What's New in Sports Medicine

One of the newest treatments in sports medicine and also in anti-aging medicine is the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT).  This involves going into a pressurized chamber and breathing in 100 % oxygen.  HBOT has been used extensively for wound care and also has been used for years in decompression disease after scub diving.

Recently a study was done in Israel where patients were placed in HBOT for a period of 60 minutes, 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  The patients had labs drawn before and after the study. One of the highlights of the study was that the telomeres lengthened after the study.  Telomeres are found at the end of chromosomes and the length of them is directly related to life expectancy.  If your telomeres are short then your life expectancy is decreased. Conversely if your telomeres are longer then your life expectancy is increased. 

HBOT has also been found to increase cardiac function.  Patients were tested pre and post study and had improved performance times.  There is also those who believe that HBOT can reset stem cells to aid in tissue recovery.  We already know that it works extremely well in healing wounds that were not healing before. It is used by many professional NFL teams in concussion protocols and also in patients with PTSD.

Right now HBOT is considered experiemental for most anti-aging and performance enhancement.  There is a center in The Villages, FL that is part of the Israeli study and they have a busy HBOT program that lasts 3 months.  Patients are tested for cognitive function initially as well as physical exam and MRI studies.  The results from the program are promising.  

Bruce I. Prager, M.D.

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