“In the current study we wished to examine the impact of HBOT on healthy and independent aging adults, and to discover whether such treatments can slow down, stop or even reverse the normal aging process at the cellular level,” added Efrati, who is also the founder and director of the Sagol Center of Hyperbaric Medicine at the Shamir Medical Center.
Thirty-five healthy people age 64 or over were exposed to a set of 60 hyperbaric sessions in 90 days for the study. Participants gave blood samples before, during and at the end of the treatments and some time following the conclusion of the treatments. Then, researchers evaluated different blood immune cells and compared the results.
Outcomes showed the treatments reversed the aging process of two major parts.
Rather than growing shorter, the telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes grew longer by 20%-38% for the varying cell types. Depending on the cell type, the percentage of aging cells in the general cell population decreased by 11%-37%.
“Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise were shown to have some inhibiting effect on telomere shortening,” said co-lead author Dr. Amir Hadanny, chief medical research officer of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at the Shamir Medical Center. “But in our study, only three months of HBOT were able to elongate telomeres at rates far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle modifications. With this pioneering study, we have opened a door for further research on the cellular impact of HBOT and its potential for reversing the aging process.”