A Year’s Worth of HBOT Progress

by Robert L. Beckman

The last year has seen unprecedented progress with respect to getting the DOD/VA/Army and general medicine moving forward in recognizing that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is safe, dramatically more effective, and much less expensive than all other interventions when treating and helping heal brain wounds caused by TBI/PTSD/Concussion. Consider: 

1. The Center of Compassionate Innovation in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a treatment option for a small number of Veterans with persistent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms resistant to standard options. Pilot sites are Tulsa Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Oklahoma State Medical Center in Tulsa, OK, and the David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base, CA. http://bit.ly/2pAOWPV

2. Col. Rachel LeFebrvre (USAF), Brooke Army Medical Center, reports that “miraculous” results are achieved with hyperbaric treatment in San Antonio, TX.  http://bit.ly/2C9748v

3. VA and DOD facilities in seven states [AL, FL, GA, MD, NJ, TX, OK] began paying for and/or treating TBI and/or PTSD using HBOT “because it is the right thing to do,” according to a neurologist in a Florida VA. In addition to the legislation already passed in OK, TX and IN, KY and AZ, legislators in a dozen states are crafting legislation to make HBOT available for treating brain-wounded veterans using HBOT [FL, AL, LA, AR, NV, ND, IA, CO, ID, OH, NY, VA].

4. Nineteen US Congressional Legislators from eleven states (NJ, TX, CO, NC, FL, CA, OH, AL, MI, VA and IN) sign letters encouraging DOD and the VA to urgently use HBOT for PTSD/TBI/Concussion.

5. Dr. Daphne Denham, the nation’s premier expert on HBOT treatment of acute concussion, reports that 98% of her patients [originally 51 out of 52; now 118 out of 120] treated within ten days of suffering a concussion, completely resolved their symptoms in five treatments or less [average of 2.4 treatments]. https://tinyurl.com/ybldktqn

6. At the August conference of HBOT2018, researchers showed evidence that further validated the safety and efficacy of HBOT for TBI/PTSD/Concussion. http://bit.ly/2x4tWUf

7. Continuing the accumulation of positive data, Dr. George Wolf, the US Government’s premier HBOT expert, reported recently that “[HBOT] for mild [TBI] and PTSD should be considered a legitimate adjunct therapy.” http://bit.ly/2x8WDiT

8. Dr. Lindell Weaver, recently concluded the Brain Injury and Mechanisms of Action of HBO2 for Persistent Post-Concussive Symptoms After Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (BIMA) Protocol with 71 patients. His conclusions: “By 13 weeks, HBO2 improved post-concussive and PTSD symptoms, cognitive processing speed, sleep quality, and vestibular symptoms, most dramatically in those with PTSD.” http://bit.ly/2x6d2EN

9. Dr. Gary Steinberg of Stanford University and team are “stunned” and “shocked” at the progress made using stem cells on stroke patients. [ http://wbur.fm/2BT1qof ] Israeli research studying HBOT for Stroke shows that HBOT increases the production of stem cells in the bone marrow with transfer to the Central Nervous System, making them available for brain wound healing and growth of new brain cells, neuronic tissue, and repair of white and grey matter. http://bit.ly/2CaGfP6

10. Dr. Paul Harch and team published results showing 30 subjects undergoing HBOT for brain injuries experienced a significant reduction in suicidal ideation and anxiety. At the same time, they were able to discontinue or decrease the dosage of their psychoactive medications and 52% no longer met the criteria for PTSD. http://bit.ly/2zyFrAr

11. Israeli researchers publish results showing the mechanisms by which HBOT induces brain neuroplasticity using highly sensitive MRI techniques of DSC and DTI. HBOT can induce cerebral angiogenesis and improve both white and gray microstructures indicating regeneration of nerve fibers. The micro structural changes correlate with the neurocognitive improvements. http://bit.ly/2C7NC9H

12. Drs. Harch and Edward F. Fogarty published a Case Study of HBOT in near-drowning. Short duration normobaric oxygen and hyperbaric oxygen therapy in the subacute phase of drowning recovery resulted in video-documented near-complete resolution of severe neurological deficits and near-complete reversal of gray and white matter atrophy on MRI. Hyperoxic and hyperbaric gene signaling-induced growth of both gray and white matter is the most likely explanation. http://bit.ly/2yCfZdq and http://bit.ly/2DUiqv9

13. At the UHMS Florida conference in June, multiple presenters spoke of on-going research proving the safety and effectiveness of HBOT to treat TBI/PTSD/Concussion. An intriguing breakthrough paper by Kent McLaughlin found significant pro-angiogenic stem cell mobilization at much lower pressures than previously discovered. One UHMS official said that his findings cast a shadow over their definition of hyperbaric medicine which wrongly declares that anything below 1.4ata has no medicinal properties. Of course, DOD/VA/Army studies have wrongly depended on that definition to “prove” statistical non-significance for HBOT, even though their data in all 5 studies clearly show that all patients showed significant medical improvement.

14. At the same UHMS conference, Dr Shai Efrati’s team from Israel divulged continuing research on the mechanisms of action of HBOT when treating non-healing wounds to the brain. They showed how the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen addresses directly the negative cascade of damage and degeneration both in the acute phase of wound stabilization after TBI/PTSD/Concussion, and in the acute and chronic phases of wound healing.

This is accomplished by: 
• Decreasing levels of inflammatory biochemicals
• Increased oxygenation to functioning mitochondria
• Increases in blood flow independent of new blood vessel formation
• Angiogenesis from the addition of oxygen: (growth of new blood vessels in the acute and chronic phases)
• Up-regulation of key antioxidant enzymes and decreasing oxidative stress
• Increased production of new mitochondria (the energy factories of the cells)
• Neurogenesis: (growth of new neuronal tissue and Remyelination during and after the treatments are completed)
• Bypassing functionally impaired hemoglobin molecules, the result of abnormal porphyrin production, thereby allowing increased delivery of oxygen directly to cells
• Improvement in immune and autoimmune system disorder
• Direct production of stem cells in the brain
• Increases in the production of stem cells in the bone marrow with transfer to the Central Nervous System

15. June 2018, the Pro Football Retired Players Association and TreatNOW hosted a Reception on Capitol Hill to honor brain-injured veterans. https://youtu.be/I2jOv8GQ-38. Speaking to nineteen members of Congress, two dozen retired Hall of Famers and numerous treated veterans and staffer, the Executive Director of PFRPA, Mr. Robert Schmidt, struck a hopeful note: “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) greatly improves cognitive ability and pain relief for Traumatic Brain Injury. We hope to convince Congress, the DOD, and the VA to recognize the beneficial use of HBOT or, at a minimum, to fund such additional studies as they feel necessary even though we feel the evidence already exists to justify mass treatment. Football players will also benefit from action by the DOD and VA but that is secondary to our desire to help heal our combat veterans.” See Roy Jefferson: https://bit.ly/2MDg1JV

16. A new Veterans Administration Secretary, Robert Wilkie, was sworn in. Part of his charter from Congress is to confront the mental health epidemic among veterans who cannot get appointments and sufficient care. Executive Orders and legislation have put in place means to allow veterans to procure care outside the VA system when it is unavailable, or the wait times are egregious. Certainly HBOT qualifies as such a treatment since it is not even held out as an option for veterans; neither can they procure it inside the VA. Billions of dollars continue to be spent on interventions that do not treat the physical wound to the brain. Not one of the 80+ therapies/processes/ procedures/devices, countless computer applications, nor 114+ prescribed drugs has been approved by the FDA for TBI, nor do they “treat” wounds. All are used off-label for TBI. All are controversial at some level. Many of them are brand-new and haven’t even been explored in the literature. No risk analysis has been performed, and no tracking is done. Yet neither the DOD nor the VA provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy used off-label to treat and heal brain injury. With evidence over 10 years from over 4,000 successes in over 80 independent clinics around the US, HBOT is the one therapy proved by multiple clinical trials inside DOD/VA and around the world to treat and help heal the wound to the brain, safely and effectively.

17. At the end of July 2018, over 4,000 brain-wounded veterans, citizens, active duty and athletes have experienced significant medical improvement since 2010 in the 80+ TreatNOW Coalition clinics using HBOT and other alternative therapies. See http://treatnow.org/treatments/treatment-centers/

18. Doctors Wright and Figueroa summarize the current body of knowledge: “There is sufficient evidence for the safety and preliminary efficacy data from clinical studies to support the use of HBOT in mild traumatic brain injury/persistent post concussive syndrome (mTBI/PPCS). The reported positive outcomes and the durability of those outcomes has been demonstrated at 6 months post HBOT treatment. Given the current policy by Tricare and the VA to allow physicians to prescribe drugs or therapies in an off-label manner for mTBI/PPCS management and reimburse for the treatment, it is past time that HBOT be given the same opportunity. This is now an issue of policy modification and reimbursement, not an issue of scientific proof or preliminary clinical efficacy.” http://bit.ly/2xEZSz9

The TreatNOW Coalition will continue to work toward its Mission and Vision:

TreatNOW Mission: Identify and treat veterans and others suffering from Concussion/TBI/PTSD  
TreatNOW Goal: Ensure that over 800,000 Iraq and Afghanistan brain injured veterans and active duty service members, along with all citizens, get insured access to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other proven alternative medical treatments for their Invisible Wounds