The current study shows, for the first time in humans, that HBOT can induce brain microstructure recovery in TBI patients. Brain recovery encompassed gray and white matter areas, white matter tracts and angiogenesis. Post HBOT, FA increased and MD decreased in the DTI sequence, CBV and CBF increased in the DSC (perfusion) sequence, along with improved cognitive functions. Recovery was induced in the late chronic stage of TBI (6.7 ± 2.1 years post-injury).
HBOT can induce cerebral angiogenesis and recovery of brain microstructure in patients with chronic cognitive impairments due to TBI months to years after the acute injury. The increased integrity of brain fibers correlates with functional cognitive improvement. The mechanism by which HBOT can induce brain neuroplasticity can be demonstrated by highly sensitive perfusion MRI and DTI. Further studies, using DTI – MRI, are needed in order to gain a better understanding of the neuroplasticity effect of HBOT in a larger cohort of patients with different types of brain injuries.