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Research: Pressure chamber therapy improves the condition of women suffering from fibromyalgia

Researchers from Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Universities, in collaboration with a team of researchers from Rice University in the USA, were able to prove that the source of fibromyalgia, a disease that mainly affects women, is found in the brain. - Yaakov who passed away about a week ago unexpectedly

pressure cabinet. Photography: Tamir Noi
pressure cabinet. Photography: Tamir Noi

Researchers from Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Universities and a number of medical centers in Israel, in collaboration with colleagues from Rice University in the USA, have developed an innovative and effective treatment for fibromyalgia: exposure in a pressure chamber to oxygen-rich air.
The new treatment significantly improved the condition of 70% of the patients who participated in the study, and may ease the suffering of millions of women all over the world.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that affects about 4-2% of the population in the western world, 90% of whom are women. Today it is known that the disease appears mainly in three situations: a head injury, an infection involving the nervous system or severe and continuous mental stress. The origin of the severe disease has not been located so far, and therefore the treatments given to patients so far refer only to the symptoms, and their effectiveness is limited. The new research was able to discover the primary cause of the disease - a disruption in the brain mechanism responsible for pain processing, and offer for the first time an effective treatment.

Participated in the study: Dr. Shai Efrati, director of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, and a member of the faculty of the Sagol School of Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University, the late Prof. Eshel Ben-Yaakov - who was a senior faculty member at the School of Physics and Astronomy and at Sefer Sagol for Neuroscience at Tel Aviv University; Prof. Dan Buskila from Ben Gurion University, an international fibromyalgia expert, and Dr. Yaakov Ablin, head of the fibromyalgia clinic at the Institute of Rheumatology at the Tel Aviv Sorasky (Ichilov) Medical Center.

The study was published in June 2015 in the journal PLOS One.

Improvement in 70% of women

"In previous studies in the pressure chamber, we found that a series of treatments significantly improves the condition of stroke and head injury victims," ​​says Dr. Efrati. "We discovered that giving oxygen at high pressure leads to regeneration and repair of brain tissue damage in these patients, even many years after the injury."

Following the impressive success, the researchers wanted to test the effectiveness of the method for treating other types of diseases and injuries, and chose fibromyalgia. 60 women aged 67-21, who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia more than two years ago, participated in the study. At the beginning of the study, a high-resolution brain mapping was conducted for all participants, which shows brain activity - using analytical tools developed by the late Prof. Ben-Yaakov. The women were then divided into two groups: half received the treatment, and the other half served as a control group.

The women who received treatment came to the pressure chamber at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center five times a week over a period of two months. Here they were exposed to conditions of 100% oxygen at a pressure of 2 atmospheres (2 times the pressure under normal conditions) for an hour and a half at each visit. "The result was extremely encouraging," says Dr. Efrati. "The condition of about 70% of the women who were treated in the pressure chamber improved to such an extent that they can no longer be defined as having fibromyalgia."

Damage to the pain processing mechanism

At the end of the series of treatments, the participants underwent another brain mapping, which brought up important discoveries. According to Dr. Efrati: "We found changes in the brain that correspond to an improvement in the clinical condition, and we accurately identified the areas of the brain responsible for fibromyalgia. In fact, we located the source of the syndrome, and proved that fibromyalgia is essentially a violation of the pain processing mechanism in the brain. The pressure chamber treatment treats the root of the problem, and repairs the damaged brain tissue, which is why it is so effective. It is possible that in the future we will even be able to diagnose fibromyalgia based on the characteristics observed in the brain mapping."

The researchers are now continuing a comprehensive research project on the regeneration of brain tissue under the conditions of a pressure chamber. Their next study will deal with patients with mild cognitive decline, which may be the beginning of dementia. "We believe that pressure chamber therapy has great potential as a therapeutic tool for a wide variety of diseases and injuries related to the brain," said the late Prof. Ben-Yaakov at the time. "As we know, such problems may arise in old age, with the decrease in the efficiency of blood flow carrying oxygen to and within the brain. Therefore, it is quite possible that the new treatment could help people in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, and prevent the deterioration of the disease. Perhaps in the future we will even be able to give the brain 'anti-aging' treatments - which will strengthen it and preserve its function until our last day."

pressure cabinet. Courtesy of Assaf Harofeh Hospital
pressure cabinet. Courtesy of Asaf Harofeh Hospital

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13 תגובות

  1. Orly Zohar Shalom
    Me too, unfortunately, my mother is dead. And I got fibromyalgia after my son's death.

  2. I am 54 years old and have been suffering from migraines for years.
    I would love to participate in the study.

  3. Fibromyalgia for about 20 years, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, if she's dead, I want to live without pain, please, I'm an excellent candidate

  4. MRI I did many years ago. There were findings of undiagnosed white foci.
    I once got hit hard on the head
    Maybe it's related to fibro. In addition/at the same time I also had depression problems.

  5. Taking a semi-synthetic opioid for a year through a pain clinic (in the case of a lack of significant benefit, there is no other choice but cannabis, period!!)

  6. Hello, I read your article with admiration. Requesting the possibility to include my 29-year-old daughter, married, mother of two daughters, PhD student in chemistry, to continue the research. Suffering from symptoms reminiscent of fibromyalgia for over a year. Without any conventional treatment - because no doctor has found a problem in the system in which he is an expert. Today the main problem is migraine, abdominal pain and frequent diarrhea, instability, dizziness, weight loss.
    We would be happy to hear any reference. Because the situation today is terrible. in every aspect of her life.

  7. My name is Aliza, 55 years old, and has been suffering from migraines for many years
    Despaired of all medicines and alternative medicine.
    Very interested in participating in the study.

  8. Can such a treatment also be carried out in a situation where you suffer from fibro' and tinnitus in the ear (24 hours a day) which cause imbalance?

  9. I wish I wish I wish there was finally a medicine / treatment that would cure the fibro'!!
    If you need more participants for the research - I'm available!!

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