Treatment for Children and Adolescents with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and PCS

Children and adolescents experiencing the effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-concussion syndrome, and other brain performance problems have the opportunity for a better future with the right approach to treatment. Explore an effective treatment for TBI offered by Aviv Clinics Dubai:

Aviv Clinics Dubai Launches Highly Specialized Youth Medical Program to Assess and Treat TBI and Brain Performance Problems in Children and Adolescents

    • The program uses Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to improve cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of youth suffering from specific brain-related issues.
    • The new youth treatment program is backed by a first-of-its-kind study validating the Aviv HBOT protocol as an effective treatment for children suffering from persistent post-concussion syndrome.

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Aviv Clinics Dubai, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DP World, has opened a new wing at its JLT-based specialty brain health and performance center dedicated to a breakthrough Youth Medical Program that uses hyperbaric medicine to treat specific brain injuries in children and youth between the ages of 8 and 15. 

The program specializes in the treatment of multiple disorders including cerebral palsy (a childhood motor disorder in childhood caused by brain injury due to lack of oxygen or blood supply), Traumatic Brain Injury (sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head), and strokes (when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, because of a blockage or a blood vessel rupture). 

The Aviv Youth Medical Program is the focus of a new study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, which shows the effectiveness of Hyperbaric treatment in healing damaged brain tissue and alleviating symptoms in children experiencing persistent post-concussion syndrome (PPCS), where concussion symptoms continue beyond the expected recovery period. 

The study, conducted at the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center, suggests that HBOT improves cognitive and behavioral function, as well as quality of life in pediatric patients suffering from PPCS, even years after receiving their traumatic injury.

The Aviv Youth Medical Program treatment starts with a comprehensive three-day medical, physiological, and mental assessment carried out by Aviv-certified medical staff including pediatricians, pediatric neuropsychologists, physical therapists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and nurses. This includes the most advanced brain imaging tests suited to the child’s needs, such as perfusion MRI, and SPECT.

After analyzing the results of the in-depth assessment, children undergo HBOT sessions five days a week for 12 weeks – 60 consecutive one-hour sessions in total. Alongside the HBOT sessions, the patient will receive personalized cognitive and physical training designed to maximize the effects of the rehabilitation.  At the end of the treatment, tests are repeated and compared with the results of the initial assessment.

“The diagnosis and treatment of post-concussion syndrome in children is a critical issue that physicians and researchers have struggled with, to the detriment of the children,” said Dr. Shai Efrati, Medical Director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research and Shamir Medical Center, and Chair of Aviv Scientific’s Medical Advisory Board.

“For the first time, we have demonstrated an effective treatment for pediatric PPCS, whether the injury occurred six months or 10 years ago. This discovery and the launch of our new Youth Medical Program offers hope to thousands of families watching their children suffer from unrelenting symptoms.”

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Upon completion of the study, researchers found that children treated with HBOT experienced a significant improvement in cognitive function, including the general cognitive score, memory, and executive function (ability to plan, prioritize tasks, and complete complex goal-directed behaviors), compared to the untreated children. 

Other PPCS symptoms that improved include behavioral symptoms such as hyperactivity, and, perhaps most strikingly, the study revealed parallel structural brain changes, as seen on MRI, in the areas of the brain known to be affected by TBI leading to cognitive dysfunction and other symptoms of PPCS.

“Working in collaboration with DP World, we are able to bring to Dubai and the UAE medical community this highly specialized brain performance program grounded in more than 15 years of research and powered by truly state-of-the-art technology. As this study shows, we have the potential to give new hope to our young people and their families through the ability to diagnose and treat what can be debilitating symptoms of TBI, as well as other common brain disorders such as Cerebral Palsy and strokes. At the same time, we are able to contribute to advancing both Dubai’s and the UAE’s positions as global innovators and hubs for med tech and medical tourism,” said Mike Frayne, CEO of Aviv Clinics Dubai. 

The same treatment protocol conducted during this study will be adopted in the youth wing at Aviv Clinics in Dubai. It will be administered under the same strict protocols, with additional comprehensive cognitive and physical training support for the various conditions and symptoms addressed by Aviv including concussion and TBI, and more.  Aviv Clinic’s new Youth Medical Program is located in a dedicated wing of the 7,000-square-meter, state-of-the-art brain health and performance clinic in Dubai’s JLT. 

If your child needs treatment for TBI symptoms or other brain conditions, we encourage you to learn more about the Youth Medical Program at Aviv Clinics Dubai by DP World.

 

Using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Address TBI and Concussion

Head injuries are much more common than one might think. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were over 64,000 TBI-related deaths in 2020, which equates to more than 175 brain injury-related deaths every day.

Those most affected include adolescents aged 15-19 and adults older than 65. Among seniors, falls are the most common cause of TBIs—a pervasive problem that can be mitigated with a few key strategies.

Yet, despite how pervasive TBIs are, many people don’t realize when they’re experiencing the “traumatic” incident. At one time, a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), which many know simply as a concussion, was actually thought to be a benign event. With much research, experts now know that even small, repeated injuries to the brain can have significant effects. These injuries can contribute to adverse neuropsychological outcomes—both acutely and long-term.

For example, in the moment, a concussion might cause dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and vomiting. But over time, that same injury or repeated injuries may contribute to ongoing symptoms, such as chronic headaches, trouble concentrating or thinking clearly, memory problems, poor sleep, depression, anxiety, and irritability. Some people may not even connect an injury that happened years ago with their current symptoms, which can make it difficult to properly diagnose a TBI or post-concussion syndrome.

Unfortunately, the incidence of TBI and concussion persists. Per the Brain Injury Association of America, cumulative evidence shows that an estimated 5.3 million men, women, and children are living with a permanent TBI-related disability in the U.S. today.

Yet, does it have to be “permanent”?

HBOT’s Role in Relieving TBI Symptoms

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Dedicated research into brain healing reveals a therapy that produces positive results in cases of TBI and post-concussion syndrome. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has historically been accepted as an effective treatment for medical issues like wound healing, severe infections, and decompression sickness. For some time, HBOT had not been explored much beyond those applications.

However, research in the last two decades reveals that HBOT, in combination with certain cognitive, nutritional, and physiological protocols, is able to repair areas of the brain that have been damaged due to TBI and concussion, as well as stroke, post-traumatic stress disorder, fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, and other neurological conditions.

What Results Can Individuals Expect?

To understand how HBOT works to address TBI and post-concussion damage, it’s important to know what changes occur in the brain during those injuries. Structural damage indicates a physical impact on the brain, such as bleeding. Metabolic damage is present when the brain’s cells are affected.

Traditional scans like CT and MRI may not be able to detect metabolic damage, especially if an injury occurred years ago. More advanced scans—like functional MRI and SPECT—are better able to identify areas of the brain that may be producing chronic post-concussion symptoms.

Applying HBOT and the unique protocols of the Aviv Medical Program yields multiple changes in the brain:

  • New blood vessel formation (angiogenesis)
  • New and stronger neural connections
  • Stem cell production

These neural, vascular, and cellular changes contribute to cognitive improvements in memory, executive function, attention, processing speed, and spatial memory. Individuals with brain-based motor skill challenges also benefit from this comprehensive therapy.

Elements of the Aviv Medical Program also include cognitive therapy, strength and physical training, and nutritional coaching. The physiological and nutritional aspects of Aviv Clinics’ customized protocol elicit enhancements such as greater aerobic fitness, higher energy levels, improved sleep, and reduced pain. Overall, individuals report a significant improvement in their quality of life after completing the program

Bottom Line

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If you’ve ever been in a car accident, fallen off a horse, or had “your bell rung” playing sports, you may have experienced a brain injury that could still be impacting your health. The Aviv Medical Program can help ease your symptoms.

If you or a loved one suspects a TBI or concussion has left lingering symptoms, contact us to learn more about how investing 90 days into treatment could change the rest of your life.