Most alternative therapies for treating autism show inconclusive benefits
Dr. Shafali Jeste knows well the desperation of a parent seeking a cure for their child with autism spectrum disorder. As a clinician who both researches the causes of the disorder and treats children with autism, Jeste, UCLA associate professor of psychiatry, neurology and pediatrics and a lead investigator in the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment, understands why many parents will try anything that sounds reasonable. A change to a gluten- and casein-free diet to reduce symptoms. Mega-vitamins for the same. Medical marijuana to calm. Melatonin to sleep. Omega-3 fatty acids for hyperactivity. Delaying or refusing vaccinations. All done, usually, in addition to the standard medications that are prescribed to children on the spectrum, including Ritalin, Adderall or Risperdal.
Autism spectrum disorder affects an estimated one in 68 children in the United States. It's a "spectrum" because symptoms range from a child with signifcant intellectual disabilities, including problems with speech, attention, memory and/or repetitive behaviors, to those who have average or above-average intelligence, but who struggle with social skills.
"The short answer is there simply isn't enough solid scientific evidence to say definitely one way or the other whether most of the alternative treatments help or harm," Jeste said.
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- 27th September 2017
- Medical Xpress