What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBT)?
HBOT involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a hyperbaric chamber that is pressurized to a higher level than the atmosphere outside. This increases the pressure in the body’s tissues and lungs, which allows the blood to collect more oxygen and deliver it to areas where it is needed. The procedure is FDA-approved to treat some conditions such as carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness (DCS), and airborne infections like sinusitis, ear infections, and burns.
What are the side effects of hyperbaric treatment?
During hbot, oxygen molecules are dissolved directly in the plasma — a liquid component of blood that transports proteins, hormones, and nutrients throughout the body. Normally, the plasma has a low uptake of oxygen. In the pressurized environment of a HBOT treatment chamber, the plasma’s uptake of oxygen is increased, which in turn stimulates a range of biological responses.
In animal studies, HBOT accelerates wound healing by enhancing epithelialization and neovascularization in the vascular bed. In addition, HBOT stimulates antimicrobial effects and inhibits the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
Several human studies have shown that HBOT improves cognitive function in people with MCI and AD, and ameliorates the reduced brain glucose metabolism seen in these patients [6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17]. However, it is important to note that these benefits are not due to the oxygen alone, but rather because of the HBOT’s effects on cellular and molecular pathways, including reducing neuroinflammation, increasing apoptosis and gliosis, and stimulating neurogenesis. In addition, HBOT may improve tinnitus, middle ear infections, and ear pain associated with barotrauma from diving.