In the neverending world of alternative medicine, it s always something. The non-medical roulette wheel from hell has a far greater number of wrong choices (37 on a standard roulette wheel ) than you ll find in a casino. And the wheel keeps spinning.
It just landed on 16 (the atomic weight of oxygen), and it is unlikely that there were any winners.
According to an article in today s Wall Street Journal, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) the use of high pressure containers in which people breathe only oxygen is now being touted as being useful as a treatment for autism, as well as other conditions. The only problem is that there is no evidence that it works for any of them.
HBOT does work very well when used as indicated. It can be life-saving for divers who ascend too quickly and get the bends, and it also hlps cure wounds that do not heal well on their own, such as those in the lower extremities, especially in diabetics. It is also being investigated as a possible therapy for brain injuries and systemic bacterial infection.
But, HBOT treatment centers have been popping up left and right, claiming that they can cure cancer, diabetes, autism, sports injuries.
These questionable claims are addressed by Dr. David Lambert at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Lambert, a hyperbaric oxygen specialist says, You ll find a lot of people touting these medicinal benefits, but the problem is there s no evidence to support [its use in treating autism or sports injuries].
ACSH s Dr. Josh Bloom is irked by the common fallacy also reported in the WSJ article that oxygen is flammable. He says, Oxygen does not burn. It makes other things burn, and the more oxygen, the faster the burning. You could toss a lit match into a room full of 100 percent oxygen and there would be no explosion just a former match.
He also ponders, I can t help but wonder what might happen if you mixed two alternative medicine treatments oxygen therapy and antioxidant supplements. Would the patient explode like what happened in that Star Trek episode?