Zolpidem tartrate, or Ambien, has been prescribed to millions of insomniacs internationally, yet those who use the drug to ensure a good night’s sleep are seldom aware it also possesses the ability to normalise functioning in certain types of damaged neurons, a phenomenon called “the Ambien effect”, The first awakening occurred in 1999 when a man who had spent three years in a persistent vegetative state spontaneously regained consciousness after ingesting a 10mg tablet. Since then, hundreds of patients have experienced miraculous recoveries from traumatic brain injury using Ambien. Hamilton Morris travelled from South Africa, where the Ambien effect was first discovered, to England to interview a physician on the cutting edge of Ambien research, and then to Florida to meet a voiceover artist who depends on Ambien to speak.
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