Fifth State Approves Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Veterans with PTSD

Arizona has become the fifth U.S. State to pass legislature entitling veterans suffering with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to receive hyperbaric oxygen treatment.  HBOT has been successfully used to treat post-concussion syndrome and its associated symptoms.  To read more go to:  Arizona Legislature Approves Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury, Reports the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons US Soldiers


Case Study Finds HBOT Helpful in Depressive Symptoms Associated with Parkinson's Disease

A recent case study published in the medical journal, "Medicine," reported on the markedly positive effects of treatment with hyperbaric oxygen therapy for symptoms of depression.  The study focused on a patient suffering with Parkinson's disease who refused drug intervention with antidepressants.  Psychiatric symptoms accompanying Parkinson's disease can exacerbate and worsen the neuromotor symptoms of the condition, decreasing the quality of life for the patient and increasing the burden of the caretaker.  HBOT was documented to be a viable and well tolerated treatment.  To read more, click here:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment for Parkinson's Disease with Severe Depression and Anxiety:  A Case Report. Senior standing male by window with serious expression

CRPS - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Shows Response to Treatment with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

CRPS - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, (previously known as RSD, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) is a frustrating, chronic and painful condition in which the central nervous system continues to send nerve signals indicating pain long past the time that healing of an injury or surgical procedure has occurred.  CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area. The syndrome typically affects a limb.

In a recently published case study, decreased pain levels, decreased swelling and increased range of motion were achieved through hyperbaric oxygen therapy and it was reported the patient was able to maintain pain relief and return to work after therapy ended.  To read more:   Successful Treatment of Lower Limb Complex Regional Pain Syndrome following Three Weeks of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.  

Complex regional pain syndrome HBOT


Decreasing Side Effects Following Radiation Therapy with HBOT

Unfortunately, radiation therapy of the pelvis may result in side effects rooted in inflammation, involving either the bladder (post radiation cystitis) or rectum (post radiation proctitis).  Both conditions can rob a person of their quality of life because of ongoing symptoms that may last months and even years after the initial course of radiation therapy. Patients have been shown to benefit from hyperbaric oxygen treatment because of its ability to decrease the effects of inflammation and initiate the regeneration of tissue and cells.  A study involving 35 men and 4 women showed a combined response of 88% positive for improvement of symptoms following the prescribed course of HBOT.  To read more:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment in Radiation-Induced Cystitis and Proctitis

 hyperbaric oxygen for proctitis


Ulcerative Colitis and HBOT

Ulcerative colitis patients battle a quality of life impinging condition.  An inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis causes long-lasting inflammation and sores in the large intestine and accompanying areas of the digestive tract.  Ulcerative colitis robs sufferers from the norms of daily activity. Symptoms of the disease may include abdominal pain and cramping, rectal pain and urgency to defecate.  Passing pus or blood along with bowel movement, weight loss and fatigue often occur as well. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases oxygen levels in plasma and tissues. Studies document HBOT's ability to reduce inflammation and swelling as well as its ability to stimulate new cell  growth and blood vessel formation -  allowing tissue to heal. To read more about HBOT and ulcerative colitis, go to:  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy stimulates colonic stem cells and induces mucosal healing in patients with refractory ulcerative colitis: a prospective case. images

Recovering from Stroke with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The use of hyperbaric oxgen therapy for recovery from a stroke is well documented.  Oxygen is vital to brain function and healing.  The brain contains one of the body's most dense networks of blood vessels responsible for carrying oxygen.  When blood flow of oxygen rich blood to the brain is hindered or interrupted (as in the case of stroke) brain cells die and the brain degenerates.  Areas of brain tissue that have been injured during stroke lie next to areas that have been unaffected.

However, a third, middle area exists in-between injured and non-injured cells.

This third area of brain cells is essentially a region of overlap.  It contains affected brain cells that are intact but not functioning at optimal levels - cells that are on the cusp of crossing over to becoming  injured (ischemic) parts.  Doctors refer to this middle zone as the penumbra in stroke.  The penumbra can go either way.  It may become viable tissue or develop into irreversibly damaged brain matter.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works on the penumbra area by boosting impaired cells with extra levels of oxygen, helping to restore their normal function.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been shown in research to reverse tissue oxygen deprivation in the acute setting.  It may also be beneficial to brain function long after damage has occurred by virtue of its ability to initiate growth of blood vessels and stem cells.

To read study, go to:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients





Recovery from Shingles with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The pain caused by the rash that accompanies a shingles infection is miserable. The same virus that causes chicken pox, (herpes zoster) is responsible for infecting almost 1 out of every 3 people in the United States in their lifetime, according to the latest estimates from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control.) That translates to an estimated 1 million cases of shingles each year in this country. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox may develop shingles.  

Shingles pain may go on long after the initial rash disappears as damaged and irritated nerve endings continue to send signals to the brain to prolong pain.  This is known as post herpetic neuralgia.

A study published in the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Journal followed 68 people with acute shingles infection.  Those receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy along with conventional treatment had a better overall response - specifically less healing time of blisters, less pain, less depression, and most importantly, less incidence of post herpetic neuralgia (continued nerve pain.)  To read more, go to:  Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Patients with Herpes Zoster.  

shingles pain

Fibromyalgia and HBOT

A scientific HBOT study done in Israel involved 60 female patients suffering with fibromyalgia.  All patients reported a reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life following hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Multiple assessments were done including a tender point count, pain threshold testing. measures of functional impairment (Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire—FIQ), symptom severity (SCL-90 questionnaire), and Quality of life (SF-36 questionnaire). Follow-up SPECT scan brain imaging was done to measure the rate of regional cerebral blood flow before and after treatment.

The conclusion of the study was that all measures - pain sensitivity, number of tender points, psychological distress, physical functioning and quality of life - were significantly improved after  HBOT.  All patients who completed the study (12 dropped out for various reasons) reported improvement after the 40 session treatment protocol.  At the conclusion of the study, patients were able to reduce their pain medication significantly. Many also reported improvements in sleep and energy levels.  In something of a surprise, some of the patients felt worse before they felt better. For some participants, it took up to 20 sessions to begin to turn the corner on their pain, but ultimately all improved.

To quantify the subjective improvements reported by the patients, scientists turned to the results of the SPECT scan images.  Changes in brain function (documented by the scans) mirrored the symptom improvement found. Prior to the study, the FM patients had higher activity in the somatosensory cortex and reduced activity in the frontal, cingulate, medial temporal and cerebellar cortices of the brain. After HBOT, their brain patterns started to shift towards normal: somatosensory cortex activity decreased and frontal, cingulate, medial temporal and cerebellar cortices activity increased.

Fundamentally, the activity in parts of the brain that sensed pain decreased and activity in the parts of the brain that control or interpret pain signals increased.

The authors further suggested HBOT may have increased the natural "feel-good" chemicals in the brain. Increased levels of  GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) turned on the "inhibitory pain pathways" leading to the spinal cord. Compromised inhibitory pathways - the signal routes that reduce the intensity of pain signals leading from the spinal cord (the body) to the brain - appear to play an important role in fibromyalgia. Poorly functioning pathways allow the pain regulating portions of the brain to be overwhelmed by pain signals.

To read the study in its entirety, click here:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Diminish Fibromyalgia Syndrome - Prospective Clinical Trial



Hyperbaric Oxyen Therapy (HBOT) works in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

The National Library of Medicine and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) as “a disorder that causes extreme fatigue."  The symptoms felt in CFS are not the typical symptoms of fatigue that are experienced and go away after a period of rest.  Chronic fatigue lasts for extended time and encroaches on the activities of daily living.  A doctor must rule out other disease entities to make a definitive diagnosis of CFS.  This can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint at first because other illnesses can cause similar symptoms.  Anyone can have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but it is most commonly seen in females who are between 40 and 60 years of age.  No cure exists for CFS, but symptoms can be controlled.  Hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been studied and shown to help patients achieve the treatment goal of symptom improvement.   Studies are underway, both in the US and in other countries aimed at documenting the positive impact HBOT has on chronic fatigue syndrome and the biologic pathways that are responsible for its success.  To read more, go to:  The Efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in the Management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  




Healing the Brain with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

A recent article that appeared in The Washington Post can be viewed here.  Please read:  Could Hyperbaric Treatment Heal the Brain?