Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Anti-Aging
According to the tabloids, this was the application of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) that Michael Jackson made famous. According to Michael Jackson, he had no idea what people were talking about. According to Dr. Paul G. Harch, depending on how you define aging, hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be the proverbial “fountain of youth.”
What is Aging?
So, what is aging and how do you define it? Aging appears to be a genetically programmed event. Biologically, scientists have found that the chromosomes in our cells progressively shorten each time the cell divides. Eventually, the chromosomes can shorten no further and stop dividing. When this happens, the cells become senescent (sleepy) and die. If this were the sole determinant of the length of a human life, then we would all live about the same length of time, plus/minus some genetic variation. In fact, as we all know, people’s life spans can vary widely, and this wide variation is largely due to the cumulative insults that a person’s body experiences over the course of a lifetime. In this respect, it is more appropriate to talk about premature aging.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for Premature Aging.
Premature aging is a shortened lifespan due to the effects of various stressors/insults to the human body. The most common and obvious ones are alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. This category of substances exerts a tremendous aging effect on the human body. Tobacco alone causes a 15% average reduction in lifespan. Using the figure of 80 years for an average U.S. adult’s lifespan; the smoker usually lives to 68 years of age. And, the last decade of their lives are miserable with emphysema, heart attacks, surgeries, cancer, hospitalizations, infections, etc. When alcohol, drugs, chemicals from food or environmental pollution, trauma, systemic infections, and myriad other insults are added, the reserve capacity of the human body is progressively lost. The net result is a shortened life.
Insults to the human body cause progressive wounding of the body. This is easiest to see on brain blood flow scans such as SPECT (Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography) and PET (Positron Emission Tomography). Wounds in the brain on these scans are registered as areas of low blood flow/low oxygenation, which cause decreased neurological function. Most commonly, this decreased neurological function leads to the premature aging diagnosis called dementia. As discussed in the Oxygen Revolution by Dr. Harch and Virginia McCullough, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a generic drug for repair of these brain wounds. Regardless of the causes of the brain insults or injuries, the end product is a stereotypic chronic wound that responds to low pressures of hyperbaric oxygen treatments. What Drs. Neubauer, Harch, and others have shown in the past 30 years is that these “premature aging wounds” can be repaired and the patient improved neurologically, cognitively, behaviorally, and emotionally.
Repair of these chronic wounds is a reversal of premature aging by use of HBOT as an anti-aging treatment. This is best illustrated with the brain scans of Dr. Harch’s dementia patients as presented to the House of Representatives in 2002 and 2004. The general dementia patient required 24h/day supervision and was facing institutionalization. After a two-month course of HBOT treatments, he returned to independent living that was unchanged four years later. With hyperbaric oxygen, the Alzheimer’s patient experienced the first improvement in cognitive function in the three years since his diagnosis. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy slowed the progression of his disease until he succumbed to a heart attack 4 years later. In both cases, HBOT helped prolong their lives and gave them quality of life, thus functioning as an anti-aging tool.
The question in this modern day is whether or not there is such a thing as “normal” aging. Given the pollution of our air, food, environment, ubiquitous exposure to automobile exhaust, second-hand smoke and carbon monoxide, heavy metals, dental amalgams, vaccines, anesthesia, chemicals, food additives, etc., one could make a case that we all age prematurely. If this is true, everyone could benefit from the restorative effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).
There is evidence from the Russians that continued intermittent hyperbaric oxygen treatments in stroke patients resulted in a decreased incidence of recurrent strokes. This is purportedly due to healthy effects of hyperbaric oxygen on blood vessels. In animal experiments, it has been shown that HBOT helps stabilize the inside lining of injured blood vessels. Hyperbaric oxygen treatments stimulates angiogenesis, growing new blood vessels into tissue and in 2007 has been demonstrated to cause stem cell release from our bone marrow into our circulation. HBOT has been shown to have detoxification effects and suppresses inflammation. Most of our chronic diseases are now recognized to result from chronic inflammation. When you begin to add up all of these beneficial effects of hyperbaric oxygen and combine them with the many other documented effects of HBOT on disease processes that are catalogued in The Oxygen Revolution, it is apparent that hyperbaric oxygen may in fact have anti-aging effects.
HBOT on Genetic Disorders
But, suppose you live in the ultra-pure environment of some Shangri-La in this world. The final question is whether or not hyperbaric oxygen can benefit the “normal” aging process in Shangri-La. The answer is not known for sure, yet, but there is a suggestion that hyperbaric oxygen maybe beneficial in this type of “normal” aging. In 2004 at the 12th Annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine, Dr. Harch addressed this question by pointing out that in the last 10 years the primary site of action of HBOT is on the DNA of cells. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in many instances acts like a stimulant or promoter that activates gene sequences that code for growth and repair hormones. In other instances, HBOT has positively impacted patients with a variety of genetic diseases. Dr. Harch treated one of the first of these cases in 1995. She was a patient with ceroid lipofuscinosis, which is an enzyme deficiency affecting fatty acids. Her condition is uniformly fatal. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy reversed the course of her disease and prolonged her life. Since that time, Dr. Harch and others have successfully treated a variety of patients with chromosomal abnormalities, including patients with Down syndrome. (Dr Pierre Marois in Montreal continues his work and research with the Down’s Syndrome population.) This underscores the effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on DNA. It is not much of a stretch of the imagination to believe that HBOT may affect the “defect” in our DNA that causes us to age. Literally, time will tell.
The Fountain of Youth?
In the meantime, for all of us who have some degree of accelerated or premature aging, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may in fact be an anti-aging tool. As Dr. Harch argues in The Oxygen Revolution, HBOT will likely become appreciated as the Fountain of Youth by the Baby Boomer Generation whose life spans have been compromised by years of drug experimentation in the 1960s and 1970s. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy will be able to restore waning brain function and prevent premature dementia.
Excerpt from www.altmd.com/Articles/Hyperbaric-Oxygen-Therapy-HBOT-for-Anti-Aging
The Secret to Looking Better, Feeling Younger, Improving Overall Health & Staying on top of Your Game!
New Frontiers: Anti-Aging Properties of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.
Source: Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, Jul99 Issue 192, p68, 2p
Author(s): Neubauer, Richard A.; Yutsis, Pavel I.
Full Text Word Count: 1111
Database: Alt HealthWatch
New Frontiers: Anti-Aging Properties of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
New Frontiers: Anti-Aging Properties of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
As the world is becoming more industrialized it is also “going gray.” Globally, the life span has reached a level of 63 years. Obviously, the geriatric population is growing; so are many detrimental effects of aging: strokes, heart attacks, dementia, arthritis, etc. Therefore improvement of quality of life becomes a real issue among millions of aging folks. The medical and scientific world has started taking a deep look into different therapeutic modalities to extend one’s life and improve its quality: diets, nutritional supplementations, growth hormone therapy, cellular therapy, and chelation therapy among many others. Restoring brain functioning is one of many important goals of anti-aging therapies. Richard A. Neubauer, MD, one of the authors of this article suggested in the late 70s’ that Hyperbaric Oxygen can stimulate a reactivation of the zone around a special region surrounding the central area of a stroke or brain injury site, known as “ischemic penumbra.” The diminished oxygen supply to the “penumbra” is one of a few causes for the loss and inadequacy of bodily functions. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy may restore function
in areas of the brain that are hypoxic (low in oxygen pressure) and are primarily vascular in origin. The ischemic penumbra of the surrounding zone may well be responsible for many of the symptoms, which are reversible with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), even in cases with onset 12-13 years prior to the treatment. However, in the cases of Alzheimer’s Disease (a nonvascular, pathological process) Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) will not be beneficial or efficacious.
Therapy (HBOT) by determining the rate of blood perfusion and metabolic changes in suspected regions before, during and after HBOT. Here are the cases that support our hypothesis: Case #1 — D.L. — a 70 year-old female who about one year prior to HBOT began to notice periods of confusion, forgetfulness, agitation and reached the point where she was unable to drive her car or live alone. Under most circumstances, a patient like this would be institutionalized in a care facility. The daughter, however, took mother to live with her. Both of these women were ministers in the Unity Church. DL, however, had lost her ability to work with parishioners. The SPECT scan showed that the patient very definitely did not have Alzheimer’s disease, but had hypoperfusion in the frontal and temporal lobes. She was given a challenge with Hyperbaric Oxygen (3 treatments) and the scan was repeated. The changes in perfusion were striking. These paralleled her clinical progress. She then received a total of 33 treatments. After 20 treatments, the patient returned to a perfectly normal lifestyle, able not only to drive her car, ten d her affairs, but also return to the pulpit. ASPECT scan conducted upon completion of 13 treatments showed that the improvements remained intact. Two and a half years later the patient is doing extremely well and she has had three maintenance
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments.
Case #2 — J.D. — a 79 year-old male complained of dizziness all day for the past 2-1/2 months. He had suffered a stroke a month previously and was hospitalized 3-4 days, but no therapy was given. He also reported problems with memory and pain and stiffness in the neck. A baseline SPECT scan showed multiple areas of hypometabolism with the main deficit seen in the left temporal, occipital zone. After 10 Hyperbaric treatments (1.5 ATA, one hour), the patient reported that his memory was much improved, pain was relieved and he felt much stronger with increased energy. SPECT scan after 10 treatments showed significant improvement in the localization in the left frontal and both parietal regions. The uptake pattern was also less patchy in other areas.
Case #3 — D.F. — a 72 year-old female who had worked as a secretary for Dr. Neubauer. She was bright and alert. At one point in time she became slightly dizzy, slightly confused and had a left carotid endarterectomy. She appeared to be fine post-operatively and she continued working. However, shortly thereafter she retired. We did not see her for a number of months until we received a phone call from her daughter stating that D.F. was so confused, disoriented, dizzy and weak that she was selling her apartment and moving in with her. Because of this change, we had D.F. come in for SPECT scanning.
Subsequently she had four Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments. (1 hr., 1.5 ATA) followed by a repeat SPECT scan. The results were dramatic. All the symptoms including confusion and dizziness were gone and D.F. was able to live on her own. She continued to drive her car and take care of all personal affairs. Eighteen months later, the initial areas of re-perfusion had persisted and she remai ns clinically stable. Many such patients are inadvertently classified as having Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is primarily a problem of the young, between the ages of 50 and 60, associated with neurofibrilary-tangles.They present a specific pattern on the SPECT scan and they are not responsive to hyperbaric oxygenation. It is felt that there are thousands of mis-diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients in the United States. The diagnosis is made either with SPECT scan, PET scan, brain biopsy, or autopsy. The terminology of such patients should be “Alzheimer’s-like.” Such patients are vasculary in origin with many small strokes, hardening of the arteries, and are responsive to hyperbaric oxygen therapy rather dramatically. These cases have clearly shown that with the use of Hyperbaric Therapy the lifestyle of these people has been improved and they have obtained a much better quality of life. Moreover their SPECT scans before and after HBOT showed the correction of the basic pathology. Additionally, in many other patients that we have treated for other than anti-aging purposes, the symptoms of aging were evident and subsequently cleared by HBOT. At this point it is our opinion that in order to really scientifically ascertain the efficacy of HBOT, the series of SPECT scans should be done before, during and after therapy with subsequent clinical correlations. The purpose of this report is to present the idea of using HBOT for anti-aging purposes and to stimulate a new study and accumulation of scientific documentation. We feel that the
future of Hyperbaric Medicine must be appropriately explored both in the laboratory and in a clinical setting.
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By Richard A. Neubauer and Pavel I. Yutsis
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Source: Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients, Jul99 Issue 192, p68, 2p