A new study, supplementing last year's work by the same Center for Autism & Related Disorders (CARD) team, casts yet more doubt on the efficacy of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy (mHBOT) for children with autism. The original paper is forthcoming in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the leading peer-reviewed, scholarly periodical on autism spectrum disorders.
These investigations are of a lower order than the Rossignol random controlled trial, where the efficacy of mHBOT was demonstrated. But still we consider CARD's null findings and well-played refutation an even more important contribution to the medical literature today.
We're also aware of the sometimes combative passions within the autism community, even among normally dispassionate scientists, and especially surrounding the Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) movement. Rossignol excites us, too. Yet it disturbs us whenever we hear mHBOT practitioners ready to take Rossignol to the clinic, to the home, or (ahem) to the bank. We've seen him present and heard him emphasize just how much more work there is to be done.
In the final analysis, none of the studies published to date could charitably be called landmark science. We're very early in this important pursuit, and we encourage investigators to take stock and look ahead. Again we draw the reader's attention to the nicely balanced UHMS position statement on "The Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy." (See our June 16 post, HBOT For Autism: Junk Science?)