What is TBI?
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Common causes include road accidents, falls, concussions and sports injuries. Mild cases of TBI affect the brain temporarily. More serious injuries can lead to long-term health complications such as difficulty thinking and remembering, loss of motor skills, sleep disruption, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, and more.
TBI damages the brain by disrupting or restricting blood flow to certain brain regions, which impacts their ability to function properly. We know that the brain needs an adequate supply of oxygen to repair damage – and that’s where Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy comes in.
How hyperbaric oxygen therapy can help TBI
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a common treatment for medical conditions associated with a lack of oxygen, and research shows that it can help with the healing of brain injuries.
At Aviv, we first diagnose the severity of the brain injury with physical and neurological tests to assess suitability for HBOT treatment. We then advise on a HBOT treatment plan.
HBOT involves breathing 100% pure oxygen in a special room known as a HBOT suite. This, combined with the elevated pressure in the suite increases the amount of oxygen in the blood several fold, which helps damaged tissue regenerate and heal faster.
The Aviv Medical Program combines two processes that help TBI patients. First, we increase the oxygen levels in the body, giving your brain an energy boost. Then, we fluctuate the level of oxygen. This variation in oxygen supply triggers the body’s natural process of regeneration.
Proven benefits of HBOT for TBI patients
Benefits for your mind:
- Rejuvenation of injured brain tissue, restoring some or all of the functions impacted by the damaged tissue.
- Increased blood flow in the parts of the brain associated with sensation, memory, vision, and attention, leading to better memory function, attention span, executive function, and faster information processing speed.
- Significant increase in blood flow to the brain (brain perfusion) and the generation of new blood vessels in the brain (angiogenesis).
- Improved psychomotor function (the combination of precise motor responses and cognitive problem-solving abilities).
- Improved NIHSS (neurological motor function score), ADL (activities of daily life score), and EQ-5D (quality of life score).
- HBOT triggers neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to adapt/react in response to injury or disease.
- HBOT reactivates and triggers neurogenesis – neuronal (nerve cell) regeneration that occurs in the brain.
- Clinical improvements regardless of the severity of the TBI.
- Improved quality of life overall.
Benefits for your body:
- Better physical performance: Fitness, Strength, Coordination, Balance
- Boost energy, power and stamina
- Reduce pain (strong anti-inflammatory effect)
- Sleep better
Benefits for your cells:
- Strengthen your immune system
- Encourage stem cells – the building blocks of tissue rejuvenation – to multiply and migrate
- Lengthen the telomeres – the protective caps at the end of each strand of DNA. Encouraging telomeres to lengthen is associated with extending our biological clock
- Reduce senescent cells – known to contribute to many age-related diseases
- Increase mitochondrial function – the power plant in each of our cells
The Aviv Medical Program: How it works
At Aviv, we treat TBI using a specific research based HBOT protocol. The Aviv Medical Protocol is based on over a decade of research at Shamir Medical Center with proven clinical results.
Our program includes:
In-depth medical assessment
A comprehensive three-day medical, physiological, and mental assessment carried out by Aviv certified medical staff including physicians, neuropsychologists, physiotherapists, physiologists and nurses. This includes the most advanced brain imaging tests suited to your needs, such as perfusion MRI, fMRI and SPECT.
A unique treatment including HBOT protocol
You’ll have HBOT sessions five days a week for 12 weeks – 60 consecutive two-hour sessions in total. Alongside your HBOT sessions, you’ll receive personalized brain training and physical training designed to maximize the effects of the oxygen treatments.
At the end of your treatment, we repeat the tests from the initial assessment to measure results and make recommendations for your ongoing progress. We’ll give you a comprehensive medical report summarizing all of the changes that occurred throughout your treatment, supervised and signed by your professional healthcare team led by our Chief Medical Doctor.
TBI and HBOT:
Clear, proven research
Recent clinical studies at the Shamir Medical Center have measured the effects of HBOT on patients with neurological deficiencies, for example, mild memory loss or weakened reflexes caused by mild TBI.
HBOT can trigger neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change in response to injury or disease). HBOT can also improve mental impairments (such as difficulty remembering things, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions), and improve quality of life, even years after the TBI occurred.
Read the full researches in the links below:
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Can Improve Post Concussion Syndrome Years after Mild Traumatic Brain Injury – Randomized Prospective Trial
PLoS One 8, no. 11 (2013): e79995.
Effect of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Chronic Neurocognitive Deficits of Post-Traumatic Brain Injury Patients: Retrospective Analysis
BMJ Open 8, no. 9 (Sep 28 2018): e023387.