What Is the Science Behind HBOT Treatment for Autism?

As Autism is a common chronic disability among children, researchers are continuously trying new approaches to find its treatment. Though some of them consider Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as a ray of hope. They also explain some scientific reasons behind their consideration of HBOT for Autism.

Symptoms of Autism in Children

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a chronic neurodevelopmental disability that can affect both adults and children. People suffering from this disorder often face complications in social interactions and communication.

Symptoms of ASD appear in early childhood. In fact, the symptoms can be noticed after birth. Children, born with ASD may have the following symptoms. According to many researchers, HBOT for Autism can be a beneficial treatment.

  • The children may get difficulties maintaining eye contact.
  • They may not respond to their names.
  • Unlike other toddlers, at the age of 12 months, they may not show interest in fun activities like peek-a-boo.
  • They may not interested in playing with figurines or dolls.
  • They may face trouble in expressing their feelings or emotions.
  • Over time they may develop a strong vocabulary to talk about a particular topic of their interest.
  • Also, they may talk in an unusual tone, ranging from high-pitched to flat.
  • Children with ASD may show signs of having hyperlexia.
  • They may repeat words or phrases again and again after hearing from someone.
  • They may get upset over small changes in their lives.

Scientific connection between ASD and HBOT

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) is a medical process that involves breathing pure oxygen at high pressure. This process can be conducted inside two types of oxygen chambers- monoplace and multiplace. A monoplace fits one person, and there is space for two or more persons in a multiplace.

In the USA, HBOT therapy is commonly used to treat nitrogen and carbon monoxide poisoning. As this therapy supplies 100% unadulterated oxygen to the body, it is effective in reducing inflammation.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is considered a pseudoscientific treatment of ASD. It means there is no such evidence of its effectiveness in treating ASD. So, what makes the supporters believe HBOT is a medicament of Autism?

A lack of oxygen in the cell tissues can damage them. These damaged tissues make the blood vessels wide, causing swelling, pain, and inflammation. Many believe that inflammation due to a lack of oxygen in the brain causes Autism.

Oxygen under a certain pressure generates the genes that participate in reducing inflammation. It is considered an anti-inflammatory drug that stimulates the healing of damaged tissues and the growth of new tissues. HBOT has the potential to reduce inflammation, increasing blood flow in the cells. The hyperbaric oxygen chambers provide much oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the inflamed tissues.

HBOT can be beneficial to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines and to improve the production of antioxidant enzymes and mitochondrial dysfunction. HBOT minimizes mitochondrial weakness among children with ASD and boosts their energy levels. These anti-inflammatory properties of this therapy are significant to think about HBOT for Autism.

Also, kids with ASD experience an increase in ​​oxidative stress. It damages cells and DNA, causing inflammation in brain tissues. As a result, it reduces metabolism and leads to clinical symptoms of autism. The flow of oxygen protects the cells from oxidative stress by improving the production of antioxidant enzymes.

Several study show children with ASD have neuroinflammation in their brains, which decreases blood flow to the brain. Individuals with autism experience poor attention, limited cognition, and other behavioral symptoms related to ASD. Through HBOT, the amount of oxygen can be increased in the tissues. As the therapy helps in reducing inflammation, it can be used to improve Autism in children.

How HBOT Therapy Can Benefit Children with Autism

Symptoms of ASD are generally diagnosed in childhood. It is suspected that children with ASD may benefit from HBOT. Inhalation of oxygen in such chambers can elevate the partial pressure of oxygen in arteries, which increases oxygen delivery to the brain.

A study of 18 children with ASD found that HBOT treatment can reduce inflammation and improve behaviors. The improvement in their skill acquisition and spontaneous communication was observed by the parents and the specialists. As a hyperbaric chamber supplies pure oxygen to the body, many consider it a treatment for Autism in children.

Researchers expect that HBOT for Autism can be a promising treatment. Though HBOT has not been clinically proven to be an effective cure for Autism.

In Conclusion

This therapy is performed by expert professionals and has minimal risks of any side effects. Though sometimes negative effects, such as temporary myopia, injuries in ears and lungs, etc., can be noticed. You can also perform it at home if you have your hyperbaric oxygen chamber. But it is always recommended to consult with a health specialist before going under HBOT for Autism.

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