Friday, April 3, 2009

Oxygen Therapy

I wanted to post this article that I just read concerning Oxygen Therapy. I have been interested in this type of therapy for a myriad of issues since seeing how well it worked in helping a baby recover from Shaken Baby Syndrome. I've also read that it does wonders for cancer patients. It's interesting to see it being used in relation to autism.

Oklahoma parents of autistic children turning to oxygen therapy
Hyperbaric chambers are improving mannerisms, physical behavior
By Kim Archer - Tulsa World
Published: March 9, 2009

It looks like a white submarine ready to dive into the depths, with a small circular window to peer out on an imaginary sea.

It’s a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, and true to its U.S. Navy roots, time spent in one is called a dive.

"It forces oxygen into malfunctioning limbs. For diabetic wounds and wounds in general, it can start building new blood vessels in that area,” said Dr. Gerald Wootan of Jenks Health Team.

Wootan’s patients are stroke victims, children with autism, patients with peripheral vascular disease, people whose bones or soft tissue have been damaged by radiation, people with cerebral palsy, patients with skin grafts or burns, and those with any condition created or worsened by a lack of blood flow.

In fact, more parents of autistic children across the country are turning to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, chelation and a special diet to help their children. It is called the Defeat Autism Now protocol.

As one of only two licensed health care professionals in Oklahoma listed on the Defeat Autism Now clinician registry, Wootan sees 100 to 200 autistic children on a regular basis. Autism is a brain-based disorder that affects a person’s behavioral, social and communication skills.

Seeing progress

The parent of one of those children, Yvette Hill of Shawnee, has been thrilled with how her 11-year-old autistic son, Trent, is progressing due to hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

"Within a week, I noticed a big difference in Trent. Before, his speech was very basic and babyish talk. He would stare and laugh inappropriately. He wouldn’t look you in the eyes and he would zone out,” she said.

After a month of the therapy, "Trent was a completely different little boy,” Hill said.

U.S. researchers are launching studies on the use of hyperbarics both for traumatic head injuries and for autism. A 2006 pilot study by a Virginia researcher saw statistically significant improvements among its autistic subjects in mannerisms, health and physical behavior, sensory and cognitive awareness and speech, language and communication.

Some label this treatment for autism as quackery. But Wootan, a state-licensed osteopathic physician in good standing, sees significant benefits.

At a price of at least $400 per dive, hyperbaric oxygen therapy can be expensive. But for a diabetic seeking to ward off amputation of a limb, a 40-dive protocol can save money and a limb, Wootan said.

By immersing the patient in 100 percent oxygen at more than twice the normal atmospheric pressure, the hyperbaric oxygen treatment dissolves oxygen in the blood plasma and in all body cells, tissues and fluids at up to 10 times normal concentration, he said.

The Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, the governing body of hyperbaric medicine, has approved the therapy for the treatment of 13 select conditions. Those are covered by Medicare and most insurers, he said. So-called off-label uses, such as for autism, are acceptable as long as prescribed by and conducted by licensed physicians, he said.

"It’s like any other procedure. It has to be done correctly,” Wootan said. "About 60 percent of the autistic children we’ve seen do better in behavior and function after hyperbarics as evaluated by their parents.”

Wootan hopes more research will be done to support this treatment for autistic spectrum disorders.

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