On a recent episode of the Dr. Oz television program, a guest of the show strongly advocated the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. So, what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy and when is it used?
What we know
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is breathing 100% oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure. According to Mayoclinic.com, “hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving. Other conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.”
Recent research has investigated whether HBOT may have value for other conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, but no significant evidence has been found.
The Bottom Line
To the best of our knowledge, there is no substantive research evidence for this treatment in Alzheimer’s. A quick review of the published literature by the Alzheimer’s Association found no studies that support hyperbaric oxygen as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. And, as of today, there are no clinical trials of hyperbaric oxygen for Alzheimer’s listed on clinicaltrials.gov. For now, I wouldn’t put too much faith in this type of therapy for Alzheimer’s.
For more information on the latest news and developments in Alzheimer’s research, visit www.alz.org/research.