This review paper was written for three intended audiences:
HBOT involves the inhalation of 100% oxygen inside a chamber pressurized above sea-level atmospheric pressure. Medical studies have found low-pressure HBOT to be a safe and beneficial treatment for many medical conditions, although some of these conditions are not yet recognized as standard medical practice. Brain injury is one of the most significant additional indications for which low-pressure HBOT has been found to be beneficial. HBOT appears to be similarly beneficial for cerebral palsy, based on many individual cases and early clinical trials. Given the strong neurological and symptomatic similarities between brain injuries, cerebral palsy, and Rett Syndrome, HBOT may also be helpful for Rett Syndrome.
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A Personal Note. I'm afraid I also have little direct experience with HBOT to report. As indicated in the paper, my wife and I had planned to take our daughter for a series of 40 HBOT treatments in August 1999. In July 1999, we did a single HBOT treatment, preceded and followed by SPECT scans, in an attempt to demonstrate the kinds of short-term perfusion improvements seen in the Neubauer et al. studies. While she apparently did fine during and immediately after the single HBOT session (1.75 ATA, 60min), she did not handle the anesthesia required for the SPECT scans so well. It took her a very long time to wake up from the anesthesia after the second SPECT scan, despite a reduced dosage. Eight days later she had her first seizures ever, and they continued for approximately 1.5 weeks until we began a small daily dose of Tegretol. As far as we know, the Tegretol has fully controlled her seizures since 8/10/99.
Did the HBOT cause her seizures? It is impossible to know for sure. Girls with Rett Syndrome often begin having seizures at around her age, and my daughter had longstanding EEG abnormalities. So she may have been living very close to her seizure threshold for some time, and something pushed her over the threshold: the HBOT session, the anesthesia, an illness, or just the passage of time.
In any case, we were not able to do the planned HBOT treatments, so I have almost zero personal experience with HBOT. A bitter disappointment. In retrospect, doing the two SPECT scans was probably a bad idea because it required so much anesthesia. My personal opinion is that the HBOT probably was not the primary or only cause of her seizures, but it certainly could have been. We may try HBOT at some point in the future, but for now we have no immediate plans.
Webmasters: Do you have a HBOT-related web site of your own? You are welcome (and encouraged!) to add a link to this site on your own site. Please link to the home page and not directly to the downloadable review paper. Also, I'd appreciate it if you could send me a quick e-mail.
I hope the paper will be useful to you!
Earl Williams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Last revised: 011002 EMW
(Visitors since 5/25/99)