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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a new treatment approach for Alzheimer’s disease

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a new treatment approach for Alzheimer’s disease (AD): Alongside the increase in life expectancy, the prevalence of age-related disorders, such as neurodegenerative diseases, is on the rise. For example, AD, the most common form of dementia in the elderly, accounts for 60–80% of all dementia cases. However, there is presently no cure for this disease and no effective treatment that would slow disease progression despite billions of dollars invested in drug development. As AD is a complex disease, the development of effective and specific drugs is difficult. Thus, examining alternative treatments that target several disease-related pathways in parallel is of the utmost importance. Hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT) is the medical administration of 100% oxygen at environmental pressure greater than 1 atmosphere absolute (ATA). HBOT has been shown to improve neurological functions and life quality following neurological incidents such as stroke and traumatic brain injury, and to improve performance of healthy subjects in multitasking. The current perspective describes a recent study demonstrating that HBOT can ameliorate AD-related pathologies in an AD mouse model, and provides unique insights into HBOT’s mechanisms of action. Old triple-transgenic model (3xTg)-AD mice were exposed to 14 days of HBOT and showed reduced hypoxia and neuroinflammation, reduction in beta-amyloid (Aβ) plaques and phosphorylated tau, and improvement in behavioral tasks. This and additional studies have shown that cerebral ischemia is a common denominator in many of the pathological pathways and suggests that oxygen is an important tool in the arsenal for our fight against AD. Given that HBOT is used in the clinic to treat various neurological conditions, we suggest that this approach presents a new platform for the treatment of AD.

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