Arizona Legislature Approves Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Program for Veterans

 Veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and selected PTSD conditions would be eligible to participate in hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) under a bill approved unanimously in the state House (Feb. 21), and unanimously by the Senate (Mar 26). It was signed by the Governor on March 29.
 
HB2513 was sponsored by Rep. Mark Finchem, Republican, (LD-11, Oro Valley, Marana & Maricopa), Vice-Chairman of the Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs Committee. “This bill is the culmination of 3-years of pubic comment and professional input to get our veterans access for a recuperative treatment, that has delivered remarkable results, but has thus-far not been paid for by the VA,” said Rep. Finchem
 
The bill provides a temporary appropriation of just $25,000 in seed money to what supporters call, a “private-sector driven,” initiative that will be overseen by the state’s Department of Veteran Services. There is a population of approximately 13,000 veterans with TBI in the state. Arizona is the only state that has formally taken this private-public partnership approach, said Sa’ad Allawi, an Oro Valley resident who helped spearhead the drive.
 
HBOT has been shown an effective, non-medicinal alternative abroad and selectively in the U.S., though it not offered as a Veterans Administration benefit. Patients in HBOT breathe pure oxygen in a room where pressure that is 1.5- to 2.2-times normal level. This rejuvenates cells and increases stem cell production that promotes healing. It is used for scuba divers who suffer from decompression sickness. Athletes have used HBOT since the 1960’s to treat concussions, a form of TBI.
 

“This bill enables us to tell prospective private donors, ‘The state is making a commitment, now it’s your turn,’” said Allawi, whose career was in healthcare cost-reduction. “It is an opportunity to heal veterans and get them back to a healthy state, rather than just manage symptoms — and do it with a far more cost-effective treatment.”

 
Healing Arizona Veterans, or HAV, has been established as a nonprofit that will promote contributions from small donors, charities and the private sector. HAV has is driving the private donors match effort, which will enable the first 10 veterans to be treated. The group’s goal is to treat 50 in its first phase. 
 
Arizona has two stand-alone HBOT private providers, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Arizona, of Phoenix, which has been in business for 18 years, and NorthStar Hyperbarics, of Tucson, in existence for 14. Both have six-person chambers. As many as 300 veterans could be treated annually,” says Allawi.  A full treatment cycle of 80 hours at $150 per session means a cost of $12,000 per veteran.
 

For a technology that is mature, the United States offers relatively few options. One of the nation’s HBOT models, Oklahoma, four years ago passed a Patriot Clinic Act that offers the therapy. Texas and Indiana passed pilot programs last year. Marine Corps now offers selective treatment and a study is underway at Louisiana State University involving 50 veterans. Brook Army Medical Center, Fort Sam Houston, TX, the largest healthcare organization within Department of Defense, is spending $12 million on an HBOT wing. Treat Now, a veterans’ support group, estimates there are 2800 veterans have been treated in such a manner.  

 

For more details, please visit Healing Arizona Veterans at http://www.healingarizonaveterans.org/

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Free TBI, PTSD Medical Evaluations for Veterans

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Dr. Carol Henricks, a physician at NorthStar Neurology PC and NorthStar Hyperbaric, is offering free medical evaluations for veterans with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) spectrum conditions. The Patriot Clinic evaluates and treats veterans at no charge.

“The signature injury of veterans of the recent conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan is a TBI-PTSD spectrum condition,” says Henricks. The initial evaluation is free, and veteran treatment is supported by veteran nonprofit organizations such as America’s Mighty Warriors, Mission 22 and others. A natural approach to health, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), detoxification, nutrient optimization, PEMF and other therapies are used.

Those interested can call and schedule an appointment with Henricks. More information can also be found at HealingArizonaVeterans.org.

Location: 7596 N. La Cholla Blvd., Tucson. For more information, call 520-229-1238, email CLHMaxwell@aol.com or visit NorthStarHBOT.com

TreatNOW using HBOT for TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion

THE essential elements of the argument:
1. We face an epidemic of suicide, and brain-related wounds afflicting service members’ mental and physical health

2. Billions of $$$ are being spent on research and unproven even hurtful drugs and devices that exacerbate the problems in too many cases.

3. DOD/VA/Army conducted HBOT studies that queered the outcomes with their corrupted scientific methods, but their DATA show HBOT works.

4. Business as usual affects over 800,000 wounded and their families while BILLIONS of $$$ are expended on drugs and fruitless psychological and other unproven interventions

5. The reasons for their “HBOT does not work” position are many but reduce to flawed conclusions about: cost, danger, size of problem, closed minds, and entrenched interests, especially Big Pharma

6.  The cost to the nation:  20 suicides a day, hollowing out of Special Operations forces, $60,000 cost/per year for each untreated brain injury, and corrosive effects of wounded who are told: “There is no treatment to help you.”

7.  The Treatment does exist:  Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy when used by the TreatNOW Coalition and multiple clinics across the US and world have positive scientific and clinical evidence in over 2,300 cases that HBOT helps heal wounded brains and returns patients to a life denied them by DOD/VA/Army that will not use or pay for HBOT treatment for TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion

8. The solution is hiding in plain sight:  allow  the use of TRICARE/Choice cards by brain-wounded to go on civilian/private market to obtain pre-approved treatment.

So much is left out; so much more to say.  An essential component of our culture:  The Concussion Protocol as practiced by the DOD/VA/Army, the NFL, the NCAA, the overwhelming ## of ERs and high schools around the world is the equivalent of criminal negligence and medical malpractice.  If you refuse to recognize and treat the wound to the brain, it isn’t going to Heal.           Symptoms will abate and the wounded may feel better, but beware the long-term effects, particularly when the insults to the head continue. And this factoid:  Since the Army now recognizes that BLAST injury is the likely CAUSE of the sequelae diagnosed as “only PTSD” we are confronted with an additional 325,000 likely misdiagnosed TBIs.

 

Rob Beckman
703.346-8432

Camp Corral Gears Up for Another Summer of Serving Military Kids

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By Marissa Pierre

Summer is quickly approaching, which means that thousands of military kids across the nation are looking forward to a fun-filled week at Camp Corral. This free, one-of-a-kind summer camp for children of wounded, injured or fallen veterans gives military kids the opportunity to just be kids, away from the challenges of military life.

Camp Corral partners with accredited 4H and YMCA camps across the U.S. to offer military kids ages eight to 15 endless fun in the great outdoors. Campers participate in activities such as horseback riding, rock climbing and canoeing, while building relationships with other kids who share similar military backgrounds. Since 2011, Camp Corral has provided more than 10,000 military children this “week of a lifetime” at 23 partner camps in 19 states.

A camper tries his hand at using a firehose at Camp Corral's Camp Ocala in FL

Last summer, Camp Corral partnered with the YMCA’s Triangle Y Ranch Camp in Oracle to host its first ever Arizona camp session. More than 150 children from Arizona and nearby states attended the camp, where they formed lifelong friendships and honored their parents’ sacrifices on “Hero Day.” Triangle Y Ranch Camp will welcome Camp Corral campers again this summer from July 3 to 8.

“We are very excited for another summer to serve our nation’s young heroes,” said Mary Beth Hernandez, chief executive officer of Camp Corral. “Military children are so special, and it is a privilege to be able to provide them with life changing camp experiences.”

Across the Lake Adventure

With its camp sessions growing in demand, Camp Corral hopes to serve thousands more children in the coming years. The nonprofit recently launched a Fifth Anniversary Campaign with the goal to raise funds to send more military kids to camp next summer.

The 2016 camp season kicks off on June 5 and concludes August 20. For more information on Camp Corral, camp sessions, or to make a donation to the Fifth Anniversary Campaign, visit www.campcorral.org or call 855-605-1267.

Written by Marissa Pierre.

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Traumatic Brain Injury: out of the “game”, but not out of danger! by Carol Henricks, M. D.

Awareness of concussion as a consequence of playing professional football and other sports and exposure to blast injuries for military veterans has reached an all – time high. A single bomb blast causes soldiers NFL – like brain trauma. The message has been received by the public: concussion is a real injury and you should NOT “go back into the game” after the injury. However the long term medical consequences of the injury – particularly if the brain has not healed – are less well established. With the recognition of acute and sub – acute concussion, players make decisions to stop playing sports altogether – they “get out of the game” while they believe they are still “cognitively clear”. But does that solve the problem ?

 

Young military veterans taken out of active duty or medically discharged don’t recover from their concussions even years after their injury and are often never able to re-enter the work force. The American Headache Association presented data at their July 2012 meeting that even 8 years post concussion – injury, most veterans continued to have persistent headaches, sleep disturbance, cognitive and emotional problems. The link between concussion injury and neurodegenerative conditions in the NFL has been acknowledged ( at least by the players and the judge ) and resulted in a huge settlement to compensate injured players – and studies of concussion injured military veterans are supporting that conclusion. It is clear that a new approach to post – concussion management is necessary. It is time to put together a game plan to save the brain.

 

Our brains are like computers.

 

The brain is a complex network of fiber tracts: to carry out any brain function there is a locus of control and a network that needs to be activated.   Our brains are much more like computers than we would have believed. If the locus of control that triggers the algorithm / pathway is knocked out or there are “glitches in the system” the network cannot function as a cohesive system and the task is not completed. Multiple concussions destroy the control and networking of the brain and result in poor cognitive ability and a consequent failure to function in society.

 

 

Connections that extend from the neuron cell body and make connections with other areas of the brain are called axons. Axons gathered together form fiber tracts. The hallmark of concussive brain injury is diffuse shear injury to axons. The shear injury may involve only the fatty covering around the axon ( the myelin ) or it may also involve the underlying axon structural components. The extent of injury to the axon affects the ability to recover from the injury. A shear injury in the brain is like a glitch in a computer network.

 

Network connections are critical.

 

Fiber tract connections create networks. Fiber tracts formed from the right hemisphere ( for example ) connect to the left hemisphere through the corpus callosum. Connections through the corpus callosum allow the right side of the brain to know what the left side of the brain is doing and vice versa. Fiber tracts from the parietal lobes of the brain ( which perform sensory integration / visual association ) connect with the occipital lobes of the brain ( primary visual information processing ) so we can tell the difference between our visual reality versus stored visual images: is it real or a hallucination ? Fiber tracts connect the frontal lobes (which are responsible for decision making) with the temporal lobes of the brain (which store our memories of past experiences) so we can use our experience to help us make good decisions.   All these connections form networks which allow us to function in our world. If you disrupt these connections throughout the brain these disconnections or “glitches” result in poor cognitive function. And then things get worse.

 

Disconnections and loss of brain cell function are the basis for post – concussion symptoms.

 

Disconnections create problems in an acute injury, but if these connections never heal, there is chronic brain injury. Even if new networks are formed by “re-wiring”, the injured brain cells begin a degenerative process and as the neurons “die back” brain cells are lost. Dysfunction worsens over time if new connections are not formed and old connections and damaged neurons do not heal. Healing is not guaranteed. Spontaneous healing in both the Central Nervous System ( CNS ) and the Peripheral Nervous System ( PNS ) is a very slow process. Amazing cases of people “waking up” after spending many years in a persistent vegetative state following brain injury are examples of people naturally healing over time.

 

A traditional approach to recovery is observation and supportive care.

 

Medications do not create healing. Medications do not inhibit cell death or any neurodegenerative process. Non-healing is where the pathology of neurodegenerative disease begins. The current medical model of treatment for an individual who has sustained a concussion is to avoid further injury and let the brain heal itself over time using adjunctive therapies such as physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy. Re -evaluations by neurologists may establish that a concussion injured person has achieved a certain baseline of functional recovery, but that is not confirmation that injury has healed and that an individual will avoid future consequences of that injury. There is no standard of care therapy that has been recognized to treat brain injury.

 

Making the connection: the consequences of injury.

 

The consequence of significant untreated concussion injury is early onset neurodegenerative disease. The more concussions, the worse the cumulative brain injury. Injured brain cells that do not heal die, and may help to create the clinical syndromes of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and ALS for example. SPECT scans have been a helpful tool to identify injured areas of brain. New imaging techniques such as brain MRI with DTI may be a better choice to show the disruption of connections caused by concussion as well as providing a follow – up measure of healing. It’s time to refocus our thinking on healing. The future is now and therapies to recover brain function are available.

 

HBOT is essential because every healing reaction requires oxygen.

 

Revolutionary emerging technologies will change neurological recovery forever. The operative term here is the recoverable brain. Our brains are designed to learn all throughout our life, and brain cells may heal given the proper support. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy ( HBOT ) is the first therapy that has been demonstrated to heal brain injury. The extensive research of Dr. Paul Harch covers the basic science of healing with HBOT, animal research and human research and his work has been submitted to the FDA confirming the effectiveness. There has been more research on HBOT than on any drug or device ever approved by the FDA. Dr. Harch’s textbook “The Oxygen Revolution” outlines his years of research and experience in treating brain injury. HBOT therapy is radically different than simply providing oxygen by nasal cannula in a hospital setting at atmospheric pressure. HBOT creates oxygen radicals which in a hyperoxic environment stimulate healing mechanisms including activation of intracellular healing processes, stem cell mobilization and modification of gene expression.

 

Brain recovery requires building from basic nutritional essentials.

 

For healing to take place, nutrient optimization including consumption of proper fats, adequate proteins, critical trace minerals, balanced electrolytes and smart sugars. Without the proper building blocks for recovery, the brain cannot recover. Please see our article, written with neuropharmacologist Dr. Tim Marshall: “Nutrition for the wounded warrior: it takes more than a vitamin” for details.

 

Neurobiofeedback is a simple retraining of the brain.

 

Brain waves may be retrained to a pattern that will minimize an anxiety reaction or to help activate less active areas of the brain. Even an injured brain is able to learn, re – wire, re – network. Brain Paint for example is an excellent Neurobiofeedback program for recovery. Re-establishing the normal rhythms of the electrical activity of the brain promotes functional recovery.

 

Magnetic fields enhance intracellular energy so that healing can take place.

 

Magnetic fields, particularly pulsed electromagnetic field therapy or PEMF results in direct energy transfer intracellularly to facilitate healing. PEMF has been used in Germany to treat advanced dementia and Down’s syndrome with great results. It is being studied in the US for TBI recovery. A similar but more focused tool is transcranial magnetic stimulation ( TCMS ) which has been FDA approved to treat depression and is being studied in various neurology centers to treat patients post – stroke.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autologous stem cell transplants boost recovery.

 

Safe, effective mechanisms for obtaining autologous stem cell transplants are available in the US. These procedures are primarily still under IRB protocols and are self – pay but are proving to be a powerful adjunctive therapy for recovery. Initial results from physicians performing that procedure indicate that it is a very safe treatment and results for patients with neurodegenerative conditions including severe TBI have been positive.

 

Save your brain.

 

Concussion is a major contributing factor to neurodegenerative conditions; although there are many other factors impact brain health and healing. A potentially huge “at risk” population for neurodegenerative disease exists and it is not only an “end – of – life” phenomenon. Functional recovery of an injured brain has never been as possible as it is now. Combining available therapies, a good nutritional baseline and lifestyle habits the best neurological recovery can be achieved. It is critical to anticipate the consequences of post – concussion injury and actively pursue healing therapies.