Researchers in Israel have discovered that a specific type of oxygen therapy has the potential to prevent the formation of new plaques and eliminate existing plaques in mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
These researchers utilized a type of mouse that has Alzheimer’s disease, called 5xFAD. Researchers tested whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy could slow down or even stop the progression of the disease in the mice that were genetically modified.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a kind of treatment wherein you breathe in pure oxygen while inside a chamber that has increased air pressure. Inside the chamber, the air pressure is raised to a level that is two to three times higher than the usual air pressure you would breathe normally. This treatment is used to help people who have decompression sickness, which can happen to scuba divers, carbon monoxide poisoning, and certain types of stroke or brain injuries. The way it works is by increasing the amount of oxygen in tissues that have low levels of oxygen or hyopxia. It has the potential to enhance blood circulation to the brain, providing essential nutrients to brain cells that are typically lacking in blood and oxygen, which is particularly beneficial for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers at the University of Tel Aviv gave hyperbaric oxygen therapy to 15 six-month-old mice (which is equivalent to about 30 human years) for an hour a day, five days a week, for four weeks. The treatment helped to decrease the amount and size of plaques in the brains of the mice. Additionally, it slowed down the creation of new plaques when compared to a group of mice who did not receive the same treatment.
People with Alzheimer’s have reduced blood flow to their brain. The research found that giving mice oxygen therapy increased blood flow to their brains. This helped to remove plaques from the brain and reduce inflammation, which is a common sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
The mice who received daily oxygen therapy showed improvements in their cognitive abilities, such as their ability to remember spatial details and contextual information related to an event. This was achieved by improving blood flow to the brain, reducing plaque levels, and reducing hypoxia.
After discovering these results, the researchers evaluated how well oxygen therapy worked in six individuals who were over the age of 65 and experiencing cognitive decline. Researchers discovered that undergoing 60 sessions of oxygen therapy within a span of 90 days resulted in increased blood flow in specific parts of the brain. This led to a significant improvement in the cognitive abilities of patients, including better memory, attention, and processing speed for information.
According to Efrati, elderly patients who had significant memory loss at the beginning showed an improvement in their cognitive performance and an increase in brain blood flow. This shows that HBOT can reverse the core elements that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The scientists believe that the results from the study on mice, along with the similar effects seen in humans, indicate that HBOT can cause changes in the structure of blood vessels. This leads to better blood flow in the brain, less oxygen deprivation, and improved cognitive abilities. The writer suggests that HBOT may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease because it not only treats the symptoms, but also targets the underlying causes and biology that contribute to the disease’s progression.