Effective Concussion Treatment still Eludes the Medical Community
Thousands of people suffer concussions in the United States every year. They can happen due to accidents, participation in sports or falls. Regardless of the reason, concussions can lead to several complications down the line. Most people heal from such injuries eventually. Some, however, experience headaches, dizziness, neck pain or blurred vision for several months after getting injured. Now, there’s an alternative treatment that seems to be gaining popularity.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
Recently, more and more patients are opting of hyperbaric oxygen therapy to address the symptoms of their concussion. To date, the treatment has been used to help people exposed to toxic gases and scuba divers to overcome bends.
However, patients suffering from lasting symptoms of concussions also seem to benefit from it. Some found the treatment more effective than painkillers and antidepressants and after several sessions, saw their symptoms reduce drastically. While an increasing number of people are trying this treatment, the larger medical community and researchers aren’t convinced.
There were three separate studies conducted to test the effectiveness of the therapy and a total of $70 million was spent on them. All three reported a very different conclusion. According to researchers, the treatment had a placebo like effect, addressing the symptoms but not the root cause. The researchers observed that the therapy didn’t actually regenerate or repair the brain cells that were damaged during the injury.
The advocates of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, however, contest the findings. Many insist that the three studies might be flawed.
With about 1.7 million Americans suffering from concussions every year, there seems to be a booming business that can capitalize on it. Everyone from academic institutions to entrepreneurs are all scrambling to come up with different, more efficient ways to prevent, detect or treat head injuries.
In fact, the Department of Defense has spent over $800 million on brain injury research over the last decade. Aside from the DOD, companies like GE and organizations like NFL are all spending several million on research.
The Issue of Untested Products
More people are now aware of the consequences of repeated concussions and several want to cash in by coming up with sale-worthy solutions. However, while some of these companies are willing to test their products before they present it to the public, others don’t. This has led to several untested products entering the market without approval from the FDA. Proper, efficient and approved treatment isn’t available yet. Many companies are focusing their efforts on better preventive measures, which would stop concussions from happening in the first place.