Hyperbaric Medicine at Lakeshore Hyperbaric Center – An Interview with Dr. Cohen on the Whys and Hows of HBOT

Lakeshore Hyperbaric Center team is based on patient-centric professionals who value and listen to patients. We are medical assistants, nurses and physicians who work very hard to provide quality and compassionate care.

Founder of LHC – Dr. Cohen, always had a curious mind that brought him to medicine and made him explore alternative field of hyperbaric medicine and its applications in numerous medical conditions.

  1. Do you think that hyperbaric medicine is a good alternative to the therapies that are currently available?

In my opinion, hyperbaric medicine is a valuable option for those who have tried everything else, and haven’t experienced a change. Frequently, it’s used as an add-on therapy, but with some instances, such as cyanide or carbon monoxide poisoning, hyperbaric medicine can be the only viable option. As research increasingly reveals this therapy’s benefits, I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a popular alternative to traditional medicine.

 

  1. Why do you have such an interest in hyperbaric medicine?

After you’ve practiced for as many years as I have, you start to see the limitations and weaknesses of modern medicine. After watching my father suffer from Alzheimer’s without improvement, I specifically started seeking alternatives that could affect real changes in my patients who were suffering from neurological conditions. I wanted to truly make them feel better.

While it’s true that sometimes older therapeutic options fall out of favor with science or the field of medicine, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) only seems to be gaining ground. The treatment was invented centuries ago. My primary interest is to apply it to brain wellness as it is now gaining much-deserved attention. As patients grow older, they lack appropriate blood flow and oxygen supply, leading to a variety of chronic conditions. HBOT supplies exactly that, promoting angiogenesis or formation of new blood vessels and hyper oxygenation of cells. This leads to their repair and better functionality.

 

  1. HBOT was approved for wound care, but you are not a wound doctor. Why does a neurologist like you have any interest in hyperbaric medicine?

On the contrary, the question should be, “Why would I have no interest in hyperbaric medicine?” For reasons cited above, I’m interested in showing that HBOT goes far beyond wound care. Overwhelming evidence shows that it works for kids with autistic disorders, and that it can treat some cases of cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, strokes, multiple sclerosis, chronic headaches, just to name a few. It can also help people who have elective surgeries, to promote better healing of their scars. Just because it was approved for one area does not means its applications are limited. Most of the conditions HBOT helps are neurological, so it’s up to neurologists to expand on the work, and expedite its benefits.

  1. Can you tell us how exactly hyperbaric therapy works?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is the administration of high oxygen concentrations within a pressurized chamber to increase the cellular/mitochondrial delivery of oxygen. Oxygen stimulation by HBOTpromotes healing processes by supplying the energy/oxygen needed while down-regulating genes involved in inflammation.

  1. What conditions have shown the most improvement with hyperbaric medicine?

 Indications for HBOT are extensive. Just to list a few:

  • Post-traumatic brain injury
  • Sports injuries
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Memory loss
  • Lyme disease
  • Non-healing lower-extremity diabetic wounds
  • Compromised skin grafts and flaps
  • Complications of radiation with radionecrosis
  • Decompression illness

 

For more information on international and Medicare-approved conditions, read our FAQs page.

 Post traumatic encephalopathy or disorder of the brain, due to continuous trauma of the head, became a hot topic recently, after the NFL paid for many lawsuits to NFL players who developed a debilitated condition due to multiple head traumas. Many professional athletes have chosen hyperbaric medicine to prevent irreversible damage to the brain. Although still in the experimental phase, athletes like Jets legend Joe Namath have endorsed the therapy after experiencing first-hand the benefits of the procedure.

 

  1. Why is HBOT considered an “alternative” treatment? Why isn’t it more widely known in mainstream medicine?

 HBOT is widely known, actually, and thousands of centers in the U.S. offer it. However, it’s largely considered “alternative” because of the cost factor. Once you consider the expense of the chamber and the ongoing high cost of providing care with oxygen, the numbers add up. However, medication costs are hiking up, too, making hyperbaric therapy a more viable and attractive option as relative expenses start to even out.

  1. How long does it typically take to see results from HBOT?

 Although it depends on the condition and the individual patient, some patients experience results within as little as five treatments. In more complicated cases, as many as 40–60 treatments may be required. Generally, the simpler the condition, the smaller the number of treatments needed.

  1. What can I do to prepare myself for hyperbaric therapy?

 All you need to do is schedule an appointment to determine if you’re a good candidate. After you’re approved, therapy can last anywhere from 60 to 120 minutes per session. You’ll want to prepare for the time investment in advance because daily sessions may be required. Although hyperbaric therapy requires a commitment from the patient, the benefits and health indications are well worth the wait.

Also, make sure you arrive prepared. We don’t allow you to enter the chamber with books, tablets, or synthetic clothing, and ask that you don’t apply cream, lotion, hair gel, or spray before your session. For more info on how to prepare, check out our FAQs.

 

  1. Have you ever tried HBOT yourself?

 Yes, I have. I must say it was an interesting experience. You do feel a change in pressure just like in airplane, but otherwise it is relatively relaxing. Once out of the chamber, I felt my energy levels were enhanced, but I always joke that it might be because I took a nap there.

Hyperbaric medicine has helped thousands of people seek relief from chronic conditions. Call or e-mail Chicago Neurological Services today to get answers to any of your questions, or to schedule an appointment.