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Hyperbaric Oxygen healing revitalizes brain tissue

By: Juliette Lucarini Harch, RN., Harch Hyperbarics Inc., Visit website

All strokes have one thing in common: reduction of blood flow to the brain. How much someone recovers depends on how soon blood flow is reestablished, the amount of damaged brain tissue, and the location of the injury within the brain. During a stroke, tissue that doesn’t receive oxygen can become irreversibly damaged, but in the surrounding areas of the brain tissue may simply be “idling.” In these areas blood flow and oxygen levels are adequate to keep neurons from dying, but not enough to allow them to perform their functions.

In 1990 Dr. Richard Neubauer proved that these idling neurons can exist for years. In a groundbreaking experiment Dr. Neubauer performed hyperbaric oxygen therapy on a woman paralyzed for 14 years after a stroke. He found that after just one treatment, blood flow increased in the idling neurons surrounding her damaged tissue.

Traditionally, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been used as a technique to heal chronic wounds by rebuilding tissue. Patients enter a chamber and are exposed to high volumes of oxygen at great pressure. HBOT overcomes “stunned” cells, allowing them to function more normally again. In addition, it was recently proven that HBOT primarily affects genes in our cells that code for growth and repair hormones that inhibit inflammation and cell death.

For stroke survivors, HBOT reactivates the idling neurons, stimulates growth of new blood vessels, prevents cell death, and improves neurological function. HBOT has also been shown to cause the release of stem cells from our bone marrow into our circulation, where they are distributed throughout the body.

In recent years HBOT therapy has gained popularity as a treatment method for various traumatic brain injuries. Dr. Paul Harch, in New Orleans, treated a diver demented from brain decompression sickness. Brain decompression sickness is the quintessential example of HBOT in stroke:  tiny bubbles passing through tiny blood vessels, damaging the blood vessels and causing thousands to millions of tiny spherical strokes or wounds in the brain. In two months of treatment the diver had improved cognitive, neurological, brain blood flow, and quality of life.

Successful treatments with HBOT was seen in other divers, patients with chronic stroke syndromes, and veterans returning with traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. The amount of benefit HBOT can provide a stroke survivor depends on many factors.

  • The size of the stroke
  • The length of time since the stroke
  • The area of the brain involved
  • The type of stroke
  • Whether or not the patient received a clot-dissolving drug

 Existing evidence suggests that HBOT is the most beneficial when started as soon after stroke as possible.

By: Juliette Lucarini Harch, RN., Harch Hyperbarics Inc., Visit website

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"In a groundbreaking experiment Dr. Neubauer performed hyperbaric oxygen therapy on a woman paralyzed for 14 years after a stroke. He found that after just one treatment, blood flow increased in the idling neurons surrounding her damaged tissue."

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Areas of tissue damaged during a stroke may be “idling,” meaning they are receiving blood and oxygen, but not enough to allow them to perform their neurological function.

  • For stroke survivors, HBOT reactivates the idling neurons, stimulates growth of new blood vessels, prevents cell death, and improves neurological function.
  • During HBOT a patient is treated in an enclosed chamber and exposed to high volumes of oxygen at great pressure.
  • Evidence suggests that HBOT is the most beneficial when started as soon after stroke as possible.
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