For patients with brain injuries, doctors have always stressed rest, rest, and more rest. However, the results of a new study led by a dedicated nurse in the Cleveland Clinic’s Neurointensive Care Unit may contradict traditional thinking in this area.

While getting up and being active after any other injury is strongly encouraged, those suffering from brain injuries have been commonly confined to their beds. Nurse Kate Klein found this peculiar, and so she decided to design a study of her own to find out if rest really was the best medicine for her patients. Klein found that her brain injury patients that got up and moved early and often after their injuries had shorter stays in the ICU and the hospital. Her research helped to make lasting changes in the Neurointensive Care Unit at the Cleveland Clinic. Ceiling mounted lifts were installed at each bedside in the unit, which help nurses with moving patients who are unable to sit, stand, or walk on their own.

The science behind this discovery is not completely known, but scientists believe that it has to do with how neural synapses change and adapt. Research done with animals has shown that their brains have heightened neuroplasticity (which is the ability of the brain to reorganize and form new neural connections) immediately after a brain injury. With this in mind, researchers believe that by having patients get up and out of bed, making them more alert, and exposing them to familiar situations, they can help jumpstart the recovery process. However, there’s still much more to be learned about the brain and how to best treat injuries.

You can check out the full story, covered by NPR, online. And for more information about of Virginia brain injury lawyers, check out our website.

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