Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Improves Cerebral Blood Flow in a Small Clinical Trial

In the study noted here, researchers provide evidence for a few months of hyperbaric oxygen treatment to increase blood flow to the brain, perhaps in large part by spurring greater growth of small blood vessels in brain tissue. In older patients this produced improvements in measures of cognitive function. There is a good deal of evidence in the literature to suggests that changes in blood flow to the brain cause altered cognitive function. Consider that exercise improves memory function, for example, both immediately following exercise, and then over the long term. Further, it is the case that capillary networks decline in density throughout the body with age, and this is thought to contribute to degenerative aging by lowering the flow of blood to energy-hungry tissues such as the brain and muscles.

Besides common pathological declines such as in Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairments, normal cognitive aging is part of the normal aging process. Processing speed, conceptual reasoning, memory, and problem-solving activities are the main domains which decline gradually over time. Cerebrovascular dysfunction is an additional distinctive feature of aging that includes endothelial-dependent vasodilatation and regional decreases in cerebral blood flow (CBF). Although not associated with a specific pathology, reduced regional CBF is associated with impaired cognitive functions.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) utilizes 100% oxygen in an environmental pressure higher than one absolute atmospheres (ATA) to enhance the amount of oxygen dissolved in body's tissues. Repeated intermittent hyperoxic exposures has been shown to induce physiological effects which normally occur during hypoxia in a hyperoxic environment, including stem cells proliferation and generation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). Angiogenesis is induced mainly in brain regions signaling ischemia or metabolic dysfunction. In turn, neovascularization can enhance cerebral blood flow and consequently improve the metabolic activity.

A randomized controlled clinical trial randomized 63 healthy adults (older than 64) either to HBOT or control arms for three months. Primary endpoint included the general cognitive function measured post intervention/control. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was evaluated by perfusion magnetic resonance imaging. There was a significant group-by-time interaction in global cognitive function post-HBOT compared to control. The most striking improvements were in attention and information processing speed. Analysis showed significant cerebral blood flow increases in the HBOT group compared to the control group.

Link: https://doi.org/10.18632/aging.103571


Maybe all houses will have a HBOT as their bed in future.

Posted by: Gekki at July 24th, 2020 4:40 PM

Are aging individuals living at high altitudes more subject to mental decay than those at sea level? You'd think someone would have noticed.

Posted by: Marc L Haynes at July 25th, 2020 8:36 PM

Individuals living at high altitudes adjust to the difference in atmospheric oxygen, so there does not appear to be any cognitive decline. In addition, there are many uses of hyperbaric oxygen, like burn healing, CVA recovery, near drownings, and more than I can remember so close to my bedtime. AFAIK, I do not yet have any cognitive decline, which is in line with family history on both sides. "We don't get dementia. We give it." (yes, it sounds better, as a coat of arms when you write it in Latin.) That's been observed for a century or more, on both sides of the family, except for my grandfather, who died at age forty seven, who smoked, drank hard, was, by all accounts, angry a lot of the time.I was barely a year old when he died, so I do not remember him.I only know him, after a fashion, in family reminiscences.

Posted by: Michael Adams at July 25th, 2020 9:43 PM

It seems even that individuals living in high latitudes agree either slower or not gracefully than the general population. It might be related to reduced calorie intake, though.

What's interesting is that reduced oxygen levels in tissues usually instigate growth of new vessels, so to some degree hyper it hypo oxygen environment should be tolerated , given the oxygen delivery systems still work.
It is interesting to compared hyperbaric treatment for a group undergoing Senolytic treatments

Posted by: Cuberat at July 25th, 2020 10:22 PM

I used to go in for a treatment every time I was in Raleigh area a decade ago. I thought by now clinics where you get hbot for about $200 would be everywhere. I don't think there are many, must have been too much FDA red tape added to allow them to be viable.

Posted by: august33 at July 27th, 2020 9:33 PM
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