A more effective treatment for AIDS

by Win Wenger, Ph.D.

Effective immediately, I'm hereby giving away into public domain a use invention of mine which will greatly improve the effectiveness of treatments for AIDS. This is the Hyperbaric Treatment-Enhancer, which is yours to use, no strings, though I would appreciate being mentioned as this invention's source.

What has a simple fact from elementary high school-level science to do with treatment of AIDS?

  1. The existing chemical medicine treatments don't get to all the places in the human body that the HIV gets to, so the virus is only partially checked.

  2. Elementary fact:  Chemicals permeate across thresholds and membranous barriers much more effectively under several atmospheres of ambient pressure. That is a matter distinct from osmotic pressure; that is another issue altogether. We're not trying to pound and drive the various medicines across each membrane. Rather, under a few atmospheres of pressure, chemicals or medicines will permeate far more readily across every barrier they come to.
The proposed treatment is, for several weeks, to maintain the AIDS patient in a chamber pressurized to several atmospheres, while administering to him whatever course of chemicals are called for in the medical treatment of his disease. This will render whatever medicines he is taking much more effective and might conceivably result, in some instances and with some certain medicines, in killing all HIV in its entirety, thus constituting a cure. Even where a cure does not result, the increased efficacy of the medicines should set back the course of the disease considerably.

The range of efficacy is expected to be somewhere between three and twelve atmospheres, easily within the range of existing bathyscaphic equipment, but we anticipate the building of special pressurizeable chambers equipped with internal waldoes for administering medicines or other medical treatments, and for exchange with the external world of nutrients, wastes, and incidentals.

The chamber would be wired for communications, both direct and via phonejack to elsewhere, even letting the patient surf the Net and answer his e-mail. Much of the chamber would be transparent to facilitate communications — indeed, set up so the patient could watch TV or read books or listen to music or radio as well as converse. The units should be set up to provide for as normal a range of activities as possible during the several weeks that the patient is confined therein.


You would think that something this simple and obvious would have been thought of and implemented long ago. Truth is, the more obvious something is, the more people overlook it — the reason my book on inventing and discovering is titled Discovering The Obvious. Hyperbaric oxygen is being used currently to treat wounds, especially in the elderly, but nothing so simple and direct as what I propose here.

It is the obvious which most often gets amazingly overlooked. This is one of the reasons why, if you check your history of science and technology, many or most of the main breakthroughs are made either by people outside the field, or by amateurs, or by newcomers to the field.

The problem is that everyone forgets or ignores the elementary data while their attention is on the cutting-edge high-tech phenomena and possibilities. In every field I've been involved in, the most elementary points have been amazingly overlooked and ignored, and this seems to be another such instance. Someone authoritatively making inquiry on this point should be able to determine the validity of this matter quickly, or order a simple experiment run. We're not talking about higher osmotic pressure here, nor talking about mechanical pressure driving one thing through another — just higher ambient pressures making things more permeable. I don't know the degree to which permeability increases; that is certainly one critical question on which this whole thing could rise or fall.

Certainly the basic phenomenon, of increased chemical permeability under several atmospheres of pressure, is elementary enough, and obvious enough, that one can understand how that can be overlooked by specialists armed with clipboards going down rows of expensive instruments taking readings, day after day on some carefully designed and narrowly defined cutting-edge high-tech project.

Nonetheless, it should be easy enough for anyone professionally involved with biology, chemistry, biochemistry OR medicine, to re-ascertain the basic fact and to look at its implications in the present instance and generally.

From there, the other questions stand ready for investigation:

  1. How much does permeability increase, relative to various higher levels of ambient pressure?

  2. How in this regard does in vitro compare with in vivo?

  3. How many atmospheres of ambient pressure does it take to render all areas of the human organism accessible to the particular medicine(s) being used for treatment? (In addition to the present concern with treatment of AIDS, this approach can also be used to enhance treatment in many other diseases and health conditions.)
Whatever treatments exist for AIDS, there is not only the issue of maldistribution of medicines within the body — some areas so unaccessible that the virus there isn't bothered by the treatments. There is the huge problem of maldistribution in the world, with the current treatments so costly that billions of people could not afford them and the tens of millions now suffering the disease are unable to obtain treatment for it.

At first blush, putting patients in pressurized chambers for two weeks, while ambient pressure gets ongoing medical treatment into previously inaccessible regions of their bodies, is not cheap, indeed would seem almost to add to the maldistribution in the world rather than mitigate it. However, if two weeks of pressure-enhanced treatment will considerably set back the course of the disease or even kill all the virus in the body wherever it is for a cure, set against a 5- to 10-year lifetime of those costly medicines, that seems like a good bargain — indeed, one likely to ameliorate the world maldistribution situation, to say nothing of the improved economic contribution from many patients who could get back some normalcy in their lives. To say nothing of human considerations.


Long-term effects of hyperbaric treatment

I don't see any direct impact on the immune system from sustained hyperbaric conditions, pro or con. What are some other effects that might pertain from living under 3-10 atmospheres of air pressure for a sustained period of time such as two weeks?

Four and five years ago, there were several projects involving people living for several weeks in underwater habitats (obviously by definition pressurized), trying to explore conditions relevant to eventual undersea colonies and cities just as some experiments in the Arctic are now trying to anticipate some of the conditions for a human colony on Mars. I think most of the medical emphasis in those studies was psychological rather than physical or physiological. But it seems likely that if there were a significant problem physiologically in living for weeks under several atmospheres of pressure, given the degree of televised attention on those studies, we would likely have heard about it. None of this is scientific data or proves anything scientifically, of course, but points to strong likelihoods agreeably in line with the present proposition.

In the very long run, given many months or even years of extremely prolonged living under hyperbaric conditions, I would expect partial atrophy of the lungs and general respiratory system for the same reason we see partial hypertrophy of same in humans living at high altitudes, similar to the loss of calcium in people living for long periods in space in weightless conditions. But no one, I think, is talking about intervals of time in such chambers which would be long enough to produce such atrophy.


Other issues

Also to be determined is whether the particular medicines themselves are safe under higher atmospheres of pressure. There may be good bioevolutionary reason WHY some areas of the human body are relatively impervious to chemicals. One or more of those reasons might well be relevant to the particular medicine(s) involved.

None of these finer points, however, may mean much to one of the millions now in imminent prospect of dying directly from effects of a disease which might very well be cured, or at least considerably set back, by a two-week hyperbaric enhancement of such treatments as he is currently undergoing. Where is the greater risk?

None of these things can be found out unless some institutions, labs, and professionals in the appropriate fields can be apprised of and made aware of this major new avenue of investigation. That is why YOUR help is so urgently needed, passing this information along, getting it noticed, getting it argued, getting it to the level of attention where someone will bother to start looking into the basic research needed.

The professional specialties concerned don't have much of a history of welcoming outsider inputs. The matter has to come at them from several sources and directions and be made almost impossible to ignore, especially in a field so politicized as is AIDS, before anyone suitably situated will bother to investigate.

To the extent that your help will advance the time when someone appropriate WILL investigate, YOUR help will mean hundreds of lives per day saved.

Please respond.

Where so little can do so much.... We all have to live, for so long as we live, with the choices we've made.

To develop this on a proprietary basis would take too long, especially since people are dying of AIDS by the hundreds every day. I willingly forego any royalties on this invention just to get it out to you and into service.

What I need from you is your own review of this invention and then, as appropriate, bringing that notion unignorably to those who are in a position to implement it. My individual voice is nothing in the politicized medical world. In some numbers, though, you at least have some voice, and know some people with medical and scientific competence to appropriately review and support the Hyperbaric Treatment-Enhancer. This could begin saving lives almost immediately. This can also be used in conjunction with treatments for a good many other diseases. I commend the Hyperbaric Treatment-Enhancer to your considered judgment and handling. Please advise.


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Win Wenger

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