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Complementary Alternative Medicine for Children with Autism: A Physician Survey

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

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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Correspondence to Allison E. Golnik.

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Golnik, A.E., Ireland, M. Complementary Alternative Medicine for Children with Autism: A Physician Survey. J Autism Dev Disord 39, 996–1005 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-009-0714-7

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Keywords

  • Autism
  • Complementary alternative medicine