Herpes of the Brain
Also known as Herpes Meningoencephalitis, herpes of the brain is a serious infection which can lead to long-term permanent brain damage or even death. The brain is covered with three thin layers of tissue called the meninges. Meningitis occurs when the meninges become inflamed. Encephalitis occurs when both the meninges and the brain are inflamed or infected. When this is caused by the Herpes virus, it causes serious damage to the meninges and the cerebral tissues. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of Herpes of the brain is a treatment which can help patients recover after the infection subsides to improve long-term results.
Symptoms of Herpes of the Brain
The most common symptoms of Herpes of the brain include headache, stiffness in the head and neck, fever, light sensitivity, and trouble thinking clearly. This can escalate into more severe symptoms like seizures, hallucinations, unusual behaviors or thoughts, personality changes, and even unconsciousness. Herpes meningoencephalitis can be difficult to diagnose or notice in the early stages, especially for patients who often have headaches or migraines. In children or infants, this is a particularly dangerous infection which can be fatal if not diagnosed quickly. Most of the time, it has to be diagnosed through a spinal tap. Once Herpes of the brain has been diagnosed, an antiviral medication must be taken through an IV for 10-14 days. Babies or children may need to be treated for several weeks longer, depending on the severity of the infection.
After-effects of Herpes of the Brain
Once the infection has subsided, most patients still have long-term side effects. These side effects include seizure disorders, memory problems, trouble thinking or remembering, personality changes, and even difficulty functioning and moving the body. Most of this is due to the damage that the Herpes virus does to the brain itself. Some of this damage is due to death of brain cells and some is due to the effects of swelling in the brain. Because herpes damages and destroys tissue in the brain it can be thought of as a wounding condition of the brain. The benefit of HBOT for people with Herpes of the brain is that it can rejuvenate damaged brain cells injured by the virus or the swelling in the brain and it is the only treatment which can be used to help the body grow back damaged cerebral tissue (https://www.medgasres.com/article.asp?issn=2045-9912;year=2017;volume=7;issue=2;spage=144;epage=149;aulast=Harch9). Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of Herpes of the brain is safe, effective, and can be applied to adults, infants, and young children.
The Benefit of HBOT for People with Herpes of the Brain
While HBOT cannot replace antiviral medications that directly treat the Herpes virus in the brain, it can help the body heal afterwards. Other treatments cannot replicate the effects HBOT has on the brain. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of Herpes of the brain is very similar to HBOT treatment of other wounding infections in the body for which HBOT is typically reimbursed, such as chronic bone infections, necrotizing fasciitis, necrotizing soft tissue infections, and gas gangrene. In these infections HBOT can directly treat only some of the bacteria causing the infection. It’s greater effect is on treating the wounding caused by the infections. The benefit of HBOT for people with Herpes of the brain is that it treats the wounds caused by herpes in the brain and helps the body heal itself. When properly doses it can be both effective and safe.
Babies who get Herpes of the brain cannot participate in mental training or other therapies, especially when they cannot communicate, but they can participate in HBOT to help them. Dr. Harch has had success treating children and adults with the residual effects of viral infections of the meninges and brain, including herpes. One of these children, a four-year old girl, was treated within one month after her herpes meningoencephalitis. Considered to be blind after the herpes infection she re-acquired limited vision and improved neurological function after just an initial two weeks of HBOT. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of case experience of HBOT in herpes meningoencephalitis, but there is experience treating the acute wounding of herpes virus in herpes zoster or shingles. In a randomized controlled study of HBOT in acute herpes zoster infection in 2012 Dr. Peng showed a reduction in pain, depression, post-herpetic neuralgia (the chronic painful condition of shingles), and decreased scar formation in the HBOT group.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment of Herpes of the Brain
Just as in any treatment program with HBOT, Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of Herpes of the brain is done through a simple process. The patient is put into a pressurized environment which increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and body tissues. In combination with the increase in pressure the increase in oxygen expedites healing and stimulates healing in tissues that were previously thought to be damaged beyond repair.
Hyperbaric oxygen treatment of herpes meningoencephalitis is dependent on proper dosing of HBOT. The number of treatments is determined by the dose of HBOT and the time of intervention. Treatment closer to the time of infection requires less treatment. If the patient is months after the infection Dr. Harch generally recommends 40 sessions over a period of several months. The benefit of HBOT for people with Herpes of the Brain is that HBOT has effects identical to HBOT in other types of brain injury, including stroke, trauma, birth injury, multiple sclerosis, and others. No other treatment has been able to treat so many brain injuries because no other treatment is able to treat the underlying disease processes responsible for so many diseases. This is a unique feature of HBOT. The human body is remarkable at healing, but HBOT accelerates stalled and incomplete healing, achieving healing and outcomes that change a person’s life and quality of life.