USF Hyperbaric Discovery

USF Hyperbaric Discovery


The USF lab is unique because we have adapted
cutting edge cell biology tools, tools commonly used to study the central nervous system but
really any type of cell in the body to conditions that occur in adverse environments like diving. The dose of gas that you received is a function
of two things the percent that’s in the mixture and the total pressure that mixture is at.
Air is like 80% nitrogen so you’re fine at sea level, now we go down 33 feet it’s twice
the pressure we go 66 feet it’s three times the pressure you get down to about 100 feet
it’s four times the pressure. Then the dose is high enough it’s like you’ve thrown
a switch and all of a sudden you act like you’ve had a martini or two too many in fact
they say for every 33 feet you’re going down it’s another martini so by the time you’re
out 100 feet of seawater your sloshed and you’re going to do things like try to offer
your regulator to the fishes swimming by. Not a good thing. Originally the office of navy research funded
me to look at the cellular and molecular mechanisms of oxygen toxicity and this led us to develop
unique technologies that allowed us to look inside cells under conditions that would simulate
for example a Navy seal diver. Oxygen toxicity is seizures. It can happen
within minutes, as soon as you go beyond 2 atmospheres of pressure. We’ve been looking at two approaches; one
is to understand the basic cell mechanisms that are involved with oxygen toxicity, what
makes the brain become hyper-excitable that you see the seizure activity and then we tend
to ask a more broader question, can we detect the onset of a seizure before it occurs that
one is impending and can we delay it and we’ve had good luck on both of those. One, we’ve been able to determine that breathing
picks up several minutes before you go into a seizure and so we think this is a biomarker,
a physiological marker of an impending seizure. Navy SEALs would breathe 100% oxygen because
they wear a special device called an underwater re-breather and what this does is the inhale
and exhale right into the re-breather so the gas is contained all within the breather. We observed that the cells were over excitable
that the oxygen was a stimulus to the cells and that metabolism was starting to break
down and this over-excitability lead to increased hyper-excitability, which could lead to a
seizure. So while studying CNS oxygen toxicity I made
an observation that was really serendipitous in that first we observe that these cancer
cells were selectively vulnerable to high levels of oxygen and also being grown in ketones,
which is a great energetic source of energy for normal healthy cells. A ketone Esther
is an alternative form of energy that the brain can use for fuel. And we found the cancer cells, basically there
was an increase in cell death when cancer cells were grown in it and it also prevented
their proliferation. We found that this kind of novel combination
of the ketosis and the ketogenic diet or ketone ethers supplements and hyperbaric oxygen really
dramatically slowed the tumor growth in this very aggressive model of metastatic cancer. And we can also get the heart activity, the
EKG . The ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate
diet and the cancer cells as we know from a long time of research that’s been done have
a very high reliance on glucose which comes from carbohydrate so there’s this idea that
you could reduce the amount of carbohydrate in your diet and potential he slow the cancerous
growth.

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