CARD Publishes a Second Research Study on the Effectiveness of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

By Marlena N. Smith

A recent study conducted by CARD research and development faculty in collaboration with the Thoughtful House Center for Children found hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to have no effect on the behavior of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Over recent years HBOT has become an increasingly popular treatment for children with ASD; however, the research evaluating its effectiveness is limited. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of HBOT on the behavior of children with ASD.

Sixteen participants with ASD, ages 3 to 9 years, completed the study. Participants received 40 HBOT sessions delivering 24% oxygen at 1.3 atmospheres of pressure, an HBOT dosing regimen that is commonly practiced in the community. Treatment effectiveness was evaluated using a multiple baseline across participants design, via direct observation of the participants’ adaptive behavior, stereotypy, challenging behavior, toy contact, and physical activity.

In this study, HBOT was not found to have a positive or negative effect on the participants’ behavior. These findings replicate those of an earlier study by CARD researchers on HBOT, which used a randomized placebo-controlled design, and which was conducted in a different state. Particularly when both studies are considered together, the findings do not support the use of HBOT for the treatment of ASD. While HBOT may be effective if delivered at a different dosing regimen than the one evaluated in this study, parents are not recommended to invest in this treatment until more favorable results are shown in the context of controlled research.


Jepson, B., Granpeesheh, D., Tarbox, J., Olive, M. L., Stott, C., Braud, S.,… Allen, M. S. (in press). Controlled evaluation of the effects of hyperbaric oxygen therapy on the behavior of 16 children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

1 comment:

  1. Is there a date set on when this study will be published or when the text of the study will be available?