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Hyperbaric therapy is a means to enhance oxygen delivery to ischemic tissues of the body.
Loss of function to the brain is due to both tissue destruction (irreversible) to tissue swelling, which can be reversed. An increased amount of oxygen is necessary to heal these capillaries. Giving oxygen under increased atmospheric pressure dramatically increases the oxygen carried in the blood plasma, from 0.3 ml/dl to 4 to 6 ml/dl. Besides, increasing oxygen intake to the bloodstream actually causes the blood vessels to shrink, reducing the amount of edema fluid and making the blood ‘oxygen-rich’. Thus the net result of giving HBOT therapy, by both increasing oxygen delivery and decreasing fluid outpouring, is that oxygen-rich plasma is able to run freely into constricted areas of capillary damage in the brain to promote healing.
Scans indicate that, during HBOT therapy, capillary healing occurs, fluid leakage is reduced, swelling recedes and effective blood supply is thus restored to previously oxygen-restricted brain tissue. With the help of exercise and therapeutic treatment, functional ability can begin to be restored, as newly revived brain cells are trained to take over the function of dead cells.
HBOT IN AUTISM:
It is a multigenetic disturbance syndrome and not “A Disease”. Due to the multiplicity of genetic faults, there are various biochemical and neuro-hormonal pathways and physiological functions of the body that may go wrong in a particular person with autism.
After clinical assessment if the brain is edematous and inflamed (Ischemic penumbra) but not totally dysfunctional (dead), THEN we advise HBOT, based on our experience of last nine years in this field.
Role of HBOT in autism :
- Immune stimulation, by restoring WBC function
- Accelerates neo-vascularisation in hypoxic areas by augmentation of fibroblastic activity.
- Vasoconstriction by HBO therapy, reduces edema in normal tissues with increased Oxygen delivery.
- HBO therapy is bactericidal for anaerobic organisms such as Clostridia Welchii
- Reduces the half-life of Carboxyhaemoglobin from 4-5 hours.
The UDAAN experience suggests that the first benefit is seen in Cognitive functions, due to which the child understands better, obeys better, and has greater capacity and desire to excel in his standard therapies. This is followed 2 to 6 months later by observable behavioral benefits.
HBOT has effectively recovered and rebuilt brain tissue through reactivation of stunned tissue, revascularizeation and, possibly, stimulation of adult stems cells in the brain to repair existing neural pathways and grow new ones.
HBOT IN CEREBRAL PALSY
The experience at UDAAN, with CP children given HBOT suggests that a rapid (2 to 4 months) improvement in Cognitive functions, understanding, cooperative spirit, stamina, obeying of commands, following of commands, and willingness to do the therapeutic maneuvers told. The child spontaneously wants to do more and more. This results in a gradually improving physical development that seems to peak during month 4 to 6 AFTER completion of sessions of HBOT. Thereafter, there is still a steady Neurodevelopmental growth, which we have observed even two years post-HBOT, without any going back as commonly seen with Nerve Block.
Some of our earliest HBOT Group children (2001) are supported walkers or independent walkers now (in 2004). UDAAN has been in existence since 1992, and none of the similar moderate to severe CP children in Non-HBOT group have developed the degree and quality of independent walking that the HBOT children have acquired in such a short period.
Role of HBOT
- IT reduces tissue swelling (oedema)
- The reduced swelling enables capillaries to open up to enhance microcirculation
- It promotes many chemicals to be released (Angio-genetic factors) that enhance new capillary growth from normal areas towards ischemic zones
- It acts like an “Internal Hydrogen-peroxide antiseptic” to kill microbes
- It enhances the oxygen dissolved in tissue fluid that is the ONLY source of direct oxygen supply to any tissue of the body including brain, as per Henry’s law of Physics that states that pressure exerted on a water body is directly proportional to the solubility of a gas in water. Thus, once the blood / tissue fluid gets oxygen enriched, simple laws of diffusin does the rest to carry it from “Normal” perfused tissues to “Ischemic” low perfused tissues
The Collet study from Canada published in the Lancet in 2001clearly showed that when CP children are NOT TREATED, their GMFM score spontaneously improved at a rate of 0.1 per month, whereas when either HBOT at 1.75 Atmospheric pressure (ATA) with 100% oxygen was used or 1.3 Atmospheric pressure with ambient air was used, the GMFM change JUMPED to 1.0 or more per month: that is, a TEN FOLD Spontaneous jump.