According to ScienceDaily, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation is one of the most common causes of death and long-term neurological damage among infants and children. One of the methods of resuscitation is to apply 100 percent oxygen in an effort to revive the deprived brain.
New studies are suggesting that this application may actually cause more damage than benefit to the resuscitated brain. Research done on mice where they were given 100 percent oxygen resulted in a disruption of myelination and motor coordination. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates nerve cells and allows them to transmit electrical signals quickly. As myelin develops in children, their coordination improves.
Dr. Steven Kernie, an associate professor with UT Southwestern Medical Center, says he wanted to find out if the application of 100 percent oxygen would impair the recovery of damaged neurons after a brain injury. He found that this amount of oxygen exposure causes oxidative stress, though it can be reversed with the addition of an antioxidant. Dr. Kearnie plans to continue his research to determine the ideal amount of oxygen that will benefit recovery.
The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, as mentioned in a previous post, isn’t the same thing in case you are wondering how the two compare. With this therapy, patients are given 100% oxygen, but in cycles. They are given periods of time with decreased a decreased oxygen percentage in order to reduce the chance of oxygen toxicity. We aren’t sure if there have been any detrimental affects at this time, but we will look further into the correlation between the two therapies.