I read an article about the resurgence of interest in Hyperbaric Oxygen (HBO) treatments in a 1983 issue of Medical World News. This is the year 2000 and it still hasn’t generated enough interest in conventional medical circles. I cannot help wondering why some ideas seem to grab immediate interest and others, such as HBO, are resisted even though they are safe and produce some useful results. Although the treatment results are not always consistent, HBO has shown benefit in a number of health conditions. It has shown benefit in senility, carbon monoxide poisoning, gangrene, acute cerebral edema, injuries, compromised skin grafts, air embolism and a variety of other conditions. But if it doesn’t work, it also does no harm. It seems to me that it could be a routine procedure in many instances to give patients every advantage of healing modalities that could be beneficial.
The article in Medical World News mentioned a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of 40 patients with advanced multiple sclerosis. Many of the participants benefited; some did not. Nevertheless, since it is safe, it could be tried and if it helps some patients, those patients have an advantage. For the others, they can move on to try other techniques knowing there was no harm done and perhaps there was some limited benefit.
The article was fairly long, but in essence it stated in a lot of official language that on the one hand it helped in many problem cases. Is there any treatment that has a 100% success rate? There are many harmful medicines that reach the identical conclusions and yet are considered acceptable by medical standards. In this instance, even though there is no harm from HBO, the unreasonable conclusion was that it required additional studies. Why?
This is a typical example of how medical research is bogged down in a format applicable in evaluating harmful drugs that should not be applied to safe therapies. Actually, there is less rigidity in approving and prescribing harmful drugs than the final illogical conclusion about HBO which was to do more studies.