Researchers have discovered a unique hyperbaric therapy protocol. High pressure oxygen treatments in a hyperbaric chamber can reverse aging in two crucial factors: the shortening of telomeres and the accumulation of senescent and malfunctioning cells in the body.
By focusing on immune cells containing DNA obtained from the participants' blood, the study found a elongation of up to 38% of telomeres and a decrease of up to 37% of senescent cells.
The clinical trial was conducted as part of a comprehensive Israeli research program that targets aging as a reversible condition.
To lead it. Professor Shai Efrati of the Sackler School of Medicine and the Sagol School of Neuroscience at TAU. Doctor Amir Hadanny, Chief Medical Research Officer of the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center assisted the operations.
Hyperbaric therapy to reverse aging?
The team of prof. Efrati has been engaged for years in research and hyperbaric therapy (treatments based on protocols of exposure to high pressure oxygen at various concentrations inside a pressure chamber). Over the years they have already achieved results such as improving brain functions damaged by age, stroke or brain injury.
In this new study, the scientists set out to examine the impact of hyperbaric therapy on healthy, independent older adults and find out whether such treatments can slow, stop or even reverse the normal cellular aging process.
The researchers exposed 35 healthy individuals aged 64 years or older to a series of 60 hyperbaric therapy sessions over a 90-day period. Each participant provided blood samples before, during and at the end of the treatments and some time after the conclusion of the treatment series. The researchers then analyzed various immune cells in the blood and compared the results.
The results indicated that the treatments succeed in reversing aging in two of its main aspects. Telomeres at the ends of chromosomes grew longer: from + 20% to + 38% for different cell types. The percentage of senescent cells in the overall cell population was significantly reduced, from -11% to -37% depending on the cell type.
Shortening of telomeres
Today the goal is to lengthen the telomeres and in general act on telomerase it is considered the 'Holy Grail' of the biology of aging.
Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that allow telomere elongation. This special hyperbaric therapy protocol was able to achieve this goal, demonstrating that aging can be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level.
Until now, interventions such as lifestyle modifications and strenuous exercise have been shown to have an inhibitory effect on telomere shortening.
In this new study, just three months of hyperbaric therapy was able to stretch telomeres at a much faster rate than any surgery or lifestyle modification.