Can Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Improve Memory Function?
Updated: September 27, 2023
When we consider our memories, we often think of them as fleeting images. Though they represent a particular time from our past, memories shape our understanding of the present and guide us on how to move forward.
Over time, preserving memories can become challenging. Managing memory loss is complex, in part due to the various types of memory—procedural, semantic, episodic, and short-term—that ultimately shape our recollections.
Different factors can impact memory function. Perhaps one of the most significant is oxygen.
This recent revelation has helped our team of researchers discover the value hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can have on memory loss treatment.
The Research from Aviv Clinic’s Neurocognitive Operations
Recent research led by the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research in Israel, found oxygen is a rate-limiting factor for memory enhancement even in healthy young subjects. These results indicate memory function is a continuum that does not reach its full potential when we breathe at normal sea level.
The research group recruited 56 participants between the ages of 20 and 39. They randomly assigned each person either to:
- An increased oxygen supply using a unique protocol of hyperbaric oxygen (two atmospheres of 100% oxygen with timed fluctuations) or
- A control group treated with normal air (21% oxygen) at normal atmospheric pressure (1 ATA)
The participants then completed a battery of tests that evaluated their cognitive performance, including the following domains:
- Information processing speed
- Episodic memory
- Working memory
- Cognitive flexibility
From all the evaluated domains, participants who received hyperbaric oxygen experienced improvement in episodic memory, the type of memory that allows us to recall events from our past. This group demonstrated a better learning curve and higher memory resilience by preserving more words after an interference (an intermediate list of words).
In the study, published in the journal Biomolecules, researchers suggest:
“The understanding that oxygen is a rate–limiting factor for episodic memory even in healthy young adults and the insight that memory can be further enhanced while being in a hyper-oxygenized environment” can be “important for future development of interventional tools that can be used in daily clinical practice.”
The Role of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in Memory Loss Treatment
While age-related cognitive decline is common, the recent research above notes that anyone, no matter their age, can benefit from hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). This is promising since various events and progressive conditions such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), high blood pressure, dementia, and simply aging can reduce oxygen supply to brain tissue.
There are ways to enhance the outcomes of HBOT. The unique HBOT protocol offered at Aviv Clinics involves fluctuating oxygen levels throughout the session. These variations, coupled with an array of therapeutic strategies, are proven to:
- Elevate oxygen levels in the body
- Regenerate damaged tissue to heal faster
- Provide energy the brain needs to trigger the healing process
The Unique HBOT Protocol in Action
The Aviv Medical Program, which can include this unique, specialized HBOT protocol, has had a significant impact on Aviv’s clients struggling with memory challenges. . Learn about their journey and success with the Aviv Medical Program.
Clarissa Rainey Defeats Memory Decline Upon Her Accident
Rodeo roping and penning champion Clarissa Rainey sustained multiple concussions on horseback, then received an additional concussion in a car accident. She experienced memory loss, which made navigating the ins and outs of her career challenging.
Carl & Vickie Eckert Discover Cognitive and Physical Vitality
Carl and Vickie Eckert felt their quality of life was not what it should be. Feeling the debilitating effects of age, they both feared they would develop dementia as their parents had. Thanks to the Aviv Medical Program, they are active, healthy, and enjoying all that Florida retirement has to offer.
HBOT for Memory Loss Treatment: Things to Consider
We understand seeking treatment is a big decision. Here are a few things to consider as you explore and pursue hyperbaric oxygen therapy for memory challenges:
- Not all hyperbaric oxygen clinics are the same. It’s critical to do your research to understand each clinic’s methodology. Ensure they have on-site medical professionals certified in hyperbaric medicine, use an evidence-based protocol, and track relevant data throughout your health journey.
- Look at the type of oxygen chambers they provide. Only hard-sided chambers can reach the pressure required for medical treatment. There are two main types—monoplace and multiplace chambers. Monoplace chambers are glass or plastic tubes that fit one person, whereas multiplace chambers oversee multiple clients simultaneously. A multiplace chamber, or suite, offers a more comfortable environment and allows medical professionals to be in the chamber to monitor and care for multiple patients.
- Look for a multidisciplinary team of medical professionals who offer comprehensive care and clearly communicate the HBOT process and risks. At Aviv Clinics, our medical team includes physiotherapists, neuropsychologists, nutrition specialists, physicians and others who help set the stage for a successful treatment.
Schedule Your Consultation
Diminished quality of life after an accident or a diagnosis of cognitive decline does not have to be permanent. For more information about how hyperbaric oxygen therapy can improve memory function, schedule a consultation.