It’s perfectly normal to become more forgetful due to tiredness, stress or certain medications. However, if it’s increasingly becoming an issue - particularly after the age of 65; it could be an early sign of dementia. It’s a condition that is affecting a growing number of people, and yet - despite this; those suffering often face a reality with little-to-no effective intervention. However, recent research into Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HbOT) has indicated it has huge potential as a dementia treatment option.
Indeed, this research has shown that not only can HbOT prevent further damage from occurring in the brain; it can also help restore lost function and regenerate cells. What’s more - this treatment option shows great potential in tackling the underlying cause of both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia; the two most common forms of the condition.
Dementia: The Background
This syndrome - or group of related symptoms; is associated with a gradual decline in brain function. Despite what many people might think - it isn’t just about memory loss; rather, it’s a general term for the impaired ability to think or make decisions. As such, there are several different types of dementia; and - with a wide range of overlapping symptoms between them; it can often be difficult to receive an accurate diagnosis.
It’s a widespread condition that affects many - with more than 850,000 people diagnosed with dementia in the UK alone. In perspective: 1 in 14 people over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease - and this rises to 1 in 6 people over the age of 80. What’s more - as the result of an ageing population; it’s predicted that more than 1 million people in the UK will have dementia by 2025.
These symptoms may include - but aren’t limited to; issues with mental sharpness, language skills, mood and movement. People suffering from dementia may also lose interest in socialising; have greater difficulty in managing their behaviour; or even experience visual and auditory hallucinations - depending on what part of the brain is being affected. Symptoms typically worsen over time, however - although there’s currently no cure for dementia; an early diagnosis can slow its progress.
Dementia symptoms are often associated with underlying health conditions - such as high blood pressure; and lifestyle factors - such as being overweight or smoking. As a result, dementia treatment options tend to tackle these issues at the root; with GPs recommending things such as eating healthily; losing some weight or reducing alcohol intake.
Alzheimer’s Disease: The Background
Alzheimer’s disease typically starts gradually with some mild memory loss - such as struggling to retain new information or recall recent events. This symptom intensifies as the disease progresses; while others might develop alongside - such as issues with communication or orientation. Over time, these gradually worsening symptoms will cause someone living with dementia to need more day-to-day support.
There are a number of potential treatments to help relieve some of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease; despite there being no cure to get rid of it completely. These include the prescription of certain medications - such as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, for example. Those with the condition have reduced levels of acetylcholine in the brain - a substance that allows nerve cells to communicate with each other effectively. These inhibitors prevent enzymes from breaking this substance down; which can have a modest effect on cognition.
HbOT as Alzheimer’s Dementia Treatment:
According to a study - by researchers at the Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Centre; HbOT has the ability to restore cognitive function in elderly patients with substantial memory loss. It showed - through high-resolution MRIs, that it can improve brain function in a number of areas; with increases ranging from 16-23%. Furthermore, clinical trials on mice also showed that HbOT can improve behavioural performance. Indeed, test subjects that had undergone treatment saw their nest construction; exploratory behaviour; contextual memory and spatial recognition all improve.
The study also showed - for the first time; that HbOT has the potential to reduce the size of amyloid plaques in the brain. These form when proteins - known as beta-amyloids; stick together to form larger compounds that block cell-to-cell signalling at synapses. These plaques are one of the main hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease; and they often trigger disabled cells to be devoured or inflammation to flare up. As a result, the tissue of people with Alzheimer’s has significantly fewer nerve cells and synapses than a healthy brain.
Overall, amyloid plaques in the study’s control mice increased by 12.3% on average; while subjects treated with HbOT saw an average reduction of 40.05% in theirs. What’s more - not only did hyperbaric oxygen treatment reduce the volume of medium and larger-sized plaques; it also halted the growth of smaller ones. As such, while HbOT offers promise in treating the pre-existing amyloid plaques of Alzheimer’s patients; it also could prevent the formation of new ones.
Vascular Dementia: The Background
Vascular dementia is the second-most common form the condition can take - affecting approximately 150,000 people across the UK. It’s caused by a reduced blood flow to the brain and - just like Alzheimer’s disease; its symptoms tend to worsen over time. With less blood pumped into the brain; cells within it become damaged - and eventually die off as a result. What’s more, this reduced flow can occur rapidly - through a sudden stroke; or more gradually as blockages slowly build up in blood vessels.
Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, the initial symptom of vascular dementia doesn’t tend to be memory loss. Rather, those diagnosed with this form show different signs - depending on the area of the brain affected. These symptoms include - but are not limited to; difficulty with walking or balance; changes to personality or behaviour; and issues with concentration. What’s more, those with vascular dementia may also experience problems with memory and language; as many people with the condition also have Alzheimer’s disease as well.
HbOT as Vascular Dementia Treatment:
The onset of vascular dementia - and the syndrome in general; is associated with cerebral hypoxia - a decreased supply of oxygen to the brain. Without adequate O₂ levels, brain tissue could become damaged; and the body will be unable to maintain homeostasis or regulate itself sufficiently as a result. Hypoxia is typically brought about either as the result of a low blood supply; or a low oxygen content in the blood itself.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works as a dementia treatment through tackling this root cause. Indeed, it has the ability to cause structural changes in blood vessels; which - in turn, works to reduce brain hypoxia; increase cerebral blood flow and improve cognitive function. What’s more - according to the same Tel Aviv University study mentioned earlier; HbOT can also trigger the production of stem cells. In turn, these cells can work to initiate a regenerative process in the brain; generate new blood vessels and re-activate malfunctioning tissue. As a result, HbOT helps restore some of the affected cognitive function.
Ironically, the main trigger for the rapid production of stem cells is also hypoxia. Through HbOT - and the additional oxygenation it provides; the body can be tricked into believing it is experiencing this condition. Indeed, through raising oxygen levels - and subsequently putting them through a rapid decline; the body senses hypoxia despite actually experiencing the opposite. As a result, stem cells can produce rapidly from session to session; and accumulate in great numbers over a typical course of HbOT treatment.
Talk to Oxify about Dementia Treatment Today:
At Oxify, we care about the whole of you; not just the physical symptoms - but also your emotional well-being. With its huge range of beneficial effects for long-term health; we’re passionate about how HbOT treatment can empower people to feel stronger and improve their quality of life.
That’s why we’re proud to offer a money back guarantee - so if you don’t feel any benefits after ten sessions; we’ll repay you in full. To find out more, get in touch with our friendly team today; we’re always happy to help.