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Omega‐3 fatty acids for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

It has been suggested that difficulties associated with ASD may be explained in part by lack of omega‐3 fatty acids, and that supplementation of these essential fatty acids may lead to improvement of symptoms. The purpose of this review was to assess the evidence for the effectiveness of omega‐3 supplementation for core features of ASD and associated symptoms. We found only two small randomised controlled trials that evaluated omega‐3 fatty acids for ASD. There is insufficient evidence that omega‐3 fatty acids supplementation is an effective treatment for ASD. However, high quality large randomised controlled trials are needed before definite recommendations about this treatment can be made.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Intravenous secretin for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Secretin is a gastrointestinal hormone that was first presented as an effective treatment for ASD in 1998, based on anecdotal evidence. On the basis of these first reports many families sought treatment with intravenous secretin for their children with ASD even though secrein was not a proven, effective treatment and there was inadequate information about side effects when used in this group of children. This review included 16 randomised trials with a placebo control group, with over 900 children involved. The review found no evidence that single or multiple dose intravenous secretin is effective in improving the main problems seen in ASD, namely a lack of social interaction and communication and restrictive, repetitive behaviours and routines. As such, currently it should not be recommended or administered as a treatment for ASD. Further experimental assessment of secretin's effectiveness for ASD can only be justified if there is convincing new evidence that finds that secretin can influence brain function in a way that could benefit children with ASD or a link is proven between secretin and the known cause of ASD for some or all children.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Social skills groups for people aged 6 to 21 years with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Social deficits remain one of the most difficult areas for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, especially for those with average or above average cognitive skills. An intervention often used to treat social deficits for these individuals is social skills groups. This review synthesized the results of five randomized controlled trials of social skills groups including 196 individuals with autism spectrum disorders (aged 6 to 21 years). We found individuals receiving treatment showed some indications of improved social competence and better friendships when compared with those not receiving treatment. Participants receiving treatment also showed indications of less loneliness. The ability to recognize different emotions was measured in two studies and there was no evidence that it was improved by taking part in a social skills group. Social communication as it relates to idiomatic expressions was only reported in one study and no significant differences between treatment and control group were found. Nor was there evidence of a beneficial effect of social skills groups on parental or child depression. No adverse effects were reported in the studies. Limitations of this review include a small number of studies and participants, and a high risk of bias due to parents knowing whether their child was in the intervention group or not. The studies focused mainly on children with ASD aged 7 to 12 with average or above average intelligence, and they were all carried out in the US.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

High‐pressure oxygen therapy for children and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is associated with problems in social communication and restricted behaviors. High‐pressure (hyperbaric) oxygen therapy has been proposed as treatment for these ASD symptoms. We reviewed the evidence on effects of high‐pressure (hyperbaric) oxygen therapy among children and adults with ASD. We also assessed the evidence on the safety of high‐pressure oxygen therapy.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Chelation for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are types of disorders characterised by difficulties in social interaction and communication, and restricted and repetitive behaviours. It has been suggested that increased levels of toxic metals result in more severe symptoms of ASD, and that excretion of these heavy metals brought about by use of pharmaceutical chelating agents (chemicals that are injected into the blood stream to bind to and remove toxic heavy metals from the body) may lead to improvement of symptoms.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Aripiprazole for autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Aripirazole is an antipsychotic drug ‐ a type of medication used to treat serious mental disorders such as paranoia. It has also been used to treat behavioural problems (e.g. aggression, severe temper tantrums) in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Aripiprazole has been shown to be well tolerated and to improve behavioural problems in other disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. As aripiprazole is a relatively new drug, it is important to understand both the benefits and side effects of this drug in patients with ASD.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2016

Acupuncture for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are lifelong disorders of development. People with ASD have particular difficulties with social interaction and communication and they lack flexibility in their thinking and behavior. No cure is currently available but interventions may improve symptoms. Acupuncture involves using needles or pressure on specific areas of the body and is an important therapeutic method in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is also being used more and more in countries in the west for a range of ailments. Acupuncture has been considered as a possible intervention to improve ASD symptoms, but it has not been thoroughly evaluated to see if it works and is safe.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2013

Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) for increasing functional behaviors and skills in young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)

Early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) is one of the most widely used treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of our review was to examine the research on EIBI. We found a total of five studies that compared EIBI to generic special education services for children with ASD in schools. Only one study randomly assigned children to a treatment or comparison group, which is considered the 'gold standard' for research. The other four studies used parent preference to assign children to groups. We examined and compared the results of all five studies. A total of 203 children (all were younger than six years old when they started treatment) were included in the five studies. We found that children receiving the EIBI treatment performed better than children in the comparison groups after about two years of treatment on tests of adaptive behavior (behaviors that increase independence and the ability to adapt to one's environment), intelligence, social skills, communication and language, autism symptoms, and quality of life. The evidence supports the use of EIBI for some children with ASD. However, the quality of this evidence is low as only a small number of children were involved in the studies and only one study randomly assigned children to groups.

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Plain Language Summaries [Internet] - John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Version: 2012

Therapies for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of the Research for Parents and Caregivers

This guide describes research about the possible benefits and negative side effects of therapies for children who are 0 to 12 years old and have ASD. It was created to help you talk with your doctor, school administrator, social worker, or health insurance representative about programs and therapies.

Comparative Effectiveness Review Summary Guides for Consumers [Internet] - Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US).

Version: September 23, 2014

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