Research is the first to show recovery of non-healing brain wounds, improved brain structure and function in PTSD patients through hyperbaric oxygen therapy
Aviv Clinics, the leader in the research and treatment of age-related cognitive and functional decline and novel applications of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to maximize human performance, is sharing the results of a groundbreaking new study that shows HBOT can improve symptoms and brain structure of treatment-resistant PTSD in veterans.
The study, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Improves Symptoms, Brain's Microstructure and Functionality in Veterans with Treatment-Resistant Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: a Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial, was conducted by the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center and Tel Aviv University, and published this week in PLOS ONE.
The clinical trial included 35 veterans with PTSD who failed all current available treatments. Patients were randomized to HBOT or a control group for three months. The study’s primary endpoint included PTSD symptoms score, evaluated by clinician-administered PTSD scale (CAPS) questionnaire. Functional MRI was used for the evaluation of brain function, and MRI-DTI for the evaluation of the brains’ microstructural integrity.
Research revealed that all PTSD symptoms, including intrusive symptoms like avoidance, cognition and mood changes, and depression, were improved through HBOT treatment.
“Today, it is widely accepted that PTSD is characterized by long-term structural and functional brain changes. The severity of the brain changes correlates with the severity of the symptoms and its resistance to the current available treatments,” says Dr. Keren Doenyas-Barak, head of the PTSD program at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine. “Our study shows for the first time in humans that HBOT-induced neuroplasticity may target those brain pathologies and thus be used as a new therapeutic strategy for people who suffer from this chronic debilitating disorder.”
“In the past, we demonstrated HBOT’s potential to improve and treat brain injuries such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and age-related cognitive decline by increasing brain blood flow and metabolism. The same mechanisms are now shown to contribute to healing of ‘non-healing wounds’ associated with psychological trauma,” said Dr. Shai Efrati, the research group leader and chair of Aviv Scientific’s Medical Advisory Board. “The association found between the clinical improvement and brain functional changes have for the first time given us very important insights into the biology of PTSD in the brain.”
Aviv Clinics offers an advanced, comprehensive treatment program to offer patients top-line care and the opportunity to invest in their future quality of life. Prior to the HBOT process, Aviv conducts an in-depth assessment of the patient’s physical and neurological condition to assess how sustainable the HBOT treatment will be. For patients that are a fit for Aviv Medical Program, the Aviv team will then prepare a robust HBOT treatment schedule combined with personal cognitive training and a physical and dietary plan. The combination of elevated pressure creates an optimal oxygenations condition, ultimately encouraging damaged tissues to regenerate and heal faster.