Why Is HBOT Therapy Considered an Impactful Treatment for Children with Autism?

Why Is HBOT Therapy Considered an Impactful Treatment for Children with Autism?
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Earlier, children who had social and learning problems were just labeled as being hyperactive, dull students, a boy thing, or just a phase they would eventually grow out of. Thanks to the advancements in Medical diagnostic and treatment methodologies for properly investigating various medical disorders that were earlier misdiagnosed. This makes treatment and management much more comfortable especially for the caretakers.

One such disorder that is now widely reported among many children worldwide is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). HBOT therapy is considered the new, radical method of treating autism.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complicated developmental disorder that affects the healthy development of the brain. Children with ASD have problems with social, language, and communication skills and have trouble interacting with others.

They exhibit narrow and specific interests, repetitive behavioral patterns, like grunts, and squealing, and sometimes may have extreme sensory sensitivities to touch, sound, taste, and sight. Even the tiniest unassuming event might trigger a colossal meltdown.

What Causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Experts don’t know what exactly causes ASD. Studies suggest that autism Spectrum Disorder may be caused by a complex combination of factors that could be hereditary, biological, and environmental.

While there is a high inclination to genetic vulnerability, the incidence of autism is more common in individuals with certain medical conditions, like:

  • Fragile X Syndrome

  • Rubella during pregnancy

  • Brain infections like Encephalitis or Meningitis

  • Tuberous Sclerosis

  • Undiagnosed Phenylketonuria

  • Lack of Oxygen during birth

  • Substance abuse during pregnancy

  • Premature childbirth

One or more of these factors can affect early brain development and lead to certain physical and mental difficulties in the way different parts of the brain communicate with each other.

Conditions that may Accompany Autism

  • Seizure Disorders

  • Gastrointestinal Disorders

  • Sleep Dysfunction

  • Sensory Integration Dysfunction

More on ASD

Numerous studies indicate that individuals with autism have a decreased flow of blood to the brain, causing brain inflammation leading to a condition called Cerebral Hypoperfusion. Apart from this, autism patients also seem to suffer from a higher incidence of gastrointestinal inflammation, which causes constipation or diarrhea.

Adding to this list are oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction, which most autistic children suffer from. They also have impaired production of porphyrin, which impacts the delivery of oxygen to various parts of the body.

While there is no specific cure for ASD, some therapies and procedures may help in managing the symptoms. They are:

  • Medications

  • Behavioral and communication therapy

  • Diet changes

  • Alternative and complementary methods

One of the latest treatment methods that is garnering a lot of support and treatment for autism Spectrum Disorder is hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

What is HBOT Therapy?

In this treatment, 100% oxygen is administered to the individual in a pressurized chamber at pressure levels of 4 psi or 1.5 ATA (Atmosphere Absolute). This increased pressure enables oxygen to permeate, dissolve, and saturate all the body fluids.

This oxygen-rich blood is carried and circulated to all the body parts, especially the damaged tissues and cells. The increased oxygen availability enhances the ability of the white blood cells to destroy infections, reduces inflammation, and makes more new blood vessels in the affected areas. This increases the body’s healing function at the physiological, biochemical, and the cellular level.

How Does HBOT Therapy Help with Autism?

  • Increased oxygen levels in the blood will help reduce brain inflammation and improve circulation, thereby leading to the growth of more capillaries.

  • HBOTtreatment reduces inflammation in the GI system and enables healing of the GI tracts in autistic children, thus alleviating the symptoms and increasing nutrition absorption.

  • In the cases of oxidative stress, HBOT can reduce it by up-regulation of antioxidant enzymes and increasing the production of antioxidants in the system.

  • The HBOT therapy for autism also helps increase mitochondria production in the case of mitochondrial dysfunction. Likewise, it raises the production of porphyrin which helps in better heme synthesis.

  • As autism is said to be a neurodegenerative disorder, the HBOTtreatment helps in increasing the production of stem cells that may aid in the healing of brain disorders.

  • Apart from the above, substantial changes were noted by caregivers in the energy, communication, speech, sensory sensitivities, and improved cognition levels of autistic children when they underwent hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

  • Reduced irritability and hyperactivity and decreased inflammatory markers, like C-reactive protein and TNF-Alpha levels, were also noted in the patients undergoing HBOT therapy.

A Quick Glance at HBOT Therapy for Autism

  • The process – It is a comfortable and straightforward treatment method. The pressure chamber can comfortably accommodate a child and one parent.

  • Recommended Period of Treatment – It is generally advised to complete 40 hours of therapy in a 30-day time period. This can be followed by a maintenance program on a long-term basis.

  • Time to Results – Visible results were observed as soon as the duration mentioned above was completed.

In Conclusion

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is widely reported to alleviate and manage autism disorder symptoms. By increasing the absorption of oxygen, this therapy aids in reducing brain inflammation, decreasing oxidative stress markers, improving blood circulation, and stimulating cell growth in patients with autism.

Most autistic patients who were administered HBOT therapy showed significant improvements in their social, language, speech, and cognitive skills.

While there is no one sole method to treat autism, for parents and caregivers of patients suffering from ASD, HBOT therapy offers an excellent solution.

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