Healing Traumatic Brain Injuries TBI with HBOT

Published on
September 2, 2016

Study Shows Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) Successfully Treats Combat Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Xray of a skull fracture

Did you know that 57% of Revolutionary War soldiers survived their wounds? By contrast, in the wars of Iraq and Afghanistan, thanks to Kevlar vests and helmets, 90% of our soldiers survive them. About a third of all damage from IEDs and other weapons occurs to the head – and injuries are often invisible. Many of our brave combat veterans sustain devastating traumatic brain injuries (TBI). These injuries disrupt brain function and yet go untreated for years. However, there is still hope. A study by Dr. Paul Harch now shows conclusively how hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) helps to ease the suffering of patients and veterans who have sustained traumatic brain injuries.

Living with Traumatic Brain Injuries

A veteran with a therapist

Combat veterans with TBI suffer from headaches, disrupted sleep, anxiety, depression, ear-ringing, seizures, difficulty balancing, light sensitivity, and trouble thinking and planning. In many cases, their decision-making abilities are also often impaired. No wonder so many TBI sufferers feel agitated and angry. They are truly suffering. Doctors routinely prescribe psychiatric medications, sleep aids, and painkillers. But results of studies show how soldiers and veterans can successfully ease the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries with hyperbaric oxygen and HBOT. As a result, they can rely less on these oftentimes addictive drugs.

For more information on how Hyperbaric Oxygen and HBOT help Veterans suffering from Traumatic Brain Injuries, Click HERE.

The Promise of HBOT as a Treatment for Soldiers with TBIs

A man preparing for HBOT

A 2011 study published in prestigious peer-reviewed Journal of Neurotrauma and conducted by Dr. Paul G. Harch and colleagues at LSU School of Medicine New Orleans, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, and the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine and Amen Clinics shows the promise of hyperbaric oxygen and HBOT to treat soldiers and veterans with TBI. The researchers treated 16 active duty and retired U.S. veterans with HBOT nearly three years after IED and rocket-propelled grenade explosions caused them to sustain brain injuries.

Physical exams, cognitive testing, high-resolution SPECT brain blood flow imaging, and individual self-reports of life quality were used to gauge the success of the therapy.

Improvement in IQ and Cognitive Issues

After having 40 low-pressure HBOT treatments within a month, each of the combat veterans made significant gains. Incredibly, results showed the veterans had a nearly 15 point IQ increase as well.

That’s about the difference between the IQ of a construction worker versus the IQ of an engineer! The veterans’short term memory, executive function, and concentration all improved significantly. This has clear implications for HBOT to help veterans to go back to college or achieve higher paying jobs. Most importantly, the imaging analysis was able to prove that the blood flow improved significantly with hyperbaric oxygen treatments. It also showed that the resulting cognitive improvements could not be explained away by a placebo effect.

Veterans in the study had marked reductions in headaches and depression, as well as suicidal thoughts. As a result, almost two-thirds of those taking psychiatric medications were able to cut back on these or discontinue the meds altogether. All of the study’s subjects reported significant improvements in quality of life after just a month. At a phone follow-up six months later, almost all of the veterans reported they continued to sustain their improvements.

Another Study in Progress

An American veteran in uniform saluting the American flag

In 2014, Dr. Harch and others at Louisiana State University, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, conducted a long-term, randomized study that included 100 participants. Presently, we are still eagerly awaiting their published results.

Do I believe that HBOT is a magic bullet that reverses all the effects of TBI? No, I don’t. However, I have seen over and over how effective this low-risk treatment is for easing the devastating symptoms of traumatic brain injuries. As I have said, hyperbaric oxygen therapy truly allows our wounded warriors a better quality of life and an unparalleled opportunity to recover.

If you’d like to learn more about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and how it treats TBIs, please contact us for a consultation.  Schedule your appointment today online or by calling 727-787-7077. A member of our office staff will be glad to respond to your questions and confirm your appointment.