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Oxygen chamber can boost brain repair
Date:1/23/2013

oxygen levels during HBOT treatment supplies the necessary energy for rebuilding neuronal connections and stimulating inactive neurons to facilitate the healing process, explains Dr. Efrati.

For their study, the researchers sought post stroke patients whose condition was no longer improving. To assess the potential impact of HBOT treatment, the anatomical features and functionality of the brain were evaluated using a combination of CT scans to identify necrotic tissue, and SPECT scans to determine the metabolic activity level of the neurons surrounding damaged areas.

Seventy-four participants spanning 6 to 36 months post-stroke were divided into two groups. The first treatment group received HBOT from the beginning of the study, and the second received no treatment for two months, then received a two-month period of HBOT treatment. Treatment consisted of 40 two-hour sessions five times weekly in high pressure chambers containing oxygen-rich air. The results indicate that HBOT treatment can lead to significant improvement in brain function in post stroke patients even at chronically late stages, helping neurons strengthen and build new connections in damaged regions.

A potential avenue for prevention

Although the study focuses on patients only through three years post-stroke, Dr. Efrati has seen similar improvement in patients whose brain injuries occurred up to 20 years before, belying the concept that the brain has a limited window for growth and change. "The findings challenge the leading paradigm since they demonstrate beyond any doubt that neuroplasticity can still be activated for months and years after acute brain injury, thus revealing that many aspects of the brain remain plastic into adulthood," says Prof. Ben-Jacob.

This study also "opens the gate into a new territory of treatment," adds Dr. Efrati. The researchers are currently conducting a study on the benefits of HBOT for those with traumatic bra
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Contact: George Hunka
ghunka@aftau.org
212-742-9070
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Source:Eurekalert

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