Hperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) appears to be a safe and effective treatment for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Depression.  Thanks to the work of the American Association for Health Freedom,  and their petition to Congress,  it looks as though our veterans will soon be receiving this much-needed treatment.

For each of you who took time to write your representatives regarding this issue – Thank you.  The legislation which was passed and signed into law is a start, but this program needs to be funded and sustained.  Please see the link at the bottom of this piece to ask Congress for its continued support of HBOT for veterans.
* From the E-Newsletter, [American Association for Health Freedom]

AAHF Scores a Victory with HBOT for Wounded Veterans

Hope For Traumatic Brain Injury, Diabetic Failure-to-Heal Wounds and More?

On September 30,  President Bush signed into law the FY2009 Continuing Resolution that contains the Defense Appropriations bill.  In doing so, crucial funding became available to complete a scientific study important to all Americans.

Seventeen years ago, Paul G. Harch, M.D., discovered that hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 1.5 atmospheres of pressure  (HBOT 1.5)  could repair a chronic traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Dr. Harch, director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Fellowship at Louisiana State University’s School of Medicine and an AAHF member, has used the therapy on over 700 patients and has taught the technique to hundreds of doctors.

In 2008, Dr. Harch applied HBOT 1.5 to five combat veterans of the current war who have traumatic brain injury and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from concussive blasts.  So far, all of the veterans treated have significan recovery.  Eighty percent no longer have PTSD and all are improved.

During this same year,  Dr. Harch testified in fron to the Surgeon General of the Navy and the Deputy Commandant of the Marine Corps.  He told the stories of the five combat veterans he treated with HBOT 1.5; three of those veterans were in the same room.

One of them, a judge who served as a general in the Army Reserves, endured a year of treatment failures at Walter Reed.  He is now back on the bench, fully recovered in 120 days, after 80 HBOT 1.5 treatments.  The Health Freedom Foundation, sponsored a Marine machine gunner who expreienced seven concussive events from roadside bombs during two tours in Iraq.  Now, after HBOT treatments, his migraine headaches have disappeared, his sleep is restored , his PTSD is gone.  He is now actively employed.  He has his life back, as do other veterans who have undergone HBOT treatment.

At Louisianna State University in New Orleans, under an approved study protocol, Dr. Harch is now treating another thirty veterans of the war who have TBI and PTSD.  AAHF sought funding from Congress for this important study for the past two years. This year, after nearly 200 visitis to members of Congress, funding was finally provided.

In April 2008, the RAND Corporation, a non-profit “think tank” highly respected by the government and NGOs, found that of the 1.6 million veterans of the war, 300,000 have PTSD, 320,000 suffer TBI, and 80,000 have depression.  Current treatment costs for each of these conditions, when treated separately, is more than the cost associated with HBOT 1.5.

HBOT 1.5  one-time cost is US $16,000 (80 treatments at $200 per session) and apprears to treat all three symptoms simultaneously;  the earlier a person is treated, the more effective the recovery, and the fewer the treatments needed.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy at 2.4 atmospheres of pressure is already used 10,000 times a day at over 900 locations for everything from non-healing diabetic wounds and radiation injuries from cancer treatment, to fourteen other Medicare-reimbursable and FDA-approved indications.  HBOT 1.5 is a dose of HBOT tat clinical experience shows is safe and effective for TBI.

According to Dr. Ted Fogarty, Chairman of Radiology at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, “Functional neuroimaging shows HBOT revitalizes brain tissues and restores normal brain metabolism in vastly different areas of the brain in ways that other existing treatments cannot.  To leave these injured neurons in our brave veterans to wither on the vine seems criminal when HBOT 1.5 is available and works.”

Today a multi-state coordinated effort is under way to treat vets at 78 locations.  We expect this AAHF-coordinated effort will result in the necessary scientific proof to establish HBOT 1.5 as the standard of care for acute and chronic neurological injuries, and we hope it will secure reimbursement by the VA, Tri-Care, Medicare and civilian insurance.

The body of scientific evidence indicates that modern medicine has overlooked hyperbaric oxygen as a key tool in the treatment of strokes, diabetic failure-to-heal wounds, and conditions like reflex sympathetic dystrophy.  Timely HBOT therapy could reduce the incidence of stroke (the leading cause of disability in the U.S., with over 500,000 reported cases each year) and amputations due to diabetic failure-to-heal wounds.  HBOT has sound science, many years of clinical practice and a convincing reason for all of us to seek access when it can be of help.

Veterans who wish treatment can can contact Teri Rich at 801-964-2008.

HyperMED NeuroRecovery Australia


I had the opportunity to visit with Teri Rich, the founder of Advanced Wound Care Systems, Inc. located in Taylorsville, Utah located inside the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.

Teri Rich and Dr. Sherman Johnson informed me that Advanced Wound Care Systems has been selected as one of approximately 90 installations around the U.S. for providing a Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy program for veterans.   

For more detailed information, you will need to contact Teri Rich directly at 801-964-2008.  Be sure to mention that you found her through the Hyperbaric Discovery blog.


 Here is the beginning of the overview for this program.  It will be completed in subsequent entries:

Department of Defense Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Project (DoD-BIRR) Rescue for Blunt Trauma, Crush & Acute Traumatic Brain Injury
Summary of Scientific Backgrounds & Overview
 Oxygen delivered under pressure, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is one of the most powerful drugs known to man.  Simultaneously, HBOT delivers the substrate of life, oxygen, for which there is no substitute.  HBOT has profound beneficial effects on injury pathophysiologic processes that are common in military casualties.  Moreover, it has been shown to positively impact traumatic brain injury, compartment syndrome, burns, hemorrhage, and reperfusion injury.  These injuries and injury processes comprise the bulk of battlefield caualties.  With timely intervention of HBOT the morbidity and mortality of injured soldiers should substantially improve as they have in their civilian counterparts.  Past foreign military experience strongly suggests this benefit in extremity wounds and it is our conviction that United States soldiers deserve nothing less.  This is the goal of the Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation Project (Dod-BIRR).

HBOT has both acute and chronic drug effects.  HBOT exerts these effects by obeying the Universal Gas Laws, the most important of which is Henry’s Law (2).  Henry’s Law states that the concentration of a gas in solution is proportional to the pressure of that gas interfacing with the solution.

At the point of three atmospheres absolute of pure oxygen (3 ATA), just slightly more than the amount the U.S. Navy has used for 50 years in the treatment of divers with decompression sickness, we can dissolve enough oxygen in the plasma to render red blood cells useless.  Under these conditions as blood passes through the tiniest blood vessels tissue cells will extract all of the dissolved oxygen in the blood without touching the oxygen bound to hemoglobin.  This amount of dissolved oxygen alone can exceed the amount necessary for the tissue to sustain life.  In other words, you don’t need red blood cells for life at 3 ATA of 100% oxygen.  This ability to maintain life without blood has obvious potential to battlefield casualties awaiting transfusion.

As a result of Henry’s Law HBOT is able to exert a variety of drug effects on acute pathyophysiologic processes.  These have been well documented over the past 50 years and include reduction of hypoxia (lack of oxygen), inhibition of reperfusion injury (immune response to injury), reduction of edema (swelling), blunting of systemic inflammatory responses, and a multitude of others.  In addition, repetitive HBOT in wound models acts as a DNA stimulating drug to effect tissue growth.    HBOT has been shown to interact with the DNA of cells in damaged areas to begin the production of repair hormones, proteins, and cell surface receptors that are stimulated by the repair hormones.  The resultant repair processes include replication of the cells responsible for tissure strength (fibroblasts), new blood vessel growth, bone healing and strengthening, and new skin growth.

In the past 12 years scientific research has unequivocally shown that the only drug to completely or nearly completely reverse the reperfusion injury process is hyperbaric oxygen.  This  physiological reaction of the body to trauma is  is a major  source of injury that battlefield casualties experience.  In multiple experiments with different models, different organ systems, different types of blood flow reduction or absence (e.g., heart attack, stroke, cardiac arrest, carbon monoxide, tourniqueting of an extremity, etc.) timely HBOT within hours of reperfusion injury has been shown to completely or nearly completely reverse reperfusion injury.

Simultaneously, due to HBOT’s ability to dissolve large amounts of oxygen in the liquid portion of the blood, oxygen-enriched plasma is able to reach damaged areas of tissue not accessible by normal blood flow and restore oxdative function to those areas.  The net result is a dramatic reduction in the secondary injury process, improved viability of tissue that would otherwise die.

In addition, twenty percent of the wounded in Iraqi experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) a diffuse cerebral insult characterized by primary mechanical disruption of tissue and secondary injury from ischemia, hypoxia, edema, vasospasm, neurochemicals and reperfusion injury.  A review of the medical literature shows that there is substantial data proving a beneficial effect of HBOT on the secondary injury processes of acute TBI.  HBOT has been shown indirectly to improve ischemia and hypoxia in acute TBI by its effect on aerobic metabolism and EEG.  The neurosurgeon authors of the Rockswold study conclude that  “HBOT should be initiated as soon as possible after acute severe traumatic brain injury.”