Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease

December 5, 2017, Tel Aviv University
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Credit: Tel Aviv University

A new Tel Aviv University study reveals that hyperbaric oxygen treatments may ameliorate symptoms experienced by patients with Alzheimer's disease.

"This revolutionary treatment for Alzheimer's disease uses a hyperbaric chamber, which has been shown in the past to be extremely effective in treating wounds that were slow to heal," says Prof. Uri Ashery of TAU's Sagol School of Neuroscience and the Faculty of Life Sciences, who led the research for the study. "We have now shown for the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can actually improve the pathology of Alzheimer's disease and correct behavioral deficits associated with the disease.

"This research is extremely exciting as it explores a new therapy that holds promise as a treatment of Alzheimer's disease," Prof. Ashery says.

The research was conducted by PhD student Ronit Shapira of TAU's Faculty of Life Sciences; Prof. Beka Solomon and Dan Frenkel of TAU's Sagol School of Neuroscience and Faculty of Life Sciences; and Prof. Shai Efrati of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Sagol School of Neuroscience and Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center. It was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

Patients who undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy for different conditions breathe in pure oxygen in a pressurized room or chamber. In this chamber, the air pressure is increased to twice that of normal air. Under these conditions, oxygen solubility in the blood increases and is transported by blood vessels throughout the body. The added oxygen stimulates the release of growth factors and stem cells, which themselves promote healing.

The TAU scientists used a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease and built a custom-made hyperbaric oxygen chamber suitable for small animals. Then, over the course of 14 days, the team administered hyperbaric oxygen treatment to the mice for one hour per day. After 14 days, the mice underwent a series of behavioral tests as well as tissue biochemical tests to understand how hyperbaric oxygen treatment affects the pathological hallmarks associated with Alzheimer's disease.

The treatment reduced behavioral deficiencies compared to the non-transgenic control mice, reduced plaque pathology by 40%, and reduced neuroinflammation by about 40%.

"There are serious clinical implications to this research," says Shapira, principal investigator of the study. "Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a well-tolerated and safe therapy used in clinics around the world for various medical conditions, including neurological disorders. Although further research is needed to elucidate the underlying beneficial mechanisms of the therapy and to evaluate its beneficial effects in various Alzheimer patient populations, it holds great potential for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease."

"In this hallmark study, the beneficial physiological effects of were directly demonstrated on Alzheimer-affected brain tissue," says Prof. Efrati. "We assume that the main challenge in human use will be to initiate the treatment at early stages before significant amount of brain tissue is lost."

The researchers are currently testing the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen on an additional mouse model of Alzheimer's disease to investigate the mechanisms underlying its impact on the disease.

Explore further: Hyperbaric oxygen chambers aren't cure-alls, FDA warns

More information: Ronit Shapira et al, Hyperbaric oxygen therapy ameliorates pathophysiology of 3xTg-AD mouse model by attenuating neuroinflammation, Neurobiology of Aging (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2017.10.007

Related Stories

Hyperbaric oxygen chambers aren't cure-alls, FDA warns

August 22, 2013
(HealthDay)—Despite claims on some websites, there is no evidence that hyperbaric oxygen therapy cures or is an effective treatment for diseases such as cancer, autism, diabetes or other diseases, the U.S. Food and Drug ...

Oxygen treatment beneficial in diabetes-prone mice

May 8, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of a preclinical diabetes mouse model reduces the incidence of diabetes and preserves insulin-producing β-cells, according to a study published online May 7 in Diabetes.

O2 and hyperbaric oxygen therapy reverses brain damage in drowned toddler

July 17, 2017
Dr. Paul Harch, Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, and Dr. Edward Fogarty, at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, report the case of the reversal ...

Oxygen chamber therapy may ease fibromyalgia, study suggests

June 24, 2015
(HealthDay)—The majority of women with fibromyalgia who underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy—best known for treating "the bends" in scuba divers—experienced relief from pain and other symptoms, a small study found.

High-pressure oxygen can effectively treat fibromyalgia

July 14, 2015
Fibromyalgia is almost impossible to diagnose. The chronic pain syndrome strikes an estimated 1 in 70 Americans, most of them women. The disorder is often triggered by head trauma, a neurological infection, or severe emotional ...

Hyperbaric oxygen Tx beneficial for systemic sclerosis ulcers

March 17, 2017
(HealthDay)—Adjunctive hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) may be beneficial for treatment of systemic sclerosis (SSc) ulcers, according to a report published online Feb. 23 in the International Journal of Dermatology.

Recommended for you

Scientists discover why some people with brain markers of Alzheimer's have no dementia

August 16, 2018
A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston has uncovered why some people that have brain markers of Alzheimer's never develop the classic dementia that others do. The study is now available in the ...

Researchers identify new genes that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease

August 14, 2018
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine, working with scientists across the nation on the Alzheimer's Disease Sequencing Project (ADSP), have discovered new genes that will further current understanding of the ...

Deaths from resident-to-resident incidents in dementia offers insights to inform policy

August 14, 2018
Analyzing the incidents between residents in dementia in long-term care homes may hold the key to reducing future fatalities among this vulnerable population, according to new research from the University of Minnesota School ...

Scientists propose a new lead for Alzheimer's research

August 14, 2018
A University of Adelaide-led team of scientists has suggested a potential link between iron in our cells and the rare gene mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease, which could provide new avenues for future research.

Eye conditions provide new lens screening for Alzheimer's disease

August 8, 2018
Alzheimer's disease is difficult to diagnose as well as treat, but researchers now have a promising new screening tool using the window to the brain: the eye.

Potential indicator for the early detection of dementias

August 7, 2018
Researchers at the University of Basel have discovered a factor that could support the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. This cytokine is induced by cellular stress reactions ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.