In listening to the review of Warmbier’s symptoms and the data presented by news media, I never heard that hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HOT) had been used to treat the patient. This is sad, but not surprising.
I wrote in the past about the failure to utilize HBOT in the cases of Joan Rivers and Robin Williams, both of whom, I believe, could have been saved with the proper treatment. I believe the same is true of Otto Warmbier.
The problem is that HBOT’s value for treatment of brain disease and brain injury is still largely — in fact, almost completely — unknown.
Data from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine show that the brain can regenerate itself when it is give the proper stimulus. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one of the major steps toward helping regenerate brain tissue and restore function.
One patient, Valarie Greene, was just 30 when she suffered a severe stroke. For some time, she could not walk or talk. But with HBOT, she has recovered to the point that she is now able to act as a spokesperson for the National Stroke Association. Yet, ironically, that organization still does not recognize the value of HBOT for treating brain injury.
Unfortunately, in the United States we have only 14 approved indications for HBOT — and none of them relate to brain injury. In the past (based on the work of Dr. Michael Sukoff, M.D.), cerebral edema was an approved indication for HBOT. But because of political consideration, that indication was revoked.
Yet there is plenty of literature on the use of HBOT to treat brain conditions. You can look up the information produced by Dr. Richard Neubauer, MD, as well as Philip James’ book, Oxygen in the Brain. James presents data on 10-year follow up study of the benefits for multiple sclerosis patients treated in England with HBOT.
Had more been known about this valuable treatment, there’s a chance Otto Warmbier could have been saved, despite his horrible ordeal in North Korea.
For additional information about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, you can visit the American Association for Hyperbaric Awareness at AAHA-US.org.