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A Phase I safety study of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA.



Vascular endothelial growth factor and mitochondrial abnormalities have been described in ALS and its animal models. We have reported that hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment delayed the onset of weakness in the wobbler mouse.


To perform a Phase I safety study of HBO in patients with ALS.


Five patients with ALS were treated for 60min with 100% oxygen at 2 atmospheres pressure daily for five days a week for four weeks. The patients reported any deterioration in their condition after each treatment, and their neurological condition was measured serially during the four weeks of the treatment, and for four further weeks.


Four patients reported decreased fatigue, while one patient dropped out at three weeks because of increased fatigue. Maximum isometric voluntary contraction (MVIC) of all muscle groups except right hand grip improved significantly by up to 97%. Most improvement occurred during the four weeks after treatment. It is possible that the improvement in muscle strength was a placebo or a learning effect, though no such effects have been detected in prior therapeutic trials in ALS using MVIC. No change was detected in other measures of neuromuscular function.


A longer duration, placebo controlled trial in a larger number of patients is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of HBO. Until that is completed, it is not recommended that ALS patients should be treated with HBO.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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