Tag Archives: Hyperbaric medicine

More adventures in Hyperbaricland

Hyperbaric New FocusAs I wrote previously hyperbaric oxygen helps the stem cells proliferate after insertion and it looks like the mechanism is an increase in Nitric oxide.  Dr. Marshall Ravden, the stem cell implant surgeon gave me a prescription for 40 sessions of hyperbaric oxygen, necessarily taken over a narrow period of time to consolidate the stem cell benefits.  They suggested renting or purchasing a unit, but I could just see telling Larry that our apartment dining room was to be taken over by a 7’x4′ diameter inflated hyperbaric chamber and that the cat would need to be relegated to the bedroom! Not gonna happen.

The good 100% oxygen chambers almost all seemed to be in hospitals where they only took insurance (at $2000 a pop!) but I found one in Queens and another,  New Focus Hyperbaric in Great Neck where a GroupOn special was going on.  The chamber, shown above, was clear, had a television to distract me, was not quite as large as I had hoped but had a full-time compassionate attendant so I wouldn’t be deserted as happened in the Manhattan soft chamber.  Sessions last about 2 hours.

Now I occasionally suffer from claustrophobia in airplanes, but it is easily remedied by sitting in an aisle seat so I can walk around and I use Stand-Up MRI if I need radiology, so it rarely happens to bother me.  I used to scuba dive so I knew what pressure felt like and how to clear my ears.  So I got my required chest X-ray and was cleared by the resident neurologist.  But the second trip in threw me into a tizzy:  the bottom of my foot itched, it was in hard spasm and annoyingly Bobby Jindall was being endlessly interviewed on CNN.  I had the attendant talk me down a few times then came out to relax before going in again.  I went in for another try but didn’t spend much time at full pressure.  The next day I had a panic attack on the subway which I have been riding without incident for 35 years so cancelled my session.  I felt claustrophobic lying in bed surrounded by my comforter or when listening to dissonant New Music on NPR- the claustrophobia was leaking into my life.  (At least it gives me more insight into what patients are going through!)   I asked for suggestions on Facebook and my wonderful friends gave suggestions in troves.

The suggestions ran the gamut from sedatives to acupuncture treatments, homeopathics to cell-level visualizations, prayers to reiki, breathing patterns to a reminder that this was a First World Problem I was lucky to have .  A few people suggested that I was repressing something -honestly I think it is just that I fill up a chamber more than a smaller person and can move around less.  Three people jumped in instantly with the words from Frank Herbert’s Litany of Fear, when I requested it.  I  did EFT tapping and bled my UB luo point, inserted needles at LI2 and H5, did breathing exercises gave myself a shot of a skullcap formula and liberally breathed in essential oil of lavender.  I also requested a prescription for a sedative and asked for puppies and kittens instead of the news on TV.  Animal Planet was unaccountably playing the World’s Filthiest Jobs that day which included scraping hides at a tannery, so that didn’t work.  This time I spent a half hour at full pressure plus 15 minutes of pressurization.  The attendant decided to lower the wedge and ditch the knee pillow so I would have more room next time. And he cleared me to bring in a sippy cup which I filled with coconut water and a vanilla bean found to decrease claustrophobia in a German study,

And the sedatives, with more space, made the difference.  I still reminded myself that it was a First World Problem and tried chants, prayers and breathing patterns.  I whistled songs.  I sipped.  And I relaxed. I might not be a pill person but I need the oxygen more than I need to be an herbal purist. It has worked twice.



And if you would be so kind as to help fund my Parkinson’s stem cell transplant and hyperbaric treatments: http://www.gofundme.com/eg4ymk

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Getting Through the Blood Brain Barrier

BBB and nose limbic systemPeople have been asking how the stem cells go past the blood brain barrier to get to the substantia nigra where dopamine is made. Stem cells are not supposed to be able to cross the BBB, which is why early stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s was not broadly successful.But it seems that the Blood Brain Barrier is less a barrier than a regulator which can at times be selective in what it lets through.Now it isn’t clear to me whether the stem cells actually go through the BBB or just signal cells on the other side but it does appear to make a significant difference clinically.  I think they do get through based on the research cited below.

 There are three primary sorts of barriers of the BBB, the vascular brain barrier, blood-CSF barrier, and the specialty CNS barriers such as the blood-retinal barrier.  They transport molecules in by pores, the opening of tight junctions and receptors. (1) One can also bypass the BBB by going through the nose or injecting directly into the cerebral spinal fluid. This even works for larger molecules like peptides and other proteins.(1) Injecting insulin through the nose has been helpful for Alzheimer’s for instance. And they injected stem cells into the middle turbinate of my nose as one form of administration. It was weird but topical lidocaine prevented pain.

BBB and junctions
Ways through the Blood Brain Barrier

However researchers also found that mannose IV infusions open pores in the BBB and increase enzyme passage 10 fold (2). In fact mannose infusion has become a standalone therapy as well as a way of getting drugs to the brain.

StemGenex, the center that performed my stem cell administration, started using mannose infusions long before they started using intranasal injection. It increased the success for neurological conditions. Their mannose solution increases the diameter of pores for 20 minutes, so it is immediately followed by injected and IV stem cell administration.

English: The Blood Brain Barrier and Astrocyte...
English: The Blood Brain Barrier and Astrocytes type 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are academically inclined, the following articles give the science behind getting through the BBB. Our understanding of the BBB is growing every day.



And if you would be so kind as to help fund my Parkinson’s stem cell transplant: http://www.gofundme.com/eg4ymk

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Safety Update on Hyperbaric Oxygen Soft Chambers

Portable mild hyperbaric chamber, 40 inch diameter
Portable mild hyperbaric chamber, 40 inch diameter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I spoke to someone who is in the business of leasing and selling hyperbaric chambers and running hyperbaric clinics who deals with a variety of brands. The single person sit-up chamber is apparently not as durable as the other ones- not something you want for a unit under pressure. (He was personally in a unit that failed and doesn’t recommend it!)

And when I did a web search on hyperbaric chamber safety and read the FDA report I found that not only did the Grand Dive bell chamber fail during its first warranty period but the replacement unit failed within 3 weeks. Those were used as directed but I also found that the soft units that go up to 7 psi use air concentrators designed for waste management and put much to much pressure on seams and zippers. The one I used last week went that high.

The chamber I used was 32″ in diameter and one could not sit even cross-legged like the 40″ chamber shown in the photo.  And it was not translucent since it was covered in blue vinyl.  Also we need to wear masks to breathe in the oxygen, but that is probably wasn’t sufficiently photogenic.

He did say that in the mild hyperbaric chamber where you breathe 80-90% oxygen through a mask in a compressed air chamber with 25% oxygen is different from a hospital unit with 100% oxygen where you cannot use electronics. And that people can safely use laptops or music sources. Hmm.

But he tells me that there is something like an 80% increased proliferation in stem cells after 40 biweekly sessions. Of course a NYC apartment is no place for a 8′ x 3′ diameter horizontal unit. So the search is still on for a place with a sit up chamber, preferably of the shared type.

See also:  Hyperbaric Oxygen?


Please help me fund stem cell therapy (plus safe hyperbaric oxygen to secure it):  http://www.gofundme.com/eg4ymk

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Hyperbaric Oxygen?

Mhbot-howonday I started my pre-implant regimen of hyperbaric oxygen. This is recommended both before and after the stem cell implant. Fat cells, especially the swollen ones in the obese, are often oxygen-starved. The idea of pre-treatment is that the fat cells used to provide the stem cells will be less hypoxic with this treatment and therefore stronger, akin to those of a younger person.

An online friend, the late Dr. Ignacio Fogel, used to sing the praises of hyperbaric oxygen which he used for patients and the Argentine Olympic team alike. At the time the only hyperbaric oxygen I could find was in hospitals, often used for nonhealing sores or scuba diving accidents. Today, with the advent of portable units there are a variety of units in medical practices and spas. I’m a little afraid of claustrophobia, but I have had a hunger for oxygen since my EMT training days.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy puts oxygen in your fluids in a concentration that differs from say deep breathing exercises, an oxygen bar (which just uses compressed air) or oxygen tanks. The increased oxygen in the blood and body fluids bathes your cells with extra oxygen and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the par with 40 Motrin without the side effects. Apparently President Reagan used it to treat his cancer.

I promised to document both the positives and negatives.  I called Downtown PMR which had a lie down chamber that looked like the blue one illustrated. A delightful young lady gave me forms to fill out and agreed to tell the doctor that I had awakened with some vertigo and suffer from mild claustrophobia.

The chamber was an inflatable blue vinyl lie-down chamber with two small portholes near the head. It has the ability to go to 1.5ATA or the equivalent of 7.35 pounds per square inch of pressure. That is about the equivalent of diving 15 feet down, but without the scenery. There are hyperbaric chambers that only go to 3psi, but less oxygen gets into your plasma. And hospital chambers get more pressure and higher oxygen than the 80% used here, but are available only for limited uses. You spend an hour and twenty minutes in the chamber, with one hour at full pressure.  Most independent places charge $100-$120 per session.

The way it usually works is that most of the oxygen circulating in your blood is carried by hemoglobin with a small amount in the plasma. Under atmospheric pressure the oxygen gets smaller, more concentrated and significantly permeates the plasma, so you have much more circulating oxygen after a chamber session or “dive”.hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy

The size was about 7 feet long but no more than 36″ in diameter, perfect for a tall skinny person. (They say a child could sit at one end but it would need to be a tiny child and I’m betting the illustration is of a larger chamber than this was.) The oxygen comes in through a face mask but the chamber is inflated and pressurized with air. You are zipped in and a bunch of oversized seatbelts are attached around the chamber. There is an inside zipper for emergency exits but an attendant would need to unlatch the belts.

They suggested chewing gum or airplane earplugs to help clear the ears. (It might be good to have suggested bringing it in advance!) You can read although the light isn’t very good but no electronics or batteries are allowed around the oxygen which meant no music, cell phone or hypnosis mp3s.

The PT promised to stay in the room and told me that she would stay in the room and would check on me. All I needed to do was to bang on the side of the chamber. Given that a woman was unable to get out of a chamber at a spa in Chelsea earlier this year without an illicit (and potentially dangerous) phone call for help I expected they would be vigilant.

The chamber seemed like an oversized sleeping bag but did expand as it inflated. It was pretty dark since the vinyl was blue (there is a white unit on the market that is translucent and more expensive hard sided plexiglass units.) The noise was loud but not intolerable.

My claustrophobia did kick in. I did a lot of yoga breathing, tried going to my favorite hypnosis imagery, read a little from two different books, tried to sleep and made a conscious effort to keep my mind in the present. The PT had stopped checking on me and I could tell she wasn’t in the room since the only chair out of sight was full of my clothing and backpack. To be fair there was nothing much for her to do there and she probably had the door open. But when I started banging on the side so I could find out how much time I had left, she was nowhere to be found. By the time she showed up I only had 5 minutes left but was in no mood to stay. It hyperbaric belltook several minutes to depressurize.

These are the things that would have made it better: a translucent unit or one with larger portholes. A clock within sight of the unit would have helped me calibrate my energy. Music or video just outside the unit would have distracted me. An attendant with work to do in the room would have helped when I needed assistance. And since the oxygen was drying, I should have had something to drink either before or during the dive. And for me, not wanting to trigger claustrophobia, a seated “diving bell” style unit would have been better, just as I always use a Standup MRI when I need an MRI.

Now I am sorry that my diving certification lapsed because I’d rather scuba dive to compress the oxygen!

However if you know of a sit-up hyperbaric chamber around NYC, let me know.

If I can’t find one I might be back, sedated with skullcap and kava, bearing a clock and an iPad with music to play outside of the window.  Or perhaps with a dog to share the chamber with.

hbot dog………………………………………………………….
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