The U.S. Navy, Marine Corps and civilian diving community will be beneficiaries of the latest research at Wright State University School of Medicine.
Jay B. Dean, Ph.D., associate professor of physiology and biophysics, and his team have just received a grant from the Office of Naval Research, Undersea Medicine Program, to study how hyperbaric oxygen affects the central nervous system. Wright State University and Duke University are the only two universities in the nation, outside of laboratories at the Naval Medical Research Center, receiving funding from the program.
Dean is internationally recognized for his design and development of a pressurized chamber in which one can measure the electrical signals of a single brain cell. This new design, described in the August issue of Journal of Applied Physiology, allows Dean and his colleagues to detect cellular changes with hyperbaric oxygen that have not been monitored before. Little is known about how hyperbaric oxygen impairs the electrical and physiological properties of brain cells.
Their work will help scientists and physicians understand the dangers of oxygen breathed at increased atmospheric pressure. The most common toxic symptoms have been recognized for more than a century-tissue damage and convulsions-which can occur in both diving environments and, infrequently, during hyperbaric medical treatments. Dean's research has particular clinical application for the prevention and treatment of oxygen toxicity in U.S. Navy divers and individuals who receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy.