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Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy in the Treatment of Cerebral Palsy: A Review and Comparison to Currently Accepted Therapies

Carole Sénéchal, Ph.D.
Serge Larivée, Ph.D.
Engelbert Richard
Pierre Marois, M.D.

Hyperbaric oxygenation therapy (HBOT) has shown promise in clinical trials and is sought by many parents of children with cerebral palsy (CP). There is unusual resistance to expanding the indications for this modality, which is the only treatment available for certain conditions, such as decompression sickness and air embolism, and which is effective in a number of others related to wound healing. A recent study that showed notable improvements in children with CP treated with slightly pressurized air, as well as those treated with a standard protocol for HBOT, is invoked to deny effectiveness of HBOT. Political and economic considerations, rather than purely scientific ones, play an important role in this controversy. Further systematic research is needed, but in the meantime children should not be denied access to HBOT.

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