TAU study: oxygen therapy improves cognitive function in older people

The Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center, along with the Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University announced that, for the first time, in humans, a peer-reviewed study demonstrated that Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can significantly improve the cognitive performance of healthy older adults.

The main areas for improvement were attention, information processing speed, executive function, as well as global cognitive function, which generally decline with age. Additionally, there was a significant correlation between cognitive changes and improved cerebral blood flow at specific locations in the brain.

The study was published on July 15, 2020, in the journal Aging, titled: Cognitive enhancement of healthy older adults using hyperbaric oxygen: A randomized controlled trial.

Professor Shai Efrati, Head of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, Head of Research and Development at Shamir Medical Center, Associate Professor at the Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Amir Hadanny, the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, designed the study based on a unique HBOT protocol developed at the Sagol Center over the past 10 years. The randomized controlled clinical trial included 63 healthy adults (> 64) who underwent HBOT (n = 33) or a control period (n = 30) for three months. The primary endpoint of the study included a change in general cognitive function as measured by a standardized comprehensive battery of computerized cognitive assessments before and after the intervention or control. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was assessed using a new MRI technique for cerebral perfusion.

“Age-related cognitive and functional decline has become a major concern in the Western world. Major research efforts around the world are focused on improving the cognitive performance of the so-called “normal” aging population, Professor Efrati said. “In our study, for the first time in

Humans, we have found an effective and safe medical intervention that can address this unintended consequence of our age-related decline. ”

“Over years of research, we have developed an advanced understanding of HBOT’s ability to restore brain function. In the past, we have demonstrated the potential of HBOT to improve / treat brain injuries such as strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and anoxic brain injuries. (due to sustained lack of oxygen supply) by increasing cerebral blood flow and metabolism, “explained Dr. Amir Hadanny. “This landmark research could have a far-reaching impact on how we view the aging process and the ability to treat its symptoms.”

During HBOT, the patient breathes pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber where the air pressure increases to twice that of normal air. This process increases the solubility of oxygen in the blood that travels throughout the body. The added oxygen stimulates the release of growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing. HBOT has been applied throughout the world primarily to treat chronic non-healing wounds.

There is a growing body of evidence on the regenerative effects of HBOT. Researchers have shown that the combined action of delivering high levels of oxygen (hyperoxia) and pressure (hyperbaric environment), leads to a significant improvement in tissue oxygenation while targeting oxygen- and pressure-sensitive genes, which results in restored and improved tissue metabolism. Furthermore, these specific genes induce stem cell proliferation, reduce inflammation, and induce the generation of new blood vessels and tissue repair mechanisms.

“The occlusion of small blood vessels, similar to the occlusions that can develop in the pipes of an ‘aging’ house, is a dominant element in the human aging process. This led us to speculate that HBOT could affect brain performance. of the aging population, ”Professor Efrati explained.“ We found that HBOT induced a significant increase in cerebral blood flow, which was correlated with cognitive enhancement, confirming our theory. One can conjecture that a similar beneficial effect of HBOT may be induced in other organs of the aging body. These will be investigated in our next investigation. ”

Research group leader Professor Shai Efrati also revealed his role with Aviv Scientific LTD, which has developed a comprehensive program that includes HBOT treatment, cognitive and physical training, and nutritional training, to improve brain and body performance. of older adults according to the Sagol HBOT protocol in the Aviv clinics. Prof. Efrati serves as Chairman of the Aviv Scientific Medical Advisory Board.

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