Autistic children use alternative therapy

March 13, 2009 at 10:32 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, March 13 (UPI) -- Primary care physicians are more likely to ask parents about complementary alternative medicine use when caring for autistic children, U.S. researchers say.

A national survey of 539 U.S. physicians conducted by the University of Minnesota finds physicians were more likely to ask patients with autism about CAM use compared with children with other chronic conditions.

"In light of the high prevalence of complementary alternative medicine used to treat children with autism, it is important that physicians ask about what is used in the context of routine primary care," study author Dr. Allison Golnik said in a statement.

"Physicians need access to balanced education that will inform their own recommendations for specific CAM therapies and adequate information to care for families who elect their use."

The physicians responding to the survey reported integrating some CAM modalities that may be supported by emerging evidence, but need further research. Physicians also reported actively discouraging some therapies that have been refuted by evidence or carry significant risks.

The findings are published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorder.

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