New funding spurs autism and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy research at SFU

It is so exciting to hear of the success and progress being made in using HBOT for kids with Autism.

Sherri Ferguson, director of SFU’s Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit (EMPU)—Canada’s only civilian hypo/hyperbaric research chamber—is busy with renovations in preparation for new research projects that include investigations into whether Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) can be used to treat autism.

Earlier this month, SFU received a $500,000 commitment from Central City Brewing and Distillery president Darryl Frost and his wife Lee, to support autism research in the EMPU.

The funds will establish the Callum Frost Professorship in Translational Research in Autism, named for the Frosts’ son, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) two years ago at aged three.

Diagnosed with Pervasive Development Disorder, a type of autism, Callum’s behaviour included tantrums, self-beating, aggressiveness and anxiety, but after undergoing HBOT he experienced significant benefits.

“He was an extremely low-functioning child, unable to do anything for himself, including feeding, dressing and communicating,” says Lee Frost. “However, with dietary changes and intense hyperbaric therapy he is now talking in sentences and is more compliant. He no longer has sensory issues or shows any of the behaviours that once engulfed him, and attends kindergarten with an aid. He is now toilet-trained, can feed and dress himself and has more confidence than his twin brother. Our son is coming back to us fast and furious.”

Convinced that HBOT was the key to Callum’s recovery, the Frosts began planning how they could help other families, and connected with Ferguson and Peter Ruben, associate dean for research in the Faculty of Science.

Together, they developed the plan for establishing the professorship.

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