Monday, December 17, 2007

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Shows Promising results for Autism

Autism is a mysterious disease-condition-behaviour disorder which causes a complex neurological disorder that typically occurs within the first 3 years of life, that results in developmental disabilities. Children will seemingly develop normally until 18 -24 months at which time an alarming regression in their development occurs and they may stop speaking and begin to lose interest in their surroundings and interactions with other people. Autism occurs two to four times more frequently in boys than in girls.

There are many theories as to the cause of Autism such as abnormal cerebral blood flow to areas of the brain, high fevers, birth trauma, brain injury, infections, reactions to vaccines (some reports implicate MMR) or lack of oxygen before, during or after delivery. Other theories suggest mineral deficiencies such as calcium, iron and zinc either in utero or after birth or fat and protein deficiencies.

The use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for autism has been used in many countries worldwide. The results are varied and the individual reports from families and health professionals are encouraging. There are many testimonies on the net from families who have taken HBOT for their autistic child with varied results, mostly very encouraging.

HBOT increases the oxygen tissue concentration which increases cerebral blood flow to an area thus enabling the body to restore brain tissue metabolism of oxygen and nutrients, helping restoration of any areas which are suffering from hypoxia. New blood and oxygen begin to stimulate an area, especially one that has viable, recoverable brain cells that are "idling neurons" not knowing what to do instead of function normally. HBOT reduces swelling or excess fluid in the brain that might be pressing on centres of the brain which cause "confusion" in their function ability. HBOT has been demonstrated to exert positive objective changes from a safe, adjunctive therapy that has been overlooked by most healthcare professionals. Parents are encouraged to educate themselves on this new dynamic use of HBOT so they can make informed decisions for the future of their child.

The following study, testimony and article is just an example of the information one can obtain from the internet. The testimony is from one of our patients treated here at Reimer Hyperbaric.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) adjunctive role in the treatment of Autism — Trish Planck, Hyperbaric Clinical Director
Autism is a complex neurological disorder that typically occurs within the first three years of life that results in usually severe developmental disability. Its incidence in the population is estimated to be 1 in 500 with a prevalence of boys to girls of 4 to 1. The ensuing effects of the disease result in severe impairment in areas of social interaction and communication and in some individuals self- injurious behaviour may occur.

Presently there are no effective cures for this disease as little is known as to the etioloby. Diet, psychotropic medications and other regimens have been tried with mixed and often disappointing results. Recently a therapy that has been in and out of favour has been shown to be of possible benefit in the treatment of this disease.

Initial results were objective improvements in a variety of diverse phenomenon. Each child demonstrated global reduction in aggressive behaviour. Parental summaries all stated substantial decrease in tendency to rage or exhibit tantrums. All children were reported to be easier to engage when the parent wished to initiate communication with marked improvement of direct eye contact. All three children enrolled in a school program displayed higher achievement with better performance and less instruction in classroom assignments. All children were improved with regard to understanding verbal commands. Reasoning abilities were noticeably enhanced in all individuals.

Clinical improvement was substantiated by pre and post treatment SPECT SCAN brain imaging which displayed enhanced neurophysiologic function in at least one of the members of this study.

The aim of hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an adjunct therapy was to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment in a series of 40 initial treatments, one or twice daily at 1.5 ata to 1.75 ata using a monoplace Sechrist chamber on 100% oxygen for a total time of 60 minutes per treatment. Patients were treated for 5 days consecutively with two days off. HBOT has been demonstrated to exert positive objective changes on a limited cohort of autistic children as evidenced by subjective and objective parameters. HBOT would seem to be useful and safe adjunctive therapy in the treatment of Autism.

B. M.
Autistic and Cerebral Palsy
Thirteen year old boy hearing impaired, mentally delayed and non-verbal. 3 Spect Scan images were taken of the brain at baseline, mid and after the 115th treatment:

Progress while undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy:
Major improvement in interactions with family members.
Plays with family pets.
Major improvements in understanding verbal commands.
Beginning to verbally communicate.
Responds to knocks at the door and answers the door in a normal manner
Major improvements in balance, especially when he starts to fall, he is able to regain his balance with a faster response. He cross patterns down the steps without holding on.
He is no longer raging/destructive of things in the home.
Sits through movies with more understanding.
Better understanding of public surroundings.
When music is played he responds in singing tones.
Hearing has improved and is no longer required to wear hearing devices.
Responds to things/awareness-like waiting for the school bus in the morning through the window.
Plays with various types of toys with more understanding.
Loves to work in the house and yard with Dad.
Mimics everything you ask him to do.
Is able to dress himself, is caring for himself in a independent manner.
Doing better in school with his assignments.
Happier child and smiles more.

Z. M.
Eleven year old boy with profound autism, who is non-verbal, and is still in diapers. Progress since undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy:

Major increase in understanding.
More eye contact.
Behavioural changes are easier to handle and function in public place, less aggressive, raging stopped and is much happier.
New ability to mimic simple vocal sounds-of major importance as pre-language sounds he makes have more tone and syllables.
Shows more interest and contact with his brother, increase in all interactions with others.
Accepts new people, places and situations easier.
Plays with a wide range of toys, instead of only one object.
Less sound sensitive.
Higher functioning in all ways.
Z. M. never noticed people let along mimic anything they did. He now mimics vocal tones and tuning forks and is more aware of sounds and things that people do. Parent gives credit to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Ten year old boy, high functioning with verbal skills and mimics.

Exhibiting receptive manner
Easier to engage.
Exhibiting great internalization of emotions.
Less tantrums.
Classroom achievement improved.
Completing work without re-direction and accuracy improving daily.
Easier to reason with especially in the home environment.
Open to re-direction with rages.
Great willingness to work and stay focused through all classroom assignments.
Much better transitioning, and flexible, open to variety of mediums with little assistance needed.
Much improved relatedness in sharing his emotions.

Abnormal Regional Cerebral Blood Flow In Childhood Autism
Takashi Ohmishi, Heroshi Matsuda, Toshiaki Hashimoto, Toshiyuki Kunihirok, Masami Nishidawa, Takeshi Uema and Masayuki Sasaki

Departments of Radiology, Psychiatry and Child Neurology, National Center Hospital of Mental, Nervous, and Muscular Disorders, National Centre of Neurology and Psychiatry, Kodaira City, Tokyo, Japan

Correspondence to: Takeshi Ohmishi, Department of Radiology, 4-1-1 Ogawa higashi, Kodairs City, Tokyo, Japan 197-0031

Neuroimaging studies of autism have shown abnormalities in the limbic system and cerebellar circuits and additional sites. These finding are not, however, specific or consistent enough to build up a coherent theory of the origin and nature of the brain abnormality in autistic patients. Twenty-three children with infantile autism and 26 non-autistic controls matched for IQ and age were examined using brain-perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) with technetium-99m ethyl cysteinate dimer. In autistic subjects, we assessed the relationship between regional cerebral blood flow(rCBF) and symptom profiles. Images were anatomically normalized, and voxel-by-voxel analyses were performed. Decreases in rCBF in autistic patients compared with the control group were identified in the bilateral insula, superior temporal gyri and left prefrontal cortices. Analysis of the correlations between syndrome scores and rCBF revealed that each syndrome was associated with a specific pattern of perfusion in the limbic system and the medical prefrontal cortex. The results confirmed the association of (i) impairments in communication and social interaction that are thought to be related to deficits in the theory of mind (ToM) with altered perfusion in the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate gyrus, and (ii) the obsessive desire for sameness with altered perfusion in the right medial temporal lobe. The perfusion patterns suggest possible locations of abnormalities of brain function underlying abnormal behaviour patterns in autistic individuals.

5 year old boy treated at Reimer Hyperbaric (testimony)
We miss you !!!! Time has flown since we returned from Canada. We had such a nice time while we were there and will always be most grateful for your friendship and hospitality.

Things at home are going well, it took a little time to get settled in again, the children adapted very easily to the changes, although they miss all of you too. The changes in Christian are wonderful! He continues to speak much more often and in a "conversational" manner, which we are so thankful for.

For your records, I will give you a little background information on Christian and the changes that have occurred as a result of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Christian was 2 weeks overdue, and as a result, labour was induced. The procedure did not progress well and the labour and subsequent emergency C-section were very difficult. Christian was deprived of oxygen before & during delivery. The hospital records stated he suffered "mild to moderate hypoxia" and fetal distress. His apgars were ok and he did have a birth cry. He had suffered lung damage (double pneumothorax) as well as oxygen deprivation.

He lost a lot of weight in the hospital and we stayed 4 days. He was released and we went home - thinking everything was fine. Christian was breast fed and he did very well except that he seemed to have "colic", although it wasn't the normal colic, he never outgrew it (usually happens at 4 months). He was an extremely happy baby, even though he was in pain a lot. He never slept well and was awake most of the 24 hours of the day. At 4 months he suddenly developed "clenched fists" first one, then the other. They were severely clenched with thumbs out. He had an EEG - no seizures activity noted. He has a MRI, which showed no tumours or abnormalities.

The hands stayed clenched until about 16 months of age, where it sort of "wore itself out". He never developed proper use of his hands and fingers for fine motor. His "pointer" fingers are stunted in growth and usually icy cold.

Christian was never able to tolerate food, solid or other until I forced him to eat around 2 years of age. It was devastating to do so, but I had no choice. He had many sensory difficulties, noise was devastating to him, clothes were intolerable, smells made him gag. He didn't develop speech although he walked at 8 months, sat unassisted at 4 months and was running - fast at 1 year old. He was still very happy and friendly although as he got older his eye contact considerably lessened. He would connect for a very brief period and run away. In a group setting he would go to be on his own, preferably in a room by himself.

He was very physical and ran, climbed and jumped all the time. He was constantly in motion. He developed "eye ticks".

We were told that he had:

(1) a definite neurological disorder
(2) possibly autism
(3) possibly tourettes syndrome
(4) definitely sensory integration disorder
(5) definitely receptive (less) and expressive (more) language disorder

We were told - this is it, he will never be "normal" teach him sign language and get on with your life - don't try to "fix" him, it won't happen.

We never gave up on Christian and more importantly, Christian never gave up on Christian. Through much very hard work, tolerance, acceptance and love, Christian did progress. We found what we needed and we did it, simple as that. When he was 5, we decided he needed hyperbaric oxygen therapy and we were right, he did need it and these are the changes that occurred as a result.

(1) Although his sensory difficulties were already decreased, they did so even more after HBO- (we did 40 treatments). What occurred that is really wonderful is that his internal thermostat (which was defective especially in his fingers) has stabilized! His fingers are not icy cold anymore and his has completely stopped biting his nails and fingertips. There were always raw and bleeding. The tissue is healed and he doesn't bite them at all anymore. His hands look more normal and less stunted in growth. This is not wishful thinking, its really true. He also grew 1 whole inch from Dec. to Feb..

(2) His receptive ability is so much better. He understands consequences and can follow directions so much better. He doesn't seem "confused" like he did before.

(3) His expressive ability with language is outstanding. He actually talks on the phone and carries on a two-way conversation. His replies are no longer just one word. His desire to use language is much more pronounced. His teachers are amazed and very happy with the changes. They report that he is much better at "talking with" the other children and interacting in general.

(4) Although Christian was always a loving child, he is much more demonstrative now. he hugs and kisses his friends, spontaneously runs into Grandma's arms and tells her he loves her. He has more access into "our" world and is happier because of it.

Christian has overcome so very much in his life, many times thru very painful and difficult and frightening aspects. He has always remained loving, trusting and open. He deserved the chance to overcome his difficulties thru a non-invasive, pleasant atmosphere, where he doesn't have to work so hard. HBOT gave him this. We will always be so grateful for the opportunity to help him thru this method and grateful for the wonderful people who have allowed it to happen thru their hard word and dedication. That's you guys.

J., G., C., & C

Monday, December 10, 2007

Activities for Autistic Children

Parents, teachers, and other caregivers often get so caught up in educating and providing structure to the lives of autistic children that they forget that, above all, he or she is a child. Like any other child in his or her age group, your autistic child wants to have fun. While some activities may not be suitable for those suffering from autism, there are a number of fun games and activities for autistic children, many of which can get them involved with others or help them further develop motor or social skills while just focusing on having a good time.

Autistic children in the elementary school age range can benefit greatly from song. Even children who do not verbally communicate with words can learn to hum along or play simple instruments, such as tambourines or whistles. Using sounds that are repetitive and with educational lyrics helps autistic children learn school lessons but also gives them an outlet for some of the sensory stimulation they need, such as yelling. Play follow the leader with the instruments to help the children focus their attention and improve socialization skills.

Depending on how mature your child is, he or she may also not only be able to participate in regular childhood games, but greatly benefit from them as well. These activities, including tag and other games, can be learned more easily than you think. Stick with games in which the autistic child is not forced to have close physical contact with other children, as this may be hurtful for autistic individuals. Also, remember to play to your child’s strengths or what he or she wishes to learn. If he or she has a problem with yelling inappropriately, for example, encouraging him or her to be involved with a game of hide and seek may help curb this behavior.

Autistic children often wish to be included in games with non-autistic peers, and so this may help with the learning process. At home, focus on games that involve closer contact with trusted family members. For example, make it a game to get across the room without touching the floor. Perhaps the only route in some instances is to be carried. Remember that each child is different developmentally, so stay in tune with how challenging the activities should be.

As your child matures, he or she may want to be involved with organized sports. This should be encouraged, but choose your sport carefully. Golf, baseball, and other sports that do not involve strong personal sensory stimulation may be better for your child than something like tackle football. However, be open to all possibilities. Be sure the team’s coach understands your child’s disability and is willing to work with him or her.

At this later developmental stage, also continue encouraging learning activities. Sensory games work well to further teach these children, and as they mature emphasize the importance of appropriate behavior as you are playing these games. Using things like water balloons in games your child already enjoys is often as fun for children with autism. Also realize that an autistic individual has trouble seeing things from another’s point of view. Therefore, they may be less likely to enjoy games in which something must be kept a secret from another person (like go-fish).

Overall, you and your child need to grow together. Remember that although he or she has many special needs, sometimes your child needs to simply be a kid as well. Encourage play along with work, and realize that games and activities for autistic children may fulfill two key elements, socialization skills for life and learning to enjoy playing with their peers.

There are many more resources and information about diagnosing, controlling and treating Autism in -