Experts also said that, despite her remarkable progress so far, Giffords may have suffered some permanent damage, but it's not yet clear how extensive that damage might be.
Dr. David Langer, director of cerebrovascular research at the Cushing Neuroscience Institutes, part of North Shore/Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Great Neck, N.Y., said: "She's probably going to survive in all likelihood, but months or even a year from now we may not know what her ultimate prognosis will be."
"She'll likely have a deficit in the near term, but we don't know if she'll end up in a wheelchair like James Brady [President Ronald Reagan's press secretary who was injured by a bullet during a 1981 assassination attempt on the president] or a functioning Congresswoman. We can't know," added Langer, who was not involved with Giffords' care.
Giffords was gravely injured, 13 others were wounded, and six people, including a 9-year-old girl, were killed in a shooting spree in front of a Safeway supermarket on Saturday in Tucson, where Giffords was meetings constituents. Jared Loughner, 22, faces multiple murder and attempted murder charges in the shootings. Giffords, a Democrat, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006.
The fact that Giffords is alive is a bit of a miracle.
According to Langer, 90 percent of people with gunshot wounds to the head die.
The U.S. National Institutes of Health has more on traumatic brain injury.
SOURCES: David Langer, M.D., director, cerebrovascular research, Cushing Institutes of Neuroscience, North Shore/Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Great Neck, N.Y.; The New York Times; Wall Street Journal; CBS News; USA Today; Associated Press
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