joseph Giacino, an HMS associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and director of rehabilitation neuropsychology at Spaulding, says the results “engender optimism for a medical condition that is often viewed as untreatable.”


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