Dr. Harch's HBOT protocol is expanding the trial program. A nonprofit foundation is seeking 1,000 volunteers for a new study and these volunteers will consist of both military and general population brain injury patients.
On March 15 the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation launched a nationwide study. Dr. Harch's treatment will be available from more than 20 doctors.
The Foundation seeks people with mild to moderate traumatic brain injury, or TBI, and also post-traumatic stress disorder, to participate in this large multi-center study. Participation involves being treated in a chamber 80 times over five months to learn if patients recover cognitive abilities. The treatment is non-invasive and has few side effects.
During a press conference which Digital Journal attended General Patterson Mamey (now a civilian judge), IHMF director William Duncan, Dr. James Wright and Dr. Paul Harch spoke about this promising new trial.
“Failure to effectively treat brain injury can result in life-long cognitive loss,” said Dr. Harch, who was in charge of hyperbaric medicine at Louisiana State University. “Even a single episode of loss of consciousness from trauma has been shown to cause permanent injury to the brain. That is why this study is so important.”
Dr. Harch said that there is some indication from models that the HBOT treatment stimulates tissue growth within the brain.
"When a brain injury occurs oxygen levels are dropped because of brain swelling. It appears that something about the HBOT protocol is working to repair brain vessels and tissues."
Dr. Wright continued to say that oxygen therapy is used worldwide.
"We know that the cells are not dead but they are not working either. We don't know all the ways the cells begin to repair themselves at this time."
Harch added that no one understood the science behind this until about 10 to 12 years ago.
"HBOT treatments are a growth and repairment drug. It helps to repair tissue in acute and chronic brain injury."
There is no set model for the number of HBOT treatments needed for recovery. Those who have had their injuries longer may require more than the base 40 treatments.
Retired General Patt Mamey told his story. He was injured in Iraq, spending 15 months at Walter Reed for his brain injury. He had no improvements. His IQ function was lower and he had no hope for a functional future. Then came the HBOT treatments. For five months he received treatments. He recovered. Now a civilian judge he sees the effects of TBI on a daily basis.
"At least 10 percent of inmates are Iraqi War vets. I see vets in the courtroom. They are doing 'crazy' things."
The need for treatments for injured troops came home when Jose spoke about his injury. After returning from service he experienced a blackout. An MRI found an internal brain bleed. That bleed came from the multiple brain injuries that he had suffered from 2006-2007. Today he suffers from headaches. He asked if he could be helped.
Dr. Harch assured this young man who served his nation that "yes you are treatable. We have to determine if your prior history had previous brain bleeds. Call us after the conference."
Words of hope. Hope is what is needed for millions of people who suffer from brain injuries.
The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injuries started over eighty years ago for divers dealing with the bends. It worked at that time and now today with newer protocols by Dr. Harch advancements for those with brain injuries are taking place.
When asked if any of those involved with the study stood to profit Duncan responded:
"There is no patent on oxygen. It is impossible to get rich off of this trial."
Who does stand to profit is the United States. Untreated brain injuries cost the United States billions of dollars each year. Those with brain injuries are more likely to be homeless, need other medical care, be unemployed, incarcerated or abuse drugs or alcohol.
People can call 800-288-9328, go to ClinicalTrials.gov
or visit the Foundation's Web site at hyperbaricmedicalfoundation.org
to learn if they are eligible to participate and find participating physicians.