Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Helps with Autism & Rett Syndrome
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (‘HBOT’) is a non-invasive medical treatment which allows the patient to inhale 100% oxygen at an air pressure that is greater than atmospheric pressure. HBOT is an acceptable medical modality used to treat roughly 66 conditions around the world including autism. patients with rett syndrome, previously thought to fall on the Autism Spectrum disorder have also been noted to receive benefit from HBOT.
Rett Syndrome is a rare and severe neurological disorder that is first recognized in infancy. It is caused by mutations on the X chromosome on a gene called MECP2. Rett Syndrome is almost always seen in girls. Because boys have only one X chromosome, the consequences for them are far more devastating and they usually die before birth or in early infancy.
Symptoms of Rett Syndrome start to appear when babies are 12-18 months and include microcephaly, problems with hand movements, problems with muscles and co-ordination and trouble with breathing. In addition, children with Rett Syndrome fail to develop any language skills. They stop talking and suffer from extreme social anxiety. As they get older, children also tend to become tense and irritable, sometimes crying or screaming for long periods of time. These symptoms don’t usually improve over time. Rather they stay the same or slowly become worse with time. As such Rett Syndrome is a lifelong condition and people suffering from it are rarely able to live independent lives.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD, refers to a complex developmental brain disorder that affects the way the brain works. The cause of autism is not known to us but there are numerous studies looking into this question.
People suffering from ASD experience difficulties in two areas. The first is social communication and social interaction and the second is restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities. Like Rett Syndrome, ASD is a lifelong disability and the symptoms can be detected at an early age. Despite the fact that there is no cure for ASD, there are various therapies and interventions which have been shown to improve the symptoms and abilities of people with ASD over time.
How Can HBOT Help?
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is completely safe and helps to enhance or restore brain function by oxygenating the brain or flushing toxins from cells, blood, tissues and organs.
Studies have reported positive results for children suffering from autism. HBOT can be used to treat cerebral hypoperfusion conditions and compensate for decreased blood flow by increasing the oxygen content of the plasma and body tissues. HBOT also improves immune function, increases the function and production of mitochondria, improves neurotransmitter abnormalities and regulates detoxification problems. The results of this therapy have been astounding. Children are reported by doctors and parents as becoming more calm and affectionate, having improved cognition, experiencing less sensory disturbance, becoming more focused and having improved bowel function.
Since children with Rett Syndrome experience many of the same symptoms as children with autism, HBOT can also have a positive and beneficial effect on these children.