Traumatic Brain Injuries and PTSD

The use of HBOT for Traumatic Brain Injury or Concussion is an exciting area of research in hyperbaric medicine that is showing excellent results. We have also been supporting the work of non-profits to support independent principal investigators to conduct observational studies, nation-wide, that have further confirmed and validated work by leading researchers pioneering the use of HBOT to treat traumatic brain injury, specifically with brain injured veterans and other adults.

What is a traumatic brain injury?

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as damage to the brain resulting from external mechanical force or penetration of an object into the brain. In addition to the damage caused at the moment of injury, brain trauma causes secondary injury. These secondary complications contribute substantially to the damage from the initial injury and further disrupt normal brain function.

Do I have the symptoms that follow a TBI or PTSD – or both?

You may notice that many of the symptoms that follow a TBI overlap with the common reactions after trauma. Because a TBI is caused by trauma and there is symptom overlap, it can be hard to tell what the underlying problem is. In addition, many people who get a TBI also develop PTSD.

Who does traumatic brain injury usually affect?

Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) occur twice as often in men as women. Higher risk populations are between the ages of 15 and 24 years, and 75 years and older. TBI is known as the signature injury of the Iraq/Afghan Wars. The RAND Corporation estimates that more than 320,000 veterans have experienced TBI while deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. In the US, 5.3 million people live with disabilities caused by TBI.

What are the most common symptoms of traumatic brain injury?

Traumatic Brain Injury is complex and can have a broad spectrum of symptoms and disabilities. Some of the most common outwards symptoms and effects include: Impulsive behavior, loss of memory, impaired perception, personality changes, loss of taste and smell, diminished concentration, hearing and balance disorders, cognitive fatigue, concussion, coma, and epilepsy.

What are the traditional treatments for traumatic brain injury?

Currently there is no cure for TBI. Initial treatment is to stabilize patient and minimize secondary injury. Long-term treatment is supportive and includes physical and occupational therapy, and psychiatric support through counseling and medication.

Why does Hyperbaric Oxygen help brain injuries?

When cells in the brain die, blood plasma leaks out into surrounding brain tissue causing swelling and reducing blood flow. These otherwise normal cells go dormant because they can’t function without enough oxygen. HBOT dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma, making oxygen available to heal damaged capillary walls, reduce swelling, and aid in new blood vessel formation. Blood flow can be restored to the dormant tissue and these cells then have the potential to function again.

What benefits can I expect from oxygen therapy for traumatic brain injury?

Since every patient is different it is hard to predict the result in each individual case. However, we know from over 35 years of experience that HBOT is safe and will not make the patient worse. Over 80% of patients achieve improvement in conjunction with physical and occupational therapy. The usual oxygen therapy is once daily, five days a week (M-F) for eight weeks. If a significant response is noted after 40 HBOT additional treatments may be helpful.

Please see these links for more information:

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial

Boussi-Gross R, Golan H, Fishlev G, Bechor Y, Volkov O, et al. (2013) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial. PLoS ONE 8(11): e79995. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079995

Harch, PG, et al. A Phase I Study of Low-Pressure Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Blast-Induced Post-Concussion Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Neurotrauma 28:1. Nov 2012

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