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Posted June 15. 2017 12:44PM

Dartmouth coma expert on American released by North Korea

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James Bernat, a coma expert at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, noted that in a typical poisoning case, patients who are in a coma generally begin to gain consciousness once the substance has been cleared from their body. But with botulism, the toxin binds where nerves and muscles meet. If the poisoning is severe enough, “it could lead to respiratory muscle paralysis, causing respiratory and cardiac arrest, which could deprive the brain of oxygen,” he said.