Shai Efrati, MD: Progression of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Neurodegeneration

August 6, 2020

The director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center discussed the history of the research and offered insight into the attempt to regenerate injured tissue in the brain.

“We are working on regenerating brain tissue. The main issue is to refer to the brain as a tissue—treat the injury we have in the brain just like any other injuries that we have in other parts of the body.”

Recently, a randomized controlled clinical trial that included 63 healthy older adults comparing placebo to hyperbaric oxygen therapy for 3 months revealed that the oxygen therapy appeared to induce cognitive enhancements in healthy aging adults via mechanisms involving regional changes in cerebral blood flow, as evaluated by perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

There was a significant group-by-time interaction in global cognitive function post-HBOT compared to control (P = .0017), with the most impressive improvements in attention (net effect size = 0.745) and information processing speed (net effect size = 0.788). The work was led by Shai Efrati, MD, director, Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center; and associate professor, Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel Aviv University.

To find out more about how the clinical study of this method of treatment got to this point, and what the goal of the treatment is, NeurologyLive inquired with Efrati. He discussed the history of the research and offered insight into the attempt to regenerate injured tissue in the brain as a way to potentially treat diseases like Alzheimer and dementia.

REFERENCE

Amir H, Malka DK, Gil S, et al. enhancement of healthy older adults using hyperbaric oxygen: a randomized controlled trial. Aging. 2020; 12(13):13740—13761. doi: 10.18632/aging.103571