There’s new, very real, hope for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.
A study published this year by Dr. Paul Harch, Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU, and Bismarck Doctor Edward Fogarty, shows improved brain function in a woman who suffered from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
The PET scans show dramatic improvement in her brain function.
“A miraculous change!” said Ruthie Kostka, whose husband suffers from dementia.
Ruthie and her husband, Bob Kostka, formerly of Fargo, moved to Colorado in 2003.
She said Bob’s dementia had progressed to the point it was hard for him to carry on a conversation.
“Everything depends on communication — well, we didn’t have it for a year and a half, and the last nine months almost nothing at all,” said Ruthie.
Ruthie checked into hyperbaric treatment, debated the cost and decided it was a small price to pay.
Desperate, she bought a hyperbaric chamber and put it right in her home.
“We didn’t know what to expect: Would it take a year? Would it ever work?” said Ruthie.
“But, three days! This is the good part. He was in three times in a row. The following morning we did our coffee deal, visiting, and I’m thinking, ‘My gosh, I think we’re having a conversation.’ Bob said that machine is working and I knew it was.”
Ruthie said there was a dramatic improvement.
“Back walking and jogging, shoveling snow,” said Bob.
He said it’s changed his life and hers, his kids and his grandkids.
“Grandpa’s Grandpa again. He’s laughing and joking,” said Ruthie.
Bob wasn’t part of any fancy, published study.
“Oh it’s like a miracle,” said Ruthie.
Some experts said they still need to see more studies.
A spokesman for The Mayo Clinic, which lists Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment, or HBOT, as a treatment for other diseases but not for Alzheimer’s, notes a single case report is, “not deemed sufficient grounds to recommend a therapy by our experts,” and that a larger series of studies would be needed.
They sent us this statement: “This is a very exciting time in Alzheimer’s disease and dementia research.
The Alzheimer’s Association is confident that better treatments, earlier detection and prevention strategies will be available in the foreseeable future. The speed with which those achievements occur is directly related to the commitment to Alzheimer’s and dementia research.”
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