High-pressure oxygen can effectively treat fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a rare diagnosable chronic pain syndrome striking 1 in 70 Americans, mostly in women. The disorder is frequently triggered by head trauma, a neurological infection, or severe emotional stress, and is described by symptoms as musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, memory loss and mood swings. Most patients suffer for months, even years, of unrelenting pain before being properly diagnosed.
Another study in PLoS ONE by Tel Aviv University specialists may turn the tide. Research says that there was drastic reduction, or elimination in use of pain medication following hyperbaric oxygen treatment in fibromyalgia women.
The study was led by late Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of TAU's School of Physics and Astronomy and Rice University's Center for Theoretical Biological Physics, Dr. Shai Efrati of TAU's Sagol School of Neuroscience and Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, and Prof. Dan Buskila from Soroka Medical Center, and was conducted by a team of scientists from TAU, Rice University, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Ben-Gurion University, and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
The TAU researchers believe that they have additionally distinguished the essential variable bringing about fibromyalgia: the interruption of the brain mechanism for handling pain. "As a physician, the most important finding for me is that 70 percent of patients could recover from their fibromyalgia symptoms," said Dr. Efrati. "The most exciting finding for the world of research, however, is that we were able to map the malfunctioning brain regions responsible for the syndrome."
Hyperbaric oxygen chambers are commonly used to treat patients with embolisms, burns, carbon monoxide poisoning, and decompression sickness. In a clinical trial, participants were exposed to 2 months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which concluded significant changes in the brain activity and symptoms of 70% of participants that involved 60 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia at least two years earlier.
The clinical trial, which exposed participants to two months of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, found significant changes in the brain activity and symptoms of 70% of participants. The trial involved 60 women who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia at least two years earlier. Half of the 48 patients who completed the therapy received 40 hyperbaric oxygen treatments, 90-minute treatments exposing patients to pure oxygen at twice the atmospheric pressure, five days a week over for two months. A large portion of 48 patients who finished the treatment got 40 hyperbaric oxygen medicines - hour and a half medications presenting patients to pure oxygen at double the atmospheric pressure, five days a week through the span of two months.
"The intake of the drugs eased the pain but did not reverse the condition. But hyperbaric oxygen treatments did reverse the condition," said Dr. Efrati, who added that findings warrant further study and these results are of significant importance. "Hyperbaric oxygen treatments are designed to address the actual cause of fibromyalgia -- the brain pathology responsible for the syndrome. It means that brain repair, including neuronal regeneration, is possible even for chronic, long-lasting pain syndromes, and we can and should aim for that in any future treatment development."
The patients required periodic maintenance therapy when the trigger was attributed to other causes for example fever related diseases. The researchers are continuing to conduct comprehensive studies on the renewal of brain tissue under hyperbaric conditions.