Key points from article :
Ultrasound to "jump start" a patient out of a coma.
Coffee cup saucer-sized device delivers low-intensity pulses to the thalamus.
Thalamus acts as the brain's central processing hub and is weakened in coma patients.
After receiving the treatment, a 25-year-old coma patient was now fully awake.
A 56-year-old man in a minimally conscious state was able to raise a bottle to his mouth, use a pen and paper, and verbally communicate.
A 50-year-old woman in a less conscious state was able to recognize objects such as a comb and a pencil.
Ultrasound device was placed on the side of patient's head, activating 10 times for 30 seconds each within a 10-minute period.
Treatment is safe and produces no unwanted side effects.
"...both exhibited meaningful responses within just a few days of the intervention," Martin Monti, co-author of the study.
A portable version could be routinely used in hospitals or even in patients' homes.
Research by UCLA published in the journal Brain Stimulation.