Hyperbaric Therapy What You Need to Know: "We Know How Hyperbaric Therapy Works-It Works by Reviving the Little Mitochondria & Actually Causes Mitochondrial Biogenesis, So That If You Need More Mitochondriain Your Neurons More of Them Will Form."

By Stoller, K. Paul | The Exceptional Parent, October 2013 | Go to article overview

Hyperbaric Therapy What You Need to Know: "We Know How Hyperbaric Therapy Works-It Works by Reviving the Little Mitochondria & Actually Causes Mitochondrial Biogenesis, So That If You Need More Mitochondriain Your Neurons More of Them Will Form."


Stoller, K. Paul, The Exceptional Parent


OVERVIEW

Hyperbaric therapy is truly a benign and benevolent intervention for children and adults with brain injuries. It works as its name implies - hyper (more of) and baric (pressure) and in fact that is how it works. It is the increased pressure of the gas we breathe everyday that can actually signal the DNA in our cells to perform healing tasks that the body normally can't do.

Ground zero for this activity is the mitochondria, which are the little organelles inside of our cells that convert oxygen and sugar into the gasoline the cells run on (ATP)--this is called cellular respiration. It doesn't take much to knock mitochondria off-line and then that cell can't perform the job it was assigned. So, be it oxygen deprivation, external toxic exposure, stroke, trauma, or a hyper-immune reaction to an infection or a vaccine the mitochondria will be damaged.

We know how Hyperbaric therapy works--it works by reviving the little mitochondria and actually causes mitochondrial biogenesis, so that if you need more mitochondria in your neurons more of them will form. It is interesting to note that the reason the ketogenic diet helps patients with certain types of neurological problems is that ketone bodies help support mitochondrial function. It is a back door way the mitochondria can receive energy if glucose transport has been compromised. My opinion is that hyperbaric therapy is the most effective way to do this. It is that simple--this is not rocket science, but it is non-invasive brain repair.

When I published an article on using hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the prestigious Pediatrics journal, I thought I would be hearing from a lot of people. After all, FAS is they most common form of non-hereditary mental retardation in the USA. However, when the article was published back in 2005, it was met with resounding silence.

This is emblematic of the trouble hyperbaric therapy (HBT) or hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) had, becoming integrated as standard of care for treating brain injuries. It isn't as if it doesn't treat brain injuries already--approved and accepted (insurance reimbursable conditions). Decompression Sickness that affects the brain is not about shrinking down the bubbles of nitrogen that DCS can cause--those bubbles are ephemeral and are gone within five minutes, unless one ends up on an autopsy table. SO, then, what is being treated?

HBOT is treating the inflammatory cascade and hypoxic brain injury those bubbles set off. In other words, a brain injury is being treated.

When Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is treated with HBOT is this therapy pulling the CO molecule off the hemoglobin in your red blood cells? That is the answer most medical students would tell you, but the truth is that by the time most patients get into a hyperbaric chamber, they have normal Carboxy-Hemoglobin levels. So, what is being treated?

What is being treated are those little mitochondria, and on a DNA level causing mitochondrial biogenesis (new mitochondria)--all this by perhaps the safest procedure in medicine at the pressures used to treat brain injuries.

WHAT ARE HYPERBARIC CHAMBERS?

There are many types of hyperbaric chambers in all shapes and sizes, but they are not all equal. The term "hard-shell" chamber refers to chambers made of steel and acrylic that can achieve pressures equal to three atmospheres and beyond. There chambers are small, one-person monoplace devices, all the way up to submarine sized, 30-person multiplace chambers. The hard-shell chambers can be compressed with 100% oxygen or room air, but if they are compressed with room air, as all multiplace chambers are, there are oxygen hoods or masks given to the patient(s) so they can breathe in the enriched oxygen.

The "soft-shell" or portable chambers come in all sizes as well, but the largest of the group are approximately seven feet long and 33 inches in diameter. …

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