Applying pure oxygen to a pressure chamber can reverse aging and disease, research has found.
Israeli scientists say they have not only successfully stopped the biological process of aging, but also reversed it using only oxygen.
The study, a collaboration between Tel Aviv University and Shamir Medical Center, provides high-pressure oxygen to a pressure chamber and says it reverses two processes related to aging and disease.
Using hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in healthy adult adults, the researchers found that the shortening of telomeres (chromosome ends) and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body could be reversed.
That is, the blood cells of adults actually become younger as treatment progresses.
About 35 adults over the age of 64 participated in the study and were given HBOT for 90 minutes a day, five times a week for three months.
The study was published in the journal Aging on November 1
Shai Efrati, a professor at Tel Aviv University who runs clinics in Aviv, Florida, told The Jerusalem Post that the study showed that the cellular basis for the aging process could be reversed.
“Today, telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging,” he said.
“Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that allow for telomere elongation. Our HBOT protocol has managed to achieve this by proving that the aging process can actually be reversed at the basic cellular-molecular level. “
The study, Euphrates says, “gives hope and opens the door for many young scientists to target aging as a reversible disease.”
His partner at Shamir Medical Center, Chief Medical Officer Amir Hadani, said interventions such as lifestyle modifications and intense exercise showed “some inhibitory effect on telomere contraction”, but hyperbaric oxygen therapy was more effective.
“In our study, in just three months, HBOT was able to extend telomeres at speeds far beyond any currently available interventions or lifestyle changes,” Hadani said.
According to the study, the physical changes are equivalent to how the participants’ bodies were at the cellular level 25 years earlier.
“We are not [just] slowing the decline – we go back in time, “said Efrati.
Oxygen therapy improves the attention, speed of information processing and executive functions of the subjects, the researchers say.