Recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have indicated that about 1 in 59 children are being diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States, annually. Moreover, this number is slated to increase further unless adequate treatment is not provided at the earliest.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is and has been posing to be a serious health concern amongst the world community. In recent years, medical professionals have been recommending Autism treatment by HBOT to patients, as this non-invasive therapy is believed to offer the requisite relief and enhance the recovery process, naturally.
Listed herewith are a few facts that will provide a better insight into Autism Spectrum Disorder and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT):
What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects the communicative, lingual, social, and behavioral skills of the patient. These disabilities are known to cause repetitive behavior or irritability in the autistic individual and can hamper the patient’s social interaction to a great extent.
What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder in Kids?
Children are usually diagnosed with ASD when they are two to three years of age. Medical experts have attributed the cause of ASD to various factors like pre-natal or perinatal complications, genetic factors, toxic environment, and many more.
However, researchers are still deciphering the actual reasons that lead to Autism Spectrum Disorder in individuals.
What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)?
HBOT or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is an alternative treatment that has been prescribed by physicians since the early 60’s’ for treating decompression sickness in divers, toxic poisoning, gas embolism, chronic wounds, burn injuries, and many more such ailments.
Oxygen is a natural wound healer and a key constituent in HBOT treatment. Over the years, clinical trials conducted by hyperbaric scientists have revealed that HBOT has had a positive impact on individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Hyperbaric researchers claim to have witnessed significant improvement in the patients’ medical condition after the inclusion of HBOT in their primary or adjunctive treatment program.
How do Physicians Conduct Autism Treatment by HBOT?
Physicians at a hyperbaric center have to ascertain the severity of the medical condition of the autistic individual before prescribing HBOT as an adjunctive therapy.
Pure, unadulterated oxygen is administered to the patient inside a pressurized compartment known as the hyperbaric chamber. The ambiance pressure inside the chamber is a little more than air pressure at sea level. This enhanced pressure enables the inhaled pure oxygen to dissolve in all body fluids. These body fluids enables the oxygen to reach the inflammed oxygen-deprived parts of the body, where blood flow is either impaired or damaged.
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy can be administered to individuals through monoplace or multiplace HBOT chambers at medical institutions. The patients also have the option of installing portable hyperbaric chambers at their homes and undertake the HBOT sessions as directed by a qualified hyperbaric expert. The economic feasibility and portability of the personal hyperbaric chambers have expanded the reach of HBOT to the next level.
How Does HBOT Aid in Autism Treatment?
It has been observed that autistic individuals suffer from related ailments such as inflammation, hypoperfusion, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. However, several studies over the years have found that autism treatment by HBOT has helped in improving the cerebral hypoperfusion, reduced the biological markers of inflammation, and did not aggravate the oxidative stress. All in all autism treatment by HBOT helps in improving the overall health condition of an autistic individual and results in improving the cognitive and behavioral abilities.
Here are some of the marked improvements that were observed in the autistic patients after undergoing autism treatment by HBOT:
- Sustained eye contact.
- Coherent speech.
- Superior motor skills.
- Better hand-eye coordination.
- Relaxed demeanor.
- Confident social interaction.
- Recognition of symbols, alphabets, shapes, etc.
- Comprehension of human emotions such as happiness, grief, anger, etc.
Although hyperbaric oxygen treatment is yet to receive approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the hyperbaric community is being vociferous in their efforts to enlighten the world about the innumerable benefits of autism treatment by HBOT. Hyperbaric physicians as well as parents and caregivers of autistic individuals, are striving hard to garner recognition as well as funding from the Government for this path-breaking treatment.