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An Extra Breath of Fresh Air: Hyperbaric Oxygenation as a Stroke Therapeutic
Open AccessArticle

Oxygen: The Rate-Limiting Factor for Episodic Memory Performance, Even in Healthy Young Individuals

The Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, Shamir (Assaf-Harofeh) Medical Center, Zerifin 70300, Israel
Department of Psychology, Bar Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 5290002, Israel
Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 6997801, Israel
Leslie and Susan Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan 5290002, Israel
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv 6997801, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Biomolecules 2020, 10(9), 1328;
Received: 17 August 2020 / Revised: 3 September 2020 / Accepted: 12 September 2020 / Published: 17 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Oxygen Therapy)
Cognition is a crucial element of human functionality. Like any other physical capability, cognition is both enabled and limited by tissue biology. The aim of this study was to investigate whether oxygen is a rate-limiting factor for any of the main cognitive domains in healthy young individuals. Fifty-six subjects were randomly assigned to either increased oxygen supply using hyperbaric oxygen (two atmospheres of 100% oxygen) or to a “sham” treatment (a simulation of increased pressure in a chamber with normal air). While in the chamber, participants went through a battery of tests evaluating the major cognitive domains including information processing speed, episodic memory, working memory, cognitive flexibility, and attention. The results demonstrated that from all evaluated cognitive domains, a statistically significant improvement was found in the episodic memory of the hyper-oxygenized group. The hyper-oxygenized group demonstrated a better learning curve and a higher resilience to interference. To conclude, oxygen delivery is a rate-limiting factor for memory function even in healthy young individuals under normal conditions. Understanding the biological limitations of our cognitive functions is important for future development of interventional tools that can be used in daily clinical practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: episodic memory; hyperoxia; hyperbaric oxygen; cognitive enhancement episodic memory; hyperoxia; hyperbaric oxygen; cognitive enhancement
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Suzin, G.; Halpert Frolinger, T.; Yogev, D.; Hadanny, A.; Catalogna, M.; Rassovsky, Y.; Efrati, S. Oxygen: The Rate-Limiting Factor for Episodic Memory Performance, Even in Healthy Young Individuals. Biomolecules 2020, 10, 1328.

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