In the past, it was thought that the central nervous system lacked the inherent capability of regeneration following injury that other tissues in the body possess. Recent accumulated evidence by Israeli research teams have documented the existence of adult neuronal stem cells. Focusing on the underlying biology, they have shown that brain regeneration is feasible under appropriate conditions.
The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to optimize the microenvironment enhances neuronal stem cell proliferation, neuronal differentiation, migration and integration. Other effects noted using enhanced levels of oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure were mitochondrial proliferation/biogenesis, mitochondrial transfer and the formation of new blood vessels, which provides a supportive repair environment. Intermittent exposure to cyclic hyperoxia/hypoxia provides the stimulus for signalling proteins which trigger repair and regeneration.
Pioneering and well designed studies using hyperbaric oxygen in both adults and children with chronic mild traumatic brain injury have demonstrated significant improvements in symptoms, cognition, mood, behaviour, sleep quality and overall quality of life issues.