DALLAS, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- On tonight's "HDNet World Report" correspondent Carol McKinley travels to Louisiana to investigate what may be a big breakthrough in treating the estimated 320,000 veterans returning from war with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – that treatment is called hyperbaric oxygen therapy or H-BOT.
A screener of the program can be viewed at the following link:
During the H-BOT treatment, patients are exposed to pure oxygen, one hour at a time, in an airtight chamber.
The man behind this new therapy is Dr. Paul Harch, who has been treating soldiers at his clinic outside of New Orleans with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
"What is theorized is that there are damaged brain cells that aren't yet dead, they are disabled," Harch tells McKinley. "It's like a car that's broken and can only go in first gear, somehow it [the oxygen] is restoring energy metabolism capability to cells."
"I was definitely skeptical," said Margaux Mange, a former MP who served in Iraq and is now being treated with H-BOT. "I mean I've been through brain surgery. Oxygen? I was like...how's that gonna help? But I'm a believer!"
Dr. Harch's research has shown that 80% of those treated return to their normal lives and he has seen an average 15% increase in IQ and a nearly 40% decrease in post-concussion syndrome symptoms such as headaches, loss of memory and depression.
However, not everyone is convinced that H-BOT is a viable treatment for TBI and PTSD.
The Army and the VA have refused to use hyperbaric oxygen treatment on returning veterans, saying that it is an unproven science.
But, Congress has taken notice of Harch's research, and is now forcing the Army to begin clinical trials, treating soldiers suffering from TBI with H-BOT. As a result, by the end of this year, five army hospitals will participate in a double blind clinical trial using hyperbaric oxygen on about four hundred brain-injured soldiers.
However, the vast majority of veterans suffering from TBI will never receive the treatment.
"HDNet World Report: New Hope for Treating TBI" premieres on HDNet, TONIGHT, Tuesday, April 13 at 9:00 p.m. ET with a re-air midnight ET to accommodate West Coast Prime Time.
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