The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Review: Acupuncture for autism spectrum disorders

    Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and lack of flexibility of thought and behavior.

    In this Cochrane review, researchers at The University of Hong Kong, Queen Mary Hospital, in China, report on the effectiveness of acupuncture to improve autistic features.

    First, the details.

    • 10 studies of 390 children were included.
    • The age range was 3 to 18 years.
    • Treatment duration ranged from 4 weeks to 9 months.
    • The studies were carried out in Hong Kong, mainland China, and Egypt.

    And, the results.

    • Needle acupuncture vs sham acupuncture (2 studies)
      • No difference in core autistic features
      • Needle acupuncture might be associated with improvement in communication and linguistic ability, cognitive function and global functioning.
    • Needle acupuncture + conventional treatment vs conventional treatment alone (6 studies)
      • Most could not demonstrate improved core autistic features.
      • 1 study reported significant improvement on the Autism Behavior Checklist and significantly better post-treatment total scores.
      • No evidence that acupuncture improved communication and linguistic ability.
      • Some benefit in cognitive function and global functioning.
    • Acupressure + conventional treatment vs conventional treatment alone (2 studies)
      • Some benefit from acupressure for certain aspects of communication and linguistic ability, cognitive function, and global functioning.
    • Adverse effects
      • Bleeding, crying due to fear or pain, irritability, sleep disturbance and increased hyperactivity.
    • No studies reported on quality of life.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Current evidence does not support the use of acupuncture for treatment of autism spectrum disorder. There is no conclusive evidence that acupuncture is effective for treatment of autism spectrum disorder in children and no randomized clinical trials have been carried out with adults.”

    10/31/11 20:09 JR

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