Hyperbaric Research and the Pre-Flood Atmosphere | The Institute for Creation Research
Hyperbaric Research and the Pre-Flood Atmosphere
Creationists have long speculated about the earth’s environment prior to the global Flood—conditions which may have contributed to the long human life spans recorded in the Biblical record of Genesis. Specifically, it has been hypothesized by some that the pre-Flood earth atmosphere had higher levels of oxygen and a greater atmospheric pressure than we currently observe. Now, a new study from Tel Aviv University and the Shamir Medical Center in Israel has shown that hyperbaric oxygen treatments in normal healthy adults can halt and even reverse the aging process of blood cells.1,2

Aging is characterized by the progressive breakdown of cellular function and bodily systems over the life of the individual, eventually resulting in death. At the cellular level, scientists who study aging and longevity have focused on two key features of the aging process. The first is telomere length which shortens as organisms and their cells age. Telomeres are the endcaps of chromosomes that keep them intact and also interact with various parts of the cellular system. The other key feature studied is cellular senescence which refers to a physiological condition cells reach where they quit proliferating and become resistant to growth-promoting stimuli.

Lifestyle habits that include exercise, diet, and supplements that target cell metabolism and oxidative stress appear to only produce relatively small effects (2-5%) on telomere length.1 However, repeated hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments have been found to induce regenerative effects in cell telomeres. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is the use of a large pressurized chamber with increased air pressure and oxygen content into which a patient is placed. The increased atmospheric pressure enhances the levels of oxygen dissolved in the bodily tissues.

The aim of the current study was to evaluate whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatments had any effect upon telomere length and cell senescence in normal, non-pathological, aging adult humans. Using test data from 30 different people, it was found that repeated daily hyperbaric oxygen sessions could increase telomere length by more than 20% in aging people. Of the cell types tested, B cells (a type of white blood cell) exhibited the most striking changes. The treatments also decreased the total number of senescent cells by 10-37%, with T helper cells, another type of white blood cell, being the most affected.

Based upon extensive geological mapping of global sedimentary strata (megasequences) left behind after the Flood, we know that the pre-Flood world was radically different than the one we now live in.3 It is also obvious that, based on plant and animal life buried in the sedimentary strata of the Flood (i.e., fossils), the pre-Flood world was considerably more lush, diverse, and even allowed for many creatures to obtain extreme sizes. For example, some fossil dragonflies have been measured with wingspans over two feet.4 The method by which oxygen is diffused through an insect’s body in its tracheal breathing system places an upper limit on body size based on our current atmospheric oxygen levels.5 Thus, even secular scientists who deny the Biblical account of Earth’s history believe that oxygen levels had to be much higher in the ancient past.

When we combine this new hyperbaric oxygen therapy data with the known life spans of the pre-Flood patriarchs (like Methuselah who lived 969 years), it strengthens the position some creation scientists hold: that the pre-Flood atmosphere favored better health and longevity as a result of increased atmospheric pressure and oxygen levels. This factor could then be added in with other likely scenarios conferring longevity such as the presence of a more pristine (non-mutated) condition of the human genome prior to the global Flood.6 After the Flood, we see a marked decay curve in human life span as also recorded in the Scriptures.6

References
1. Hachmo, Y. et al. 2020. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Increases Telomere Length And Decreases Immunosenescence In Isolated Blood Cells: A Prospective Trial. Aging. doi: 10.18632/aging.202188
2. American Friends of Tel Aviv University. 2020. Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment: Clinical Trial Reverses Two Biological Processes Associated With Aging In Human Cells. Posted on ScienceDaily.com on November 20, 2020, accessed December 2, 2020.
3. Clarey, T. 2020. Carved in Stone. Dallas, TX: Institute for Creation Research.
4. André, N. et al. 2018. Palaeozoic Giant Dragonflies Were Hawker Predators. Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 12141. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-30629-w. ISSN 2045-2322.
5. Cannell, A. E. R. 2018. The Engineering Of The Giant Dragonflies Of The Permian: Revised Body Mass, Power, Air Supply, Thermoregulation And The Role Of Air Density. Journal of Experimental Biology. 221(19). doi:10.1242/jeb.185405. ISSN 0022-0949. PMID 30309956.
6. Tomkins, J. T. 2014. Genetic Entropy Points to a Young Creation. Acts & Facts. 43 (11): 16.

*Dr. Tomkins is Director of Research at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his doctorate in genetics from Clemson University.
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