Alzheimer’s disease causes patients to have difficulty recalling memories and performing tasks. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, which means it gets worse over time. Once Alzheimer’s disease begins, patients either stay the same or get worse. Most people notice symptoms getting worse over a period of 10 years. However, some people with Alzheimer’s disease will get worse very rapidly, over the course of a few years.
Because Alzheimer’s disease is discussed frequently in popular media, many people know that part of the disease process is the accumulation of abnormal proteins in the brain, namely beta-amyloid plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles. One less well-known effect of Alzheimer’s disease is that it interferes with blood flow in the brain. This decreased blood flow is so common, in fact, that doctors can detect low brain activity using positron emission tomography (PET), which can help make the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
Between 2002 and 2012, researchers tested 244 treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and only one medication was approved by the FDA. After all this time, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s disease are mostly ineffective. At best, they slow the progression of the disease for several months to a few years.
This lack of success has prompted several research groups to focus on other treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. One experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients rest in a specialized chamber while they experience oxygen at a slightly higher pressure than they would in the outside world.
Researchers wanted to determine whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy could improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, but also whether they could see those brain changes using PET. To do this, Drs. Harch and Fogarty enrolled a woman with rapidly deteriorating Alzheimer’s disease in their clinical study. She was exhibiting the characteristic signs of Alzheimer’s disease and reduced brain activity and blood flow in her brain. They treated her with a series of hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments (1.15 atmospheres, 40 minutes, 5 days per week over 66 days).
After 21 treatments, the woman had increased energy, her mood was better, she was better able to perform activities of daily living, and she was actually performing crossword puzzles. After 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, she had better memory and concentration, she was sleeping better, her appetite had improved, she was able to hold conversations and able to use a computer.
Interestingly, when the researchers performed follow-up PET study after hyperbaric oxygen therapy, blood flow and brain activity improved as much as 38% compared to the PET study before treatment.
Additional clinical studies with larger groups of Alzheimer’s disease patients are needed to determine how effective hyperbaric oxygen therapy is, what pressure to use, and how many treatments are needed, etc. Nonetheless, the impressive changes reported in this case study are promising, and should spark additional clinical research.
Contact a Stemedix Care Coordinator for more information on Regenerative Medince Therapy combined with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Reference: Harch et al. (2019). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Alzheimer’s dementia with positron emission tomography imaging: a case report. Medical Gas Research. 2019 Jan 9;8(4):181-184.
As 15 million Americans struggle with a chronic respiratory disease, it’s clear that breathing is difficult for many people for a variety of reasons. When you’re dealing with a chronic disease or trying to recover from an illness, hyperbaric treatment is a great way to get enough oxygen to your body. You can even experience a detox treatment with the help of hyperbaric oxygen treatment as oxygen assists in all the body’s processes.
Here are five reasons you should try hyperbaric oxygen treatment when you’re struggling with many physical afflictions.
Great For Detoxing
If you want to help foster your body’s natural cleansing abilities, then hyperbaric oxygen treatment is the way to go. The first benefits you notice is how much cleaner your body feels and how it helps your immune system. Oxygen therapy has long been recognized as a way to help clean and detox your body. As more people move to urban environments, they’re exposed to all manner of pollutants and environmental problems. When you try out oxygen treatments, you’ll feel like you just spent a week out in nature.
Detoxing the body from the poisons that we absorb is a challenge. The heavy metal poisoning that an increased number of people deal with is hard for the body to detox itself from. However, as more oxygen moves throughout your body and brain, you immediately feel healthier. Your brain needs all the help it can get to regulate and repair tissues. This helps to boost your immune system and your overall health. You’ll notice the difference almost immediately.
Boost Your Immune System
Our immune systems are fragile, especially during winter months when it seems like colds and flu strains are on every surface. When you boost your immune system with the help of hyperbaric oxygen, you’ll be able to keep bad bacteria from growing. If that bacteria can’t get ahold of your immune system, you’ll stay healthier all throughout the year. The growth of yeast and certain viruses is kept at bay with the help of hyperbaric oxygen. There are lots of diseases that have been stifled with hyperbaric oxygen.
Those diseases that take a toll on your immune system, from hepatitis to shingles and Lyme disease are held at arm’s length with hyperbaric oxygen. If you suffer from any of these ailments, you’ll notice the symptoms will be limited. Using this oxygen treatment, you can ensure that your systems are reduced dramatically so long as you keep your treatments up.
If you’re dealing with any wounds or have been through major surgery, it’s hard to recover quickly. When you’re weak, your body tends to heal more quickly and when you’re healing, you’re weaker. It’s a lose-lose situation without the help of the right treatment.
Thankfully, oxygen therapy is able to help to heal wounds that range from diabetic problems, skin grafts, or even traumatic injuries. By moving oxygen around your body and controlling your body’s supply of blood you get help where you need it and heal more efficiently. It’s even been shown to help with injuries related to MS, dementia, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy. Our brain is sensitive to having too little oxygen. It’s even triggered by having access to too much, which can make us feel lightheaded. When you increase the oxygen under controlled conditions, you’ll notice that your problems will be alleviated more quickly than ever.
Deal with Nerve Problems
When you’re struggling with nerve issues, it’s hard to find relief. Nerve pain gets under the skin and tears at your psyche in some respects. If you can’t get relief, then you’re going to have painful attacks that feel like they have no end. For people who have scar tissue, getting feeling back or helping alleviate pain is their focus. Some types of neuropathy can be helped with hyperbaric oxygen. For sufferers of fibromyalgia, a deeply painful nerve condition, hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a way out of that discomfort.
By stimulating conductive fibers on nerves, the body regulates its pain. When you use oxygen to help take care of that, then you’re able to treat it on your conditions. You’ll feel better quickly and be free of unnecessary discomfort that comes with dealing with a nerve problem.
Increase Your Energy
During a vigorous workout, it’s possible to feel less stressed or sore after if you have enough oxygen. When lots of oxygen is pumped into the room or when the person exercising wears a hyperbaric device, they’ll find they can move faster for longer. Oxygen therapy has taken this concept somewhere that works for everyday life. When people leave hyperbaric oxygen therapy, they report feeling more refreshed and awake than before. They note that their mind and body feel more comfortable and sharper. They’ll be alert and awake, with more energy than they had before the treatment. An increasing number of spas offer this treatment as a way to relax and to relieve stress. If you try this after a massage or in addition to other treatments, you could find drastic changes to your energy.
Some people report that they feel more focused after treatment. Because oxygen is vital for brain function and cellular growth, our minds are sharper, more focused, and functioning at a higher level. Reaction times drop and our bodies feel much more connected to the tasks at hand rather than fatigued or removed.
Hyperbaric Treatment Has So Many Benefits
If you haven’t considered hyperbaric treatment for getting oxygen to the essential parts of your body and brain that need it. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has given so many people the ability to feel better, more energetic, and to heal from afflictions that you should try it ASAP.
To learn more about the potential for hyperbaric treatment to help you, check out our latest posts.
Many US warfighters are left with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after suffering blast injury during battle. TBI is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States, and PTSD is rapidly becoming a leading cause of disability among US veterans. PTSD leaves sufferers with flashbacks, severe anxiety, sleep disturbances, mood disorders, and cognitive deficits. Traumatic brain injury, on the other hand, may cause a variety of mental and emotional problems. When these conditions occur in the same patient, it can have devastating effects on quality of life for the veteran’s remaining years.
The main treatment for traumatic brain injury is to simply allow the brain time to heal. Unfortunately, the brain is different than skin or other tissues of the body; it only has limited capacity to heal itself after an injury. The main treatment for PTSD is psychotherapy (talk therapy) and a rather nonspecific collection of medications including antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs. Unfortunately, people with both traumatic brain injury and PTSD are more difficult to treat, and generally, have poorer outcomes.
Researchers at the Veterans Administration studied the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy among military veterans with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury and PTSD. In a phase 1 clinical trial, veterans received 40 treatments of hyperbaric oxygen therapy lasting for 60 minutes each. Each treatment was 1.5 times atmospheric pressure or 50% more than they would experience under normal circumstances. Despite this modest dose of hyperbaric oxygen, the benefits to warfighters were remarkable.
After treatment, the veterans had substantial improvements in short-term memory, attention, concentration, and executive function. Shockingly, their IQ increased by nearly 15 points on average. They also enjoyed a substantial reduction in the frequency and severity of headaches. On average, they had a 30% reduction in PTSD symptoms. In fact, nearly 2/3 of trial participants were able to reduce the dose of or stop their PTSD medications.
Study participants also underwent special studies to examine the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on brain tissue and blood flow. Patients treated with hyperbaric oxygen showed substantial increases in brain blood flow and marked increases in the volume of brain tissue. In other words, hyperbaric oxygen therapy was able to accelerate brain healing in this study.
This groundbreaking research has led to the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment for TBI and PTSD in other military personnel and also civilians. As additional clinical trials are published, the hope is that more health insurers, Medicare, and the VA will reimburse patients for this important treatment.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States, affecting over 13 million citizens. Traumatic brain injury is responsible for over 2 million emergency department visits, over a quarter of 1 million hospitalizations, and nearly 60,000 deaths each year.
Traumatic brain injury harms brain tissue in two phases. The first phase of injury occurs at the time of the traumatic incident. This initial injury may cause small or large areas of the brain to bleed. It may also shear (stretch/tear) nerve cells, making them dysfunctional. The second phase occurs hours or days after the initial injury. The brain is subjected to ongoing damage because of inflammation, cell death, and injury to blood vessels. Many people with TBI are left with lifelong problems with thinking, memory, and behavior.
In both of these phases of injury, one major way to help prevent long-term brain damage is by maintaining adequate blood flow to brain tissue. Unfortunately, once the damage has occurred, it can be a challenge to reverse the damage. Patients usually must endure months or years of physical and occupational therapy to regain what was lost. Moreover, patients often need substantial amounts of psychiatric and psychological support to treat mental health problems.
Fortunately, researchers are using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to improve blood flow to the brain in patients with traumatic brain injury. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides patients with pure oxygen (100%) at slightly higher pressures than they would experience normally. It is been used for hundreds of years to treat scuba divers who suffered “the bends” or decompression sickness; however, researchers are finding that hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a “coveted neurotherapeutic method for brain repair.”
To study the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, researchers selected 10 people who had suffered mild traumatic brain injury in the previous 7 to 13 years. Patients all had brain damage that interfered with attention, memory, and thinking abilities.
Even though patients had sustained traumatic brain injury and brain damage a decade earlier, hyperbaric oxygen therapy was able to improve blood flow in the brain. Likewise, the amount of blood detected within the brain significantly increased, suggesting that hyperbaric oxygen therapy actually caused blood vessels in the brain to grow and multiply. Just as impressively, patients with chronic brain damage performed better on tests of cognition (i.e. thinking). They were able to process information more quickly, they had better motor function, and they were able to take in and process information about the world around them more efficiently.
Because people with traumatic brain damage have limited treatment options to improve their situations, these results are incredibly exciting. This was a study on 10 patients and more studies on larger numbers are still needed to build on these findings. Nonetheless, these results are quite encouraging for people with traumatic brain injury and their loved ones.
Stem cells are generating so much excitement in research and clinical circles because they have the capacity to become many other types of cells. They also release a number of important molecules such as hormones, cytokines, and genetic material that can potentially be helpful for patients. Researchers have found that not only does hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) help in the circulation of stem cells but it also will help to mobilize stem cells from the bone marrow to the bloodstream further preparing the patient for stem cell therapy.
Bone marrow is a rich source of stem cells, but getting them usually requires an invasive procedure, i.e., placing a large bore needle into the middle of bone(s). Researchers have discovered, however, that hyperbaric oxygen treatment causes stem cells from the bone marrow to move into the bloodstream by specifically stimulating the body’s nitric oxide synthesis. Thus, instead of using a needle to extract stem cells from the bone marrow, patients can potentially increase their own bone marrow stem cells by undergoing hyperbaric oxygen treatment.
Stephen Thom, MD, Ph.D. and co-researchers at the University of Pennsylvania showed that a single hyperbaric oxygen treatment could double the number of bone marrow stem cells in the blood. This means that the hyperbaric oxygen was “mobilizing” the stem cells to move from the bone marrow into the bloodstream to allow them to move into areas of the body that benefit from them. Moreover, when study subjects underwent 20 treatments of hyperbaric oxygen therapy over a few weeks, the number of bone marrow stem cells in the blood increased significantly by eightfold. This astonishing finding has been confirmed in subsequent experiments.
The most important conclusion from this research is that hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments can unlock the potential of a person’s own bone marrow stem cells without an invasive procedure. While many scientists assumed that the benefits of hyperbaric oxygen therapy were due to the high concentrations of oxygen infusing the blood, tissues, and cells, they now have research to support that these benefits may also be due to stem cell mobilization.