The use of monkeys to investigate malaria led to the suggestion that coma in human patients is due to an increased amount of protein in the cerebro-spinal fluid, and that this leakage could be corrected with steroids.(1) But in people, steroids do not help with coma. On the contrary, they actually prove harmful.(2) Among survivors, for instance. coma is prolonged by 16 hours, while complications such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, convulsions and gastrointestinal tract bleeding, developed more frequently in patients receiving steroids. Subsequent clinical observations of malaria victims have shown that "the monkey model may simply not be relevant."(1)
1) Lancet, 1987, May 2. 1016.
2) D.A.Warrell et al, New England Journal of Medicine, 1982, February 11, 313-319
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