What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Alzheimer’s?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) introduces pure oxygen into the lungs under pressure. This increases the amount of oxygen available to damaged tissue and promotes healing.
A hyperbaric chamber in use
Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy is best recognized as a treatment for a hazard of scuba diving, it is used to treat a host of other conditions and injuries. Included in this list are non-healing wounds and burns, skin and bone infection, and crushing injuries and gangrene.
The current paper, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Alzheimer’s dementia with positron emission tomography imaging: A case report1, documents evidence for improvement in brain metabolism. The study also found a reversal of the normal symptomatic progression of the disease resulting from the treatment. The authors conclude that these results, “suggests an effect on global pathology in AD.”
The study is a collusion between two researchers at different medical schools. Dr. Paul Harch is the director of Medicine at Louisiana State University (LSU) Health New Orleans School of Medicine. Dr. Edward Fogarty is chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine.
A spokesman from Mayo Clinic rightly points out that more trials are necessary before anyone gets too excited about hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. The current study, published in January in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Gas Research, used HBOT to treat one subject with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mayo’s concern is understandable. This case report must be considered preliminary and non-conclusive as it only involved one subject, a 58-year-old woman. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease with symptoms that were progressing rapidly prior to the beginning of the study. On the other hand, Mayo seems not to support the use of HBOT for anything other than On mayoclinic.org they point out that, “The evidence is insufficient to support claims that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can effectively treat the following conditions,” and include: