Monday, March 30, 2009

HBOT Treatment for Autism? Avoid the Autism Hub, Read "Translating Autism"

Anyone reading blog commentaries about the latest HBOT study, or any other autism treatment study, should seek credible analysis from detached, professional sources if they want a proper understanding of the study in question. Any bloggers listed at the Autism Hub should be avoided unless you are simply seeking an example of the anti-cure element of the neurodiversity cult and the extent to which it colors their commentaries. If you are seeking balanced, objective commentary about the HBOT study avoid the AH-ND bloggers and check out Autism Research Blog: Translating Autism by Nestor Lopez-Duran Ph.D.

Nestor Lopez-Duran is a a clinical child psychologist and neuroscience researcher working at a large Midwest university-based child psychiatric institute. His Translating Autism blog is easily one of the best on the internet for obtaining rational, balanced and professional assessment of autism studies of any kind. I mention it frequently on this blog and believe it should be a bookmark for anyone with a genuine interest in autism disorders and autism studies. Mr. Lopez-Duran has commented on the recent Rossignol HBOT study in Hyperbaric treatment for children with autism: First controlled clinical trials and provides an assessment of the studies strengths and weaknesses including the perception that the authors of the study are in a conflict of interest - not as a way to trash the study but to point out ways the study could have been improved. He comments on the merits of the study:

"The authors found that hyperbaric treatment resulted in significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, and eye contact. These findings were affected by the age of the child, in that children over the age of 5 showed more improvement to the treatment than children under 5. In addition, the treatment did not seem to work for children with an initial ADOS score above 50th percentile. This indicates that the treatment is most effective with children with more severe autism (ADOS score below the 50th percentile).

In general, the study design was strong. The authors made great efforts to make sure that the two treatment conditions were nearly identical. That is, kids in the control condition were exposed to procedures that mimic the real hyperbaric treatment (being inside the chamber, etc). Thus, it is very unlikely that the results observed were due to a placebo effect. The study also moves in the right direction by presenting evidence for the efficacy of treatments that are usually considered controversial or untested. We need more research on alternative treatment interventions that will help us determine which interventions are actually effective."

By contrast to the objective, informed "translation" by Lopez-Duran of the Rossignol HBOT study, Autism Hub and Neurodiversity commentators simply mock this and any other study which suggests that an autistic child might benefit from a specific treatment for autism. The reason for the knee jerk, lock step reaction of AH-ND members to studies of autism treatments is simple - they are anti-cure, anti-treatment. They do not want to be treated for their autism, or do not want THEIR loved ones with autism treated, and they do not believe that parents and other caregivers should be permitted to treat or cure autism in their own autistic loved ones or patients. Any study which purports to show the effectiveness of an autism treatment is anathema to them. (Hence the hostility by AH-ND bloggers towards ABA, parents seeking ABA for their own children, and ABA practicioners).

Do'C at Autism Street is one of the leading AH-ND "scientific" minds. In a recent post about the Rossignol HBOT study he was kind enough to prepare a list of "skeptical" blog comments about the HBOT study. Several of the comments are at Autism Street and LB/RB, two Autism Hub blogs. You can tell by the titles that these comments are not going to be balanced or objective assessments of the HBOT study:

"Mild HBOT For Autism - A Brief Skeptical Guide

March 29, 2009 by Do'C Printer-Friendly Version Printer-Friendly Version

For readers who may be interested in a skeptical perspective with regards to “mild” hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism, I’ve assembled a short list of links. These are articles that I’ve enjoyed reading, found interesting, or written myself.

In no particular order:

HBOT: Under Pressure

HBOT: Is it just a bunch of hot air?

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Autism

Is there no end to unscientific treatments for autism?

Mild hyperbaric therapy for autism - Shh!…don’t say it’s expensive

Autism, HBOT, and the new study by Rossignol et al.

When High Does Mean Low: Autism, mHBOT, and Dan Rossignol

Does Rossignol et al. show HBOT’s effective?

Ridiculous Autism Treatment Statements - Part One - ICDRC Website on HBOT

Hyperbarics and Hypotheses

Nitpicking Sloppy Science

Autism HBOT: First Look

Hyperbaric Oxygen as a Treatment for Autism: Let the Buyer Beware

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Autism? Not so fast

As a parent of a severely autistic boy of 13 I am not prepared, on the basis of this one study, and notwithstanding indications of positive gains by severely autistic children in the study, to seek HBOT treatment for my son. I would want to see further studies done by other researchers, and I am not arrogant enough to believe that I am properly educated or prepared to assess these studies myself.

I will rely upon the information provided by informed, professional commentators like Lopez-Duran and credible, responsible agencies that review these studies. If further studies confirm the benefits suggested in the Rossignol study and if it is recommended by credible sources as an evidence based treatment then I would consult my son's pediatrician and consider HBOT treatment option for him. In the meantime though I will continue with ABA for my son which has helped him in so many ways and which has a solid evidentiary basis and overwhelming professional support for its safety and effectiveness. And I will give no weight to the Autism Hub and Neurodiversity commentators who are ideologically opposed to the development of effective treatments and cures for autism. Theirs is an ideological, not an evidence based, opposition to all possible autism treatments.

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farmwifetwo said...

IMO all of the ND crowds "anti-whatever" bashing lowers them to the far end of the cure/anti-vax crowd. Neither helps a child with autism grow, become educated and an independant member of society.

I'm not a fan of a lot of the treatments out there, but as long as they are legal under the law and performed by a licensed/trained professional... It is up to each parent what they wish to do.

I don't care how another parent may opt to teach their child... as long as the same respect is given to me to choose my options that best fit my family.... but children need to be taught - socially, behaviourally, independant living skills and the 3R's (reading, writing, 'rithmetic).

The ND crowd doesn't advocate for services... they just bash them every chance they get.

It's a disability, not a difference. To this day my eldest son still has no idea he has a learning disorder/Autism/NLD. If I can prevent the school from telling him, he won't be told until the next set of assessments are completed at Gr 8. Why tell him now??? He gets treated the same as the rest of them. Autism/NLD/LD or whatever it will turn out to be.. doesn't make him special and outside of the laws/social rules of this country.

The ND crowd thinks they are "special"..... They aren't.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are really helpful and I have really enjoyed them. My son has autism, not aspergers. He is higher functioning than most, and is doing 30 plus hrs of ABA in home one on one DT. He also does HBOT (hard chamber hyperbaric oxygen therapy) and we have seen really awesome results from it. I would definitely pick ABA over HBOT, but the HBOT has also been a huge help that we would never want to take away. Life farmwifetwo, everyone chooses their own way, and I can definitely see why you don't want to do HBOT at this time, and I wouldn't argue with you. ABA is the #1 way to go! We have found in our research that mild chambers are much less effective than hard. Thanks for all your great posts.

treatment for autism said...

The term 'autism' covers a wide spectrum of conditions that are related in that it refers to a neurological condition that affects developmental abilities. People with this disorder normally exhibit difficulty in communicating and interacting with others as well as displaying uncommon behavioral patterns, interests or activities. This wide spectrum of conditions make the treatments for autism very challenging.