Measuring Cognitive Enhancement During Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatments


The aim of the current study was to examine the effect of short-term HBOT on a range of
cognitive abilities. The current study examined whether there is a HBOT-related short-term
cognitive improvement and, if so, what specific cognitive abilities are improved by the

Participants were recruited through ads on the internet and on student social groups. All
participants underwent a comprehensive physical and neurological examination, and general
medical conditions were ruled out. Participants were excluded if reported changes in their
cognitive or behavioral functions during one month prior to the beginning of the study.
Smokers (people who smoke more than seven cigarettes a week) were required to take a lung
x-ray confirming there isn’t a pulmonary pathology, such as pneumothorax, pulmonary bullae,
emphysema, or other lung pathologies preventing them from staying in a high ATA environment.
Participants with an abnormal x-ray were excluded from the study. Participants who regularly
use Methylphenidate (i.e. Ritalin) or other stimulants for attention disorders (i.e. ADHD)
were instructed not to take it at the day of the experiment.

Following consent, all the participants were exposed to the testing battery in a group
setting. One of the experimenters went through each of the sub-tests instructions in a
detailed manner prior to a practice phase in which participants trained on the tasks.
Afterwards, participants were randomized to perform the tasks in one of two chambers with two
different clinical environments: (a) HBOT condition: (2 ATA 100% oxygen for 90 minutes). The
atmospheric pressure in this condition was set to 2 ATA. This ATA level is known to have a
clinical effect, whereas higher-pressure levels may result in inhibitory brain effects or
even lead to focal toxicity (Efrati and Ben-Jacob, 2014). (b) Control condition: in which the
chamber was not pressurized (Normobaric condition- 1 ATA for 90 minutes) and participants
breathed air (21% oxygen). In this condition, ATA was elevated for a few minutes to 1.2 ATA
in order to mimic the feeling of pressure building up in the ears. The pressure was decreased
soon after to 1 ATA.

The assessment began 30 min after participants wore the oxygen masks within the chamber, in
order to enable appropriate brain oxygenation in the HBOT condition (Vadas et al., 2017). The
battery was composed of cognitive tests adapted for high functioning subjects and adjusted to
an in-chamber group administration setting.


Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy


Hyperbaric oxygent treatment

Start Date:

November 10, 2017


Assaf-Harofeh Medical Center

For More Information:

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