Dr. Paul Harch, Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, along with Dr. Edward Fogarty, Chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, have reported the first-ever documented case of brain metabolism improvement in an Alzheimer’s disease patient treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This remarkable breakthrough was recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Medical Gas Research.

A Glimpse into the Case

The case revolves around a 58-year-old woman who had been grappling with cognitive decline for five years, a condition that was rapidly worsening. Initial evaluations using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) indicated Alzheimer’s disease. This diagnosis was subsequently confirmed through 18Fluorodeoxyglucose (18FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) brain imaging, which revealed the typical metabolic deficits associated with Alzheimer’s.

The Treatment

The patient underwent a total of 40 HBOT treatments, with sessions occurring five days a week over a period of 66 days. Each treatment session involved exposure to 1.15 atmosphere absolute (ATA) pressure for 50 minutes. Remarkably, after just 21 treatments, the patient reported increased energy levels, improved mood, enhanced daily living activities, and a newfound ability to tackle crossword puzzles. Following all 40 treatments, her memory, concentration, sleep, appetite, and even computer use improved significantly. Her anxiety resolved, and disorientation and frustration decreased. Her physical abilities, including tremors and motor speed, showed improvement as well.

The Remarkable Findings

What sets this case apart is the unprecedented improvement in brain metabolism observed through repeat 18FDG PET imaging one month post-HBOT. The scans revealed a global improvement of brain metabolism ranging from 6.5% to a staggering 38%.

HBOT may be the first treatment not only to halt, but temporarily reverse disease progression in Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Paul Harch

A New Hope for Alzheimer’s Patients

The report includes video imaging, making it easier for the general public to witness the improvements in brain function. Dr. Fogarty emphasized the value of this breakthrough by comparing it to the well-established use of PET imaging in fields like oncology and cardiology for assessing responses to therapy.

What’s even more promising is that two months post-HBOT, the patient, experienced symptom recurrence. However, she underwent an additional 56 HBOT sessions over 20 months, totaling 96 sessions. This extended treatment, along with supplemental oxygen and medications, resulted in symptom stability and positive outcomes on the Folstein Mini-Mental Status exam.

A Hopeful Future

Alzheimer’s disease is a formidable foe, often causing irreversible cognitive decline and affecting the ability to perform daily tasks. It currently ranks as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. However, this remarkable discovery has opened up new possibilities for long-term Alzheimer’s treatment using HBOT in conjunction with pharmacotherapy.

HBOT is believed to impact various pathological processes associated with Alzheimer’s, including inflammation, amyloid accumulation, oxidative stress, and more. This groundbreaking case serves as a beacon of hope for Alzheimer’s patients and their families, offering the potential for a brighter future in the fight against this devastating disease.


Capo, L. HBOT Showed Improvement in Alzheimer’s Disease. LSU Health New Orleans.