Hyperbaric oxygen chamber reverses brain damage in toddler

Scientists are reporting that a miracle occurred after a toddler, who sustained brain damage from a drowning incident, has healed after undergoing multiple hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments.

On February 29, 2016, when little Eden Carlson’s mother was taking a shower, the two-years old managed to climb through a baby gate and fell into her family’s backyard swimming pool. She remained there for up to 15 minutes before her family found her lifeless body.

“Her older siblings lost track of her and thought she was with me,” Eden’s mother told reporters.

When paramedics arrived on the scene and administered CPR, it took 100 minutes before Eden’s heart began beating on its own. She was then transferred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where she remained for five weeks.

Upon being released from the hospital, Eden was immobile and completely unresponsive to stimuli.

“When we brought her home, she was a vegetable, unable to do anything,” her mother recalled. “She had a feeding tube, could not speak, could not sit up, etc.”

She was also sent home with a monitor to use at night while she slept because she would often stop breathing and need to be resuscitated.

After an MRI showed that Eden had a brain injury deep inside her brain and a loss of white and gray matter, doctors predicted she would never be able to walk, talk, or eat on her own.

Doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital told her family that nothing else could be done, but Eden’s parents were determined to do all they could to help their child heal.

In the weeks after she returned home, they sought the help of Google to research unconventional approaches for treating brain trauma. They eventually found Dr. Paul G. Harch, clinical professor and director of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, who agreed to do remote hyperbaric oxygen sessions on the little girl using a “bridging therapy” since Eden could not be moved without causing further damage.

The toddler underwent Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) five days per week for 45 minutes each session. The treatment was administered using a normal oxygen tank with tubes to the nose.

Around the tenth session, her mother said that Eden was nearly back to normal motor function.

“She was more relaxed, her neuro-storming stopped, she started smiling, laughing, swallowing, tracking with her eyes, and saying words,” Carlson said.

Nearing the 39th session, Eden regained the ability to walk, her speech had normalized, and her cognitive abilities had improved to close to where she was prior to the drowning accident. The following video is a very condensed version of her inspiring story.

Newsweek reports:

An MRI scan a month after the 40th HBOT session showed almost complete reversal of the brain damage initially recorded. Researchers believe the oxygen therapy, coupled with Eden having the developing brain of a child, had activated genes that promote cell survival and reduce inflammation—allowing the brain to recover. The case report is published in the journal Medical Gas Research.

According to researchers, Eden’s case is the first of its kind to show a reversal of brain matter atrophy using any kind of treatment. They also state that HBOT should be considered for similar types of brain injury cases in the future.

“Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning.”

Additional videos are below which provide more details of her condition and treatment.

Her family also has a Facebook group with updates on her progress.

 

 

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