Durham, NC (January 15, 2020) – Congressman Andy Biggs (AZ-05) and Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) recently introduced the TBI and PTSD Treatment Act [House Bill 4370; Senate Bill 2504], in late 2019 to direct the Veterans Administration (VA) to furnish Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
This proven approach applying known human physiological science to address long-held theories limiting the resolution of inflammatory brain conditions (TBI/Concussion/PTS/PTSD) and curtail the tragic suicide epidemic and human suffering currently impacting veterans, citizens, and their families (military service personnel suicide rate is 24.8/day in 2019 and civilian rate at 125/day)
Scientists have long connected Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), PTS(D) and concussions to inflammation in the brain. Pain and head injuries are often treated with opioids leading to long-term suffering, hopelessness, and all too often, overdose or suicide. Recently, scientists have made an important discovery regarding the powerful biochemical work being done when our blood plasma is saturated with oxygen. No other drug accomplishes what oxygen (A “drug” under FDA standards in the US) in the plasma can do by up-regulating many thousands (1000’s) of anti-inflammatory, reparative, and regenerative genes and down regulating pro-inflammatory genes.
Eliminating inflammation is the key to helping the massive amount of suffering and fatalities our veterans and citizens face every day from the Initial TBI/Concussion. Equally tragic is the more than fifty thousand (50,000) civilian lives lost to TBI in the US each year and now scientists believe up to 60% could be saved with immediate HBOT in the acute stage. Furthermore, research of PTSD’s connection to inflammation has been established.
The long-term objective here supports elucidating medicine’s misperception with the significant role inflammation plays in the pathogenesis and/or prognosis of illness and in this case, acute and post-acute reperfusion brain injury and the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) to resolve these injuries. Research further supports the benefits of HBOT to a broad range of brain injuries including Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Stroke and the brain-gut connection.
Our experience is that HBOT will provide a way forward for millions of veterans and citizens combined, to wellness, restoration of executive/cognitive, and limbic/emotional brain function, and a mostly drug free, healthier lifestyle. Patients who successfully complete HBOT treatment – many thousand successes to date, and seven (7) double-blind peer reviewed studies has demonstrated that most patients cease thinking about suicide; they also quit using most of, if not all the drugs that were prescribed for their symptoms and furthermore not healing the physical brain wound or reducing the acute or chronic inflammatory response.
The recent Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology rewarded research on the Mechanisms of action of oxygen. Their research and clinical evidence open the door to incalculable current and futures. More importantly, their research validates the work currently helping to heal brain wounds and allows substance abusers to reduce their pain and time to withdraw from addiction at private sector HBOT clinics nationwide. The long-term savings in healthcare cost is only dwarfed by the reduction in human suffering with the widespread use of HBOT.
The private sector has the infrastructure to begin treating TBI/PTSD/Concussion immediately with HBOT at a fraction of current cost of drug and other recommended therapy’s (i.e. acupuncture) that have proven to have minimal success. Paying for these treatments, starting with veterans, is possible using appropriated funds available in the Suicide Prevention Program and budget-neutral funds from the VA drug budget. Seven (8) states have enacted legislation recognizing HBOT’s value for treating TBI, and four are currently funding treatments with additional states working through the legislative process.