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Clinical Effects of Spinal Manipulation in the Management of Children and Young Adults Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder

By |January 31, 2017|Autism|

Clinical Effects of Spinal Manipulation in the Management of Children and Young Adults Diagnosed With Autism Spectrum Disorder – A Systematic Review of the Literature

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SOURCE:   J Clin Chiro Peds 2016 (Dec); 15 (3): 1280–1291

Sabine Kronau DO, MSc Paed Ost, Bettina Thiel Dipl.-Ing.,
Anne Jäkel DPhil, Torsten Liem DO, MSc Ost, MSc Paed Ost

Osteopathie Schule Deutschland,
Mexikoring 19, 22297
Hamburg, Germany


Background:   Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are classified as pervasive developmental disorders that permanently affect essential mental functions. Symptoms include quality-related disorders in areas of social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, the variability of behaviours and specific learning disabilities. Abnormalities in development are already apparent in early childhood.

Aim:   To identify evidence for the clinical benefits of manual therapy of the musculoskeletal system in children diagnosed with ASD.

Methods:   The following databases and search interfaces were searched from Database start up until October 2015: Bio Med Central, Chiropractic Library Collaboration, Clinical Trials, Cochrane library, Dimdi, EBSCO host, Pubmed, Pubmed central, Medline Plus, Osteopathic research Digital repository, Osteopathic Research Web, and Physiotherapy Evidence Database. Further searches included journals provided by the University of Wales and the University of Duisburg-Essen. Studies were included if participants were children and young adults aged 0-21 years; studies published in English, German, or French; a diagnosis of autism or ASD, and study designs of randomized clinical trial, case-control studies, case series, case reports, and single subject studies (N of 1), which include manual therapeutic interventions of the musculoskeletal system. Two authors independently screened the studies for inclusion criteria, extracted the data and assessed for risk of bias. Methodological quality of randomized clinical trials was assessed by the Downs and Black tool. Quality of reporting for case series and case reports was assessed with the appropriate checklists provided by the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research (EQUATOR) network.

Results:   Included in the review were one randomized clinical trial (uncontrolled), one case series, and 11 case reports. The methodological quality of the included randomised clinical trial was rated as being poor. Quality of reporting for the included case series and case reports was also insufficient. All included studies used spinal manipulation, and indicated an improvement in autistic symptoms after the manual therapeutic intervention.

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