Purpose: One suggested treatment for chronic brain injury (CBI) is the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). The present study was an evaluation of neuropsychological improvement after HBOT in CBI patients.
Method: Study 1 compared test - retest results of 21 CBI children treated with HBOT against test - retest results of 42 untreated brain injured and normal children. Study 2 compared 21 CBI adults treated with HBOT against 42 untreated normal and brain injured adults. In each study, subjects received pre and post assessments to evaluate neuropsychological function.
Results: The HBOT-treated children showed significant improvement when compared with the two control groups on measures of daily living, socialization, communication, and motor skills. The treated adults made significant gains in all neuropsychological areas tested as compared to controls.
Conclusion: The studies were strongly supportive of HBOT as a treatment for lessening the neurological impact of CBI. These studies indicate that HBOT can be an effective aid in ameliorating the neuropsychological and physiological effects of CBI. The absence of a clear sham HBOT treatment group is an issue as it could be that there was a placebo effect, but it should be noted that the controls were receiving more traditional interventions during the study.