Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD]

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) consists of a series of neurodevelopmental disorders with diverse etiologies characterized by persistent impairments in social communication and interaction, repetitive behaviors, interests, and activities (1) . Three different types of ASD have been defined: autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome, and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD‐NOS). Individuals with ASD have varying degrees of impairment and function. Presently, the cause of ASD is largely unknown. However, environmental, genetic, neurological, and immunological factors are thought to play a role. Management is individualized according to child’s age and specific needs and requires a multidisciplinary approach. The goals of treatment are to maximize functioning, independence, and improve quality of life 1.

Possible specific dysfunctions such as poor brain oxygenation (cerebral hypoperfusion), inflammation, immune dysregulation, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and mitochondrial dysfunction have been reported in several ASD studies 2.

HBOT Research Shows Improvements To:

  • Overall functioning
  • Communication and language
  • Social interaction and eye contact
  • Irritability and Hyperactivity

Benefits of HBOT for ​Autism:

Increases Amount of Oxygen in the Blood

Stimulates development of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels as well as the natural development of new blood vessels.

Reduces Inflammation & Swelling

Suppresses the cellular activity of the immune system which triggers swelling when an injury or damage to the body occurs.  While this reaction is meant to start healing and protect from injury it can result in secondary injury, pain, and prolonged recovery time.

Accelerates Wound Healing

Increases production of nitric oxide in the bone marrow and microvasculature (smaller blood vessels). Stimulates stem cells from the bone marrow, accelerating wound healing. Dilation of smaller blood vessels enhances blood flow to areas of local tissue damage, hypoxia, and ischemia.

Preserves, Repairs, & Enhances Cellular Functions

Boosts cellular metabolism, promotes rapid cell reproduction, and enhances collagen synthesis. Collagen is a protein in connective tissues like skin.

Key Research on Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment for Autism

Cerebral hypoperfusion in autism spectrum disorder

Cerebral hypoperfusion, or insufficient blood flow in the brain, occurs in many areas of the brain in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Hypoperfusion was demonstrated in the brains of individuals with ASD when compared to normal healthy control brains either using positron emission tomography (PET) or single‑photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). The affected areas include, but are not limited to the: prefrontal, frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal cortices; thalami; basal ganglia; cingulate cortex; caudate nucleus; the limbic system including the hippocampal area; putamen; substantia nigra; cerebellum; and associative cortices. Moreover, correlations between symptom scores and hypoperfusion in the brains of individuals diagnosed with an ASD were found indicating that the greater the autism symptom pathology, the more significant the cerebral hypoperfusion or vascular pathology in the brain. Evidence suggests that brain inflammation and vascular inflammation may explain a part of the hypoperfusion. There is also evidence of a lack of normal compensatory increase in blood flow when the subjects are challenged with a task. Some studies propose treatments that can address the hypoperfusion found among individuals diagnosed with an ASD, bringing symptom relief to some extent. This review will explore the evidence that indicates cerebral hypoperfusion in ASD, as well as the possible etiological aspects, complications, and treatments.

Therapeutic use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is neurodevelopment disorder, characterized by impairment in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and the presence of restricted and repetitive stereotyped behaviors. The condition manifests within the first 3 years of life and persists till adulthood. At present, the etiology of ASD is largely unknown, but genetic, environmental, immunological, and neurological factors are thought to play a role in the development of ASD. The prevalence of ASD has increased dramatically in the past few decades. According to current estimates from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as many as 1 in 91 children have ASD in USA.

Hyperbaric treatment for children with autism: a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.

Several uncontrolled studies of hyperbaric treatment in children with autism have reported clinical improvements; however, this treatment has not been evaluated to date with a controlled study. We performed a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial to assess the efficacy of hyperbaric treatment in children with autism. 62 children with autism recruited from 6 centers, ages 2-7 years (mean 4.92 +/- 1.21), were randomly assigned to 40 hourly treatments of either hyperbaric treatment at 1.3 atmosphere (atm) and 24% oxygen (“treatment group”, n = 33) or slightly pressurized room air at 1.03 atm and 21% oxygen (“control group”, n = 29). Outcome measures included Clinical Global Impression (CGI) scale, Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), and Autism Treatment Evaluation Checklist (ATEC).

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy might improve certain pathophysiological findings in autism.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder currently affecting as many as 1 out of 166 children in the United States. Numerous studies of autistic individuals have revealed evidence of cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation and gastrointestinal inflammation, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, relative mitochondrial dysfunction, neurotransmitter abnormalities, impaired detoxification of toxins, dysbiosis, and impaired production of porphyrins. Many of these findings have been correlated with core autistic symptoms. For example, cerebral hypoperfusion in autistic children has been correlated with repetitive, self-stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors, and impairments in communication, sensory perception, and social interaction.

Recent News on Hyberbaric Oxygen Treatment for Autism

Hyperbaric Autism Treatment Shows Possible Promise

Hyperbaric Autism Treatment Shows Possible Promise

To battle her son’s autism, Kazuko Curtin did more than look into a treatment — she started a clinic for it. Twelve years ago, Curtin was told by doctors that her son had autism. In subsequent years, while attending conferences, she heard about…

Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy help autistic kids?

Can hyperbaric oxygen therapy help autistic kids?

“It may help reverse, theoretically, some of the process that’s causing the autism.” You might be familiar with hyperbaric oxygen treatment, in which a patient breathes in extra oxygen while inside a pressurized chamber, as a therapy for the bends…

Additional Research

Cerebral hypoperfusion in autism spectrum disorder

Cerebral hypoperfusion, or insufficient blood flow in the brain, occurs in many areas of the brain in patients diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Hypoperfusion was demonstrated in the brains of individuals with ASD when compared to normal healthy control brains either using positron emission tomography (PET) or single‑photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). The affected areas include, but are not limited to the: prefrontal, frontal, temporal, occipital, and parietal cortices; thalami; basal ganglia; cingulate cortex; caudate nucleus; the limbic system including the hippocampal area; putamen; substantia nigra; cerebellum; and associative cortices. Moreover, correlations between symptom scores and hypoperfusion in the brains of individuals diagnosed with an ASD were found indicating that the greater the autism symptom pathology, the more significant the cerebral hypoperfusion or vascular pathology in the brain. Evidence suggests that brain inflammation and vascular inflammation may explain a part of the hypoperfusion. There is also evidence of a lack of normal compensatory increase in blood flow when the subjects are challenged with a task. Some studies propose treatments that can address the hypoperfusion found among individuals diagnosed with an ASD, bringing symptom relief to some extent. This review will explore the evidence that indicates cerebral hypoperfusion in ASD, as well as the possible etiological aspects, complications, and treatments.

read more

Therapeutic use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is neurodevelopment disorder, characterized by impairment in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and the presence of restricted and repetitive stereotyped behaviors. The condition manifests within the first 3 years of life and persists till adulthood. At present, the etiology of ASD is largely unknown, but genetic, environmental, immunological, and neurological factors are thought to play a role in the development of ASD. The prevalence of ASD has increased dramatically in the past few decades. According to current estimates from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as many as 1 in 91 children have ASD in USA.

read more

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with autism spectrum disorder.

As autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a multifactorial condition, with genetic and environmental risk factors contributing to children’s unique presentation and symptom severity, a range of treatments have been suggested. Parents of children with ASD in my clinic are asking me about alternative therapies to improve their children’s condition. One of those therapies is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT); commercial advertisement in the past has suggested good results with this approach. Should I recommend the use of HBOT for children with ASD? Answer Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides a higher concentration of oxygen delivered in a chamber or tube containing higher than sea level atmospheric pressure.

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What do Cochrane systematic reviews say about interventions for autism spectrum disorders?

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) include autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder and pervasive developmental disorder. The manifestations of ASDs can have an important impact on learning and social functioning that may persist during adulthood. The aim here was to summarize the evidence from Cochrane systematic reviews on interventions for ASDs. Review of systematic reviews, conducted within the Discipline of Evidence-Based Medicine, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo. We included and summarized the results from Cochrane systematic reviews on interventions for ASDs. Seventeen reviews were included.

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The rising prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased the need for evidence-based treatments to lessen the impact of symptoms. Presently, no therapies are available to effectively treat individuals with all of the symptoms of this disorder. It has been suggested that hyperbaric oxygen therapy may alleviate the biochemical dysfunction and clinical symptoms of ASD. To determine whether treatment with hyperbaric oxygen:1. improves core symptoms of ASD, including social communication problems and stereotypical and repetitive behaviors;2. improves noncore symptoms of ASD, such as challenging behaviors;3. improves comorbid states, such as depression and anxiety; and4. causes adverse effects.

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for the treatment of children and youth with autism spectrum disorders: an evidence-based systematic review

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a common disorder that has a complex and heterogeneous etiology. Some evidence suggests that inflammation and oxidative stress may have a pathophysiological link. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) has been proposed as a possible therapy. Because HBOT is an expensive treatment with significant commercial opportunity, it is essential for it to have a research evidence base prior to widespread use. To conduct a systematic review of the literature evaluating the clinical impact of HBOT on behavior and development in ASD with a view to inform practice.
Methods A literature search of electronic scientific databases focusing on clinical outcomes of HBOT in ASD was performed. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were independently assessed by reviewers and were classified according to the American Academy of Neurology Guidelines. Recommendations were made based on the evidence.

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Using hyperbaric oxygen for autism treatment: A review and discussion of literature.

To determine whether hyperbaric oxygen (HBO2) therapy should be used for the treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A literature search was performed on PubMed, Cochrane Library and DynaMed for studies evaluating the use of HBO2 for ASD treatment. The studies were then reviewed for the highest quality evidence. The evidence is weak for the use of HBO2 in ASD, with only one, likely flawed, randomized control study showing treatment benefit. HBO2 should not be recommended for ASD treatment until more conclusive favorable results and long-term outcomes are demonstrated from well-designed controlled trials.

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[Research advances in the management of autism spectrum disorders in children].

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of developmental dysfuntion of nervous system characterized by social interaction and communication disorders, restricted interests and repetitive stereotyped behaviors. The incidence of ASD has been increasing through the world. Some studies have shown that early reasonable individualized comprehensive intervention can obviously improve the prognosis of children with ASD. The etiology of ASD is unclear now, and behavioral and developmental intervention is the main therapy for ASD. The reasonable application of some drugs can improve the efficacy of the behavioral intervention for concomitant symptoms in ASD.

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Integrative Approaches to Caring for Children with Autism.

Parents commonly integrate complementary and alternative medical (CAM) treatments for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with conventional care. The aims of this article are to (1) describe the most commonly used treatments, (2) assess their efficacy and safety, and (3) organize the information in practical format for practitioners. We organized treatment modalities into four categories: recommended, monitored, tolerated, and therapies that should be avoided. These four categories are based on a two by two table weighing a therapy׳s effectiveness and safety. To meet the threshold for “recommended,” its effectiveness needed to be supported by two or more randomized, controlled trials. In addition to promoting an overall healthy lifestyle via nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, social support, and avoiding neurotoxins (healthy habits in a healthy habitat),

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Study the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in Egyptian autistic children: a clinical trial

Numerous studies of autistic individuals have revealed evidence of cerebral hypoperfusion, neuroinflammation, gastrointestinal inflammation, immune dysregulation, oxidative stress, relative mitochondrial dysfunction, and neurotransmitter abnormalities. Many of these findings have been correlated with core autistic symptoms. For example, cerebral hypoperfusion in autistic children has been correlated with repetitive, self-stimulatory and stereotypical behaviors, and impairments in communication. Specifically, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been used and can compensate for decreased blood flow by increasing the oxygen content of plasma and body tissues. The aim of this work was to study the effect of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in autistic Egyptian children. HBOT is a treatment that has recently become quite popular in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community. Its benefits cross a wide range of autistic traits as: improved language, increased awareness, behavior and socialization by affecting the pathophysiological findings in autism.

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References
  1. UpToDate. www.uptodate.com
  2. Xiong, Tao et al. “Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).” The Cochrane database of systematic reviews vol. 10,10 CD010922. 13 Oct. 2016
  3. Rossignol, Daniel A et al. “Hyperbaric oxygen treatment in autism spectrum disorders.” Medical gas research vol. 2,1 16. 15 Jun. 2012, doi:10.1186/2045-9912-2-16

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