Researchers offer a ray of hope to patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease through a new treatment called hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
According to American Friends of Tel Aviv University in New York researchers, the treatment has potential to correct behavioural and physical deficits associated with the disease. Lead author Uri Ashery said this revolutionary treatment for Alzheimer's disease uses a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which has been shown in the past to be extremely effective in treating wounds that were slow to heal.
"We have now shown for the first time that hyperbaric oxygen therapy can actually improve the pathology of Alzheimer's disease and correct behavioural deficits associated with the disease," Ashery added. The patients who undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy for different conditions breathe in pure oxygen in a pressurised room or chamber. In this chamber, the air pressure is increased to twice that of normal air.
The researchers found that in patients under these conditions, oxygen solubility in the blood increases and are transported by blood vessels throughout the body. The added oxygen stimulates the release of growth factors and stem cells, which themselves promote healing. The team 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 behavioural tests as well as tissue biochemical tests to understand how hyperbaric oxygen treatment affects the pathological hallmarks associated with Alzheimer's disease.
The results suggested that the treatment reduced behavioral deficiencies compared to the non-transgenic control mice, reduced plaque pathology by 40 percent and reduced neuroinflammation by about 40 percent. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is a well-tolerated and safe therapy used in clinics around the world for various medical conditions, including neurological disorders.
The research appears the journal Neurobiology of Aging.