Professor Philip James, a world expert in the use of hyperbaric oxygen as a therapy for multiple sclerosis, as well as for recovery from injury, visited the town in early June to see the newly opened Swindon MS Centre at Bradbury House, Westlea.
Prof James has studied the use and effects of oxygen in medicine and in the deep sea diving industry for over 30 years. His work was fundamental in the Swindon MS Centre installing an oxygen chamber some 25 years ago.
After viewing the centre’s new oxygen tank, he gave a talk to MS sufferers and volunteers about the latest research in the relief from neurological conditions.
In an exclusive interview with The Link, Prof James, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at the University of Dundee, said, “most of my professional life has been involved in the use of oxygen under pressure within the deep sea diving profession and also in medical settings where oxygen is used at lower pressure. Hospitals use oxygen as a supplement to treatment rather than as a therapy. Yet, the latest research shows that oxygen is involved in the genetic control of new blood vessel formation and the inflammation that causes the damage in MS.
“The work of the volunteers at sixty MS therapy centres across the country has become essential to people who succumb to multiple sclerosis and other neurological conditions. Hyperbaric oxygen, combined with physiotherapy and social support, give such relief to people whose lives become limited by their condition.”
Jackie Wray of the Swindon therapy centre was delighted that Prof James had made the time to travel to Swindon. “Philip was really impressed by the expansion in our capability to help more people with our new oxygen chamber and the increase in the range of conditions we are treating.”
Pictured above, Prof James and colleague Dr Petra Kliempt with Jackie and David Wray and oxygen tank volunteer operators Brian Danby, Barbara Smith and David Hughes Centre seeks brain injured soldiers for ground breaking study.
Centre seeks brain injured soldiers for UK ground breaking study
Prof James said the after effects of damage to military personnel caught by the blast from IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Iraq and Afghanistan could be relieved by receiving oxygen under pressure. He told Swindon Link, “I am particularly excited by recent research in the United States into the use of oxygen in the treatment of servicemen suffering brain injury after explosions.
“With many injuries from explosion, sometimes the physical damage to the head is limited. But the material used in IEDs makes them very percussive – the brain is rattled by the shock waves and servicemen can suffer undiagnosed symptoms long after their return from the battlefield and the physical injuries have healed.
“The research in the US is based on the study of two air force personnel, who, because of their roles, had been highly tested before injury. After oxygen sessions daily for 40 days, one patient returned to similar brain function before the explosion whilst the other had another 40 days before attaining similar test results.”
Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) symptoms can come and go or may emerge some time after the actual explosion and can manifest themselves as headache, irritability, impulsivity, anger, memory difficulties, loss of balance, sensory loss, sleep disturbances and a range of other impairments which are diagnosed as some other condition.
Prof James added, “as a result of the study in America, the Pentagon is funding a large scale research project into the use of oxygen under pressure in cases of mTBI.”
The Swindon Therapy Centre for MS has offered to conduct a very small scale experiment into how oxygen might improve the condition of soldiers who are suffering after an IED explosion.
Centre manager Jackie Wray said, “obviously this won’t be a scientific study, it would be more to find out anecdotally from family, friends and doctors concerned for the welfare of a serviceman who has experienced extreme shock to the brain if there is improvement in the symptoms.
“We are very keen to see if we can help our injured servicemen. If we can show positive results, hopefully this will reinforce what Philip James is saying and there could be deeper research into the value of using oxygen as a treatment for traumatic brain injury.”
Initially the MS centre has the resources to work intensively with two servicemen. To make contact mail Jackie Wray at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Treatment of soldiers with mild traumatic brain injury http://www.kold.com/Global/story.asp?S=12669275