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Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

Rebecca Catalanello, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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By Rebecca Catalanello, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
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on March 25, 2015 at 10:19 AM, updated March 25, 2015 at 11:04 AM

Can oxygen therapy aid patients who have suffered mild traumatic brain injury?

Dr. Paul G. Harch, a professor of medicine at LSU Health New Orleans, is seeking 50 patients willing to participate in a trial to find out.

Harch, who has built a career exploring the ways hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help patients with nervous system disorders, is the principal investigator on a government-funded trial designed to determine the effectiveness of 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments on symptoms persistent with post-concussion syndrome of mild traumatic brain injury.

Patients who are candidates for the trial are those who have suffered one or more traumatic brain injuries or concussions in the within the past six months to 10 years. Participants will undergo eight weeks of hyperbaric treatment, as well as a series of oral, written and computer tests prior to and following the therapy.

“Possible benefits include improvement in thinking ability, quality of life and reduction of TBI symptoms, however there may be no benefits,” read a statement from LSU Health New Orleans spokeswoman Leslie Capo.

Traumatic brain injuries — most recently associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq —  are caused by bumps, blow or jolts to the head or by a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. In 2010, 2.5 million emergency room visits, hospitalizations or deaths were associated with traumatic brain injuries according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those who survive traumatic brain injury can face lasting disabilities that may include impairments in thinking, memory, movement, vision and hearing as well as personality changes and depression.

To learn more, visit www.hbottbistudy.org, call (504) 427-5632 or email cjoh26@lsuhsc.edu.

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