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September 8, 1975

Medical News

JAMA. 1975;233(10):1035-1044. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260100005001

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Monitoring proves useful in work on new ways to treat head injuries  Physicians at an innovative intensive care unit for head-injured patients at the Hospital of University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia are seeking answers to some important questions about head trauma:

  • Is unconsciousness due to a physical effect on nerve cells, or to brain swelling, or blood clots?

  • Should brain swellings be treated surgically?

  • Is the major portion of brain damage caused at the moment of impact, or later, due to the secondary effects of swelling or some other process?

The four-bed special unit is a collaborative effort of neurosurgeons, anesthesiologists, and electrical engineers. It is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and is one of only a few such units in the country. Derek Bruce, MD, Thomas W. Langfitt, MD, and Harvey Shapiro, MD, are co-directors of the unit.Dr Bruce explained that the