Army major seeing success with LSU hyperbaric treatment

In 2006, Ben Richards, 36, left his wife and four children to serve in Iraq.

He was exposed to dozens of blasts, suicide car bombers, exploding IED’s underneath vehicles.  The result: traumatic brain injuries, called TBI’s.

Richards heard about the hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) and studies by LSU Health Sciences Emergency Medicine specialist Dr. Paul Harch. He uses specific doses of highly concentrated oxygen to heal brain tissue.

On Sept. 26, a brain scan at West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero, showed abnormal blood flow in certain areas. Richards also had poor balance, motor skills, and coordination.

On Nov. 5, after 40 oxygen chamber dives, the difference is noticeable. He says he is sleeping better, working out again, practicing his proficiency in Chinese and is back to reading entire books. Before treatment, he’d lose concentration after a page.

Post treatment brain scans show improvement according to Dr. Harch.

“The areas of his brain scan that are involved with motor and coordination are showing improvement in blood flow and metabolism. And in fact, if we look at the entire brain scan, there is a nearly 20 percent increase in overall blood flow, which is unheard of,” said Dr. Harch who is chief of Hyperbaric Oxygen Medicine at LSUHSC. He has done animal and human studies with Dr. Keith Van Meter, LSUHSC Chief of Emergency Medicine.