Ivanhoe Newswire – There’s no cure for autism and treatments are experimental at best; but one new treatment is bringing hope to families desperate for any improvement they can get. Carman Inclan’s son Michael is four. Just like any other child, he reads, plays with toys and loves to use the computer; but Michael isn’t like other four-year-olds. “The greatest struggle is not knowing if he will be able to say when he’s older that he’s happy,” Carmen told Ivanhoe. “It’s devastation — fear.” Everything he’s able to do now is a miracle to his mom because he wasn’t always as high functioning. “[He was] nonverbal and [had] no interest in social interaction of any kind,” Carmen recalled. Michael has made huge strides thanks, in part, to what he calls his “submarine” — where he receives hyperbaric oxygen therapy or HBOT. The experimental treatment was originally used to cure scuba divers of the bends. Inside the chamber, Michael breathes 37-percent oxygen.
The air we breathe is only 22 percent. “There have been some radiological studies that have shown that some children with autism have lower flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, so by increasing that, we’re increasing the nutrition to the brain,” David Berger, M.D., a board certified pediatrician at Wholistic Pediatrics/Healing Hyperbarics in Tampa, Fla., told Ivanhoe. Dr. Berger suggests patients do two hour-long HBO “dives” a day, five to six days a week.
The possible benefits fall across the board, way beyond social and verbal improvements. “I’m also seeing improvements in their intestinal symptoms and some of the other more medical symptoms,” Dr. Berger said. Patients like Michael use the chamber in their home. They can be rented for about $3,000 or bought for about $20,000. “After 22 dives, Michael’s words tripled.” Carmen said. Her son has been “diving” for almost two years. “Michael has really made some tremendous strides since we started using this therapy on him,” Dr. Berger said. “One day he spelled aquarium,” Carmen recalled. The benefits of HBOT reach far beyond autism.
Many professional athletes use the treatment to help get their bodies in optimal condition. Dr. Berger has seen it help ease back pain, relieve psoriasis and even get Parkinson’s patients on their feet. The cost per dive in the doctor’s office is $85 to $200. The treatment is not yet FDA approved for autism, but it is approved for fourteen other conditions. tinyurl.com/3opemc