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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)


Alzheimer’s disease also referred to as AD is one of the most popular neurogenerative conditions. The condition which mostly affects the elderly results in memory loss as well as gradual cognitive decline. It results from hypoxia once the brain begins receiving less oxygen. Brain functions are compromised leading to deterioration of cognitive function. The progression of Alzheimer’s disease is accelerated by various genetic and non-genetic factors and conditions: old age, type 2 diabetes, cerebrovascular disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular disorders, respiratory diseases, and traumatic brain injury, among others. Being the powerhouse of the body, the brain consumes about 20% of the total oxygen intake. Its high oxygen requirement means that it should always be supplied with ample proportions of oxygen at all times. A slight change in the amount of oxygen reaching the brain could result in various repercussions all over the body. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s have a difficult time focusing, solving problems, and recalling simple details such as places they previously knew of and time. With time, their eating and sleeping patterns are also compromised. With time, most people prefer to shift from medicinal means of addressing the condition to others that are safer, more sustainable, and have lesser side effects hence the adoption of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). Most pathological mechanisms of the neurodegenerative disease are addressed by hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

How HBOT works

Reversal of acute/chronic hypoxia impacts differently on the pathological factors that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Oxygen therapy also impacted positively on the activity of local neurons across different parts of the brain. HBOT also aids in increasing cerebral blood volume therefore supplying enough oxygen to every brain tissue. HBOT also contributes to the repair of damaged neurovascularization while also contributing to vasodilation to increase blood flow to the brain. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases cell metabolism by boosting mitochondrial function. This is enabled by increasing membrane permeability and capabilities. Also, the amount of reactive oxygen species in the brain is regulated to avoid neurodegeneration. HBOT also reverses messy protein synthesis which is a causative factor of AD. This is enabled by sparking antioxidant mechanisms as well as boosting cellular redox homeostasis. This way, oxygen therapy can enhance cognitive function by controlling protein synthesis.

HBOT also results in the reversal of amyloid plaques on the brain cells. The latter contributes to cognitive decline and dysfunction, including memory loss. Uncommon clusters of protein particles referred to as beta-amyloid infiltrate nerve cells thus inhibiting their functioning. Various functions of the brain are affected in the process. HBOT also addresses the neuro-inflammation associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In the long run, the use of HBOT leads to improved cognitive function and improved memory. Also, those recovering can focus, sleep, eat, and engage in other activities better. It leads to improved quality for those suffering from Alzheimer’s with the biggest proportion being individuals of advanced age.

References

Chen, J., Zhang, F., Zhao, L., Cheng, C., Zhong, R., Dong, C., & Le, W. (2020). Hyperbaric oxygen ameliorates cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.1002/trc2.12030

Yang, C., Yang, Q., Xiang, Y., Zeng, X., Xiao, J., & Le, W. (2023). The neuroprotective effects of oxygen therapy in Alzheimer’s disease: a narrative review. Neural Regeneration Research, 18(1), 57. https://doi.org/10.4103/1673-5374.343897




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