Oxygen therapy benefit in autism [BBC]

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computerlove
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14 Mar 2009, 10:07 pm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7940149.stm

Quote:
Oxygen therapy benefit in autism
A decompression chamber may help children with autism, say researchers.
march 14, 2009

After 40 hours of hyperbaric treatment autistic children showed significant improvements in social interaction and eye contact compared with controls.

The BMC Pediatrics study could not show if the results were long-lasting but should prompt further investigation of the treatment, the US team said.

One theory is that oxygen can help reduce inflammation and improve flow of oxygen to brain tissue.

Hyperbaric treatment - effectively giving high concentrations of oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure - has been shown to have some benefit in other neurological conditions such as foetal alcohol syndrome and cerebral palsy.

Quote:

We're certainly not talking about a cure, we're talking about improvements in behaviour, improving certain functions and quality of life
Study leader, Dr Dan Rossignol


Some studies have looked at the treatment in children with autism but they have not compared with a dummy procedure raising questions around a "placebo effect".

In the latest study, carried out at six centres in the US, 62 children aged two to seven with autism were randomly assigned to receive 40 hours of treatment over a month with 24% oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure (1.3 atm) or normal air in a slightly pressurised room (1.03 atm).

Children who received the treatment showed significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory or cognitive awareness.

In all, 30% in the treatment group were rated by doctors as "very much improved" or "much improved" compared with 8% of those in the control group.

Overall, 80% in the treatment group improved compared with 38% of controls.

Behaviour

Study leader, Dr Dan Rossignol from the International Child Development Resource Centre, in Florida, said the use of hyperbaric therapy for autism has been gaining popularity in the US where parents can buy their own hyperbaric chamber if they have a spare $14-17,000.

He said the findings would be quite controversial and he too was initially very sceptical of the idea but was prompted to do more research after the treatment showed benefits for his two sons who have autism.

"We're certainly not talking about a cure, we're talking about improvements in behaviour, improving certain functions and quality of life.

"The next step is to try to find out which kids do respond, because it's an expensive treatment - it may be that kids with more inflammation respond better.


Quote:
We also don't know about long-term effects - it could be a transitory effect
Richard Mills, Research Autism


"It would also be nice to know how long the treatment lasts, and the finding needs to be confirmed."

Richard Mills, research director at Research Autism, said this was the first well-designed study looking at the therapy.

"We know this kind of therapy is useful in a number of neurological conditions and that's been well established.

"What we don't know is how useful it is in autism, what we could be seeing is an improvement in other neurological conditions that go alongside autism.

"We also don't know about long-term effects - it could be a transitory effect."

Professor Philip James, an expert in hyperbaric medicine at the University of Dundee, said the pressure used was no more than that used to pressurise an aircraft cabin on the ground.

He added that oxygen was the "controller of inflammation" but also had other effects on regulation of genes and tissue regeneration.

But even if proven, the treatment may not be for everybody.

"When you have any condition, there are people who have too much damage to get better."

"All the oxygen is doing is bringing things towards normal."


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philosopherBoi
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14 Mar 2009, 10:33 pm

I will buy this rubbish when blue cows fly on giant pink clouds made of cotton candy.


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15 Mar 2009, 2:31 am

I think that some more work is required on this, I would be interested to know if the rate of autism is a function of the altitude above sea level. If the study is right then we should see more of AS and autism in cities which are on high hills.

How about Mexico City vs Paris, that would make a interesting study.


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Postperson
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15 Mar 2009, 2:49 am

I like the idea of it. Energy-wise, i'm like someone who's not getting enough oxygen or something.



Callista
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15 Mar 2009, 7:27 am

Postperson, are you thinking you have a low level of alertness? Because I don't think that has to do with the oxygen, though there are other ways you can probably affect your alertness level. Obviously if you're not getting enough sleep you'll go through the day tired. Exercise helps too (you might be tired afterward but you're generally more alert the rest of the day). Sunshine or full spectrum light--that sends your brain "wake up" signals. Chemical stuff like caffeine (doesn't make me more awake when I'm tired, but does make me more alert when I'm well rested). Cold air on the face wakes you up, too.

I bet they would have similar effects in a chamber with air circulating from outside. Hours to relax away from the world, and being let out if I got upset and didn't want to stay in? Yes, please. I'd have better function too.

Quote:
Some studies have looked at the treatment in children with autism but they have not compared with a dummy procedure raising questions around a "placebo effect".

In the latest study, carried out at six centres in the US, 62 children aged two to seven with autism were randomly assigned to receive 40 hours of treatment over a month with 24% oxygen at increased atmospheric pressure (1.3 atm) or normal air in a slightly pressurised room (1.03 atm).
See the problem here? They are NOT controlling for the placebo effect at all; it's very obvious to both kids and parents who's in a hyperbaric chamber and who's in a normal room. I'm a freaking undergrad; I should not be able to point out errors in scientific studies like this... the only logical explanation is that they're not scientific studies!


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alba
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15 Mar 2009, 5:32 pm

Postperson wrote:
I like the idea of it. Energy-wise, i'm like someone who's not getting enough oxygen or something.

Me too.