Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hyperbaric oxygen treatments help autism

Rossignol and his colleagues have just reported the results of their study on hyperbaric oxygen treatments or "dives," on 62 autistic children aged 2-7, in a peer-reviewed, pediatric journal. The study found that children with autism receiving the hyperbaric treatment had significant improvements in overall functioning, receptive language, social interaction, eye contact, and sensory and cognitive awareness compared to children in the non-treatment group. This is the first randomized, controlled, double-blind multicenter trial on the subject. Although the exact mechanism is still unclear, Dr. Rossignol believes the pressure in the chamber may reduce inflammation believed to restrict blood flow to the regions of autistic children's brains that control speech, or it may improve its ability to absorb oxygen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Vitamin A and autoimmunity

An interesting study due out this month in "Nature Medicine" journal may have some relevance to the use of Vitamin A (either as high dose vitamin A taken on a monthly basis and for many, as a daily dose of Cod liver oil) in the biomedical approach to treating autism/Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) protocol which has a great focus on nutrition for autism. We know that our immune dendritic cells, which are the microbe-sensors of the immune system, can send out an alert to stimulate immunity, or a message to calm the immune response and tone down an excessive immune response. It seems that the message to calm excessive immune response uses vitamin A, which may explain the link between vitamin A deficiency and certain autoimmune and other diseases. It may be that infection with bacteria and viruses that cause chronic infections have evolved strategies that alter the signal balance to their advantage. A friendly reminder: those who take high doses of Vitamin A should always monitor blood levels!