Drowned Toddler’s Brain Damage miraculously reversed through controversial new Oxygen Therapy
A team of doctors have achieved the unthinkable by reversing the brain damage of a toddler named Eden who almost drowned for 15 minutes in a pool in February last year. The little girl’s brain suffered considerable damage after falling and drowning in the pool where the water temperature was 5 degrees C.
The brain damage reversed by a complex procedure 55 days after the incident used what doctors call normobaric oxygen and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The method is relatively new and though the results have seemed encouraging, further evidence is needed to prove that the treatment can work as efficiently in other patients who have suffered brain damage from drowning.
1 The girl suffered severe brain damage resulting in paralysis and impaired speech
The recent case where the 2-year-old girl’s brain damage was reversed was published in the Medical Gas Research journal. The procedure is based other theory that Hyperbaric oxygen therapy or (100% pure oxygen inhalation to stimulate the body’s healing mechanism) increases pure oxygen in the blood. The oxygen is then delivered to organs and tissues improving their function to fight disease and inflammation as well as minimizes injury.
The brain scans of the little girl post drowning revealed damage and injury to gray matter and cerebral atrophy with loss of both white and gray matter. This resulted in constant squirming and head shaking with leg paralysis, impaired speech and unresponsive to commands.
2 Phenomenal response to hyperbaric oxygen therapy
The hyperbaric oxygen therapy was advised by Doctor Paul Harch clinical professor and director of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health New Orleans. Due to the vast distance between the family’s location and the hospital, a bridge treatment was started to minimize further brain tissue degeneration.
The therapy commenced 5 days after the incident and consisted of the girl being made to inhale 100% normobaric oxygen (oxygen at sea level) for 45 minutes daily. The results were stupendous and phenomenal. Within a matter of hours, the girl responded appearing to be wide awake and alert. She even stopped squirming described the study.
3 Finally admitted for HBOT
Over a period of 2 days, the little girl improved further and was reported to have started responding, laughing, speaking short sentences and increasing limb movement. The family then travelled to New Orleans after the 78th day to start the hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). She was required to lie in a Hyperbaric oxygen chamber for 45 minutes a day, five days a week.
The girl underwent 40 such sessions after which she was able to walk and talk. She even displayed normal cognitive function, motor function and improved on all areas of neurological deformities as had attacked her earlier. According to Doctor Paul Harch “Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning,”.
4 The use of HBOT remains a controversial issue with the FDA
HBOT is also used to treat decompression sickness which is suffered commonly by divers. Doctors have claimed that the therapy has cured a number of diseases including brain damaged reversed as in case of Eden. In the past few years but many of these were unconfirmed by proper clinical trials. Even the FDA is yet to approve of hyperbaric chambers for the treatment of illness.
In fact the FDA has also issued statement disclaiming the efficiency of hyperbaric oxygen as a means to treat disease. The statement of the FDA in 2013 read Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Don’t Be Misled”. However Eden’s Results prove otherwise but still, further evidence is required before HBOT can gain credibility in the current scenario of medicinal therapy.