The Brain Damage of a Drowned Toddler Was Reversed Through This Surprising Therapy
She went from a child who could only squirm to one who could walk and talk again.
Back in February of this year, precocious two-year-old Eden Carlson managed to sneak past a series of gates and doors and made it into her own backyard, all while her mother was showering, completely unawares. Then things took a drastic turn. Somehow the little girl slipped and fell into the swimming pool, where she remained submerged for 15 minutes. Her mother and later a responding CMS team, gave her CPR, but to no avail. The child wouldn’t have a heartbeat again until two hours later, when she was revived at the Washington Regional Medical Centre in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
It’s a miracle that doctors were able bring her back. The toddler was discharged after 48 days in critical care. But she suffered significant brain damage. An MRI revealed injury to the deep gray matter and cerebral atrophy, which is where gray and white matter are lost. The effects on her behavior were clear and visible. She wasn’t alert or aware anymore. Little Eden could no longer walk, speak, or even move, as she had. The only physical responses she gave was moving her head or squirming.
Dr. Paul Harch was asked to consult on the case. He soon decided to intervene. Harch is the Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at the LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. He teamed up with Dr. Edward Fogarty, of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, for this case. The doctors decided to employ hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This is when a patient lies on a table, which is slid into a plastic tube.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used to treat a varying set of conditions. Getty Images.
The patient is sealed inside then ensconced in oxygen-rich air, generally at two to three times the air pressure of a normal room. The pressurized environment helps the patient absorb more oxygen than they otherwise would. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is commonly known to treat decompression sickness, known as “the bends” among divers.
This is when too much nitrogen enters the bloodstream too quickly. It can also occur to those who travel to outer space or at high altitudes. For astronauts, high altitude pilots, or deep sea divers, the treatment may not take place inside a tube but rather in an entire room.
Other conditions which may be treated through HBOT include: a brain abscess, severe anemia, carbon monoxide poisoning, radiation injuries, and more. In Eden’s case, the doctors employed normobaric oxygen, or oxygen at the pressure found at sea level.
An oxygen rich environment can help activate certain genes which in turn, lower inflammation inside the brain and aid cell survival. The therapy also stimulates growth hormones which in turn, spark regrowth and regeneration.
Dr. Harch began administering hyperbaric oxygen therapy 55 days after the accident occurred. The child underwent each treatment for 45 minutes, twice daily. The idea was to prevent permanent tissue damage from solidifying inside her brain. Over the course of treatment, they saw dramatic changes take place in Eden.
The child stopped squirming, and became ever more alert and aware. She could soon speak a few words again, grip with her left hand, track people with her eyes, and even partially feed herself.
Those who experience high pressure environments often decompress in a hyperbaric chamber. Getty Images.
The next leg of treatment took place in New Orleans. The child underwent another 40 sessions of HBOT. Researchers noted that after each treatment, Eden showed visible signs of improvement. In fact, the child’s mother said she appeared “near normal” after the 10th session. After the 39th, her speech level was above where it was before the incident. Her cognition also registered normal, and her motor function nearly so.
Eden underwent an MRI after 27 days of treatment. The cortical and white matter atrophy had nearly reversed completely. The results of this remarkable case study were published in the journal Medical Gas Research.
According to Dr. Harch, “The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration.” What’s more, “Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning.”
To see her story for yourself, click here:
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Political division is nothing new. Throughout American history there have been numerous flare ups in which the political arena was more than just tense but incideniary. In a letter addressed to William Hamilton in 1800, Thomas Jefferson once lamented about how an emotional fervor had swept over the populace in regards to a certain political issue at the time. It disturbed him greatly to see how these political issues seemed to seep into every area of life and even affect people's interpersonal relationships. At one point in the letter he states:
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."
Today, we Americans find ourselves in a similar situation, with our political environment even more splintered due to a number of factors. The advent of mass digital media, siloed identity-driven political groups, and a societal lack of understanding of basic discursive fundamentals all contribute to the problem.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In a 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey by Cato, it was found that 71% of Americans believe that political correctness had silenced important discussions necessary to our society. Many have pointed to draconian university policies regarding political correctness as a contributing factor to this phenomenon.
It's a great irony that, colleges, once true bastions of free-speech, counterculture and progressiveness, have now devolved into reactionary tribal politics.
Many years ago, one could count on the fact that universities would be the first places where you could espouse and debate any controversial idea without consequence. The decline of staple subjects that deal with the wisdom of the ancients, historical reference points, and civic discourse could be to blame for this exaggerated partisanship boiling on campuses.
Young people seeking an education are given a disservice when fed biased ideology, even if such ideology is presented with the best of intentions. Politics are but one small sliver for society and the human condition at large. Universities would do well to instead teach the principles of healthy discourse and engagement across the ideological spectrum.
The fundamentals of logic, debate and the rich artistic heritage of western civilization need to be the central focus of an education. They help to create a well-rounded citizen that can deal with controversial political issues.
It has been found that in the abstract, college students generally support and endorse the first amendment, but there's a catch when it comes to actually practicing it. This was explored in a Gallup survey titled: Free Expression on Campus: What college students think about First amendment issues.
In their findings the authors state:
"The vast majority say free speech is important to democracy and favor an open learning environment that promotes the airing of a wide variety of ideas. However, the actions of some students in recent years — from milder actions such as claiming to be threatened by messages written in chalk promoting Trump's candidacy to the most extreme acts of engaging in violence
to stop attempted speeches — raise issues of just how committed college students are to
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Most college students do not condone more aggressive actions to squelch speech, like
violence and shouting down speakers, although there are some who do. However, students
do support many policies or actions that place limits on speech, including free speech zones,
speech codes and campus prohibitions on hate speech, suggesting that their commitment
to free speech has limits. As one example, barely a majority think handing out literature on
controversial issues is "always acceptable."
With this in mind, the problems seen on college campuses are also being seen on a whole through other pockets of society and regular everyday civic discourse. Look no further than the dreaded and cliche prospect of political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
As a result of this increased tribalization of views, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to engage in polite conversation with people possessing opposing viewpoints. The authors of a recent Hidden Tribes study broke down the political "tribes" in which many find themselves in:
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
Understanding these different viewpoints and the hidden tribes we may belong to will be essential in having conversations with those we disagree with. This might just come to a head when it's Thanksgiving and you have a mix of many different personalities, ages, and viewpoints.
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
You'll find that depending on what group you identify with, that nearly 100 percent of the time you'll believe in the same way the rest of your group constituents do.
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people's preferred gender pronouns.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Understanding the fact that tribal membership indicates what you believe, can help you return to the fundamentals for proper political engagement
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Avoid logical fallacies. Essentially at the core, a logical fallacy is anything that detracts from the debate and seeks to attack the person rather than the idea and stray from the topic at hand.
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
- Have the idea that there is nothing out of bounds for inquiry or conversation once you get down to an even stronger or new perspective of whatever you were discussing.
- Keep in mind the maxim of : Do not listen with the intent to reply. But with the intent to understand.
- We're not trying to proselytize nor shout others down with our rhetoric, but come to understand one another again.
- If we're tied too closely to some in-group we no longer become an individual but a clone of someone else's ideology.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
Debate and civic discourse is inherently messy. Add into the mix an ignorance of history, rabid politicization and debased political discourse, you can see that it will be very difficult in mending this discursive staple of a functional civilization.
There is still hope that this great divide can be mended, because it has to be. The Hidden Tribes authors at one point state:
"In the era of social media and partisan news outlets, America's differences have become
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
We need to start teaching people how to approach subjects from less of an emotional or baseless educational bias or identity, especially in the event that the subject matter could be construed to be controversial or uncomfortable.
This will be the beginning of a new era of understanding, inclusion and the defeat of regressive philosophies that threaten the core of our nation and civilization.
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