This is one of those topics very often best left to the likes of professors to deal with owing to the controversial nature of the conditions thought by some to cause Cerebral Palsy (CP).
In the opinion of many, CP originates at the point of birth or just before as some form of hypoxic birth injury which manifests later in the child’s development, sometimes only years later. Causes can include placental separation (abruption), premature delivery, periventricular damage and so on. These usually involve a loss of oxygen and edema in the brain occurring around the time of delivery.
In a paper previously cited called “Time is Brain” by Jeffrey L Saver published December 2005, it is established that brain cell loss increases as time passes following a neurological insult. In that paper the topic is stroke however the principals can apply to CP also.
In the case of stroke however, it is often obvious that the insult or injury is occurring and can be observed in real time and time is seldom wasted in seeking treatment. In CP however it can be far less obvious that something may be wrong. This means that by the time it is treated, it is well down the line and there is often very little traditional medicine can do to help, with patients being dismissed from primary care and consigned to life long management of the condition.
For cases where treatment is delayed by many years HBOT can still be beneficial in managing the condition with reports of reduced spacticity, better sleep patterns, calmer patients, cognitive improvement, gross and fine motor function and so on. While not a silver bullet cure, it may improve quality of life in many ways. In the link Dr Paul Harch explains:
Optimal benefit can often be achieved the earlier the condition is treated. Very often though birth injury isn’t identified immediately. This too is a hot topic and medical practitioners are cautious to make that determination early on if they make it at all. Birth injury is considered by some to be unrelated as it eludes to some kind of failing during the delivery process. However, if that determination could be made early,and a new born treated with hyperbaric oxygen, there is the potential to reduce the long term effect of hypoxic birth injury and reduce the neurological impact from that point on.
Toddlers, children and indeed newborns can be treated in hyperbaric chambers with the use of fairly simple supplementary equipment. This could go a long way to reducing long term neurological deficit in cerebral palsy.
An often cited source of information is Professor Phillip B James, a professor of hyperbaric medicine at the Wolfson Hyperbaric Unit at the University of Dundee. Included here is a recent publication of his relating to Cerebral Palsy including a case study involving twins. The case in favour of HBOT for pre term infants is convincing. seemingly HBOT can prevent delayed deterioration in some cases when identified and treated early.