Injured veterans, others say oxygen treatments restorative :
Daily troop exposure to roadside bombs have made TBIs — ranging from mild concussions to severe open head wounds — a signature injury of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the 2.4 million who served our country in these wars, at least 250,000 are diagnosed with TBIs, according to the Department of Defense. Add in unreported and undiagnosed cases and the number of injured troops could actually double, a 2008 Rand Corp. study shows. Symptoms include headaches, memory loss, balance problems, and cognitive difficulties that can severely impact quality of life. While many mild TBIs self-heal, others result in chronic pain: A 2010 Army report on suicide prevention said one-third of all active-duty military suicides involved prescription drugs. We all carry oxygen in our red blood cells, said Fullmer, and blood-borne oxygen is essential in healing wounds. In the case of a brain injury, trauma can cause damaged brain cells to die or become dormant from a lack of oxygen. By enabling the body’s red blood cells to carry more healing oxygen to the brain, HBOT can actually prompt the brain to grow new capillaries to carry oxygen-rich blood to damaged tissues.
HBOT “showed significant improvements on most measures of intelligence, function and quality of life.” Those improvements included an average 15 point jump in IQ; an 87 percent reduction in headaches; and a 93 percent improvement in cognitive difficulties. HBOT also helped treat post traumatic stress disorder, he said. The second part of Harch’s study — assessing additional veterans — not only reaffirms but actually strengthens those original findings, he said. That data should be published early next year. But Harch isn’t making veterans wait: This month he’s presenting 100 percent of his completed data with positive results for HBOT to top decision-makers in the Department of Defense. What will the military do with the information? At Fort Carson, military researchers recently concluded their own study on HBOT’s safety and effectiveness in treating brain injuries, said principal investigator Lt. Col. Robert Price. The military study was a randomized, double-blinded controlled trial, said Price, which he calls the “gold standard” of research. The FDA designations are confusing, said Harch. Rather than a cure for 13 random diseases, HBOT is actually a treatment for the underlying disease processes that cause each of the separate conditions, he said. “This has to be understood as a biological treatment that affects wound healing for wounds of any duration and any location in the body,” said Harch. In which, case we have to wonder:
What else could hyperbaric oxygen treatments be curing?