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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which involves people breathing pure oxygen in a specially designed chamber, for the treatment of multiple sclerosis

Bennett MH, Heard R
Published Online: 
10 August 2011

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the nervous system which affects young and middle-aged adults. Repeated damage to parts of the nerves leads to progressive weakness and disability. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) involves people breathing pure oxygen in a specially designed chamber (such as used for deep sea divers suffering pressure problems after resurfacing). HBOT is sometimes used for MS in case a lack of oxygen to the affected nerves may be making MS worse, but this theory is unproven. The review of nine trials found no consistent evidence that HOBT can improve disability or modify the progression of MS. There is little need for further research.

This record should be cited as: 
Bennett MH, Heard R. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for multiple sclerosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2004, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD003057. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003057.pub2
Assessed as up to date: 
30 May 2011