Wednesday, December 17, 2008

HBOT Autism Trial Demonstrates Clinical Improvements In Autistic Children

The US National Institutes of Health have released a summary report of a "Controlled Trial of the Clinical Effects of Hyperbaric Therapy in Autistic Children" by Dr. Daniel Rossignol last updated in July 2007 which purports to demonstrate that HBOT may improve symptoms in autistic children. The trial used HBOT in 18 children between the ages of 2 and 7 with DSM-IV Autistic Disorder diagnoses (PDD-NOS and Asperger's Syndrome were excluded). Dr. Rossignol claims that the trial demonstrates significant clinical improvements in the autistic children on several standardized scales.

The trial has some limitations in that most of the scales were parent-rated but the parents were not blinded to the fact that their children were receiving HBOT. There was no placebo or control group. The NIH summary indicates that these factors could lead to bias and that the improvements could have been due to chance or the natural development of the children and suggests the need for a double-blind controlled study.

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