Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why does HBOT and intensive pediatric therapy work so well together?

"Plasticity is one of the most important mechanisms of brain repair and involves the redirection and reeducation of neurons to make new pathways to learn and improve both cognitive and motor skills. Following any brain insult there is a period of plasticity while the brain and body compensate and attempt to overcome and rewire their connections to learn to take over the tasks of the damaged neurons. In children, plasticity is ongoing, as the brain is in development and still growing new brain cells. Just as babies need to be taught to walk and talk, newly awakened neurons need to be redirected and retrained. HBOT, the safe, non-invasive use of 100% oxygen under greater than atmospheric pressure, has been clearly proven to reactivate and facilitate dormant, idling, damaged neurons that had been receiving enough oxygen to exist but not enough to function or fire electrically. The reactivation of these cells with HBOT opens up whole new areas of plasticity so that the brain is able to learn or relearn the skills that are necessary for proper function of both the brain, as it relates to cognitive function, and the body as the brain makes new connections for recovery of trunk, limb and muscle movement. New neurons are like newborn babies. They need direction for their optimal growth and development. This is why a multi-disciplinary approach to brain injury in cerebral palsy and the brain injured child is so crucial to the outcome. The sooner the new neurons can be redirected to take on the tasks of the damaged areas the more promising the prognosis. It is the intensive therapy and strength training that redirect the brain cells when they are reactivated by HBOT to form the necessary pathways for functional recovery. The synergy of the two approaches combined demonstrates a good and positive outcome for the child."
-from The Synergy of Body/Brain Repair by Virginia Neubauer

We are planning to complete another 40 sessions of HBOT coupled with intensive physical, occupational, and speech therapy over the course of a very busy month! Our schedule will look something like this:

  • HBOT session (60 minutes at 1.5 atmospheres, ~30 minutes to pressurize/depressurize)
  • Intensive PT, OT and Speech (4 hours)
  • HBOT session (60 minutes at 1.5 atmospheres, ~30 minutes to pressurize/depressurize)

This is 7 hours of therapy every weekday for a month!

It will make for very busy days, but hopefully our son will recover even more function by coupling intensive pediatric therapy with HBOT.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Preterm birth: Magnesium sulphate cuts cerebral palsy risk

"Magnesium sulphate protects very premature babies from cerebral palsy, a new study shows. The findings of this Cochrane Review could help reduce incidence of the disabling condition, which currently affects around one in every 500 newborn babies overall, but up to one-in-ten very premature babies.

The neuroprotective function of magnesium in preterm babies was first suggested in the early nineties. Cochrane Researchers who carried out a systematic review of the available evidence say this role is now established. magnesium sulphate is usually given as a slow infusion through a vein, but can also be given as an injection into the muscle.

"There is now enough evidence to support giving magnesium sulphate to women at risk of very preterm birth as a protective agent against cerebral palsy for their baby," said lead researcher, Lex Doyle, who works at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal Women's Hospital and the University of Melbourne in Australia.

Exactly how magnesium protects the brain is not certain, but it is essential for many processes that keep cells working normally, it may protect against harmful molecules that can damage or kill cells, and it improves blood flow under some circumstances.

The researchers reviewed data from five trials of antenatal magnesium sulphate therapy, which together included 6,145 babies. Overall 63 women at risk of very preterm birth had to be given magnesium sulphate to prevent one case of cerebral palsy in the baby.

Side effects of the treatment include flushing, sweating, nausea, vomiting, headaches and palpitations. However, the researchers found no increase in major complications in mothers due to magnesium therapy."

Contact: Jennifer Beal

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Treating Chronic Neurologic Conditions with Low Pressure HBOT

Linked below are a couple articles that support the use of low pressure HBOT to treat neurologic conditions. The first article is a must read in my opinion for families with children who have CP.

Before I knew much about hyperbarics, I read The Oxygen Revolution and found it to be a well organized text and a good overview of the off-label use of hyperbarics. I also would recommend this book to anyone interested in HBOT.