A toddler's brain damage has been reversed after near drowning

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The tide only started to turn at the two-month mark, when under the guidance of Harch, Eden started undergoing HBOT, the therapy that he describes as the "most misunderstood therapy in the history of science".

Eden Carlson, a toddler from Arkansas, almost died when she fell into a family pool in February 2016, leaving her brain severely damaged.

A toddler has beaten the odds after almost drowning in her family pool last February.

When Carlson was discharged from hospital she had no speech ability, gait or any responsiveness to commands, and was constantly squirming and shaking her head.

An MRI scan of her brain revealed that the accident had caused deep grey matter injury and cerebral atrophy, with both grey and white matter loss.

"The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration", said Dr. Paul Hersch, who treated Carlson.

To "wake up" her brain, doctors gave Carlson oxygen at a pressure higher than the general atmospheric pressure - increasing the amount of oxygen in her blood and repairing her damaged tissue in a sealed, pressurized hyperbaric chamber. With the hyperbaric treatments, the progress continued. After 10 HBOT sessions, the patient's mother reported that her daughter was "near normal" except for gross motor function, and physical therapy was re-instituted.

After treating the child with hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) and normobaric oxygen (oxygen at sea level), she experienced marked improvement and reversal of many symptoms.

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Miller said everyone can be grateful that Eden is doing so well. The child had also suffered a cardiac arrest, and the lack of oxygen led to a severe brain injury.

"This proves nothing", Cifu said.

Recovery can happen because of the brain's plasticity, or flexibility, meaning that different brain areas can take over for those that have been damaged, Cifu said.

The treatment is known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT). The hyperbaric oxygen "just didn't help the people" any better than the control-group treatment, he said.

On the day she nearly drowned, Eden's mother found her and pulled her out, then performed CPR on her. Doctors at the local hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas, were able to revive her two hours later. "And the result is that we were able to demonstrate an obvious and large re-growth of brain tissue that is inarguably the result of this therapy".

Miller said a recovery over months is not unexpected in someone with a brain injury.

Patients who are not able to get hyperbaric oxygen therapy may still benefit from "normobaric" oxygen treatments for short durations of time in a repetitive manner until hyperbaric oxygen therapy is available for access in their local hospitals.

Dr Harch offers the experimental treatment, which has always been used to treat divers suffering from decompression sickness known as "the bends" but is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a medical treatment for other diseases.

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