Air Force Examines New TBI Treatment

The San Antonio Military Medical Center and Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks City-Base, Tex., have received funding to explore the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on military service members suffering from traumatic brain injury. The study begins this month at the SAMMC hyperbaric center at the Wilford Hall Medical Center on the grounds of Lackland AFB, Tex. The goal is to determine if hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves the cognitive function (e.g., thinking, remembering, recognition, concentration ability, and perception) of 50 test subjects diagnosed with TBI. “We hope that hyperbaric oxygen therapy will stimulate the area around injured brain tissue to improve the patients’ cognitive functions,” said Dr. George Wolf, a staff physician in the SAMMC hyperbaric center. He said the researchers will also monitor symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder among the subject to see if the therapy has an effect on it. TBI treatment normally relies on more traditional rehabilitative and retraining strategies or on the use of drugs to reduce symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy entails increasing the concentration of oxygen in the body to promote healing. (San Antonio report by MSgt. Kimberly Yearyean-Siers)