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The Role of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) in the Treatment of Age-Related Vascular Dementia (VD)

As age advances and life expectancy increases, various age-related health complications that impact negatively on healthy living crop up. One of the most prevalent conditions is vascular dementia. Vascular dementia (VD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are the most common forms of dementia. Most patients are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, with vascular dementia coming in second place. VD is most common in individuals above 60 years. The cognitive changes that happen within the body compromise cognitive abilities. Some of the most common symptoms of the condition include the inability to concentrate, focus, recall, and make decisions. In the later stages, the patient is unable to attend to regular tasks such as taking calls of nature, feeding and cleaning themselves, and even speaking. Most patients have to depend on caregivers on a full-time basis. Other behavioral and psychological symptoms include hallucinations, inconsistent moods, delusions, and short-temperedness. Some of the preexisting conditions that make one to be susceptible to the condition include obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and mental and physical weaknesses, among others.

Mechanism of Action

HBOT has the effect of improving the patient’s vascular and cerebrovascular health and well-being. The latter increases the quality of life they live even at an advanced age. The substantial cost implications associated with other forms of treatment are lessened as well; HBOT is cheaper and more effective in the long run. Increased brain tissue oxygenation boosts the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. The latter leads to more absorption of humanin, a bioactive peptide that plays a key role in cell metabolism, anti-apoptosis, and anti-inflammation. There is reduced edema as a result of increased hyperoxygenated blood as well. 

The highly pressurized oxygen boosts neuroplasticity, which enables the brain to regrow and rewire itself. Cognitive functions which were slowly dying away as a result of old age are rejuvenated in the process. Regeneration of nerve fibers in the brain is also enabled, therefore reversing various cognitive dysfunctions that the condition had messed up. Also, inactive neurons responsible for transmitting multiple signals are activated. HBOT also aids in restoring the size of telomeres. Aging results in their reduction in size and even degeneration. The DNA-protein components play a vital role in the preservation of information within the genome. Increased cerebral blood flow (CBF) and volume reduce the severity of the condition by leading to the nourishment of cerebral white and grey microstructures. Spatial and working memory are prompted in the process. Behavioral deficits are addressed, enabling one to get back to doing specific tasks for themselves. 

References

Balasubramanian, P., Delfavero, J., Nyul-Toth, A., Tarantini, A., Gulej, R., & Tarantini, S. (2021). Integrative role of Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy on Healthspan, age-related vascular cognitive impairment, and dementia. Frontiers in Aging, 2(6), 14–22. https://doi.org/10.3389/fragi.2021.678543  

Xu, Y., Wang, Q., Qu, Z., Yang, J., Zhang, X., & Zhao, Y. (2019). Protective effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on cognitive function in patients with vascular dementia. Cell Transplantation, 28(8), 1071–1075. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963689719853540  

You, Q., Li, L., Xiong, S., Yan, Y., Li, D., Yan, N., Chen, H., & Liu, Y. (2019). Meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of hyperbaric oxygen as adjunctive therapy for vascular dementia. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 11(4), 71–77. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2019.00086  

 

 

 

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