Veterans Programs

The HOW Foundation of South Florida is working in collaboration with the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation (IHMF) and the Red Cross to help our nation’s soldiers. We believe that the administration of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to individuals with TBI, PCS, and PTSD can ameliorate the devastating symptoms that characterize these afflictions.

Oxygen as a therapeutic drug

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) promotes healing by using pure oxygen as a therapeutic drug, and introducing it in a pressurized environment, which increases the body’s concentration of oxygen. This mechanism allows the brain and body a better way of utilizing its natural ability to repair itself by reintroducing blood flow into areas where oxygen levels have been previously damaged, compromised, or rendered inactive.

A recent study in the Journal of Neurotrauma reported that veterans who underwent HBOT treatments experienced:

  • Improved cognitive performance (15 IQ points; the typical difference in cognitive ability between high school dropouts and college graduates)
  • Improved energy level
  • Lower depression scores (51%)
  • Fewer PCS symptoms (87%) and PTSD symptoms (30%)
  • Reduced levels generalized anxiety, headaches, and sleep disruptions

The HOW Foundation of South Florida recommends following NBIRR-01 study protocol, as a means of evaluating the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

NBIRR-01 Study Protocol

The National Brain Injury Rescue and Rehabilitation (NBIRR-01) is an observational study, investigating the potential therapeutic effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) on traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-concussion syndrome (PCS), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The NBIRR-01 is a national study, which is overseen by the International Hyperbaric Medical Foundation (IHMF). The study has an estimated completion date of April 2018, with a primary completion date of May 2016. Once data has been collected for 1,000 participants, the study will officially close.

Pending admittance to the study, participants will be administered HBOT at 1.5+ atmospheres absolute (ATA) for 40+ treatment sessions. If patients continue to show improvement from hyperbaric oxygen therapy, additional treatment sessions may be added to a treatment protocol (at the attending physician’s discretion). We recommend all participants complete neuropsychological evaluations, a single-photo emission computed tomography scan (SPECT scan), and adhere to recommended nutritional supplements. For additional information on SPECT scans and their uses, please click here.

Get Involved: HOW to Participate

In order to be eligible to participate in our chapter of the NBIRR-01 study, participants must meet the following criteria:

  • South Florida residency or be willing to cover relocation/housing expenses
  • 18-65 years old
  • Received a diagnosis of mild-moderate PCS, TBI, or PTSD from a military or civilian neurologist/neuropsychologist
  • Be legally capable of consenting (no 3rd party consent will be acknowledged for this study)
  • Negative pregnancy test (in females)
  • No pre-existing contra-indications for HBOT
  • No participation in a different experimental trial that has an active intervention