Treating Brain Injuries

Recent studies, conducted at the Hyperbaric Center at Assaf Harofe Medical Center in patients suffering from chronic neurological deficiencies due to Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Anoxic Brain damage (ABD), have shown that HBOT can improve the symptoms and rejuvenate the damaged brain tissue.

Treating Brain Injuries

After any brain injury there are several degrees of damage to the brain. The most severe is necrosis (the tissue is completely dead), and nothing can be done to help treat the necrotic area. However, surrounding the necrotic areas there are usually areas with metabolic dysfunctions, and this is where the hyperbaric oxygen can help. We can visualize these areas by metabolic imaging of the brain, we use SPECT analysis together with perfusion MRI+DTI, and in the location where is SPECT/MRI mismatch that is where the hyperbaric oxygen can help even years after the acute injury.

The study of Stroke patients aimed to evaluate whether increasing the level of dissolved oxygen by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) could activate a regeneration of damaged brain tissue (neuroplasticity) in patients with chronic neurological deficiencies due to their Stroke.  A prospective, randomized and controlled trial, including 74 patients was conducted (15 were excluded). All patients suffered a Stroke 6-36 months prior to inclusion and had at least one motor dysfunction. They all received two months of treatment, a total of 40 sessions, five days a week. The findings showed that the neurological functions and life quality of all the patients in the study had significantly improved following the HBOT sessions. The results of the SPECT imaging (CT) were well correlated with the clinical improvement of the patients, meaning that the imaging showed an improvement in blood supply and viability of damaged brain tissue. The results indicate that HBOT can lead to significant neurological improvements in post Stroke patients even years after the Stroke occurred. The observed clinical improvements imply that a regeneration of damaged brain cells can still be activated long after the acute brain insult.

In a second study with patients suffering from post Stroke symptoms, the researchers’ aim was to address the specific effects of HBOT on memory impairments after a Stroke at late chronic stages. The protocol included 40 to 60 daily session, five days per week, and memory cognitive tests were administered before and after HBOT Therapy. The results revealed significant improvements in all memory measures after HBOT treatments, and the clinical improvements were well correlated with improvements in brain metabolism. The study concluded that even though further research is needed, the results illustrate the potential of HBOT for improving memory impairments in post-Stroke patients, even years after the Stroke occurred.

Treating Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined as damage to the brain resulting from external mechanical force. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in the US. Approximately 70-90% of the TBI cases are classified as mild, and up to 25% of them will not recover and suffer chronic neuro-cognitive impairment. Intensive therapy and rehabilitation programs are considered essential for maximizing quality of life but are often just partially successful. The main pathologies of these cases involve scattered brain injuries, which are hard to detect and locate. The Study that was conducted at the Hyperbaric Center at Assaf Harofe Medical Center tested the effectiveness of HBOT in improving brain function and quality of life in TBI patients suffering chronic neuro-cognitive impairments. The Study included 56 patients 1-5 years after an injury with prolonged post-concussion Syndrome (PCS). They received 40 HBOT treatments, five days a week. Significant improvements were demonstrated in cognitive function and “quality of life” following HBOT, and the brain imaging revealed an elevated brain activity correlating with the cognitive improvements. The study concluded that HBOT can induce a regeneration/rejuvenation of damaged brain tissue, leading to the repair of chronically impaired brain functions and improved quality of life in TBI patients with prolonged post-concussion Syndrome even years after the injury occurred. 

Rehabilitation Unit

​The Neurological Rehabilitation Unit is a division of the Sagol Center, integrating several rehabilitation disciplines in one location (neuropsychology, physiotherapy, and speech-therapy). The biological intervention (HBOT) together with intensive multidisciplinary rehabilitation introduces a new promising venue for achieving a fast and potent recovery process, enabling the patients to regain their normal lives.
Patients treated in the Unit initially undergo a baseline interdisciplinary assessment process, evaluating their motor, cognitive, emotional and speech impairments. Based on the results, a specific rehabilitation program is designed for each patient that includes individual cognitive rehabilitation treatments, group cognitive rehabilitation sessions, computerized cognitive training, physiotherapy, speech-therapy and acupuncture.
Rehabilitation is short and intensive requiring highly motivated patients. The Unit is suitable for adult patients suffering from post concussion syndrome, stroke, anoxic brain damage, traumatic brain injury, mild cognitive impairment or dementia.

Anoxic Brain Damage (ABD)

Cognitive impairment may occur in 42-50% of cardiac arrest survivors. An additional pilot study conducted at the Sagol Hyperbaric Center at Assaf Harofe Medical Center, where patients were treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBOT) 0.5-7.5 (mean 2.6+_0.6 years)after the cardiac arrest, Even though HBOT was started at the late chronic phase, it induced significant cognitive improvements in all of the patients. The clinical improvements were well documented by neuro-cognitive tests and correlated with improved ability to perform the activities of daily living and quality of life. The most significant measurable improvements were in executive functions, attention and memory. The clinical improvement correlated with metabolic improvement of the injured brain tissue as was well visualized by brain metabolic imaging.

Read the Full Articles

  • ​Hyperbaric Oxygen Induces Late Neuroplasticity in Post Stroke Patients - Click Here!
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury - Click Here!
  • Improvement of Memory Impairments in Post stroke Patients by Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy - Click here! 
  • How and why hyperbaric oxygen therapy can bring new hope for children suffering from cerebral palsy - Click Here!
  • Intensive rehabilitation combined with HBO2 therapy in children with cerebral palsy: A controlled longitudinal study - Click Here!
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Diminish Fibromyalgia Syndrome – Prospective Clinical Trial - Click Here!
  • Hyperbaric oxygen can induce angiogenesis in  post concussion patients - Click Here!
  • Oxygen - a limiting factor for brain recovery - Click Here!
  • Reflection on the neurotherapeutic effects of hyperbaric oxygen - Click Here!