Volume 4 Issue 9 - May 01, 2006

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy offers hope to cerebral palsy affected people

D.N.I.S. News Network - In a promising development for people affected by Cerebral Palsy, a therapy involving inhalation of pure oxygen by a person affected by the developmental disorder has shown the impact of increasing brain function and hence improving chances of rehabilitation.

The developmental disability, which affects over 0.1 per cent of India’s population, is characterised by lack or improper control over muscles, and is often complicated by physical deformities caused by defective muscle control. It may or may not be accompanied by mental disability.

The technique is called Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (H.B.O.T.). It has been developed by experts from U.S.A. and developing countries like India and China, and could reportedly reverse brain damage due to the disease. H.B.O.T., a treatment in which the patient is made to breathe absolutely pure oxygen for an hour, rushes oxygen to the deprived brain tissues and reduces the extent of brain damage.

According to a popular view, cerebral palsy it caused due to an oxygen deficiency for the child while in the mother's womb, during birth, or within five years of birth. A combination of physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and special education can help a child affected by cerebral palsy to show considerable recovery. However, when the same procedure is combined with H.B.O.T., the neurodevelopment growth rate is doubled by the eighth month of therapy.

H.B.O.T. has been available with the armed forces for decades due to the adverse environment they face everyday. However, due to the risks of breathing absolutely pure oxygen, the treatment has been recommended after a lot of research, says a newspaper report. According to experts, up to 40 sittings are sufficient to show significant improvement.

The treatment is not given to patients individually. Instead, three to eight patients are collectively kept in oxygen-rich chambers. In India, UDAAN, an organisation engaged in education and treatment for children affected by Celebral Palsy, Autism, Down Syndrome and other metal disabilities, provides the therapy from South Delhi in collaboration with Foundation for Spastic and Mentally Handicapped Persons, a charitable N.G.O.

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