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Openings Still Available for Phase III Study of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

The Psychology Times
February 1, 2015, Vol. 6, No. 2

Dr. Paul Harch, physician and expert in hyperbaric medicine, and Dr. Susan Andrews, New Orleans neuropsychologist, are recruiting individuals for their Phase III Clinical Trial aimed to uncover the potential benefits of low-pressure hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or Persistent Post-Concussion Syndrome.

Dr. Harch told the Times, “Since our first study the military has published five papers on three studies of HBOT in TBI. They have confirmed our initial data with the dose that we pioneered 25 years ago,” Harch said, “obtained similar results with another dose of hyperbaric therapy and achieved neutral and negative results with other higher doses of hyperbaric therapy.

“Misinterpretation of these results by the military based on a misunderstanding of the science of hyperbaric therapy,” Harch said, “has confused the public and medical community. The key is that they have duplicated our results with the dose we have

used.”

Harch and Andrews are nearly finished with the manuscript on their previous study. “Without divulging data it is fair to say that we have confirmed the previous data with greater statistical strength and incorporated an imaging control group,” said

Harch. “The present study is to confirm or refute the previous study with a stronger design.”

However, recruitment for the current study has been difficult.  The researchers are especially hoping for the veterans and because of the importance of the study have opened participation for all of 2015 and perhaps into 2016.

Dr. Susan Andrews, who conducts the pre, post, and post-post psychological assessments previously told the Times, “Obviously, the long-term goal is to help the vets,” she said.  “But another major goal is to evaluate the effectiveness of HBOT for persistent post-concussion syndrome under solid experimental conditions.”

Any person who has persistent symptoms from one or more concussions that have occurred within the last six months to ten years is eligible. Referring practitioners and persons wanting to participate can contact the research coordinator at

504-427-5632 for more information.

The study is fully funded through a congressional appropriation to Dr. Harch, the principal investigator, and LSU Health Sciences Center. It is administered by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command (USARMC). Oklahoma State University School of Medicine and Hyperbaric Medicine Department is the second site.

HBOT came to the attention of the Louisiana State University football coach, Les Miles, who was featured last August in The Health Care Journal of Baton Rouge in a front-page feature article about HBOT for athletes. Miles told the Journal that he heard about HBOT and that the “two foremost experts on hyperbarics were right here in Louisiana.” These turned out to be Paul Harch and Keith Van Meter.

“What we found is that there are all of these unexplained advantages to these divers that were being put at altitude and given 100% oxygen,” Miles said to the Journal.

For the body under pressure, there is a change that takes place that makes it more receptive to oxygen. So you drop it 15 feet, which is one altitude, or 30 feet which is two altitudes, or 60 feet, and so on. It kind of depends on where the spot is, if you will, or the protocol that would demand what depth. Then suddenly your body is open to oxygen,” Miles said.

“They found that there was so much really undiscovered use for this and Paul Harch went to a bunch of different extremes to get this information,” Miles told the Journal. “For instance he offered free treatment to veterans who would come off of combat who were around an explosion.”

“If we get to a point where this thing says it’s a 20% advantage.  Wow! It’s worth it,” Miles explained. “But then, what if it’s more?  What if the multi-uses are just more? We had a guy say once, ‘Let’s let the injury mature and we’ll treat it on Monday.’ That seems counterintuitive. I recognize that I don’t know, but I am open to trying.”