Monday, March 16, 2009

Hyperbaric therapy for autism

There is a long, and slightly dubious, history of 'cures' for autism. Scientists in the U.S. have been experimenting with hyperbaric therapy - inhaling up to 100% oxygen at greater-than-atmospheric pressure in a pressurized chamber. A study of 62 children, aged between 2 and 7, gave them either 40 hours of hyperbaric treatment at 1.3 atmospheres (1.3 times normal atmospheric pressure) with 24% oxygen or, as a control group, slightly-pressurized room air at 1.03 atmospheres and 21% oxygen. Children with autism in the treatment group had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction and eye contact compared to the children in the control group. However, there will need to be many more trials on many more children to be sure that this treatment is not just another false dawn for the parents of children with autism.

You can find out more about this research at

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