Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy & Parkinson's

Category: Newsworthy Notes

What is oxygen? Oxygen is a gas that your body needs to work properly. Your cells need oxygen to make energy. Your lungs absorb oxygen from the air you breathe. The oxygen enters your blood from your lungs and travels to your organs and body tissues.

Certain medical conditions can cause your blood oxygen levels to be too low. Low blood oxygen may make you feel short of breath, tired, or confused. It can also damage your body. Oxygen therapy can help you get more oxygen.

What is oxygen therapy? Oxygen therapy is a treatment that provides you with extra oxygen to breathe in. It is also called supplemental oxygen. It is only available through a prescription from your health care provider. You may get it in the hospital, another medical setting, or at home. Some people only need it for a short period of time. Others will need long-term oxygen therapy.

There are different types of devices that can give you oxygen. Some use tanks of liquid or gas oxygen. Others use an oxygen concentrator, which pulls oxygen out of the air. You will get the oxygen through a nose tube (cannula), a mask, or a tent. The extra oxygen is breathed in along with normal air.

There are portable versions of the tanks and oxygen concentrators. They can make it easier for you to move around while using your therapy.

Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment for Parkinson’s disease with severe depression and anxiety – A case report from the National Institutes of Health: 

Rationale: Patients with Parkinson’s disease frequently suffer from psychiatric disorders and treating these symptoms whereas managing the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s can be a therapeutic challenge. 

Patient concerns: We report a case of Parkinson’s patient with severe depression and anxiety that refused to be treated with dopamine agonists or SSRIs, the most common treatments for Parkinson’s patients suffering from psychiatric symptoms. 

Diagnoses: Parkinson’s disease with severe depression and anxiety. 

Interventions: This man was treated with hyperbaric oxygen treatment for 30 days.

Outcomes: Clinical assessment scores for depression and anxiety, including Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale I (UPDRS I), UPDRS II, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, were improved following the hyperbaric oxygen treatment.

Lessons: Hyperbaric oxygen treatment may be a potential therapeutic method for Parkinson’s patients suffering from depression and anxiety. Further research is needed to validate this finding and explore a potential mechanism.

Case report: The study was approved by the ethical committee of First Hospital of Jilin University, China. Written informed consent was obtained.

A 45-year-old male patient initially presented 1.5 years ago with resting tremor and bradykinesia in the left upper limb. Symptoms subsequently developed in the left lower limb and right limbs. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and anti-Parkinsonian agents were prescribed. The exact details of his prescription are unknown, as the patient refused any medication because he believed the drug treatment was ineffective.

Three months ago, the resting tremor and bradykinesia progressively intensified. Additionally, he began to present psychiatric symptoms, including a loss of interest in daily life, unwilling to communicate with others, and often having suicidal thoughts. He was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety associated with Parkinson’s at another hospital, and prescribed citalopram and pramipexole. However, again the patient refused to accept the drug treatment. 

At admission to our hospital, he had a poor diet, extremely inadequate sleep (about two to three  hours per day on average), and weight loss of about 20 kg from the onset of Parkinson’s. He had no previous history of medical illness. 

His mother had suffered from Parkinson’s, with an initial onset around 40 years old. The neurological examination on admission found slightly clumsy speech patterns, masking face, and increased muscle tone and hyperactive deep tendon reflexes in the limbs. All other parameters of the neurological examination were within normal limits. 

In addition, nonenhanced cranial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and Doppler ultrasound of the head and neck did not identify any evidence of pathology. Depression and anxiety were assessed clinically using several rating systems, including the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale I (UPDRSI), UPDRS II, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), and Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). 

After admission, the patient again refused conventional drug treatment. He was instead treated with hyperbaric oxygen treatment as an alternative to pharmaceutical therapy. The protocols of hyperbaric oxygen treatment were as follows: the patient inhaled pure oxygen through a mask in 2 sessions of 40 minutes, separated by a 10-minute break, in hyperbaric chamber. The pressure was set at 2.0 ATA (atmosphere absolute). After four days of hyperbaric oxygen treatment, the patient had significantly improved sleeping quality, increasing sleeping duration from two to three  hours prior to admission to about five  hours per night. Coincidentally, his overall mood improved. The patient continued to receive hyperbaric oxygen treatment for one month. The treatment course was smooth and without complications. 

After ending treatment, the sleeping time recovered to within normal limits, with the duration of eight to ten  hours, and body weight increased by about 10 kg. Additionally, the resting tremor and bradykinesia improved significantly. Although the scores after hyperbaric oxygen treatment decreased significantly, they remained in the abnormal range. Follow-up one month after discharge indicated that the improvements in the patient’s sleep and mood persisted, and he did not need assistance in his daily life.

Could use of the Hyperbaric Oxygen create a better quality of life while you or your person go through Parkinson’s?


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Updated: August 16, 2017