What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy(HBOT)
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a new form of medical treatment which is being studied extensively for autism. It is a safe, effective and a non-invasive procedure. “Hyper” means more and “Baric” means pressure, i.e. this therapy uses pressure to distribute more oxygen into body tissues such as the brain along with blood, cerebrospinal fluid, etc.
How does HBOT work in Autism
Decreased blood flow, inflammation, weak immune system, excess of free radicals are one of the few factors leading to autism.
In HBOT, at high atmospheric pressure, maximum oxygen is dissolved in the blood, so 100 % oxygen is available to the body. Thus, increasing the oxygen at cellular level results in repair of the damaged cells. forming new blood vessels, repair of the damaged cells and preventing further damage to the brain cells. This helps to improve the function of the damaged brain areas and further improve symptoms.
It regulates the immune system and reduces inflammation.
It may help in decreasing seizures.
HBOT also functions as an antibiotic as it helps to decrease the abnormal pathogens in the gut often found in children with autism and improve dysbiosis.
The body’s healing process improves.
Various studies have demonstrated use of HBOT in improving speech, cognition, memory, behavior, hyperactivity, etc in Autism.
How Is HBOT Done
In an enclosed, specially designed, pressurized chamber, the patient inhales 100% oxygen at a pressure three times greater than normal atmospheric pressure. Each session of HBOT lasts upto 45-60 minutes. Patients may require upto 40 sessions of HBOT to see the benefits.
What are the side effects of HBOT
However, it may also have some side effects such as Barotraumatic injury (in the ear, nasal sinuses, lungs and teeth), oxygen toxicity, myopia, cataract, claustrophobia, anxiety. Inhalation of high concentration of oxygen under pressure may also result in seizures. Prolonged treatment of HBOT may also lead to chest tightness and toxic pulmonary effects. The effects of HBOT are not consistent in all studies. Even though some children may benefit from HBOT, it is still not an established treatment. It is highly recommended that before deciding on the treatment you discuss the details of HBOT with the specialist doctor and know whether it will help your child.
HBOT being administered by a medical practitioner to a patient.