Doctors Reverse Brain Damage In Toddler Who Nearly Drowned

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Dr. Paul Harch, Clinical Professor and Director of Hyperbaric Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine has successfully reversed brain injury damage in a 2 year old almost drowned.

In order to "wake up" her brain, doctors gave the toddler oxygen at a pressure higher than the general atmospheric pressure, which increased the amount of oxygen in her blood and repaired her damaged tissue in a sealed, pressurized hyperbaric chamber.

Their search led them to Dr. Paul Harch in New Orleans and his hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

"There is no evidence in humans that supports the suggestion that hyperbaric therapy could be effective in treating brain damage suffered after drowning".

A follow-up MRI 162 days post-drowning (27 days after her last HBOT session) showed mild residual injury and near-complete reversal of cortical and white matter atrophy, according to the report.

A team of doctors managed to reverse brain damage caused by drowning in a two years old girl. Rather, these experts said this type of recovery could happen without these specific oxygen treatments. However, Miller said he found the report "to be really underwhelming in terms of its evidence".

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"There is just no way that providing oxygen to a dead brain cell makes the brain cell recover", Miller said.

"This proves nothing", Cifu said.

"It took 100 minutes of CPR at both the house and the emergency room to get a return of circulation", he said. The little girl "dove" in a hyperbaric chamber for 45 minutes per day, five days per week for eight weeks, and after just 10 sessions, Eden's mother reported that her daughter was performing at "near normal" levels in all areas expect gross motor function, at which time she started physical therapy. It's known that people who have near-drowning experiences in cold water tend to have better outcomes than those in warmer water, because cold water can have a "protective" effect on the brain. "I've done this before with other patients, adults, and I knew we had a chance to improve this child", he said. That neurological improvement can only be explained by improvement in brain function which is consistent with the regrowth of brain tissue.

Dr Oliver Sykes, a consultant anaesthetist at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) who is himself a hyperbaric physician, offering the treatment to divers in emergencies, told The Independent hyperbaric therapy "is not a recognised treatment for brain injury, as occurs for example during drowning". "And the result is that we were able to demonstrate an obvious and large re-growth of brain tissue that is inarguably the result of this therapy". "And usually, they continue along that line of atrophy and more shrinkage".

Carlson was then treated with the oxygen therapy. The recent case study was published this week in the journal Medical Gas Research.

Dr Harch offers the experimental treatment, which has always been used to treat divers suffering from decompression sickness known as "the bends" but is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical treatment for other diseases.


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