A new study, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine, says that it does not. US servicemen with persistent symptoms of concussion entered the study. There were 3 groups. One underwent hyperbaric oxygen, 40 sessions; the second underwent sham treatment; and the third standard care. The first 2 groups did better than the third. The researchers concluded that hyperbaric oxygen treatment does not work but the ritual of intervention does.

Hyperbaric oxygen is approved by the FDA for decompression illness in scuba divers, carbon monoxide poisoning, and certain soft tissue infections. There are many off-label uses, which are not covered by insurance, at a cost of $200 to $400 each session, and the FDA and medical experts warn consumers about these unproven claims.

Dr. Jack Florin, MD

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