SFU to Research Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy on Autism


Simon Frazer University (SFU) is a public research academia established in 1965 and based in British Columbia, Canada. It has branches in Burnaby, Surrey, and Vancouver. Being one of the premier academic institutions in Canada, over the years SFU has contributed significantly in the research and development of medical science. Since April 2015, SFU has been conducting focused research and analyzing the effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) on autistic patients.

Who is Funding the Research?

The research is being funded by Darryl and Lee Frost, who have been magnanimous in contributing USD 500,000 towards this cause. It all began with Darryl and Lee Frost’s son Callum being diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, a type of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The doting parents wanted a better understanding of the disorder and scoured the internet for all available information on autism and available therapies. They found the internet to be an infinite source of information after surfing through a variety of life experiences shared by parents of autistic children.

In their endeavor to help Callum, various types of treatments were explored. The Frosts noted that some of the non-mainstream treatments helped Callum immensely with him showing remarkable improvement. As per their observation, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) was the most effective amongst all the alternative treatments that were introduced to Callum. During the HBOT sessions, Callum was exposed to higher levels of oxygen and atmospheric pressure within a controlled compression chamber. The Frosts were certain that HBOT could be singled out as one of the most quantifiable form of treatment for Callum. However, it was an expensive proposition and was not easily accessible for all patients suffering from the disorder.

As Callum’s health improved, the Frosts felt that they can help the autistic community towards building a healthier future. They decided to donate USD 500,000 to the Simon Frazer University (SFU) for research on monitoring the positive effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) on patients suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). SFU established the Callum Frost Professorship in Translational Research in Autism with the funds donated by the Frosts. SFU installed the first hyper/ hypobaric chamber in Canada making it accessible to patients suffering from ASD. SFU has recruited Dr. Sam Doesburg, a neuroimaging expert, for undertaking the study. He is being ably assisted by Dr. Ryan D’Arcy, an acclaimed neuroscientist, in executing this controlled case-study.

Darryl Frost, president and founder of Central City Brewers and Distillers, is hoping that this endeavor proves the science behind the positive effects of HBOT treatment. SFU and the Frosts are optimistic that this in-depth research will aid in HBOT becoming an integral part of treatment for autistic patients in the years to come.

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