A team of doctors in the U.S. have successfully used Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to reverse brain damage of Eden Carlson, a toddler who suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage after she fell into a pool and drowned for 10 to 15 minutes. The doctors published their findings in the journal Medical Gas Research after treating the neurologically devastated little girl.
The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) warns against using HBOT to treat many illnesses. In 2013, the agency released a statement titled “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don’t Be Misled”, explaining: “HBOT has not, however, been proven to be the kind of universal treatment it has been touted to be on some Internet sites.”
But the successful treatment of Eden, the 3-year-old Arkansas girl, appears to suggest the therapy is effective and can be recommended to treat a range of diseases and conditions. iflscience.com reports:
“After the little girl was resuscitated, brains scans revealed significant brain damage involving deep gray matter injury and cerebral atrophy with gray and white matter loss. She was left in a state of constant squirming and head shaking, and was unable to talk, walk, and remained unresponsive to commands.”
When Eden’s parents met Dr Paul Harch, clinical professor and director of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health New Orleans, he suggested they try HBOT, which increases the amount of oxygen in blood and improves oxygen delivery for tissue functions to help fight infection or minimize injury.
Though they were skeptical about the efficacy of HBOT due to the FDA warning, the parents agreed.
This initial treatment, starting 55 days after the incident, involved breathing in 100 percent normobaric oxygen (oxygen at sea level) for 45 minutes twice a day through the nose. Within hours the patient was more alert, awake, and stopped squirming, say the doctors.
After 23 days, Eden could laugh, make short sentences, and move her limbs. After 162 days, brain scans showed Eden had mild residual brain injury, but the cortical and white matter atrophy were completely reversed.
Dr Harch noted:
“The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration. Although it’s impossible to conclude from this single case if the sequential application of normobaric oxygen then HBOT would be more effective than HBOT alone, in the absence of HBOT therapy, short duration, repetitive normobaric oxygen therapy may be an option until HBOT is available.
“Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning.”
July 30, 2017