Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 996–1005 | Cite as

Complementary Alternative Medicine for Children with Autism: A Physician Survey

  • Allison E. GolnikEmail author
  • Marjorie Ireland
Original Paper


Previous studies suggest over half of children with autism are using complementary alternative medicine (CAM). In this study, physicians responded (n = 539, 19% response rate) to a survey regarding CAM use in children with autism. Physicians encouraged multi-vitamins (49%), essential fatty acids (25%), melatonin (25%) and probiotics (19%) and discouraged withholding immunizations (76%), chelation (61%), anti-infectives (57%), delaying immunizations (55%) and secretin (43%). Physicians encouraging CAM were more likely to desire CAM training, inquire about CAM use, be female, be younger, and report greater autism visits, autism education and CAM knowledge. Physicians were more likely to desire CAM training, inquire about CAM and view CAM as a challenge for children with autism compared to children with other neurodevelopmental and chronic/complex conditions.


Autism Complementary alternative medicine 



Project support: Autism Speaks Incorporated, Joanna Simer Fellowship in Adolescent Health, University of Minnesota, Faculty Development in Primary Care, University of Minnesota (Grant # D55HP04186-03, HRSA, Bureau of Health Professions, DHHS). Dr. Golnik had full access to all the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. Thank you to Susan Hyman, MD for providing comments on a previous draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of General Pediatrics, Department of PediatricsUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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