Alzheimer’s And Dementia
HBO has been proven to enable oxygen to be dissolved into the hard-to-reach plasma lymph, and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord
Studies suggest HBO spurs the brain to heal, even years after the initial results
After intense hyperbaric oxygen hours, brain scans show the brain to be growing new blood vessels, new nerve connections, and bringing idling neurons back online
Research shows that HBO induces remyelination
HBO has been demonstrated in several clinical studies to enhance the body’s innate ability to repair and regenerate
Studies have reported the first PET scan-document case of improvement in brain metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease in a patient treated with hyperbaric oxygen
HBO has been proven to target all four pathological processes of AD by affecting microcirculation; mitochondrial dysfunction, and biogenesis; reducing the amyloid burden and tau phosphorylation; controlling oxidative stress, and reducing inflammation.
What is Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive deterioration of brain function, initially characterised by cognitive deficits, with loss of recent memory and language ability, impairment of orientation, problem solving and abstract thinking. Alzheimer’s disease causes about 70% of cases of dementia.
Overwhelming evidence suggests that AD is a disorder of protein aggregation in which the build-up of the normally soluble proteins drives pathogenesis.
People with AD first develop subtle memory loss and personality changes that differ from normal age-related memory problems.
They seem to tire or become upset or anxious more easily.
They do not cope well with change. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging.
What is dementia?
Dementia describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory, reasoning or other thinking skills. Many different types of dementia exist, and many conditions cause it. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases.
Dementia is not a normal part of aging, it is caused by damage to brain cells that affect their ability to communicate, which can affect thinking, behavior, and feelings.
Dr. Paul Harch, Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and Dr. Edward Fogarty, Chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, reported a case study of a 58-year-old female who had been experiencing five years of rapid cognitive decline. She was further diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after brain imaging revealed global and typical metabolic deficits.
After the patient had undergone intense hyperbaric oxygen sessions, she reported increased energy and level of activity, better mood, and ability to perform daily living activities as well as work crossword puzzles. The report also increased memory and concentration, sleep, conversation, appetite, ability to use the computer, more good days (5/7) than bad days, resolved anxiety and decreased disorientation and frustration. Repeat PET imaging one-month post-HBO showed a global ~38% improvement in brain metabolism.
“We demonstrated the largest improvement in brain metabolism of any therapy for Alzheimer’s disease,” notes Dr. Harch. “HBOT in this patient may be the first treatment not only to halt, but temporarily reverse disease progression in Alzheimer’s disease.”
In another study published in 2020
Researchers found that one course of hyperbaric oxygen treatment significantly improved cognitive function in AD patients and also ameliorated the reduced brain glucose metabolism found in some patients. The writers suggested that hyperbaric oxygen is beneficial in reducing hypoxia which could be a potential contributor to the pathogenesis of AD. Therapeutics like hyperbaric oxygen treatment improve the tissue oxygen supply and ameliorates hypoxic conditions in the brain, which is key in alleviating the symptoms seen in AD.
New data has emerged
That HBO may hold promise for those with AD and dementia – one clinical trial of 63 healthy older adults showed that HBO appeared to induce cognitive enhancements via mechanisms involving regional changes in cerebral blood flow, as evaluated by MRI.
In addition, many of the results from the use of HBO and classical cases of brain injury, such as stroke, can be postulated to AD and dementia.
The hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox that individuals succumb to whilst undergoing HBO has been proven to stimulate the proliferation of stem cells, and the stem cells are going up gradually from one session to the other. These stem cells are mobilized and are able to act on the brain tissue which are stumbling, the tissue with metabolic dysfunction. The research indicates that these stem cells are able to induce angiogenesis in the brain, meaning new blood vessels are generated, and the malfunctioning tissues are re-activated. Thus, this leads to a symptomatic effect of cognitive function improvement.
In addition, a recent meta-analysis concluded that HBO is beneficial as an effective and safe complementary therapy for the treatment of vascular dementia when looking at twenty-five randomized clinical trials, involving 1954 patients. One of the trials mentioned in this study examined the differences in cognitive function and serum Humanin (a peptide that rescues cells from death) levels in vascular dementia patients between control and HBO group. The results indicated that the HBO group had significantly higher cognitive function scores and serum Humanin levels.
The bottom line is numerous studies have shown that HBO has a therapeutic effect on AD and dementia, in both animal and human models. HBO is often used in conjunction with conventional medical therapies to help manage, support and help control acute and chronic disease conditions.
View the Studies
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Alzheimer’s disease
Dr. Paul Harch, Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and Dr. Edward Fogarty, Chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, report the first PET scan-documented case of improvement in brain metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease in a patient treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Hyperbaric oxygen ameliorates cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment
Based on previous studies and recent findings, it is proposed that hyperbaric oxygen may be a promising alternative therapy for ADI
A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial testing the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on brain and cognitive outcomes of mildly cognitively impaired elderly with type 2 diabetes: Study design
A current clinical trial to evaluate HBO effects on cognition, cerebral blood flow and brain glucose utilisation in patients at high dementia
HBOT and Alzheimer’s
The director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center offers insight into the attempt to regenerate injured tissue in the brain as a way to potentially treat Alzheimer disease and dementia.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Alzheimer’s dementia with positron emission tomography imaging: a case report
Reflections on the neurotherapeutic effects of hyperbaric oxygen
One can surmise that HBO could also be effective in the early stages of vascular dementia, AD and other conditions