Oxygen Therapy and Autism

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has only recently in the last two years been used to treat children with autism but with amazing results.

autism and oxygen

A study in 2012 by DA Rossignol et al proved that children with autism who received hyperbaric treatment for 40 hourly sessions showed significant improvements in overall function, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory/cognitive awareness compared to children who received just pressurized room air.
When a person concentrates on a task or to generate speech, the brain is doing more work and there is an increase in blood flow to the brain, specifically the parietal frontal cortex, which is located behind the forehead. This increase in blood flow supplies the brain with more oxygen and glucose, giving the cells their needed energy to perform their task. In autistic children the opposite happens, they have diminished blood flow to begin with, and when their brain is attempting to perform a task their blood flow does not increase and does not supply the brain with the necessary oxygen and glucose the cells need.
The theory behind using HBOT on children with autism is that the increase in oxygen will reduce excess swelling of brain tissue, increase cerebral blood flow and stimulate cerebral tissue. There are correlations linking it to being able to remove toxins, reduce inflammation allowing oxygen deprived areas to have a return of blood flow, builds new capillaries in the brain and reduces the inflammation in the gut.
The belief is that all of these results will allow the brain to do its job better, resulting in a child who is more “present” in regards to social interaction and communication.
Studies and parents have reported that autistic children showed improvement in sleep, children becoming calmer and more affectionate, improved focus and attention, improved bowel function, improved cognitive and linguistic skills, being less sensitive to noise and appearing more ‘present’ and ‘connected’ to family members.
There are some unknowns however, such as any long-term affects, whether the treatments are long-lasting or not and whether certain autistic sufferers respond better than others. HBOT is definitely not a cure but it appears to be able to help some autistic children improve their behaviour, cognitive functions and quality of life and bring them a step closer towards ‘normal’.
References: http://freshstarthyperbaric.com/adhd.php and http://oxfordhbot.com/hbot-for-autism/

Putting autistic children in oxygen chambers twice a day improves their symptoms, research finds

By Fiona Macrae

Oxygen chambers have been improving the symptoms of autistic children, like hyperactivity and anger, research has found (file photo)

Pressurised oxygen chambers, similar to those used by divers, could help treat autism, research shows.
Using a hyperbaric oxygen chamber twice a day for four weeks significantly improved the symptoms of autism in a group of five to seven year olds.
Improvements were seen in 80 per cent of those treated, with 30 per cent rated as ‘very much improved’ or ‘much improved’, the journal BMC Pediatrics reports.
Irritability and hyperactivity eased, while speech and social interaction improved in the youngsters treated in the chambers, which had higher than usual levels of oxygen.
It is unclear how the treatment works but it may be through raising oxygen levels in the brain, while suppressing inflammation and unwanted immune reactions.
The researchers, from the International Child Development Resource Centre in Florida, said the inclusion of dummy hyperbaric oxygen chambers as well as real ones made the results more reliable than those of previous studies.
They said: ‘In the light of the positive results of this study and those of several previous studies, the use of hyperbaric treatment appears to be a promising treatment for children with autism.’
They added that more research was needed to determine if the effects were long-lasting or if on-going treatment would be required.
Richard Mills, of Research Autism, welcomed the research but cautioned that parents can expect to pay thousands of pounds for a course of treatment.
He said: ‘Hyperbaric oxygen treatment has been known to be beneficial with children and adults with a range of neurological conditions and there’s no reason to suppose some individuals with autism won’t show some benefit.
‘But it is not clear cut and parents should be aware of the costs and of the dangers.’
Side-effects include fits, short-sightedness and claustrophobia.