NOV 22, 2017 2:23 PM PST

So you're in a coma...


Though the science behind comas is greatly disputed, there are some things we know for certain. The word coma comes from the Greek term for a state of sleep and refers to when your body is impaired from conscious action. When a person is in a coma, they are alive and can sometimes even breathe on their own, but will not be able to respond to stimuli like light, sound, or touch. While the brain of a comatose person is active at a base level, you certainly aren't doing much thinking when you're in a coma.

A coma usually is caused when blood flow and therefore oxygen is cut off from the brain, but keep in mind that every coma is different and impacts each patient uniquely. Following the Glasgow Coma Scale, which assigns a ranking from 3-15, the lower your scale, the worse off you are. On average, comas last from 2-4 weeks, but it is generally true that the longer a person is comatose, the less of a chance of surviving he or she has. Unfortunately, there is no cure to waken a patient from a coma.

There's a lot of debate about the brain activity of comatose patients and what is or is not going on in people's brains when they are in a coma. To learn more about some of the studies that have been done on this topic, watch the video!
About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
DEC 17, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 17, 2019
Want a Cozy Fireplace on Your Screen? How About This One with Chemistry Trivia?
Have you ever wondered: underneath the evident smoky smell, what makes up other subtle aromas of a burning fire log?  A diverse group of aromatic (in...
JAN 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
JAN 05, 2020
It's Finally the Year of the Mars 2020 Mission
It’s officially 2020, and with that in mind, anyone paying attention to NASA’s launch schedule should know already that the Mars 2020 rover is...
JAN 16, 2020
Health & Medicine
JAN 16, 2020
Babies in Africa Receive World's First Malaria Vaccine
Would you accept a vaccine that was only 40% effective? For those at risk of malaria, the answer is likely a resounding, "yes!" According to the...
JAN 28, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 28, 2020
A Slug Does All it Can to Defend Against Hungry Ants
Slugs are slow, and this makes them easy targets for predators however big or small they might be. Here, we see that a slug has been spotted by a hungry co...
FEB 02, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 02, 2020
Everything You Need to Know About Solar Orbiter
The Sun is something you see every day when you look up at the daytime sky, but despite residing right in plain sight, there’s still so much about th...
FEB 16, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 16, 2020
Drone Footage Shows a Hungry Blue Whale Lunging At Krill
Blue whales are the largest living mammals on Earth, capable of growing as long as three full-length school busses. As you might come to expect, large anim...
Loading Comments...