Autism affects up to 1.5 million Americans. With an estimated annual growth rate of 15%, it’s the fastest growing developmental disability in this country. While the cause of Autism remains unknown, many medical professionals (along with existing research) say Autism may be caused by a state of hypoxia, or lack of oxygen to areas of the brain. While there is currently no known cure for Autism, researchers are very encouraged by the use of Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in treating Autism.
The rationale in using HBOT in the treatment of Autism is that it increases cerebral blood flow and thus oxygen to areas of the brain, which are thought to be oxygen deficient. And the research supporting HBOT is overwhelming. In study after study, HBOT is proving to have a positive to and often dramatic impact on people with Autism. In one recent landmark studies, HBOT was 93% effective. And of the countless studies done so far, all seem to indicate that HBOT can play a very positive role in treating Autism. But that’s not all. HBOT has shown great promise in the treatment of Cerebral Palsy.
In the United States, there are an estimated half a million people with some degree of cerebral palsy, with almost 7000 children newly diagnosed every year. The condition involves the inability to control movement due to neurological dysfunction in areas, which regulate motor skills. While there is no cure for Cerebral Palsy, researchers are similiarly very encouraged by the use of Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) in treating the condition.
There are four broad categories of cerebral palsy: spastic, athetoid, ataxic, and mixed forms that are defined by the type of movement disturbance disorder in each case. Spastic cerebral palsy affects 70 to 80 percent of patients. Patients who suffer from spastic cerebral palsy have muscles that are stiffly and permanently contracted. Doctors often describe the type of spastic cerebral palsy a patient has based on which limbs are affected.
In a recent study in Brazil, researchers using HBOT to treat CP found that 94% of patients taking part in the study had a reduction in spasticity. Subjects taking part in the study also reported improved vision, hearing and speech. Another study carried out at the prestigious University of Texas Medical Center yielded strikingly similar results.
Scientists have varying opinions on why the therapy is so successful as a treatment for these conditions. Some theories suggest that the brain in some persons with Autism, as well as Cerebral Palsy (and other neurological disorders), is lacking oxygen and in a dormant, or sleeping state due to lack of blood flow. Hyperbaric forces oxygen into tissues throughout the body including brain tissues and fluid, resulting in a re-awakening of dormant areas of the brain. In addition, hyperbaric is thought to provide an optimal environment to assist in the regeneration of brain tissue.
So is mild HBOT right for you? Chances are, it is. Why not make an appointment today for one of the safest, most effective treatments available. As with any course of treatment, always check with your doctor first.