Latest NewsNews Blog


**3rd in a five-part series on the Implications of HBOT when used to heal brain wounds, eliminate suicidal ideation, restore lives, and save Billions of dollars. Part One is here and Part Two is here.
This Part Three explores BLAST Injury, the role of Hyperbaric Oxygenation in healing brain wounds, eliminating symptoms of suicidal ideation, and the role of brain wound healing in stopping suicides.

For fourteen years, TreatNOW has been focused on trying to prevent service member suicides. This series is part of a continuing appeal to help the DOD/VA do the right things to prevent suicides, especially among combat veterans, particularly SpecOPs where the rates of suicide outpace all others.

A USMC artillery unit deployed in 2017 suffered an inordinate number of brain wounds from a dramatically higher ops tempo. An undetermined number of those Marines were forced out of the Corps with Other Than Honorable discharges; suicides in those ranks were alarmingly high. The USMC followed up with a Report on the replacement unit, BLAST Overpressure Effects, March 2019. The Report summarizes:  “in the five months prior to a combat deployment, TBIs suffered by artillery Marines increase by a factor of 4, and once artillery Marines suffer a TBI, they will suffer, on average, 1.2 additional TBIs per year of service after their initial TBI and become more susceptible to spending extended periods of time on Limited Duty. . . . OPTEMPO may result in artillery units suffering injuries faster than combat replacements can be trained to replace them. . . . In a larger scale operation, more than 90 Marines in an Artillery Battalion could suffer a TBI in support of high sustained rates of fire.”

Compare those findings with the OPTEMPO in SpecOps units, and the BLAST studies done by the US Army. While the Marines and the US Navy claim that we don’t know enough about the effects of BLAST on humans, they nevertheless know what SpecOps and breachers and EOD and researchers know: BLAST is not good for your body, and resulting brain wounds negatively impact readiness, health, cognition, sleep and a myriad of other important factors in peak performance. Proximity to BLAST equals traumatic brain injury: not “if” but “how many.” Even the NFL knows that getting a second concussion too close to a prior concussion leads to much worse damage and longer lasting, perhaps permanent, disability.

Take Navy SEALs for instance. It’s an open secret that these elite

Warriors avoid reporting brain injuries; that can lead to suspension of clearances and loss of a career. Yet the Navy and the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society are intimately familiar with decompression sickness (DCS). The Navy invented and the FDA cleared the cure for that type of brain wound: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). There’s no stigma attached to using HBOT for DCS. It’s no different for Navy and USAF pilots who suffer DCS from cockpit oxygen episodes.

Decompression sickness (DCS) refers to the clinical syndrome of neurological deficits, pain, or other clinical disorders resulting from the body tissues being supersaturated with inert gas after a reduction in the ambient pressure. Arterial Gas Embolism (AGE) refers to gas bubbles in the systemic arterial system resulting from pulmonary barotrauma, iatrogenic entry of gas into the arterial system, or arterialized venous gas emboli. Decompression illness (DCI) is an inclusive term that encompasses either or both DCS and AGE. 

It is not difficult to find in the literature a growing body of evidence about BLAST injury effects of the human body that cause DCS and AGE. (The VA knew as early as 2008 that BLAST caused air emboli damage. The most recent study in 2016 confirms unique negative physiological damage separate from mere impact.) What is inexplicable is that the Navy and the USAF are quick to use HBOT to deal with brain wounds caused by DCS and AGE — which are well understood — but that DOD and the VA can not or will not see the parallels to BLAST injury and the treatment already proven to help heal brain wounds. Call it DCS, AGE, TBI, Concussion. Whatever the label, there is a proven treatment: Hyperbaric Oxygenation.

Unsurprisingly, researchers want more funding for ways to objectively confirm that a concussion/TBI has occurred. They have already discovered biomarkers that can confirm damage from BLAST: The findings suggest that long-term [low level over pressure] LLOP exposure acquired during occupational training may be associated with serum levels of neurotrauma biomarkers. Blood-based biomarkers derived from brain trauma or neurological disease may be useful assessment tools for LLOP exposure and concussion-like breacher’s brain symptoms acquired within select occupations in operational or clinical settings.

Continuing to focus on finding and mitigating the effects of BLAST is not itself a bad thing. But refusing treatment while collecting yet more data unrelated to healing borders on neglect and misappropriation of funds. One is reminded of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study. In order to track the disease’s full progression, researchers provided no effective care as the study’s African American participants experienced severe health problems including blindness, mental impairment—or death. The study lasted forty years, 1932-1972. Penicillin became the standard of care to cure syphilis as early at 1947. For 25 years, the “study” continued without telling the largely poor sharecroppers that a cure existed. After the US apologized nearly two decades later, no individual or institution was punished for the ethical and medical malpractice.

We’re in the middle of a similar culture of silence, and even outright hostility, with respect to the existence, safety, and efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. Doctors who should know better doubt the ability of HBOT to heal brain wounds and effectively shut down suicidal ideation. Whether due to a deficit in education and training, MD’s are reluctant to end patient dependence on prescribed drugs, some of which warn of suicidal risk.

Victims of brain wounding from any source need not be “martyrs for science.” A treatment exists. DOD/VA and medicine in general do not tell the wounded that the treatment exists — no “informed consent” — and that it has been proven safe and effective to heal wounds of all kinds. Luckily, there are ways for the wounded to get help. Over 21,000 successes in over 135 TreatNOW Coalition clinics attest to to safety, effectiveness, and cost savings of using HBOT for brain wounds.

Debbie Lee of is the Gold Star Mother whose son Marc was the 1st Navy SEAL killed in Iraq. She and her team are responsible for fund raising to treat and help heal combat veterans’ mTBIs. America’s Mighty Warriors has helped heal brain wounds in over 500 cases with >85% success. Cara Mae Melton and Sarah Shelton in Hampton Roads have treated over 70 Navy SEALs, again successfully. The EXTIVITA clinic in Durham, NC has similar success stories with Marines from the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune. Wrap your head around that: the USMC permits use of private funds to heal brain wounds outside traditional channels, but will not permit use of their many HBOT chambers to heal their own wounded.

The military and medicine in general have to graduate from their myopia and willful ignorance about HBOT. The science and evidence-based, peer-reviewed results are conclusive (see especially here.)

Consider the obvious: the military is expert at maintaining, reconditioning, refurbishing, and repairing equipment. B-52s have gone through hardware and software and structural rebuilding for seventy years. Yet DOD cannot understand the same concept for our service combat veterans. At some point the military will understand that preparedness across the force, humans included, is made better by repairing damage, not just painting over the rust. Bridges fall down without repair and reconditioning. Combat Warriors do too. TreatNOW.

See SpecOps testimonials here and here.

* * * * * * *

The TreatNOW Coalition’s Mission is to end service member suicides. Service members suicides have once again increased, continuing a fifteen year trend. Coalition clinics have demonstrated 100% safety and over 90% success in treating over 21,000 service members, Special Operators, first responders, athletes and citizens with TBI/PTSD/Concussion.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is used around the world to extend and improve quality of life by augmenting the treatment of all injuries, diseases and infections, as well as to improve overall wellness. HBOT involves breathing 100% oxygen in a pressurized chamber to increase oxygen levels in blood plasma. A century of clinical research has shown that increased oxygen in plasma accelerates our natural ability to heal through neurogenesis, angiogenesis, pain reduction, anti-inflammation, and stem cell generation.

The information provided by does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made. If you or anyone you know is contemplating suicide, please immediately contact the new ###: 988 or the old Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 1)