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SCI/TECH: Brain-Damaged Woman Talks After 20 Years

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posted on Feb, 12 2005 @ 11:57 PM
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Sarah Scantlin, 38, who was hit by a drunken driver in 1984 and who has not spoken since that time because of brain damage, began speaking last month. She and her doctors waited until they were certain she would not relapse before they alerted family members. She wanted to wait until Valentine's Day, but she couldn't wait and today a nurse called her parents and Sarah spoke to her mother for the first time in over twenty years. When her mother asked if she needed anything, she replied, "More make-up." The man who hit her served six months in jail.
 



abcnews

For 20 years, Sarah Scantlin has been mostly oblivious to the world around her _ the victim of a drunken driver who struck her down as she walked to her car. Today, after a remarkable recovery, she can talk again.

Scantlin's father knows she will never fully recover, but her newfound ability to speak and her returning memories have given him his daughter back. For years, she could only blink her eyes _ one blink for "no," two blinks for "yes" _ to respond to questions that no one knew for sure she understood.

"I am astonished how primal communication is. It is a key element of humanity," Jim Scantlin said, blinking back tears.

Sarah Scantlin was an 18-year-old college freshman on Sept. 22, 1984, when she was hit by a drunk driver as she walked to her car after celebrating with friends at a teen club. That week, she had been hired at an upscale clothing store and won a spot on the drill team at Hutchinson Community College.




Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


I can hardly type after reading this story, I'm so emotional. It is staggering to think that this individual has been entrapped in her body all these years without a means to express herself, except to blink her eyes, yes or no. I have been struck by two vehicles in my life and while the injuries were serious in both cases and life threatening in the first case, I am so lucky to have all (well most, some may argue) of my faculties. It is always so good to hear stories like this and perhaps, we should reconsider how we deal with cases like Terri Schiavo.

Related News Links:
wireservice.wired.com
www.cbsnews.com


[edit on 05/2/13 by GradyPhilpott]




posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 12:47 AM
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A moving story - and an interesting illustration that the brain regenerates. Tells me that we should never give up on people, even when they seem past hope.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 01:07 AM
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If we never agree on anything else, soficrow, we agree on that. I work with people who have learning difficulties. We avoid the term disability, because we are convinced that these people were never learning enabled and that's what they need. I have worked with other individuals who have been labeled as unable to learn who have had astounding results, but I have one student who has been trapped in a world of labels and rejection because her ability to express herself and to relate to the world around her is so impaired.

I can't discuss the details, but she is now, after some six months of therapy, performing cognitive tasks that make most people look, well, impaired. She is a completely different person from the angry, frustrated child I started working with. We throw away so many lives because those individuals don't fit our models of wellness, when these people have so much to offer and are so willing to contribute.

When I attended the first treatment team meeting for this child, the other therapists were practically laughing at me because I didn't seem to understand that our client was mentally retarded, but when I asked them to witness one of our training sessions and they saw what this hopeless child could do that they could not, they were virtually manic in their response.

I choose to believe in the human potential.

[edit on 05/2/13 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 01:24 AM
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This is a moving story, GradyPhilpott -
thanks for sharing this with us. If you imagine what the feeling must be like to speak after all those years, wow-
and for all those years to able to do nothing but acknowledge by blinking.
Give thanks for each day that we have, and are able to share with our loved ones.
I wonder what her recollections of all the years that have passed are. And how much of her speech she will able to recover.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 01:32 AM
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According to the article, she has kept up with the world by means of the television in her room which apparently has been on a broadcast station, because it says that her information came from soap operas and the news.

Her brother asked her if she knew what a CD is and she did, also knowing that it is a music medium. Her perception of time is impaired as she guessed that her age was twenty-two. A nurse stated that she thinks it's still the eighties.

I really hope she has the opportunity to improve her mind and earn an education, despite her physical impairments. She could be a wonderful inspiration to those who suffer debilitating injuries.

[edit on 05/2/13 by GradyPhilpott]



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 01:47 AM
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The end of the article is also intriguing, when she talked to her mother at home.
From the link GradyPhilpott provided-

"Hi, Mom."

"Sarah, is that you?" her mother asked.

Her mother must have been overwhelmed with emotion. Like you, I am also getting that feeling while I read this.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 09:57 AM
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Originally posted by GradyPhilpott
If we never agree on anything else, soficrow, we agree on that.

I choose to believe in the human potential.




Me too, et moi, ditto.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 10:04 AM
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After all that time the girl still wants to look good!

She knows she's still got it goin on... Good for her!

I love happy endings.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 10:05 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
A moving story - and an interesting illustration that the brain regenerates. Tells me that we should never give up on people, even when they seem past hope.



If the brain can regenerate, wouldn't stem cells be beneficial to older people who have degenerative brains??

Maybe one day none of us will die... or at least not for a long time if we can use stemmies to help our life spans.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 10:58 AM
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Originally posted by TrueLies

Originally posted by soficrow
A moving story - and an interesting illustration that the brain regenerates. Tells me that we should never give up on people, even when they seem past hope.



If the brain can regenerate, wouldn't stem cells be beneficial to older people who have degenerative brains??

.



Already happening - for those who can afford the exclusive private clinics.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 11:00 AM
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Originally posted by soficrow
Already happening - for those who can afford the exclusive private clinics.



Could people be brought back from the dead? That is, if they died of a brain malfunction? Obviously they would still have to be fresh out of the morgue...

omg! walking zombies.. weird.



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 12:31 PM
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Thanks Grady, this is a really good story.............For those who are interested in a bit of background......




Originally posted by SubVolitionalI have found that adult neurogenesis, the formation of new cells in a mature organism, which has been theorized as impossible for neurons,brain cells, etc. has actually been found to occur in the hippocampus, the part of the brain where short-term memory is processed into long-term, as well as a part of the brain involved with olfactory assimilation, which is thought to have the strongest ties to memory(the sense of smell). the link for this page is

jneurosci


Also, I found a really good link that might explain how memories from earlier years remain so vivid - that is that receptors on the end of dendrites; a type of neuron that recieves and reacts to sensory stimulation as opposed to an axon which sends/relays sensory info; multipy with increased interacton with a singular axon. This means, roughly, that the more times a specific situation/encounter/or association thereof occurs the more receptors a dendrite will have formed to respond and encounter the info - kind of also explaining in biological terms the axiom "Practice makes Perfect". The Link probably explains this better
Under Long-Term Potentiation


At any rate, as memory is a continous assimilation throughout the life of an organism, so is the formation of new neurons in corralated parts of the brain to represent the new experiences, regardless of cellular death(still attemting to clarify the importance of Brain Cell Death as important to memory - obvious implications but varied reports on the cause/effect as relating to the different functions of the brain. ) But this could go under another thread....


Reprinted from Ignorance Denied
MemoryShock is SubVolitional


This women, I think, has demonstrated a real world application of neurogenisis; though I am wondering on the length of time for recovery, maybe todays scientists don't consider a variety of factors regarding the three-dimensional growth of neruonal networks and the amount of time/density involved.............good for her for not giving up.........I hope the doctors are kind and let her work on picking up the pieces..........reminds me of Awakenings with Robert Deniro....tore me up.......



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 12:49 PM
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Originally posted by MemoryShock


At any rate, as memory is a continous assimilation throughout the life of an organism, so is the formation of new neurons in corralated parts of the brain to represent the new experiences, regardless of cellular death(still attemting to clarify the importance of Brain Cell Death as important to memory - obvious implications but varied reports on the cause/effect as relating to the different functions of the brain. ) But this could go under another thread....





Forgive me - just another quick aside. IMO - the goals and methods of ancient mysticism and ie., alchemy were very much concerned with this exact process. Turning lead into gold is about learning and growing - and denying ignorance - and originally although perhaps not with full awareness of the physical processes, was designed to "open windows of opportunity" and promote the physical growth of the brain...



posted on Feb, 13 2005 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by soficrow


Forgive me - just another quick aside. IMO - the goals and methods of ancient mysticism and ie., alchemy were very much concerned with this exact process. Turning lead into gold is about learning and growing - and denying ignorance - and originally although perhaps not with full awareness of the physical processes, was designed to "open windows of opportunity" and promote the physical growth of the brain...


I'm sorry to say I can't find a corrolation for this...........without knowing anything regarding the ancient mysticisms I could only guess that you're referring to ritual as stimulation for brain growth. IMO, that would accomplish the opposite effect as the repetition of ritual doesn't offer anything that the brain hasn't already translated into a biological representation..........I honestly can't see why here sofi, could you clarify further?



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