ISLAMABAD - Ninety percent of Malala Yousufzai’s brain is still intact while ten percent of it may have been damaged due to continued unconsciousness that could impact brain functioning, if it prolonged, The Nation learnt on Friday.

“Time factor is very crucial at this stage. It’s very important that she recovers her senses within the next 48 hours. Prolonged unconsciousness damages myelin covering which is a vital shield in the brain for its protection. It also causes exhaustion in the body organs and gradually hampers their functioning,” a top official at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) told this journalist.

“Our safe clinical assessment is that ninety percent of her brain is working properly. The head injury may have caused the brain damage up to ten percent or even less which could be ascertained in the next couple of days considering the patient’s condition following clinical examination,” he said.

Talking to The Nation from Lahore, Chief Clinical Examiner Punjab and Director Forensic Laboratory Dr Waseem Haider said that the survival in the head injury cases depends on regaining senses. “It’s a ratio: proportional situation in mathematical terms. The long the duration of unconsciousness gets, the less become the chances of survival,” he said.

Dr Waseem endorsed the observation of the surgeons at AFIC suggesting that 36 to 48 hours were crucial in determining Malala’s health condition. “This time period is very crucial. The brain’s neuron cells are highly sensitive that are covered by a myelin sheath or covering. This sheath gets destroyed in case unconsciousness due to head injury protracts. This could result in inflammation and swelling in the brain to disrupt the transmission of its functions,” he added

Elaborating on the complications that may emerge out of a head injury, the renowned physician said, tongue twisting, adverse affect on shoulders and memory lapse are common complications suffered by the victims of serious head injuries. “Malala was shot in the temporal region of the brain. The complications or side effects of damage thus caused may result in memory lapse. Let’s hope this never happens. Everybody is praying for her life and health. Brain is the power centre of human body. Its components are very delicate and sensitive. Any harm to them brings very negative affects to the entire body,” Dr Waseem Haider said.

Earlier, briefing the media on Malala Yousafzai’s health condition, Military Spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa said that Yousafzai was on the ventilator but her health condition showed improvement. “She is out of danger.”

A team of doctors comprising the military and civilians including foreign surgeons is treating Malala, Bajwa said citing the observations of the neuro-surgical and intensive care experts to term the coming 36 to 48 hours as critical for Malala’s life. The doctors’ board would decide whether to send Malala abroad for better treatment, Bajwa informed.