Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) affect the development of the nervous system and brain functioning, especially in aspects related to the processing of information that comes from social stimuli.
It is not possible to determine the cause of the appearance of ASD, but it is known that there is genetic implication. Currently there is no biological marker that allows the diagnosis of ASD, so it is made based on different indicators in the development of the person that point to an alteration in it, as well as an specific assessment of their behavior.
In the diagnostic process, different information must be collected and compared. It is obtained both from the person who is going to the evaluation, and from the people in their closest environment, who are usually their parents and / or siblings.
The clinical manifestations of ASD may vary among the people who present them, as well as their intellectual abilities. However, all people with ASD share the different characteristics that define this type of disorder.
In general, their interaction skills with others are very different from the usual ones. In some cases they may present a significant social isolation, or not show much interest in relating to others. However, at other times they may try in a strange way, without knowing very well how to do it, and without taking into account the reactions of the other person.
They usually show alterations in verbal and non-verbal communication skills, which can vary from people who do not use any language to those who have fluent language skills, but do not know how to use them to maintain a functional reciprocal communication. In addition, people with ASD have a limited repertoire of interests and behaviors. They can present the same behaviors in a repetitive way, and have problems to face changes in their activities and their environment, even if they are minimal. Finally, their abilities to imagine and understand the emotions and intentions of others are limited, which makes it difficult for them to function adequately in the social environment.
At the moment, there is no cure for ASD. However, there are factors that will significantly influence the development of the person who presents them and their quality of life. It is essential that the diagnosis is made early and that the child receives appropriate early intervention.
It is necessary to emphasize that the person with ASD continues to develop and learn throughout his life. The features that characterize ASD do not disappear when a person reaches adulthood, although their needs do change with age and the passage of time.
The quality of life of the person and their family will be influenced by the possibilities of accessing the appropriate interventions and support as soon as possible.
What effects can hyperbaric treatment have on patients with autism?
Several scientific studies suggest that the application of hyperbaric chamber improves some of the disorders suffered by children with autism, mainly due to the increase in blood flow to the brain and the greater arrival of oxygen in all tissues of the body. Some authors indicate that in the brains of children with ASD there is a lower level of blood flow.
It is a safe and non-invasive therapy. The patient enters a hyperbaric chamber where he is supplied with air and oxygen under pressure; in this way the level of oxygen in the tissues is raised several times and, as a consequence of this hyperoxia, a great number of benefits are triggered. Among the changes generated by the HBOT are:
- Decreased cerebral perfusion
- Significant progress in attention and socialization
- Better connection with the family and the environment
- Strengthening muscle tone
- Increased immune system.
- Reduction of oxidative stress
Treatment with hyperbaric oxygenation does not cure or act as a remedy. It has a certain average life. Therefore, the more sessions, the better the results.
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