A group of Israeli physicians led by Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center and a Tel Aviv University associate professor, claims to have found a successful way to “reverse” aging in the brain, a study published in the journal Aging asserts.
Tried on 63 healthy volunteers aged 65-plus, Efrati’s method for reversing brain aging is have a patient undergo sessions in a special hyperbaric oxygen chamber, according to the study. The doctor claimed that the experiment improved the volunteers’ cognitive function and their brain’s tissue function as well.
Oxygen therapy in hyperbaric chambers in nothing new, as it is used across the world for treating conditions including decompression sickness, air embolisms and thermal burns, but according to Efrati and his team, it can now be used for treating brain aging issues as well.
“It reverses aging. It improves cognitive function, and doesn’t just slow its decline,” Efrati said in a statement to The Times of Israel. “This is the first time, from what I know, that there is biological intervention that improves the biology of the brain in the normal aging population. The decline that comes with aging doesn’t need to be taken as given”.
The doctor said that the 63 volunteers underwent MRI scans and tested their cognitive abilities before and after the experiment, in which they took a 60-day course of oxygen therapy, breathing pure oxygen in a pressurized chamber for two hours a day, five times a week. The doctors noticed improvements in cognitive function and the functions of brain tissue.
“The occlusion of small blood vessels, similar to the occlusions which may develop in the pipes of an ‘aging’ home, is a dominant element in the human aging process,” Efrati said. “This led us to speculate that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may affect brain performance of the aging population.”
69-year-old Avi Rabinovitch, one of the volunteers, said that he “entered this study healthy, and left it a tiger,” adding that his memory and cognition improved after taking the oxygen therapy.
The oxygen therapy program has been reportedly developed by a for-profit company co-founded by Efrati, called Aviv Scientific.