TreatNOW: A Citizen Response to the Suicide and Concussion Crises

TreatNOW Mission

Stop service member suicides by identifying and treating veterans and others suffering from brain wounds: TBI/PTSD/Concussion

Over a decade ago, a Coalition of veterans and specialists came together to prepare a Clinical Trial to treat brain wounded warriors and others with similar afflictions. That study, NBIRR, together with 17 other scientific studies, resulted in definitive data showing the safety and efficacy of using Hyperbaric Oxygenation in treating and helping to heal brain wounds.

The science behind hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) continues to show that brain injuries do not have to mean a lifetime of crippling pain and severely diminished quality of life, whether for soldiers, athletes or civilians.

The recent study by the TreatNOW Coalition, The National Brain-Wounded Veteran Brain Drain: Cost-Benefit Analysis of Changing the DoD and VA Standard of Care for TBI and Suicide Prevention, shows that over the 40-year lifetime of a TBI Veteran, treating and healing brain wounds will cost less than ½ of one percent of the total lifetime costs attributable to NOT treating those brain wounds. And those treatments have been able to return up to 85% of the wounded with mild to moderate brain injuries to more meaningful and healed lives. Pro bono, we have already returned over 7,500 patients to work, school and/or active duty, with a Quality of Life denied them by the current failed medical standard of care.

TreatNOW Goal

Ensure that over 800,000 Iraq and Afghanistan brain injured veterans and active duty service members, along with all citizens, get insured access to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other proven alternative medical treatments for their Invisible Wounds

TreatNOW: Action you can take

  • Get a brain-injured service member to call: (571) 549-4268 and we will direct them to treatment clinics
  • Contact your legislative representatives–federal and state–with this message: Providing Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other Functional Medicine Interventions is safe, cost-effective and restores lives
  • Contact 10 friends and 10 Veterans’ organizations with this message: Eight States have passed legislation calling for the use of HBOT for TBI. Read the White Paper and become your state’s representative to get legislation passed. Oklahoma, Texas, Indiana, Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and Wyoming have led the way; North Dakota and Colorado are in the process.
  • Read the White Paper on STATE Leadership and ACTION Required on the Suicide Epidemic

 

TreatNOW Message

The TreatNOW Coalition is a group of citizens, veterans, institutions and service organization working pro bono to get help to our brain injured troops and others suffering from Concussions, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We have already helped treat and heal over 7,500 brain wounded individuals.

We are in the midst of suicide and concussion-epidemics: 20 service members a day commit suicide, 8,000 a year. Another 45 a day try and fail, another 16,000+ a year. The CDC estimates between 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur each year. What TreatNOW is proposing will make a significant contribution to ending those suicides and treating and helping to heal brain injuries. Our efforts are reducing risk, health care costs for the country, our wounded warriors and others with brain injuries. And what we are doing is already restoring lives, hope and productivity to a small slice of deserving veterans. This site will brief you on our work. We hope to get your support for the hundreds of thousands who haven’t even been told there is treatment and hope.

There is an effective, ethical, medically safe treatment available for TBI/PTSD-wounded personnel and Veterans, but it is not being researched or developed aggressively nor is it being made available to our injured troops or civilians. We have accumulated scientific and clinical evidence of the efficacy of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (See https://treatnow.org/knowledgebase/ ). It is the only currently available, demonstrably promising treatment for TBI/PTSD and concussions. The treatment is showing promise for anyone with brain injury, no matter how the injury is acquired. Coupled with Functional Medicine, HBOT can provide the missing ingredient to heal brain wounds: oxygen under pressure for wound healing.

Our U. S. Military Volunteers who are injured on the battlefield in the line of duty deserve the best treatment our nation can offer. Right now our soldiers suffering TBI and PTSD are prescribed symptom-reducing drugs; in essence, they warehoused and then discharged, dependent on costly anti-depressants and other anti-psychotic medicines that promote dangerous dependencies and may even result in lethal interactions. Certainly the rising incident of suicides among our veterans is a disturbing indicator that such treatments are not sufficient.

At the same time, TBI is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the U.S., accounting for approximately 2 million emergency room visits, 230,000 to 500,000 hospital admissions, and 52,000 deaths annually in the United States. Every year, there are approximately 80,000 additional casualties who will be forced to live with significant, and usually permanent disabilities as a result of their TBI, yielding a total estimation of 5.8 million survivors–a number that continues to grow. While such disabilities can be physical, they are often psychological as well. Evidence consistently indicates that survivors of TBI are at increased risk for the development of severe, long-term psychiatric disorders, particularly depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Further, the presence of any one of these psychiatric disorders frequently complicates the affected individual’s rehabilitation and recovery from TBI as these disorders may significantly disrupt the individual’s independence, interpersonal relationships and ability to work. Lack of independence and an inability to work takes a toll not only on the suffering individual, but on their family and society as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the direct (e.g., medical) and indirect costs (e.g., loss of productivity) of TBI in the United States totaled an estimated $60 billion annually in 2003, independent of the wounded warriors. Complicating and prolonging the problems associated with TBI are treatments for TBI that offer little more than palliative care, essentially masking the symptoms without treating the underlying injury. Thus, following the current record in treating TBI, there is little hope that the costs paid by the suffering individuals in the loss of their quality of life and costs paid by society will ever improve.

This does not mean, however, that there is no hope. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), improving diagnostics, and Functional Medicine have emerged as promising and effective treatments in healing injured brains and subsequently reducing, and in some cases completely alleviating, the symptoms associated with the TBI.

News from the Blog

S785 Signed into Law
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie released the following statement after President Trump signed into law the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act this weekend.
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What Retired Professional Football Players are Learning about Brain Health
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is one such alternative treatment. Worldwide scientific research and hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, including the Government's own multimillion dollar studies, supports the case for immediate use of HBOT to intervene in the deterioration of brains and decrease in the Quality of Life across society.
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Suicide Prevention: Some Simple Truths
Depression and suicidal ideation are common effects of PTSD and TBI. Treating PTSD/TBI with hyperbaric oxygen therapy is proven to reduce depression and suicidal ideation, and allow patients to get off almost all their drugs.
Read more
Learning about Mental Health and Suicides
The suicide epidemic is real and growing. Emergency measures to provide HBOT to brain injured service members and veterans can be invoked immediately, all the while conducting independent research free of the taint of pre-conceived conclusions about how HBOT does not work.
Read more
Brain Injury Bill of Rights
You are entitled to know that some of the best researchers on brain injury have shown that Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can usually provide quick relief from symptoms after Concussion while treating and healing the wound to the brain. That healing dramatically accelerates recovery from Acute Concussion.
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Enhanced Healing Concussion Protocol
The most important message is that you must be your own advocate for brain healing. This idea of a "wound to the brain" is unconventional. The treatment, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other alternative interventions, are controversial but are backed up by decades of clinical experience, evidence, peer-reviewed science, and over 7,500 success stories attesting to the power of oxygen under
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Legislative Alert: S.785 to Prevent Veteran Suicide
The Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Bill Unanimously Passed in the Senate. Bipartisan legislation to connect veterans with life-saving care is one step closer to becoming law. “Sadly, our veterans continue to struggle with mental health, and through no fault of their own, this pandemic has led to more veterans being isolated from friends and
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BRAIN DAMAGE FROM BLAST INJURY Researchers confirmed in LANCET in June 2016 with solid science and objective physical evidence that blast injuries cause physical wounds to the brain. Formerly "invisible wounds" have been revealed through post-mortem autopsies to be both visible damage through Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) as well as probable cause for secondary symptoms of PTSD and other debilitating, life-altering behavior. The implication of the finding is that those wounds should be and can be healed through application of "wound-healing" protocols in place for decades. And the simple fact is that there is a treatment that is proved with similar scientific evidence to be an already approved indication for wound healing: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT). Blast waves to the body, with or without unconsciousness, result in an immediate and significant metabolic crisis for the now wounded brain. Studies are underway to better link the acute pathobiology of blast injury with potential mechanisms of chronic cell death, dysfunction and neurodegeneration. Physiological damage -- ripping and tearing and shearing and bleeding and bruising and swelling -- lead to chaos in the head and link to clinical characteristics of concussion: balance problems, migraine symptoms, cognitive impairment and numerous other observable and measurable dysfunctions, and vulnerability to repeat injury. Any combat veteran can attest to modern war's effects on the brain. Ask any EOD, breacher, SpecOps, or survivor of an IED what they go through, and how inadequate "treatment" is after getting their heads rocked. Similar negligence is apparent in the "Concussion Protocols" in place around the world: "Wait a while, and we think you'll get better." Medicine has well-known explanations of the nature of wounds and the phases in wound healing. The so-called "concussion cascade" that follows the wound to the head creates conditions that impede healing in the closed, heretofore unseen environment inside the skull. A blast or jolt to the head begins a series of negative consequences. These can include: inflammation; interrupted blood flow; oxygen starvation/hypoxia; tissue and nerve fiber ripping and tearing; cell stunning/ inactivation and/or cell death. This insidious biological set of degenerative processes may or may not lead to permanent damage. Unlike with a wound that can be seen, there is solid evidence that this brain inflammation can continue and linger for a long time, impeding healing and increasing the likelihood that more physical damage is occurring and is likely to occur. It has been "common knowledge" that most blast injuries and concussions heal themselves. That is far too simplistic. What may be true is that symptoms abate. Yet damage that can lead to mental and physical degeneration may lead to lingering symptoms and chronic degeneration. The logical extension of the DOD/VA/Army findings in the LANCET article is that we must treat the wound to the brain using wound-healing protocols. The validity of using HBOT for healing the wound to the brain is validated in the most recent research. Unsurprisingly, delivering oxygen under pressure safely and economically leads to effective wound healing. And numerous other interventions for comorbid maladies have a much better chance of effectiveness when the concussion cascade is interrupted and reversed. [a] Baughman Shively, S., Iren Horkayne-Szakaly, Robert V Jones, James P Kelly, Regina C Armstrong, Daniel P Perl. Characterisation of interface astroglial scarring in the human brain after blast exposure: a post-mortem case series. The Lancet, Neurology, June 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1474-4422(16)30057-6. In what is being called a breakthrough study, Dr. Daniel P. Perl and his team at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., [the medical school run by the Department of Defense], have found evidence of tissue damage caused by blasts alone, not by concussions or other injuries. The New York Times calls it the medical explanation for shell shock: preliminary proof of what medicine has been saying without proof for nearly 100 years -- blasts cause physical damage, and this physical damage leads to psychological problems, i.e., PTSD. The importance of this admission cannot be overstated: this is a DOD discovery with documented evidence that blast injury [IEDs, breeching--whether in training or combat, enemy and/or friendly fire from personal weapons and such systems as the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle] can lead directly to physical brain damage and the accompanying effects, many of which have been heretofore diagnosed as "only PTSD." [Commentary on above: Robert F. Worth. "What if PTSD is More Physical Than Psychological?," The New York Times Magazine, June 10, 2016. http://nyti.ms/1TYYp6U A new study supports what a small group of military researchers has suspected for decades: that modern warfare destroys the brain. [Additional commentary on above]: Alexander, Caroline. "Mystery of How Battlefield Blasts Injure the Brain May Be Solved. A landmark study sheds new light on the damage caused by “blast shock”—the signature injury of wars for more than a century." National Geographic. JUNE 9, 2016 http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/06/blast-shock-tbi-ptsd-ied-shell-shock-world-war-one/ [b] Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Combat veterans' brains reveal hidden damage from IED blasts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2015. . [c] Xavier A. Figueroa, PhD and James K. Wright, MD (Col Ret), USAF Hyperbaric Oxygen: B-Level Evidence in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Trials. Neurology® 2016;87:1–7 "There is sufficient evidence for the safety and preliminary efficacy data from clinical studies to support the use of HBOT in mild traumatic brain injury/ persistent post concussive syndrome (mTBI/PPCS). The reported positive outcomes and the durability of those outcomes has been demonstrated at 6 months post HBOT treatment. Given the current policy by Tricare and the VA to allow physicians to prescribe drugs or therapies in an off-label manner for mTBI/PPCS management and reimburse for the treatment, it is past time that HBOT be given the same opportunity. This is now an issue of policy modification and reimbursement, not an issue of scientific proof or preliminary clinical efficacy." [d] Wang F, et al. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of traumatic brain injury: a meta-analysis. Neurol Sci. 2016 Jan 8. PubMed PMID: 26746238. "Compelling evidence suggests the advantage of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in traumatic brain injury. ...Patients undergoing hyperbaric therapy achieved significant improvement....with a lower overall mortality, suggesting its utility as a standard intensive care regimen in traumatic brain injury." Blast injury, and the accompanying role of air embolism in invisible wounds to the brain, is still not widely studied and thus seldom treated. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is recognized worldwide as the definitive treatment for air embolism. Air/gas embolism is already an on-label, approved indication for HBOT. Next in BLOG #8: Parents' and Students' Enhanced Healing Concussion Protocol The information provided by TreatNOW.org does not constitute a medical recommendation. It is intended for informational purposes only, and no claims, either real or implied, are being made.
The logical extension of the DOD/VA/Army findings in the LANCET article is that we must treat the wound to the brain using wound-healing protocols. The validity of using HBOT for healing the wound to the brain is validated in the most recent research. Unsurprisingly, delivering oxygen under pressure safely and economically leads to effective wound healing. And numerous other interventions
Read more
Special Operators at Increased Risk of Suicide
The TreatNOW Coalition, in association with dozens of VSOs and clinics across the US, is focused on suicides and brain-wounded Special Operators using Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) and some adjunct therapies. Thanks to groups like America's Mighty Warriors, there are over 7,500 success stories with other service members, professional and amateur athletes, and civilians with TBI/PTSD.
Read more
HBOT Works
Over seventeen peer-reviewed studies using HBOT to treat TBI and PTSD show conclusively that hyperbaric oxygenation for those conditions is safe and effective.
Read more

 

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