It is an undeniable fact that we all have to surrender in front of age. Skin-deep—aging takes a severe toll on our neurological well-being. Recently biologists discovered how to reprogram the molecular processes of aging in yeast cells. Nearly 16 million people in the US compete with cognitive impairment, a condition that affects their memory, motor functions, and ability to concentrate or learn.
Neuroscientists in Israel are trying to treat this with one simple ingredient: oxygen.
What is Oxygen Therapy?
Research at the Yitzhak Shamir Medical Center in Israel has developed a new type of hyperbaric oxygen therapy which increases blood flow in the brain to prevent reduced cognitive function in the brain.
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves breathing in pure, highly concentrated, oxygen in a pressurized chamber for a long duration. This therapy allows a person’s lungs to collect three times the normal amount of oxygen from the air.
Strength of Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen therapy elevates blood-oxygen levels. It increases the body tissue healing rate by stimulating the formation of new vessels at sites of injury. Historically, doctors have used the therapy to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, skin burns, traumatic brain injuries, gas embolism- a state that impacts deep-sea divers when nitrogen bubbles form in the circulatory system.
Recently, hyperbaric oxygen therapy has been shown on the treatment for many diseases—through the FDA emphasizes that the therapy hasn’t been clinically proven to treat cancer, diabetes, and autism.
How does oxygen therapy work?
Oxygen atoms are free radicals in the concentrated amount. The high oxygen imposes mild beneficial stress on cells in the brain. This pressure might promote neurogenesis, a process in which stem cells form new neurons and brain cells. This process requires from central processing unit to look and run younger. Exercise and intermittent fasting implore the same reactions in the brain.
Results of Research
A new study, tested the therapy on normally aging adults, to improve their cognitive function. For three months, 63 adults aged 65 and older spent five days a week, two hours a day in a pressurized chamber, and practiced breathing in concentrated oxygen at levels 1,500 times higher than that in the atmosphere. At the end of the study, researchers discovered that blood flow in their brains increased.
Prospects of Oxygen Therapy
The studied participants exhibited better short term memory, longer attention spans, and they showed processing of information at faster speeds than before. However, scientists are not sure about the range of this therapy. The researchers say the treatment doesn’t last forever. Its longevity depends on each individual’s genetics and lifestyle. One day the treatment might be popularized enough that it becomes convenient for more populations.
Just like youngsters, dreams of the aging community are independent and well-functioned. To humans, only longevity isn’t enough. Rather, productive quality of life is what neuroscientists are struggling for. Undoubtedly, we will all die sooner or later, but we possess a desire to die while functioning well. Hence, we should take such steps to live a bit longer and a bit healthier.
Cover Photo by pxfuel
Hi! I am Madiha Anwar. Reading books and pursue skills is my passion since my childhood. Always dream to serve homo-sapiens along with this knowledge. Being a medical student I would love to write on health suggestions. I desire that articles bring a healthy change in your life. Stay tuned & stay healthy!