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Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by memory loss, spatial disorientation, cognitive dysfunction, and behavioral changes. Global altered brain metabolism typically precedes the onset of clinical symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence from a recent case study indicates that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may benefit brain metabolism in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves exposure to 100 percent oxygen at greater than normal pressure. It is commonly used to treat wounds and other medical conditions in which hypoxia is an underlying factor. The mechanisms by which hyperbaric oxygen therapy works involve epigenetic modulation of gene expression to mediate factors that drive disease and inflammation.

The case study involved a 58-year-old woman with early-onset, rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s disease. After receiving 40 hyperbaric treatments over a period of nine weeks, the patient reported improvements in memory, concentration, sleep, conversation, appetite, general mood, and physical function. PET imaging one month after the patient’s treatment concluded showed as much as 38 percent improvement in brain metabolism. Long-term treatment (22 months) and pharmaceutical treatment elicited continued patient improvements.

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