Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy enhances multitasking ability

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May 10, 2020

The brain is the body's largest consumer of oxygen, utlizing roughly 20% of the total oxygen and consuming 25-30% of total glucose (1). Even though <10% of the brain's maximal capacity is active at every given time, the brain utilizes almost all delivered oxygen (2). In order to perform different tasks or more than one task at a time (multitasking), the oxygen supply is shifted from one region of the brain to another via blood perfusion modulation (1). These perfusion changes can be easiliy visualized by functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRI) technology (3). Multiple studies have demonstrated that our ability to peform complex activities decreases under oxygen depleted environments (4-6). 

Brain performance is highly sensitive to any decrease in oxgyen supply. A reduction of the plasma oxygen pressure to 65 mmHg will impair the brain's ability to perform complex tasks, at 55 mmHg short-term memory will be impaired, while at <35 mmHg consciousness will be lost (7). At high altitudes or other oxygen depleted environments, cognitive and motor performances are impaired while performing relatively simple tasks (8).

Improvement in performance of both single and multitasking while in a HBO environment supports teh hypothesis that oxgyen si indeed a rate limiting factor for brain activity. Hyperbaric oxygenation can serve as an environment for enchancing brain performance. 

At Portland Chiropratic Neurology, we utilize mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (mHBOT) as treatment for conditions such as Concussion, Migraine, Athletic Injury, Improving Sports Performance, Headache, Lyme, Autism et al. Increasing oxygen delivery to the brain and body tissues allows for accelerated healing and improved function to regions that are slow to respond to other therapies. We currently operate three chambers at our clinic that are available for treatment. Please inquire at info@portchiro.com

 

(1) Lennie P. The cost of cortical computation. Curr Biol. 2003 Mar 18: 13(6):493-7

(2) Sokoloff L et al. The effect of mental arithmetic on cerebral circulation and metabolism. J Clin Invest. 1955 Jul: 34(7, Part 1):1101-8

(3) Tombu MN, et al. A Unified attentional bottleneck in the human brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2011 Aug 16; 108(33): 13426-31

(4) Shukitt-Hale B et al. Elevation-dependent symptoms, mood, and peformance changes produced by exposure to hypobaric hypoxia. Int J Aviat Psychol. 1998; 8(4):319-34.

(5) Lieberman et al. Mount Everest: a space analogue for speech monitoring of cognitive deficits and stress. Aviat Space Environ Med. 2005 Jun; 76 (6 suppl): B198-207.

(6) Malle et al. Working memory impairment in pilots exposed to acute hypobaric hypoxia. Aviat Sapce Environ Med. 2013 Aug; 84 (8): 773-9

(7) Zauner A et al. Brain oxygenation and energy metabolism: part I-biological function and pathophysiology. Neurosurgery. 2002 Aug; 51(2): 289-301; discussion 302. 

(8) Vadas et al. Hyperbaric Oxygen Environment Can Enhance Brain Activity and Multitasking Performance. 2017 Front Integr Neurosci. 11:25