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Application of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Alzheimer’s Disease

By hqt / June 1, 2021

According to the WHO, there are currently about 50 million people living with dementia in the world, of which Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type.

As we all know, hyperbaric oxygen can solve the symptoms of ischemia and hypoxia or the problem of ischemia and hypoxia during the development of the disease. Today, let’s talk about the application of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of elderly patients. Although the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease has not yet been discovered, there are several risk factors related to the disease including age, gender, socioeconomic factors, education, head injury, sleep, high blood pressure, and genetic factors.

Complications related to Alzheimer’s disease, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cerebral ischemia are all related to acute and chronic hypoxia. Therefore, the cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease patients may be related to hypoxia.

A clinical study of 42 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 11 patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment and 30 patients in the control group showed that 40 minutes of hyperbaric oxygen per day for 20 consecutive days can significantly improve recognition know function. Compared with patients in the control group, hyperbaric oxygen significantly improved the simple mental state score and the Montreal cognitive score of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the ability of daily living scale score. Hyperbaric oxygen can also protect mitochondrial integrity, and prevent mitochondrial-related apoptosis pathways.

A similar clinical study involved a 58-year-old female patient with Alzheimer’s disease that got worse 8 months before hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The patient received 1.15 ATA hyperbaric oxygen therapy for 50 minutes, 5 days a week. After 21 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, patients reported improved levels and improved performance in crossword puzzles and daily activities. After completing 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, the patient reported enhanced memory, reduced disorientation, improved tremor, and increased local and overall brain metabolism by 6.5-38%. In addition, combined with standard drug therapy, hyperbaric oxygen (96 times in total) maintained the patient’s symptomatic and functional level for 22 months.

However, studies have also shown that a course of hyperbaric oxygen therapy can only temporarily improve the cognitive impairment of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and the effect is not permanent. Multi-course hyperbaric oxygen therapy may have long-term effects on the cognitive health of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. When stop the treatment, the side effects associated with hyperbaric oxygen are mild and reversible, like claustrophobia, headache, reversible myopia, and epilepsy. Serious complications, such as irreversible nuclear cataracts and oxygen poisoning, are extremely rare.

Although hyperbaric oxygen therapy is not widely used in Alzheimer’s disease, and domestic Alzheimer’s disease related guidelines have not included hyperbaric oxygen therapy, more and more basic and clinical studies have confirmed hyperbaric oxygen therapy’s value and advantages. Although the FDA has approved 14 kinds of clinical applications of hyperbaric oxygen, it is still necessary to conduct more clinical studies to study the most effective hyperbaric oxygen treatment plan for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Author: Song Xiangsheng


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