Brain Imaging & Articles on Hyperbaric Oxygen | Print |

Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBOT) is a relatively "new" treatment for Neurological Disorders. This is why we are putting together studies in conjunction with other Hyperbaric facilities to prove the efficacy of HBOT.

Most HBOT centers request SPECT scans before and after a patient has done a series of HBO treatments. These scans show in great detail the area's of blood flow in the brain. New technology in MRI's are being performed in conjunction with SPECT scans in order to show the improvement of blood flow to areas of the brain and to have a more accurate picture of the effects of HBOT.

Excerpt from Phantoms In The Brain by V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D. and Sandra Blakeslee, pp 7-12

 "Before we meet the patients, crack mysteries and speculate about brain organization, I'd like to take you on a short guided tour of the human brain.  These anatomical signposts, which I promise to keep simple, will help you understand the many new explanations for why neurological patients act the way they do.

It's almost a cliche' these days to say that the human brain is the most complexly organized form of matter in the universe, and there is actually some truth to this.  If you snip away a section of brain, say, from the convoluted outer layer called the neocortex and peer at it under a microscope, you'll see that it is composed of neurons or nerve cells- the basic functional units of the nervous system, where information is exchanged.  At birth, the typical brain probably contains over one hundred billion neurons, whose number slowly diminishes with age.

Each neuron has a cell body and tens of thousands of tiny branches called dendrites, which receive information from other neurons.  Each neuron also has a primary axon (a projection that can travel long distances in the brain) for sending data out of the cell, and axon terminals for communication with other cells.


If you look at Figure the figure above, you'll notice that neurons make contacts with other neurons, at points called synapses.  Each neuron makes anywhere from a thousand to ten thousand synapses with other neurons.  These can be either on or off, excitatory or inhibitory.  That is, some synapses turn on the juice to fire things up, whereas others release juices that calm everything down, in an ongoing dance of staggering complexity.  A piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand would contain one hundred thousand neurons, two million axons and one billion synapses, all "talking to" each other.  Given these figures, it's been calculated that the number of possible brain states, the number of permutations and combinations of activity that are theoretically possible-- exceeds the number of elementary particles in the universe.  Given this complexity, how do we begin to understand the functions of the brain?  Obviously, understanding the structure of the nervous system is vital to understanding its functions- and so I will begin with a brief survey of the anatomy of the brain, which, for our purposes here, begins at the top of the spinal cord.  This region, called the medulla oblongata, connects the spinal cord to the brain and contains clusters of cells or nuclei that control critical functions like blood pressure, heart rate and breathing.  The medulla connects to the pons (a kind of bulge), which sends fibers into the cerebellum, a fist-sized structure at the back of the brain that helps you carry out coordinated movements.  Atop these are the two enormous cerebral hemispheres- the famous walnut-shaped halves of the brain.  Each half is divided into four lobes- frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital- that you will learn much more about in coming chapters. (Figure below).

 Brain diagram

The figure above - Gross anatomy of the human brain.  Notice the four lobes:  frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital.  The frontal is separated from the parietal by the central or rolandic sulcus (furrow or fissure), and the temporal from the parietal by the lateral or sylvian fissure.  

Each hemisphere controls the movements of the muscles (for example, those in your arm and leg) on the opposite side of your body.  Your right brain makes your left arm wave and your left brain allows your right leg to kick a ball.  The two halves of the brain are connected by a band of fibers called the corpus callosum.  When this band is cut, the two sides can no longer communicate; the result is a syndrome that offers insight into the role of each side plays in cognition.  The outer part of each hemisphere is composed of cerebral cortex: a thin, convoluted sheet of cells, six layers t hick, that is scrunched into ridges and furrows like a cauliflower and packed densely inside the skull.


 Healing Brain Injury


"The demands made for controlled trials of oxygen must be challenged because they are unnecessary and a very significant factor preventing millions of patients accessing this effective and safe treatment. To question the effectiveness of giving oxygen to a patient with a known deficiency is much the same as questioning the need for water in dehydration, or food when a patient is starving. Oxygen is indispensable to us, to all our cells, and there is no substitute. Withholding water or food is obviously a failure of the ' duty of care', but withholding oxygen escapes this censure when lack of oxygen in just a few grams of tissue, for example in the brain stem, or the muscle of the heart may be fatal. Using today's jargon, giving oxygen is the most biologically plausible intervention in treating disorders of the brain" Dr. Philip B. James, MB ChB DIH PhD FFOM Emeritus Professor of Medicine University of Dundee, Scottland.


Excerpt from "Cognitive Neuroscience" The Biology of the Mind, Third Edition. By Michael S. Gazzaniga, Richard B. Ivry, & George R. Mangun. pp 542


Single-Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) imaging - Click below:

 SPECT Brain Imaging


"Spect Brain Scan Shows Brain Function and Has Documented Clinical Response to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy" by William S. Maxfield, MD, FACNM, Fifth Annual International Symposium for Hyperbaric Oxgyen Therapy and the Recoverable Brain.

Brain Articles

"The Double Life of ATP" Scientfic American, Dec 2009

Hyperbaric Oxygen in Treating Patients with Stroke, Brain Trauma and Neurologic Disease

Oxygen, a Key Factor Regulating Cell Behavior during Neurogenesis and Cerebral Diseases

"Brain Injuries Revealed in High-Def" Discovery News, March 2012

"Probing the Brain's Mysteries" Wall Street Journal, January 2012

"Post Concussion Syndrome: Response to Hyperbaric Oxygen- A Case Report", Joseph A(1), Dickey, J(2), Baker, M(3).  1 Sports Medicine Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho, USA. 2 Depts of Psychology & Family Medicine Residency, Idaho State U; 3 Idaho Hyperbarics & Wound Care, Pocatello, Idaho USA

"Neurons, Glia, and Their Systematic Interactions" pp 220-222, Energy Medicine in Therapeutics and Human Performance, by James Oschman

"Scans can find tiny injuries to brain" Associated Press, Nov 10, 2009

"Blood test for brain injuries gains momentum" March 31, 2009

"A Light in the Brain"  January 2010 Scientific American

"Toxic Gas, Lifesaver"  March 2010 Scientific American

"The Brain's Dark Energy" March 2010 Scientific American

"The Elastic Brain" By Katherine Ellison 

Can you build a better brain?  Newsweek, Jan 2011


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