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The Curious Brain Healing Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
2017-07-25 15:53:49
KC Jones

Photo by: James Heilman via Wikipedia

While the heart is responsible for pushing the body to function properly, the brain is responsible for the movement of our body may it be motor or non-motor.It helps you tell your finger to press a particular key on the piano, to breathe, and to take your hand off the hot pan. 

It is possible for the brain functions to deteriorate given the circumstances that a person may be facing or may have faced.However, just like other vital organs, it is capable of restoring itself.The result of the self-restoration may probably not be in the same state it had before, but at least it is in a state where a person can survive with.

One therapy that caused speculation over its reported capabilities to reverse possible irreparable brain damage functions is hyperbaric oxygen therapy.This therapy is used for people who suffered decompression sickness, which is commonly observed among scuba divers.Hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps patients by increasing the amount of oxygen carried by the blood cells.This action helps restore the normal levels of blood gases and tissue function.

Surprisingly, this therapy helped save a two-year-old toddler, Eden Carlson, by reportedly reversing the damage that could have occurred in the girl's brain had this therapy not been used to revive her.The girl's family couldn't help labeling it a "miracle."

Carlson was found drowned in a pool for 10 minutes and was without a heartbeat for two hours.The doctors at the LSU New Orleans School of Medicine who revived her said they used the therapy with skepticism as there was little evidence to prove it would work.It was from the efforts of Eden’s parents, Kristal and Chris, that this breakthrough was made.

They contacted a clinical professor at Louisiana State University in New Orleans, Dr.Paul Harch, who offers the treatment on an experimental basis.The treatment was not approved to treat other diseases apart from treating decompression sickness by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).For this reason, health experts doubted that the therapy was the reason for Eden's successful revival.Nevertheless, Eden's survival was a reason for her parents to thank the doctors for their hard work.

Healing Long-term Wounds

The process of hyperbaric oxygen therapy involved the use of 100% pure oxygen, and it is administered to the patient under high pressure in a small room.This helps encourage the cells of the body to absorb the oxygen in order to reverse any possible damage in the tissues as a result of a deficiency in oxygen supply. 

Oxygen has been linked to many health benefits due to its curing effects.Some of those include increasing alertness, reducing stress, and lessening the effects of sinus problems, and headaches.However, the administration of 100% oxygen will need to be administered under prescription as it is considered as a drug under FDA guidelines.

Research has claimed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can reverse the effects of hypoxia or a deficiency in the amount of oxygen that reaches the tissues of the body, leaving them incapable of restoring on their own.Hypoxic wounds include diabetic wounds and venous stasis ulcers.While not all cases of hypoxia are bad, it is possible for it to become severe if left untreated or looked after by medical experts.In case that the wound becomes severely hypoxic, more invasive treatments may be used including surgery.

The 2001 study found hyperbaric oxygen can deliver healing effects on injured tissues including "hypoxic tissue, reperfusion injury, compartment syndrome, crush injury, failing flaps, chronic wounds, burns and necrotising infections." However, there are side effects to the use of the treatment including the aggravation of congestive heart failure, oxygen seizures, and ear and sinus barotrauma.Due to this, more evidence will have to be done to support the use of hyperbaric oxygen to treat hypoxic wounds.

Treating Cancer

There was speculation as well to the capabilities of hyperbaric oxygen to help cure cancer.Some patients with cancer use hyperbaric oxygen therapy to complement radiation treatment to inhibit its side effects by helping the body regenerate damaged blood vessels.A Japanese study conducted in 2009 said patients with brain tumors who used hyperbaric oxygen on the side of receiving chemotherapy and radiation therapy had longer survival times and experienced a reduction in the side effects of radiation therapy.

Another study found that when a ketonic diet is complemented with hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients' survival rate can be increased by up to more than 70%.Apart from this finding, researchers also found improved ketone body metabolism, a slowed rate of tumor growth, and a significant decrease in blood glucose.

There is also speculation on the capability of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat autism and brain disorders, However, there is little evidence to prove those claims, and the FDA is also against claims that the therapy is recommended for the treatment of other health conditions apart from treating decompression sickness.


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