TBI describes the presence of physical damage to the brain as a consequence of an insult and frequently possesses psychological and neurological symptoms depending on the severity of the injury. A biphasic response is observed which is first directly injury-related, and second due to hypoxia, increased oxidative stress, and inflammation. A proportion of the returning soldiers also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and in some cases, this may be a consequence of TBI. Effective treatments are still being identified, and a possible therapeutic candidate is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).
HBOT has been shown to reduce apoptosis, upregulate growth factors, promote antioxidant levels, and inhibit inflammatory cytokines in animal models, and hence, it is likely that HBOT could be advantageous in treating at least the secondary phase of TBI and PTSD.