Improving Research into Coma Care: Wendy Ziai, MD, MPH

April 12, 2021
Wendy Ziai, MD, MPH

Professor of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University; and member, Curing Coma Campaign Scientific Steering Committee, Neurocritical Care Society

The professor of neurology at Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the Curing Coma Campaign’s Scientific Steering Committee spoke to the current limitations of clinical trials in coma.

“We need to develop better therapeutic agents, we need to understand the biologic mechanisms underlying coma, and we need to advance some of the other therapeutic approaches which are still in the infancy of their development.”

March 22 was the first World Coma Day, an initiative put on by the Neurocritical Care Society (NCS) as part of its ongoing Curing Coma Campaign in an attempt to raise awareness about the current clinical care that is able to be provided to individuals who experience coma. Currently, the list of therapies for these patients is limited, with amantadine serving as the only guideline-recommended treatment in specific instances.

To find out more about the state of care for coma and the research that is ongoing into how to improve that care and develop therapies, NeurologyLive spoke with Wendy Ziai, MD, MPH, professor of neurology, Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the Curing Coma Campaign’s Scientific Steering Committee. She noted that there is a standing need to advance the current pipeline of therapies being developed for coma.

Ziai also discussed the components of consciousness and the roles they play, as well as the use of neurorehabilitation and how some of the ongoing research into neuromodulation and how it may help supplement that approach. She also noted that despite the ground that has been gained in research, the lack of a larger leap forward has heightened the need for progress.