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Hope in the hyperbaric chamber

Fort Carson study on mild traumatic brain injuries

Hope in the hyperbaric chamber

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo - A study is chugging along near Evans Army Community Hospital that could yield huge results for everyone who is suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries.  A hyperbaric chamber like divers use is part of the study that has been going on since 2009.

Lt Col Rob Price is a family physician and in charge of this research.  He is shepherding fifty patients through the study.  After a concussion or other mild t-b-i event, you may have chronic headaches, balance problems and mood disorders.  The patients who are being studied are in what's called a double blind study.  Dr. Price tells me that some will get regular air in their mask, others pure oxygen.  They will have 40 sessions in the chamber and a followup, six months after the treatment. 

Major Mike Wiles is one of those who was chosen for the study.  Major Wiles explains what happened to him during three overseas deployments, "A couple of i-e-d blasts, a vehicle roll over, concussions because of being close to rocket and mortar explosions and a huge rock to the head."  Major Wiles told me that the transformation to him after being injured was almost invisible to him but not to his wife. "A progressive change including more irritation in my life, anger and just my ability to function and work in stressful situations."  

Major Wiles is halfway through the treatment.  He doesn't know if he was in the placebo group or got the pure oxygen but he's seen changes, "I'm sleeping better and more relaxed at home.  I am also able to socialize in ways that I haven't done in years."

Lt Colonel Price is psyched about what the future brings for his study and how it could go far beyond the military world, "There are many people suffering from such symptoms.  The NFL and the NHL are right now looking at this intervention as a possible treatment."  Lt Colonel Price is excited that this research may one day become the gold standard treatment to help heal brains after a traumatic injury, "I went into medicine to help people and this is a classic case of science and technology helping people with an illness or injury."

Dr. Price needs ten more patients, active duty or veterans, 18 to 65 years old to participate in this study who have experienced at least one mild t-b-i within the last five years with current ongoing symptoms.

If you want to participate in this study, call this number, 1-877-445-3199. 

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