by Lucy Bustamante, 13News Now, Posted on October 14, 2021 at 6:20 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH — Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury may soon have relief from their symptoms.

Dr. Paul Harch, a leader in hyperbaric medicine, claims hyperbaric oxygen therapy may permanently curtail TBI and PTSD symptoms.

James Ciconne was an E4 in the Army and was diagnosed with PTSD after spending a year in Iraq. He committed suicide a year ago. “He did say to me, ‘Mom, I’ve done terrible things. I’ve done terrible things,’ and you can see the pain in his face,” Tanya Ciconne said. His father, Bill Ciconne, remembers the last three texts he got from his son. “I love you, thank you for raising me, and goodbye,” he texted.

Bill Ciconne supports Dr. Harch’s research.

“I will never accept my son not being here,” Ciconne said.
Harch is in charge of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy program at LSU Medical School in New Orleans and says his therapy could help prevent 22 suicides that happen every day in the military. Harch says with his therapy, he’s seen brain traumas cured in veterans.

“To our great surprise, after 25 treatments he [one patient] came and said to me, ‘My PTSD is gone,’” Harch said.
Dr. Harch says he hopes his upcoming FDA trial using veterans with PTSD will prove to the military that the oxygen chamber they already use to help their divers heal can also be used to treat post traumatic stress disorder.

“It acts as a signal to our genes in our DNA and it turns on growth and repair hormones,” said Harch.

Dr. Harch isn’t waiting to get military members to him. Mercy Medical , a non-profit group, is stepping in to help.

Also on his side is the Ciconne family, who wishes their son would have known about the treatment.

On November 11, the Ciconnes are sponsoring a free movie night at Cinema Cafe to bring awareness to suicide prevention and PTSD treatment.

The Department of Defense, the Veteran’s Administration, and the National Institute of Mental Health recently pledged $100 million for further PTSD and TBI research and treatment, impacting over 550,000 brain injured veterans.

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