In our last blog, we shared some amazing testimonials from parents whose Autistic / Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) children have benefitted from Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. (If you missed it, click HERE) Now it’s time to talk about the science behind the success.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of neurodevelopmental disorders that affects social interaction and communication skills and can cause restricted and repetitive behaviors.
Doctors diagnose ASD by looking at a person’s behavior and development. There isn’t a blood test that will show positive or negative for ASD; however, most patients affected by ASD have the following physical symptoms:
- high levels of inflammation
- compromised blood flow and low oxygen delivery to certain parts of the body (hypoperfusion),
- oxidative stress
- mitochondrial dysfunction
These symptoms are measurable through conventional lab tests and not dependent on the observations or opinions of a parent, therapist, psychiatrist, or doctor.
What have we learned from the HBOT studies?
Hyperbaric treatment has been proven effective for decreasing inflammation, improving cerebral hypoperfusion, and modulating immune dysregulation, all reported as problems in some individuals with autism.
- HBOT significantly decreased inflammation as measured by CRP (C-reactive protein) levels and other inflammatory markers including TNF-alpha levels.
- After HBOT, cerebral hypoperfusion (poor blood flow/oxygen delivery in the brain) was improved dramatically. In one study, the numbers increased by 82.40% in the temporal lobe, 85.26% in the frontal lobe and 75.75% in other areas.
- Evidence suggests that HBOT could alleviate oxidative stress in children with autism. Studies done with adult participants (not related to Autism studies) have validated this result, but studies with ASD children have not been done yet.
- Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed to support organ function and major metabolic functions of the human body. HBOT affects mitochondrial dysfunction because hyperbaric oxygen exerts a positive effect on the mitochondria in their production of ATP, utilization of glucose, amino acids, oxygen and cell respiration.
Improvements in the physical symptoms of ASD are reflected in the observed behavior of autistic children as well:
One study of 54 autistic patients done by clinicians/therapists, showed the following results:
- 79% improvement in Speech/Language/Communication
- 85.5% improvement in Sociability
- 87% improvement in Sensory/Cognitive Awareness
- 75.2% improvement in Health/Physical/Behavior
In all HBOT studies the treatments have been “well tolerated”. The most common side-effects are sinus pain or ear pressure – similar to that experienced on an airplane – and quickly resolve after treatment. More serious side effects have been rarely reported.
Is HBOT right for your ASD child? Only you can make that decision, but the experts at Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Western New York can help. We have successfully treated Autism and Autistic Spectrum Disorders with HBOT and can answer your questions and address any concerns you may have. Visit us at www.02wny.com or call us: (585) 426-8969