A Physician’s Journey into the Minds of Coma Patients

June 26, 2024
Dr. Jan Claassen

Jan Claassen, MD, FNCS

Jan Claassen, MD, FNCS, professor of neurology, chief of the Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology, and medical director of the Neurological Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center (NYP/CUIMC) spoke with Columbia Magazine's David J. Craig about his medical career, including his extensive body of research on disorders of consciousness. The article shares the story of one of Dr. Claassen’s former patients, Nick LaRock, who was in a coma for a week after suffering a severe brain hemorrhage. At the time, Dr. Claassen was conducting a unique clinical trial at NYP/CUIMC. With permission from LaRock's parents, Dr. Claassen conducted a series of sophisticated tests on LaRock to reassess his brain function. Using artificial intelligence, the tests were able to detect what no neurologist could: LaRock's presence! This enabled Dr. Claassen to tailor LaRock's treatment accordingly, and LaRock was able to regain consciousness. “Considering the severity of his original injury and the length of his coma, it’s tremendous. Quite unexpected,” explains Dr. Claassen.  [read more]

Source: Columbia Magazine