Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy & Stiff Person Syndrome

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy & Stiff Person Syndrome

Nov 9, 2011 | By Graham Rix

Based in the United Kingdom, Graham Rix has been writing on the arts, antiquing and other enthusiasms since 1987. He has been published in “The Observer” and “Cosmopolitan.” Rix holds a Master of Arts degree in English from Magdalen College, Oxford.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy & Stiff Person Syndrome
Photo Credit Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images

Stiff-person or stiff-man syndrome is a rare neurological disorder that causes rigidity, primarily in the back and legs. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may be of benefit in some cases in tackling the causes of the syndrome, but the symptoms need to be treated with various medications.

Stiff-person Syndrome

A rare disorder which is thought to affect as few as one in 1 million people, the exact causes of stiff-person syndrome are not known, but they are associated with malfunctions in the body's autoimmune system. Sufferers experience intervals of rigidity in their torso and extremities. Stressful situations and sudden noises such as car horns can trigger painful muscle spasms. The disorder puts sufferers at risk from further injury from falls and accidents.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

In hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a patient breathes pure oxygen inside a chamber where the air pressure is compressed to about 2.5 times normal atmospheric pressure. The increased pressure drives oxygen into the patient's tissues, increasing blood flow and triggering healing. HBOT is widely used in the treatment of ulcers, wounds and skin grafts.


Some evidence suggests that HBOT can be beneficial in treating stroke, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and disorders such as SPS. The delivery of pure oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure is thought to have a rebalancing effect on the brain, startling it into running more smoothly. If you suffer from SPS, you might want to discuss HBOT with your health-care provider as a complement to standard drug therapy.

Drug Therapy

Although there is currently no cure for SPS, its symptoms generally respond well to drug therapy. These can include anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants, anti-convulsants and intravenous immunoglobulin treatment to lower sensitivity to negative stimuli. But note, once started upon a course of drugs, you shouldn't break off suddenly because doing so can result in severe spasms.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fast intervention with hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps student to retain eyesight

Fast intervention with hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps student to retain eyesight

Posted Nov. 3, 2011

Barbara McCullough and Alyssa Tait

Barbara McCullough and her daughter Alyssa Tate. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy and fast intervention by doctors and staff of the Christiana Care Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center helped Alyssa Tait retain some vision in her right eye, after the sudden onset of a rare medical condition similar to a stroke inside the eye.

Word of a young University of Delaware student’s rare medical condition affecting her eyesight reached Christiana Care in a roundabout way. But the emergent, unusual care she received at the Christiana Care Wound Care & Hyperbaric Medicine Center was far more direct.

According to her mother, Barbara McCullough, Alyssa Tait was at the Division of Motor Vehicles to take care of some business on a Monday morning several months ago when she stood up, got dizzy and suddenly lost most of the vision in her right eye.

“She went to a specialist in ophthalmology-surgery in Wilmington,” McCullough says. The diagnosis was a central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO), a blood clot in her eye capable of causing rapid and permanent vision loss.

“CRAO is rare, comparable to a stroke in the retina, the part of the eye that enables us to see,” explains Wound Care Center Director Adrienne Abner, RN, MSN, CSW, MBA. “Vision loss from CRAO is usually dramatic and permanent.”

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can decrease the swelling that causes the vision loss, Abner says. “Optimally, treatment guidelines for CRAO using hyperbaric oxygen therapy should occur within several hours.”

Word about Tait’s condition came through the community’s medical grapevine to the staff at Christiana Care, who reached out to the surgeon, Paula Ko, M.D. Tait was fast-tracked for an appointment to evaluate the potential benefit of hyperbaric oxygen therapy at the Lea Boulevard location in Wilmington. Medical Director Nicholas O. Biasotto, D.O., George Zlupko, M.D., who is certified in hyperbaric medicine, and John DeCarli, D.O., believed that hyperbaric oxygen therapy could help prevent further vision loss and even help restore some vision for Tait. With the support of Diversified Clinical Services Inc., a network of wound care and hyperbaric medicine centers, the Christiana Care staff had instant access to all evidence-based protocols for treating CRAO, as well as available consults from another hyperbaric-certified physician online. But both hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers were booked for other patients on the day Tait was approved to begin therapy.

“We were able to get all the wheels in motion to have the patient start her first treatment Thursday evening instead of Friday morning as we first planned,” Abner says. “In a matter of hours we completed screening, evaluation, insurance approval and scheduling, which usually takes a week. So Alyssa began therapy in the chamber by 6 p.m. Thursday.”

This was no simple task given that the hyperbaric staff usually works weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The clinical window of opportunity to apply effective hyperbaric oxygen therapy was shrinking. Tait needed two treatments per day for 10 treatments.

“The nursing staff and doctors really scrambled to arrange for five straight days of therapy,” McCullough says. “They reshuffled personal priorities to do what they could to regain any portion of Alyssa’s vision loss.”

Tait noticed improvement in her peripheral vision the morning after her first treatment. After the sixth treatment, a repeat funduscopic exam showed a significant decrease in retinal swelling. Tait recovered a sliver of light in the middle of her field of vision.

“There is still permanent damage, but less significant than originally thought to be,” her mother says. “So far they have found no underlying medical conditions that caused the CRAO.”

As a mother, McCullough was concerned about how Alyssa would process the sudden vision loss and all the information—some of which could be hard to take.

“No one expects their 20-year old child to have a ministroke, but the Christiana Care staff was wonderful,” McCullough says. “They explained things in a simplistic and thorough way and sincerely cared enough to do whatever they could to make a difference for my daughter.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hyperbaric Oxygenation Increases Patients own Stem Cells By Eight-Fold

Hyperbaric Oxygenation Increases Patients own Stem Cells By Eight-Fold

... 2 hours HBOT at 2 ATA; doubles the patients own circulating stem cells
... 40-60 hours HBOT increases circulating stem cells by 8-fold (800%) !!
A scientific study completed at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine reports that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) are a safe and effective way to mobilize the patients own stem cells providing immediate benefit and further preparing the patient for future stem cell implantation related therapies.
In fact the population of CD34+ cells in the peripheral circulation of humans doubled in response to a single exposure to 2.0 atmospheres absolute (ATA) HBOT for 2 hours. Over a course of twenty treatments, circulating CD34+ cells increased eight-fold!
Stem cells, also called progenitor cells, are crucial to the repair of injured tissues and organs. Hyperbaric Oxygenation increases by eight-fold the number of circulating stem cells throughout the body. Healthy recovery of injured and diseased tissues is the ultimate goal and stem cells play an essential role.
In response to injury, stem cells are mobilized out of the bone marrow to the injured sites, where they differentiate into specialized cells that are important to the healing process. Stem cells from bone marrow are capable of providing specialized functions in many different organs and tissues throughout the body. This movement, or mobilization, of stem cells can be triggered by a variety of stimuli—including Hyperbaric Oxygenation.
While drugs are associated with a host of side effects, Hyperbaric Oxygenation treatments carry a significantly lower risk of such effects.
"This is the safest way clinically to increase stem cell circulation, far safer than any of the pharmaceutical options," said Stephen Thom, MD, Ph.D., Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and lead author of the study.
"This study provides information on the fundamental mechanisms for hyperbaric oxygen therapy and offers a new therapeutic option for mobilizing stem cells."
"We reproduced the observations from humans in animals in order to identify the mechanism for the hyperbaric oxygen effect," added Thom. "We found that hyperbaric oxygen mobilizes stem/progenitor cells because it increases synthesis of a molecule called nitric oxide in the bone marrow. This synthesis is thought to trigger enzymes that mediate stem/progenitor cell release."
Hyperbaric Oxygenation not only causes the release of the patients circulating stem cells but greatly facilitates future endeavors using stem cell related therapies which is costly and not an automatic guarantee in every patient.
It is hoped that future study of hyperbaric oxygen's role in mobilizing stem cells will provide a wide array of treatments for combating injury and chronic progressive disease.
The completed study is scheduled for publication in the April 2006 edition of the American Journal of Physiology – Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
Submitted on August 19, 2005; Accepted on November 7, 2005
Stem cell mobilization by hyperbaric oxygenation
Stephen R Thom1, Veena M Bhopale2, Omaida C Velazquez3, Lee J Goldstein3, Lynne H Thom2*, and Donald G Buerk4
1 Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA; Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA 2 Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA 3 Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA 4 Physiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA We hypothesized that exposure to hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) would mobilize stem/progenitor cells from the bone marrow by a nitric oxide (.NO) dependent mechanism. The population of CD34+ cells in the peripheral circulation of humans doubled in response to a single exposure to 2.0 atmospheres absolute (ATA) O2 for 2 hours. Over a course of twenty treatments, circulating CD34+ cells increased eight-fold, although the over-all circulating white cell count was not significantly increased. The number of colony-forming cells (CFCs) increased from 16 ± 2 to 26 ± 3 CFCs/100,000 monocytes plated. Elevations in CFCs were entirely due to the CD34+ sub-population, but increased cell growth only occurred in samples obtained immediately post-treatment. A high proportion of progeny cells express receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor-2 and for stromal derived growth factor. In mice, HBO2 increased circulating stem cell factor by 50%, increased the number of circulating cells expressing stem cell antigen-1 and CD34 by 3.4-fold, and doubled the number of CFCs. Bone marrow .NO concentration increased by 1008 ± 255 nM in association with HBO2. Stem cell mobilization did not occur in knock out mice lacking genes for endothelial .NO synthase. Moreover, pre-treatment of wild type mice with a nitric oxide (.NO) synthase inhibitor prevented the HBO2-induced elevation in stem cell factor and circulating stem cells. We conclude that HBO2 mobilizes stem/progenitor cells by stimulating .NO synthesis.