TBI PROGRESS REPORT: A new paper on hyperbaric oxygen therapy for traumatic brain injury has been published

The Department of Defense-sponsored clinical trial on hyperbaric oxygen for mild traumatic brain injury has yielded promising findings for future research.

The Emmes Corporation of Rockville, Maryland, recently announced that scientists and health professionals from Emmes; LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah; Lovelace Biomedical Environmental Research Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico; and the U.S. Army Medical and Materiel Development Activity at Fort Detrick, Maryland, have completed a multiyear clinical trial testing hyperbaric oxygen as an intervention for U.S. military service members who have suffered mild traumatic brain injuries with persistent symptoms.

Eleven researchers, as well as members of the study team, collaborated to write a paper that summarized these most recent comprehensive findings in the series of studies. ‘Hyperbaric oxygen for post-concussive symptoms in United States military service members: a randomized clinical trial’ was published in March-April 2018 issue of Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine, the bimonthly member publication of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society

The Department of Defense-sponsored study included both active-duty soldiers and veterans in the military who suffered from mild traumatic brain injuries.

Millions of people in the United States deal with traumatic brain injuries, and combat military personnel have increased risk for persistent post-concussive symptoms. This clinical research studied military personnel with post-concussive symptoms occurring three months to five years after mild traumatic brain injury. The randomized clinical trial evaluated participants’ specific symptoms, as well as a range of other assessments such as quality of life, sleep, cognitive processing, as well as auditory, visual and neuroimaging traits.

Hyperbaric oxygen produced short-term improvement in self-reported post-concussive and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, as well as some cognitive processing speed and sleep measures, in comparison to a control group. These improvements regressed after six months, however. One notable finding was that improvements were most significant in trial participants suffering from both traumatic brain injury and PTSD.

“Results suggest that hyperbaric oxygen may have a favorable effect that merits further study in service members, especially in those with PTSD,” said Dr. Lindell Weaver, principal investigator and a member of the Hyperbaric Medicine Department of LDS Hospital. “This could be a promising avenue for further research.”

“We are planning to produce more in-depth papers on the findings of this study,” noted Dr. Steffanie Wilson, Emmes biostatistician and principal investigator of Emmes’ data analysis and management center for the research team. Wilson added that additional research could address such issues as dosing, length of treatment and patient selection.

According to Dr. Anne Lindblad, president and chief executive officer of Emmes: “We learned a great deal from this research, from design to outcomes to logistics. This will be extremely helpful in developing more efficient clinical trials in the future and ultimately more effective ways to treat brain injuries and PTSD.”

About the paper

The paper was published in the March/April 2018 issue of the Undersea and Hyperbaric MedicineJournal. Members can access the paper by logging into the website at https://www.uhms.org/publications/uhm-journal/download-uhm-journal-pdfs/hyperbaric-oxygen-for-post-concussive-symptoms-in-united-states-military-service-members-a-randomized-clinical-trial/viewdocument.html

Non-subscribers can access the paper fora nominal fee at https://www.uhms.org/publications/research-article-hyperbaric-oxygen-for-post-concussive-symptoms-in-united-states-military-service-members-a-randomized-clinical-trial.html

About the Contract

This material is based upon work supported by the Department of Defense under Contract No. W81XWH-15-D-0039-0003. The views, opinions and/or findings contained in this report are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by other documentation. In the conduct of the protection of human subjects as prescribed by Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Title 45, Volume 1, Part 46; Title 32, Chapter 1, Part 219; and Title 21, Chapter 1, Part 50 (Protection of Human Subjects).

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