There is no clinical evidence to support the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to treat cerebral palsy. Although
proponents believe that HBOT should enhance neurologic function by oxygenating and repairing damaged brain tissue,
registered clinical trials have not supported this hypothesis.
The pacebo effect exerts a powerful influence over the perception of cause and effect. For those who suffer from chronic
and debilitating neurologic conditions and their care-givers, the desire to find a cure is powerful and may make them
susceptible to influence. This seems to be the case with cerebral palsy.
There are now multiple, randomised, blinded, sham-controlled trials of HBOT in both indications [cerebral palsy and mild
traumatic brain injury]. None of these studies showed benefit of HBOT when compared to sham control, though the sham and HBOT
groups often both improved, indicating that a placebo or participation effect influenced outcomes. These results almost certainly
explain those of open-label trials (lacking sham controls) in which HBOT frequently seems beneficial.
SJ Mitchell, MJ Bennett,
Journal of the South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society, 12/2014
Those seeking treatment for cerebral palsy should beware of practitioners making bold claims for hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
Advertising a specific medical benefit from a treatment that has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for
that purpose is a violation of US federal law. Never pay to participate in a clinical trial.