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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

In the Hot Seat: The Comatose Brought To Life

In the Hot Seat: The Comatose Brought To Life

Hollywood has given us plenty of stories about people who wind up in a coma. In some cases, they never wake up. In others, they go through a series of odd dreams and revelations in their minds before they miraculously rejoin the waking world.

A few of these stories seem realistic, but often these episodes are highly dramatised tools for storytelling. Here at Lifehack, we wondered what it would actually be like to wake up from a coma. Do patients hear or experience anything in their unconscious state? Do they gain some greater knowledge about the universe while they are in a coma.

To help us answer this question, we’ve got Jeff in the hot seat. He spent some time in a comatose state and lived to tell the tale.

Life changes in the blink of an eye

Lifehack: How did you end up in a coma?

Jeff: I got into a serious car wreck. When we impacted the car in front of us, my head slammed into the dashboard.

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Lifehack: How long were you unconscious?

Jeff: I was out for 8 weeks before I remember anything. Even after I started to wake up, it was several weeks before I was able to sit up, stay awake for long periods of time, and walk. I spent months going through rehab after I woke up.

Lifehack: What have you learned from the experience?

Jeff: Your life can change in the blink of an eye. One minute, you’re heading out to see your friends and having the time of your life. The next thing you know, all those little things that you take for granted are taken from you. There’s no guarantee that you’ll get them back.

I’m one of the lucky ones. The doctors were pretty sure that I was going to be in a vegetative state. They had discussions with my family about “pulling the plug.”

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Lifehack: How did your family handle the situation?

Jeff: My family didn’t want to hear that I might not pull through. My mom, dad, and sisters took shifts sitting by my bedside in the hospital. At first, they weren’t really allowed to say or do much because in order for my brain to heal, I had to be in a low-stimulus environment.

My little sisters were there when I had my first flash of consciousness. They have helped me with my rehabilitation. There’s no way I could have recovered without them.

Lifehack: What did you experience while in a coma?

Jeff: I didn’t understand the passage of time at all while I was unconscious. I do remember being in a white room. It was totally empty except for the chair I was sitting in. I don’t remember what I did there, but it was like I expected something to happen.

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Lifehack: How did you feel after waking up?

Jeff: Terrified. When I woke up I had no idea what was happening to me, where I was, how long I had been out, or why my sisters were crying. The fear didn’t last long though because they kept me pretty doped up on medication for the first couple days of being awake.

After that, I remember feeling lots of confusion and frustration. I was not able to speak because there was a tube down my throat. I couldn’t move my limbs at first. When they finally sat me up for the first time, I was so nauseous that they had to lay me back down. I realized I was going to have to relearn how to do a lot of things.

Lifehack: Did you experience any memory loss or revelations?

Jeff: I don’t remember the three weeks before the accident at all. I didn’t even remember why I was in the car until someone else told me.

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I also did some things while I was waking up. At one point, I started asking for my wallet because I wanted to give my mom some money. I have no idea why I felt like I needed to pay her, and I don’t recall the incident. We can laugh about it now.

As for revelations, I didn’t figure out the meaning of life or anything. There was just a white room.

Lifehack: What are you thankful for from this experience?

Jeff: I’m so grateful that I was given a second chance at life. If I hadn’t had such excellent medical care and the love of my family, I wouldn’t be here today. Every day you can be awake and a part of the world is a beautiful day.

Seeing the world through new eyes

Jeff’s experience changed the way he looks at life. Hearing him speak about his experience with coming out of a comatose state was a good reminder to appreciate everything we have.

Featured photo credit: Peter Heeling via skitterphoto.com

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12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

12 Best Brain Foods that Improve Memory

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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