Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Contact: Angela L. Yu
Media Relations Manager
(518) 271-5045


SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital recently participated in a multi-national clinical trial which revealed a significant breakthrough involving the use of the drug amantadine hydrocholoride (AH) in the treatment of patients in vegetative and minimally conscious states. The study, published in the March issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that amantadine hydrochloride accelerated the rate of functional recovery during active treatment of patients with post-traumatic disorders of consciousness.

Funded by a five-year, $3 million grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the study involved 184 patients at 11 clinical trial sites in three countries. Sunnyview in Schenectady was the only rehabilitation center selected to participate in New York State. Paul Novak, MS, OTR, director of the Neuro-Rehab Institute at Sunnyview, served as one of the contributors to the study.

The patients in the study were receiving inpatient rehabilitation and were in a vegetative or minimally conscious state between four and 16 weeks after traumatic brain injury (TBI). During the four-week treatment period, recovery was significantly faster among patients administered amantadine than those in the placebo group.

Amantadine hydrocholoride is a medication that facilitates the transmission of dopamine to the brain. The breakthrough findings pave the way for additional studies of the drug and add to the growing evidence that patients with disorders of consciousness have rehabilitation potential. Previously, patients with that medical condition were often viewed as untreatable. Approximately 275,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized each year as a result of TBI. More than 300,000 Americans are reportedly living with a disorder of consciousness.

The JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison, New Jersey and Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute in Philadelphia served as the lead centers for the international study. Other U.S. facilities that participated were in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Mississippi and Texas; along with overseas facilities in Germany and Denmark.

Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital is a member of Northeast Health, a regional, comprehensive, not-for-profit network of health care, supportive housing and community services also comprised of The Eddy, Albany Memorial Hospital and Samaritan Hospital. Northeast Health has joined Seton Health, a comprehensive, not-for-profit, integrated health care system anchored by St. Mary's Hospital in Troy, and St. Peter's Health Care Services to form St. Peter's Health Partners. For more information, please visit

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