27 Years After
a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI),
My Life Is Back!

By Seva Brodsky, a road accident victim.

hyperbaric oxygen therapy heals tbi - testimonial

I had a traumatic brain injury in the U.S. back in 1982. I was riding my bicycle (without a helmet, as bike helmets did not yet exist then) when I got struck by a big Ford Thunderbird driven by a proverbial 80-year-old little old lady, who could barely see between the steering wheel and the dashboard.

Having bounced off her windshield, followed by a spectacular flip in the air, I went into the asphalt pavement head first, and lost my conscience. Some time later (over months and years), I went from being an almost straight-A student to mostly B, and then on to C. As my memory began to decline, so did my grades. My memory started getting foggier, I have lost my ability to multitask, and my near-photographic memory was almost gone.

Things were going down slowly and gradually, without my noticing any dramatic changes. This is why I haven't addressed the problem – I was simply unaware of it. In the meantime, I have managed to become an electronic and software engineer, and even managed to earn an MSEE degree in spite of those difficulties, since those fields required understanding rather than memorization.

I switched my career path away from engineering and into law in 2003. Law school was not conceptually difficult – in fact, it was much easier than electrical engineering, but it required a good memory and ability to multi-task, which I no longer possessed by then, without even being aware of it. Matters came to a screeching halt in 2005, when all of a sudden I ended up facing academic problems at the end of my second year of law school.

Not having finished law school, I moved to Israel in May of 2007. In the July 18, 2008 edition of Haaretz, an Israeli daily, I read an article about someone who had her memory restored with a hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) treatment after a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. (Here is the original Hebrew version of that article and here is its printable cached English version.)

I then contacted the director of the Hyperbaric Oxygen Institute at the Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center (Dr. Shai Efrati) and began my treatments in November of 2008. Prior to the treatments, I had a Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) scan of my brain taken, as well as a neuro-cognitive test. At the end of December 2008, after 40 treatments, I had a neuro-cognitive test done again so as to see some objective measure of success, if any. The results were very promising, and thus I continued with 20 more treatments.

By the end of January 2009 I was done with 60 treatments, and had undergone a second SPECT scan and a third neuro-cognitive test. The neuro-cognitive results improved even further.

The most important proof of the success of the treatment was the substantial difference between the two SPECT scans, which showed significantly improved blood circulation to the damaged areas of my brain. The treatment worked!

More importantly, however, were the subjective differences, which I have experienced as a result of the treatment: my memory started coming back to me! The fog began to lift, and soon after the treatment began I could remember what I did yesterday, a week or a month ago – all the way to when the treatment began to have its effects, which started happening gradually in the course of my daily trips to the Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center.

I began remembering dreams, which had not happened to me for many years. Even some scenes from my childhood started coming out of the dark hole of my memory. My ability to remember numbers, events, names, etc. has begun to improve, too, as well as my ability to learn and absorb Hebrew.

Having taken a two-month break after 60 treatments in order to avoid the possible detrimental side effects of oxygen, I have completed just over 100 treatments and stopped when I saw no further noticeable improvements. As of the time of this writing (mid-August 2009), I am a much more capable, functioning and happy person due to the treatment I received. The results are nothing short of excellent.

I feel as if I were born again, as if I got a proverbial second lease on life. My multi-tasking abilities are coming back, as is my productivity and concentration, all of which lead to a great improvement in the quality of my life.

The staff at Assaf HaRofe – the doctors, nurses, et al., led by Dr. Shai Efrati – were fantastic. I can't thank them enough for giving me my life back. Unfortunately, they still have not found enough volunteers for their experimental treatment, and are still looking for them as of the time of this writing (May 2009).

Some medical ethics considerations preclude them from advertising their study more broadly. Whereas that Haaretz article generated some patients, they still need more people (for a total of 120 patients who fit certain criteria for their research study, which adheres to the NIH standards and procedures. Given the number of road and other accidents, which result in traumatic brain injuries, only a small fraction of such victims are even aware of the availability of the treatment. This is such a shame!

Therefore, I've decided I would do everything I could to spread the word of this fantastic treatment. The people at The Jerusalem Post ran a Health Scan column recently at my suggestion, and several people have already been referred there because of my efforts. I think it is very important to make many more people aware of this, well, "miracle cure." There is nothing miraculous about it, of course – just some good solid medical science and tenacity of the people doing the research.

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