Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment
Question: Having sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and endured 9 months of extensive brain training (CRT), I have been trying to get into a hyperbaric chamber since the beginning of this year with hopes of curing cluster headaches and sensory issues related to light and sound among other ailments. The doctor who wrote me the prescription for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for TBI is out on emergency medical leave indefinitely. The doctor that will be administering the HBOT is asking how improvements will be monitored. What should the correct answer be?
Answer: I am sorry to hear of your TBI. As you may be aware, there is little clinical research on the effectiveness of HBOT for people in the chronic phase of brain injury. This could be because it can be difficult to determine what the functional "targets" that HBOT are being utilized for. It can be difficult to determine how pressured oxygen can relieve some of the cognitive, physical and emotional symptoms that are present following brain injury.
In terms of your question of how clinical improvements can be monitored, that would depend upon what you are trying to treat with the HBOT. In your email you had mentioned cluster headaches and "sensory issues." To determine the effectiveness of HBOT, I would expect to see a decrease in the frequency of cluster headaches. I am not sure if there have been studies that have looked at the effectiveness of this intervention for headaches, but it might be worth a try.