Monday, December 19, 2011

Hyperbaric Oxygen for Autism: Evidence-based News and Further Reading

We've been watching with great interest the recent kerfuffle at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center, Secaucus, New Jersey, surrounding the use of mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy for children with autism. November 27 the Star-Ledger posted "Questions, risks surround hyperbaric chamber treatments for autistic children," reporting that the New Jersey state Department of Health would rule in January whether the hospital "should be allowed to offer this experimental and controversial treatment." Just five days later appeared "Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center pulls out of request to use controversial autism treatment" in the same paper. Good call. Let's chalk this up as (1) a victory for evidence-based hyperbaric medicine and (2) another moving family story to inspire legitimate clinical investigators to get to work.

As we read and study for our long-overdue autism page update, we've run across some more required reading for anyone interested in this important and fascinating subject. "The prevalence puzzle: Autism counts" in Nature [479, 22-24 (2011)] looks thoughtfully at whether the rise in autism is due to heightened awareness, better diagnosis, or actual incidence. Last week the Los Angeles Times ran "Discovering Autism," an excellent four-part series covering very similar ground.

[Image: Nature]

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