Apr 2, 2010 8:44 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5
The military plans clinical trials next year to see whether breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber might help brain injuries to heal, or at least relieve the headaches, mood swings or other symptoms they cause.
About 300 service members with mild to moderate injuries will participate in the trials of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Colorado, California, North Carolina and Texas.
Col. Richard Ricciardi of the Defense Center of Excellence said Thursday the therapy is unproven but that the evidence is sufficient to merit clinical trials. Ricciardi says the theory is that more oxygen dissolves in the blood when the body is under pressure, and that increased oxygen levels can help tissue heal.
More than 134,000 service members have suffered traumatic brain injuries since 2003.