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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 679845, 10 pages
Review Article

Acupuncture for Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders

1Department of Neurosciences and Neurology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, 90 Bergen Street, DOC 8100, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
2Department of Rehabilitation, Yu-Yin Children's Hospital, WenZhou Medical College, WenZhou 325035, China
3Office of Research and Sponsored Summer Student Program, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ 07103, USA
4Marlboro High School, Marlboro, NJ 07746, USA
5Department of Pediatrics, St. Peter’s Hospital, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA

Received 20 July 2011; Revised 26 September 2011; Accepted 10 October 2011

Academic Editor: John C. Longhurst

Copyright © 2012 Xue Ming et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. There has been lack of reviews of evidence on efficacy, methodology, and/or safety of acupuncture in autism spectrum disorders. This paper examines the emerging evidence of the effects of acupuncture in the treatment of autistic children. Method. A literature review was completed via Medline and three Chinese search engines. A total of 31 studies were evaluated for acupuncture methodology, study design, treatment effects, and tolerability. Results. The acupoints used, the duration of needling, the frequency of treatment, the choice of stimulation, and the course of the treatment were highly variable amongst the studies. Behavioral and/or developmental improvements were reported in all acupuncture treatment studies. All studies reported general tolerability. Weakness of experimental designs was discussed. Conclusions. Vigorously controlled double-blinded clinical trials are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of acupuncture in children with autism spectrum disorders.