Category Archives: Elder Care

New Scientific Study Finds Evidence of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Efficacy for Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

March 26, 2022

HBOT at 1.5 ATA oxygen Promotes Symptomatic and Cognitive Improvements for Patients with mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome in a Narrow Range of Pressure

New Orleans, LA — March 26, 2022: Today, IPAK announced the publication of a systematic review (latest study) on hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) efficacy in mild traumatic brain injury Persistent Postconcussion Syndrome (PPCS).

Following multiple randomized and randomized controlled studies, the review found HBOT at 1.5 ATA oxygen to provide improvements in symptoms and cognition for patients with mild traumatic brain injury. These improvements — ranging from solely symptomatic to both cognitive and symptomatic — are significant enough to satisfy recommendations set in place for HBOT treatments by the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and American Society of Plastic Surgeons.  The systematic review concludes that HBOT meets the highest level of scientific evidence and merits a Grade A Practice Recommendation, that HBOT should be delivered to patients with persistent postconcussion syndrome unless a “clear and compelling rationale for an alternative approach is present.”

Dr. Paul Harch, principal investigator for the study, says the contribution is reassuring to those questioning the efficacy of HBOT. “This scientific review brings clarity at last to the confusion and controversy surrounding traumatic brain injury and hyperbaric oxygen therapy,” he said. “The Level 1 Evidence and Grade A Practice Recommendation will allow this life and quality-of-life-saving therapy to give people back their lives.”

Patients undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy by breathing increased oxygen while under increased pressure. This allows the lungs to dissolve increased amounts of oxygen in blood that is delivered by the circulation to all areas of the body, especially those wounded tissues with less oxygen.  In conjunction with the increased amount of pressure the oxygen and pressure stimulate the body’s natural healing process to repair the wounds in traumatic brain injury.

Harch’s study reviewed how the intensity of oxygen dosage and pressure impacted treatment, finding that both positive and negative results occurred with high and low doses.  Surprisingly, the most influential effects occurred with increased pressure within a narrow range.  The elucidation of the independent and combined effects of oxygen and pressure for the first time in the 360-year history of hyperbaric medicine represents a key advance to the field of hyperbaric medicine, medicine, and neurorehabilitation.

More importantly, this is uplifting news for patients with PPCS, who can experience concussion-like symptoms even when at rest, as well as following physical and/or cognitive exertion. Over time, this may significantly impact their sleep, behavioral, cognitive, and physical performance.

PPCS is experienced by 10-15% of individuals who’ve experienced a concussion, including high school athletes, and as many as 44% of those with loss of consciousness.  Currently, there is no standard of care for the treatment of individuals with PPCS.  This systematic review now shows that there is more than hope, there is treatment.

About Paul G. Harch, M.D.: Paul G. Harch is a hyperbaric medicine clinician and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the Section of Emergency Medicine, LSU School of Medicine, New Orleans. Two of the studies in the systematic review were published by Dr. Harch under LSU’s IRB approval.  Dr. Harch’s research with hyperbaric oxygen treatment has encompassed a wide range of neurological conditions, including decompression sickness, Alzheimer’s Disease, traumatic brain injury and childhood drowning.



Paul G. Harch, M.D. (LSU) or James Lyons-Weiler, PhD



Mushroom Compounds Offer Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

Double-blinded study shows promising results in prevention

Timo Mendez, ScienceWeekly.Us Reporter

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the fifth leading cause of death in elderly adults according to researchers in Taiwan. The progressive disease can heavily deteriorate the life and independence of an individual, sometimes just years after showing the first symptoms.

Now, those same researchers are investigating whether a specific species of mushroom might offer hope. The mushroom, known to scientists as Hericium erinaceus, is commonly known as The Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Lion’s Mane is a gourmet edible mushroom that possesses neuroprotective properties. These could help prevent or improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Hericium erinaceus mushroom growing from old rotting trunk. Source: NCBioteacher WikiCommons.

While many studies conducted on cell cultures and mice show promise in the treatment of Alzheimer’s with Hericium erinaceus, a limited number of extensive clinical trials have been performed. The research team led by I-Chen Li from the Biotech Research Institute in Taoyuan City, Taiwan conducted a study to test the efficacy of these mushrooms for patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. They published their study in June 2020 in the section “Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias”  from the peer-reviewed scientific journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience.

This 49-week double-blind study used 2 parallel groups; one was fed three 5 mg/g capsules with Hericium erinaceus extract per day while the placebo group received identical-looking placebo capsules. Throughout the study period, data from ophthalmic examinations, biomarker collection, neuroimaging, and cognitive tests were collected to measure the effects of the treatment.

The researchers saw the potential in Hericium erinaceus because two important, low-molecular weight chemicals had previously been isolated and studied from this mushroom. These relatively hydrophobic compounds, Hericenones and Erinacines, have been proven to stimulate nerve growth factor synthesis, an important biochemical for the growth of nerve cells.

The team used Erinacines in particular because evidence suggests that they are capable of easily passing the blood-brain barrier. What makes Erinacines interesting is that they are not actually produced in large quantities by the mushroom fruiting bodies but instead they are produced in the mycelium, the underground white “roots” of the fungus. For this reason, researchers made an extract from the cultivated mycelium of Hericium erinaceus that contained high quantities of Erinacines.

The results of this study show that subjects with mild Alzheimer’s Disease consuming Hericium erinaceus capsules showed improvement in their cognitive abilities. Patients receiving the mushroom capsules had remarkably high scores in cognitive tests and neutral examinations. The authors of the study believe that this may be associated with the improvement of blood biomarkers and the reduced structural deterioration in certain parts of the brain.

This is good news for many individuals personally affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Unlike other major diseases, which have shown progress in the development of novel therapies, no new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease has been approved since 2003. Researchers suggest that this is because of the challenging nature of this disease which may cause damage for years before the onset of symptoms.

In addition to showing promise as a natural way to help treat or prevent mild cases of Alzheimer’s disease, Hericium erinaceus could also improve our understanding of neurology and cognitive health. By understanding how Hericium erinaceus reacts in the body, researchers hope to gain deeper insights into the cryptic workings of the brain and how to develop new medicines to fight this illness.

The study is available online.


Li, I., et al. “Prevention of early Alzheimer’s disease by erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelia pilot double-blind placebo-controlled study.” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience 12 (2020): 155.

Timo Mendez is an environmental scientist, naturalist, and writer. His work mostly focuses on topics related to mushrooms and organic gardening.

Study compares discrimination claims of younger and older Americans with cancer

David Strauser – professor, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health (Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

Kinesiology and community health scientists found that younger and older adults with cancer differ in their experiences of employment discrimination.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers assessed the employment discrimination claims made by younger and older American adults with cancer and found substantial differences in the nature – and outcomes – of their claims.

Reported in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship, the research focused on Title I complaints made to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 2009 to 2016. This included 1,001 claims from cancer survivors up to age 35 and 8,874 claims by adults over 35 with a history of cancer.

The Americans with Disabilities Act originally recognized that people with cancer and undergoing cancer treatment could experience declines in their physical and cognitive functioning. But these difficulties were thought to disappear at the end of treatment or when the cancer was in remission. The ADA was amended in 2009 to allow for the fact that even after treatment ends, people with a history of cancer and cancer treatment often experience lingering difficulties.

“Fatigue is the most common issue that people with cancer experience,” said David Strauser, a professor of kinesiology and community health at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign who led the new research. “Also, chemotherapy can affect their ability to concentrate, to focus on details or to process information as fast as they used to.”

Previous studies have found that “adult cancer survivors experience discrimination at a similar rate as other groups with disabilities,” Strauser said. While several studies have focused on older adults with cancer in the workplace, the employment discrimination experiences of younger adults with cancer have been overlooked, he said.

 A recent analysis of dozens of studies found that younger adult survivors of childhood cancer were nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as their healthy peers. Those with cancers of the central nervous system were nearly five times as likely to be unemployed.

All of the complaints that Strauser and his colleagues analyzed had been resolved by the EEOC – either by a finding of merit or with a determination that there was not enough evidence to proceed. The EEOC found that 26.6% of younger cancer survivors’ claims had merit. Older adults with a history of cancer had a higher success rate; 31.4% of their claims were found to have merit.

The primary complaints of older and younger adults with cancer involved what they saw as unfair working terms and conditions, harassment, discipline, failure to accommodate their disabilities and wrongful termination of their employment.

But younger cancer survivors were more likely than their older peers to claim discriminatory treatment in regard to opportunities for training and promotion. They also brought significantly more claims relating to reinstatement – being allowed to return to their jobs after taking leave for treatment – and the writing of references to potential future employers.

“What we’re seeing here is that younger cancer survivors have different needs related to employment than their older counterparts,” Strauser said. “Their discrimination claims tend to be related to issues around their career advancement.”

This finding suggests that employers may not be familiar with laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities that stem from chronic illness, Strauser said.

“I think employers get a lot of training and support on how to handle affirmative action issues and family leave for parents,” he said. “But when it comes to disability in relation to chronic illness, they tend to be less versed, and we don’t do a lot of training in that area. These results suggest we need to do more.”

The paper “The employment discrimination experiences of younger and older Americans with cancer under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act” is available online and from the U. of I. News Bureau.

DOI: 10.1007/s11764-020-00867-x

SOURCE: Credit: Diana Yates