Innovations dealing with brain injuries

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Almost 3 million people every year have a traumatic brain injury, according to the CDC.

More than 55,000 of them die every year — with a considerable amount of patients living with a permanent disability.

Healthcare professionals at the Partners in Healthcare conference spoke on the different therapies available for brain injuries.

” The future of brain health is in its infancy, it’s wide open. There are more and more therapies that are now being demonstrated to be effective in brain injuries,” explains Dr. Paul Harch, a New Orleans based hyperbaric medicine, diving and emergency medicine physician

Harch has been researching and using hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injuries for years. 

” We made a discovery in our divers in the Gulf of Mexico who had bends in the brain, brain decompression sickness. We found that we could treat them long after anybody thought it was possible. We then extended that to Louisiana boxers and a variety of patients with chronic brain injuries,” he explains.

It’s a therapy B.J. Smith has explored. 

After surviving an ATV crash and given a 10 percent chance of survival, Smith now lives with a traumatic brain injury.

He’s also raising awareness on different modes of therapy — including art therapy.

” Really want to lay out a platform to let people know that there’s always a plug-in you can do whether it’s art, or it’s music, or it’s dance. There’s something else out there that you can plug in to.

B.J.’s mother, Kim Smith adds: “The reason why alternative treatments are important is to lessen the effects of taking medication so that patients can learn to live a normal and healthy life.”

Dr. Harch says the medical profession needs to know that there are therapies out there to help the brain.

He says he’s encouraged by recent medical studies.

“For 100 years what had dominated thinking in neurology and rehabilitation is that there was very little that could be done to rehabilitate the brain. That’s all changed now,” he explains.

B.J. Smith plans to undergo hyperbaric oxygen therapy from Dr. Harch in New Orleans within the next year. 

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