media release

SFU, Surrey brewery partner on autism research project

April 07, 2014

Diane Mar-Nicolle, SFU Science communications, 778.782.9586;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017;


Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Distillers is partnering with Simon Fraser University on a pilot project on a possible treatment for autism.

The brewery hopes to raise $400,000 to help fund clinical trials of the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for children with autism. The study will make use of SFU’s hyperbaric chamber to study the effectiveness of the therapy, which is known to increase blood circulation to the brain, on children with autism.

The chamber, the only one of its kind at a Canadian research university, is housed at the Burnaby campus’s Environmental Medicine and Physiology Unit (EMPU).

Researchers from SFU will collaborate on the four-year study and will include Sherri Ferguson, director of the EMPU and Ryan D’Arcy, a professor in SFU’s Schools of Engineering and Computing Science and one of the world’s leading neurologists.

D’Arcy will employ his portable EEG device to help measure and monitor changes during HBOT.

Darryll Frost, president and founder of Central City Brewers and Distillers, says autism is a condition “very close to my heart” as his son Callum was diagnosed with autism when he was two-and-a-half-years-old.

"Every day, we face the challenge of how to help our son and we've invested in a number of therapies to support him, including HBOT treatments. Our goal is to assist scientists in proving the effectiveness of HBOT for children with autism, so that everyone can have access to this therapy."

Peter Ruben, associate dean of research and graduate students in SFU’s Faculty of Science, says it is the first study of its kind in Canada to examine the effectiveness of HBOT on children with autism. "It's so inspirational and rare to see businesses and people, like Darryll and CCBD, take such a leadership role and make a difference by getting involved in research to help improve the lives of others. We look forward to working together with CCBD in making this clinical trial a success."

CCBD and SFU will hold the 2nd Annual Evening for Autism black-tie fundraising event on May 24 at SFU’s Surrey campus with live and silent auctions to help the clinical trial funding. CCBD is also running its Imperial IPA for Autism campaign, where $2 from the sale of each bottle will go towards the trial.

For more information on this fundraiser:

Simon Fraser University is consistently ranked among Canada's top comprehensive universities and is one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 125,000 alumni in 130 countries.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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