In recent years, more and more people are being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders every year. According to the latest data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in every 59 children born in the US is affected by Autism. Over the past decade, research and clinical studies have suggested that metabolic and physiological factors may be responsible for the manifestation of autism in individuals. Immune dysregulation, cerebral hypoperfusion, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative stress are some of the common physiological issues that have been linked to ASD.
Apart from impairments in social interactions and one-on-one communication, ASD is also known to cause repetitive movements and restrictive behavioral patterns in patients. Some patients may also have difficulty maintaining eye contact, applying concepts learned in one setting to another, understanding figurative language, etc. And while a diagnosis of ASD can be confusing and scary for new parents, the medical community has designed numerous treatment options and therapies to help those suffering from this neurodevelopmental disorder.
There are numerous alternative therapies that can help adults and children with autism acquire new life skills and overcome various cognitive and developmental challenges. One of these alternative treatment options is known as hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT.
This involves a device known as a hyperbaric chamber, which administers 100 percent pure oxygen to the patient under heightened atmospheric pressure levels. The oxygen is then delivered to various parts of the body and the brain by the bodily fluids of the patient, such as the plasma and the cerebrospinal fluid, thus minimizing the risk of cerebral hypoxia, which is often linked to autism.
Sufficient supply of oxygen in the brain also facilitates stem cell production and tissue regeneration. The parts of the brain that had been dormant due to a lack of adequate oxygen supply – often caused by damaged blood vessels – can be revitalized and rejuvenated with the help of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. For the best results, however, HBOT should be administered along with traditional treatment options. Hyperbaric medicine complements other types of medical interventions for ASD, rather than replacing traditional medicine.
The best way to help and care for a person with autism, regardless of their age, is to provide them with structure and safety in their day-to-day lives. Consistency is key when it comes to autism management, because those suffering from this condition respond best to structure and routine and may often feel disoriented and threatened by novelty or chaotic, unstructured environments. Consistency and structure, along with regular HBOT sessions, can go a long way in helping a patient overcome their physiological and cognitive challenges to live an independent and fulfilling life. This Autism Day, let us all do our parts in making this dream a reality!