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Can a mother's voice spur recovery from a coma?
Date:5/10/2010

is linked to improvement in the subject's functioning.

When Schroeder enrolled her son in the trial in late February 2009, about a month after his accident, he could not follow commands or make purposeful movements. His eyes were open, but he did not seem to be aware of his environment. At the time, a doctor had told Schroeder to make arrangements to place her son in a nursing home.

But after three weeks in the trial, Schroeder began to notice changes in her son. First, she said, Ryan began to notice the lights outside the window of his room in the Northwestern University Clinical Research Unit on the 10th floor of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the location where he received the voice therapy.

"I could tell he was starting to come around," Schroeder said. "Before, he would lay in the bed and a herd of cattle could walk through and he would not be aware that they were there. Now, little by little he would start to respond."

Then, he began to slowly follow a command to push a ball out of his hand. A little more than a year later, Ryan now texts his friends, brushes his teeth and walks with a walker or a four-prong cane. He is practicing walking without a device. While he struggles with poor balance, he recently started eye therapy, which may or may not help his balance. A palate lift several months ago greatly improved his speech, according to Schroeder. Ryan continues with physical, occupational and speech therapies at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in Wheeling.

"Given the extent of his injuries, Ryan has recovered well," Pape said. "But I can't draw any conclusions yet. We have to wait until we have all the study data."

In the meantime, Ryan helps at his family's asphalt paving business where he enters data into the computer. He doesn't remember his accident or hearing the tapes of his family. "He continues to make progress. It is truly a remarkable recovery," said Karen Schroeder. "The good Lord keeps
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Contact: Marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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