Background Image
Previous Page  24 / 68 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 24 / 68 Next Page
Page Background

oxygen therapy


MAY / JUN 2015


Healthcare Journal of new orleans  

The Link Between TBI and PTSD

TBI has been potentially linked to PTSD as

well, so if a treatment for TBI can be found,

symptoms of PTSDmay also be ameliorated,

particularly if the two causalities were con-

current. While PTSD can occur without a

blow to the head, they can be conjoined in

one brain-injuring incident.

While the two conditions may seem to

symptomatically overlap, they actuallymay

not. TBI is a physical injury to the brainwith

a constellation of symptoms, and the other is

a psychiatric conditionwith its own different

set of symptoms.

However, the longer someone has PTSD,

sleep deprivation, a consistent elaboration

of stress hormones, and other strains on the

brain can eventually cause physical damage

to the brain. In a similar light, having an injury

to the brainmay possibly injure centers of the

brain that make a person more susceptible

to developing PTSD. In these cases, the two

conditions may begin to overlap.

Dr. Harch treated one patient with severe

PTSD symptoms with HBOT, and after a

couple dozen treatments, the patient

returned saying that his PTSD symptoms

were gone. This has led Dr. Harch to believe

that HBOT may be interrupting the circu-

lating loop of electrical activity involved

with PTSD. Treat the TBI, and PTSD may

be treated along with it.

How Hyperbaric Oxygen

Affects the Brain

HBOT involves placing a patient in a total

body chamber and having him inhale 100

percent oxygen for a period of time while

atmospheric pressure is increased and con-

trolled by a physician. In doing so, this ther-

apy stimulates new tissue to form.

Physicians most commonly use this

treatment for severe wounds and diving

accidents, but research from the past few

decades has shown that hyperbaric oxygen

may have more healing power for the brain

than previously thought.

Dr. Harch, who has conducted extensive

research with HBOT over the past several

decades, says that to stimulate new tissue,

a treatment must stimulate DNA and cause

the nucleus of the cell to divide.Thus, hyper-

baric oxygen acts as a DNA signaling drug

that increases the production of hormones

that stimulate growth in different tissues.

One study showed that hyperbaric oxy-

gen turned on and off specific genes that

contribute to tissue growth. The treatment

was found to turn on genes that code for

growth and repair hormones as well as anti-

inflammatory genes that quell inflammation

in the body. Simultaneously, the treatment

suppresses and turns off pro-inflamma-

tory genes and the genes that code for pro-

grammed cell death.

Dr. Harch thus calls HBOT “the most

enduring, most panoramic, and most

effective gene therapy that has ever been


Hyperbaric Research in Action

Dr. Harch’s study is comprised of two

groups of patients, both of which receive

oxygen treatment for the same duration

of time but at different intervals. To begin,

potential participants fill out consent forms

and screening questionnaires wherein

they must meet certain requirements and

thresholds to be a part of the study.

If chosen, they go through a full struc-

tured interview, the Ohio State Univer-

sity TBI Identification Method, to identify

incidents of TBI in the last 10 years, from

which the patient is still symptomatic, and

the severity of those symptoms. Dr. Harch

then has a conversation about the incidents

and symptoms at length to determine if the

potential participant meets any exclusion


Paul Harch, MD