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Aging Health

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Could Mitigate Age-Related Cognitive Decline

A new study suggests that hyperbaric oxygen therapy could be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of age-related cognitive decline and neurodegeneration.

The research was done by one of the preeminent researchers on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), Shai Efrati, MD, the director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center.

In the past several years, the literature showing the possible utility of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in neurologic disease has been growing. Shai Efrati, MD, a pioneer of the treatment, and colleagues published findings just last year showing its potential in patients with post-stroke cognitive issues.

Now, they’ve taken early-stage steps and begun to assess the therapy as a possible treatment for dementia. They conducted a randomized, controlled clinical trial of 63 healthy older adults comparing the oxygen therapy to placebo treatment for 3 months.

The key takeaways from their research are:

  • The data suggest that the hyperbaric oxygen treatment-induced cognitive enhancements in those aging adults via mechanisms involving regional changes in cerebral blood flow, as evaluated by perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
  • Using a specific protocol of HBOT, cerebral blood flow (CBF) improved/increased in elderly patients by 16-23%, alleviating vascular dysfunction and amyloid burden.
  • Elderly patients suffering from significant memory loss at baseline revealed an increase in brain blood flow and improvement in cognitive performance, demonstrating HBOT potency to reverse core elements responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The study is part of a comprehensive research program directed toward aging and accompanying ailments as a reversible disease.
  • It holds promise for a new strategic approach to the prevention of Alzheimer’s by addressing not only the symptoms or targeting biomarkers but rather the core pathology and biology responsible for the advancement of the disease. 

You can read more details of the groundbreaking research and hear Dr. Efrati speak about it himself in a video here. 

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