Friday, April 06, 2007

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Autism Study

The image above is that of a Hyperbaric Chamber found on the Hyperbaric Medicine Center's web site which provides a description of HBO Treatment:

The treatments are non-invasive (no needles or pills are involved), and painless.

A patient undergoing treatment spends a prescribed amount of time sitting comfortably in a very special body-length chamber, where pure oxygen is administered and atmospheric pressure is increased and controlled under meticulous conditions. The dosage, which includes pressure, time and frequency of treatments, is suited to each patient’s specific diagnosis, and has been prescribed as a recognized protocol by the top hyperbaric medicine experts in the world.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is based on simple concepts. The air we breath has a small percentage of oxygen. Breathing 100% oxygen in a normal room increases that level of oxygen in the bloodstream by about 3% to 5%. However, breathing pure oxygen in an increased-pressure environment delivers twenty to thirty times that amount of oxygen to your body’s tissues. This is especially important in tissues affected by poor circulation such as brain tissues damaged by stroke or head injury.

In order to provide patients with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, a pressurized environment is used. The patient is placed within a hyperbaric chamber, which is then pressurized to therapeutic levels. Trained hyperbaric medical staff will determine the pressure and the length of treatment based upon carefully studied and recommended protocols.

The Hawaii Reporter is carrying an article on a study about to begin in 20 centers across the US on the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy in treating autism. Autism has been plagued by "treatments" and "therapies" with no scientific basis or evidentiary support for their effectiveness from NAET to swimming with dolphins to Facilitated Communication. But evidence to substantiate or refute the effectiveness of treatments and therapies can not be obtained unless studies are done.

HBOT is based on the premise that in some cases a persons brain may suffer from a lack of oxygen supply. The author of the article, Maryellen Markley, Ph. D., Director of the Hyperbaric Medicine Center in Honolulu, claims that HBOT can improve the quality of life for autistic persons. It will be interesting to see what evidence to support that claim emerges from the study when the results are published in June 2007.

"Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) can compensate for decreased blood flow by increasing the oxygen content in the blood and body tissues and can even normalize oxygen levels in oxygen-deprived (ischemic) tissue. In addition, a number of studies have shown that HBOT has potent anti-inflammatory effect on the brain.

Furthermore, recent evidence demonstrates that HBOT increases the production of an important form of cells from human bone marrow, which may aid recovery from neurodegenerative diseases including autism.

Based upon these findings, hyperbaric oxygen therapy is being used more and more to permanently improve both symptoms and the quality of life in children with autism. ...

The Hyperbaric Medicine Center's Autism Study begins this month with 20 children, and each child will be treated with 20 hours of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Each child will be tested by experienced clinicians in the community both before and after their 20 hours of therapy, and the results are expected to be published by late June, 2007.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you think that maybe the confinement of the hyperbaric tanks may, in some instances, be comforting? I found this post enroute to looking up something else, and am not an autism expert, but it reminds me of something that Temple Grandin wrote in her book about finding enclosures helpful.