September 22, 2020
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are considered as a group of conditions characterized by some degree of alteration of social behavior, communication and language, and by a restricted, stereotyped and repetitive repertoire of interests and activities. These conditions are included in the category of pervasive developmental disorders. ASD is a generic term that includes childhood autism, atypical autism, and Asperger’s Syndrome. The intellectual level varies greatly from one case to another and ranges from profound deterioration to cases with high cognitive abilities. Those affected by ASD often have comorbid conditions, such as epilepsy, depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
How does it manifest?
Most cases of ASD become visible in the first 5 years of a child’s life and persist into adolescence and adulthood. Early diagnosis is essential and today it is possible to establish it before the child reaches its first two years. The delay in speech or social skills (does not look at the eyes, does not signal, does not allow to be embraced), a temporary involution or the appearance of certain repetitive behaviors can be characteristic early signs.
What are the possible causes?
The available scientific evidence indicates the existence of multiple factors, including genetic and environmental factors, that make it more likely that a child may suffer from an ASD. The truth is that in recent years the number of children with autism has increased. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that 1 in 160 children have an autism spectrum disorder. There are many possible explanations for this apparent increase, including greater awareness, the expansion of diagnostic criteria, better tools to diagnose and better communication.
Is there any treatment that can improve the quality of life?
Scientific studies* suggest that the application of hyperbaric chamber improves some of the disorders suffered by children with autism, mainly due to the increase in blood flow to the brain and the greater arrival of oxygen in all tissues of the body. Some medical professionals point out that in the brains of children with ASD there is a lower level of blood flow.
Hyperbaric Oxygenation Treatment (HBOT) is a non-invasive method that involves supplying oxygen at high concentrations in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber to a minimum of 1.4 ATM atmospheres (higher than the normal ambient atmospheric pressure of 1 atmosphere). This gas is transported to the blood and manages to reach even damaged tissues.
According to Dr. Mariana Cannellotto, medical director of BioBarica, from the application of the Hyperbaric Chamber, a very significant advance is achieved in care, connection with the family and the environment, socialization, reinforcement of muscle tone and immune system.
That is, among the most significant changes we find:
Increase in cerebral perfusion
Significant progress in attention and socialization
Better connection with the family and the environment
Strengthening muscle tone
Strengthening the immune system
Reduction of oxidative stress
These effects vary in each patient because everything depends on each particular case. The duration and frequency of the sessions should be indicated by a specialist to obtain maximum efficiency in treatment. The important thing is to know that children can enter the chamber accompanied by an adult, this allows them to feel more secure or content. They can also enter with toys to keep themselves entertained, reclining or sitting while drawing.
Rossignol DA, Rossignol LW, James SJ, Melnyk S, Mumper E. The effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on oxidative stress, inflammation, and symptoms in children with autism: an open-label pilot study. BMC Pediatr. 2007 Nov 16;7:36. doi: 10.1186/1471-2431-7-36. PMID: 18005455; PMCID: PMC2244616.
Rossignol DA, Rossignol LW. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may improve symptoms in autistic children. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):216-28. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2006.02.009. Epub 2006 Mar 22. PMID: 16554123.