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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015, Article ID 258589, 31 pages
Review Article

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, Section of Psychiatry, University of Pavia, Via Bassi 21, 27100 Pavia, Italy

Received 13 January 2015; Revised 23 March 2015; Accepted 30 March 2015

Academic Editor: Karen J. Sherman

Copyright © 2015 Natascia Brondino 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. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) represents a popular therapeutic option for patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Unfortunately, there is a paucity of data regarding the efficacy of CAM in ASD. The aim of the present systematic review is to investigate trials of CAM in ASD. Material and Methods. We searched the following databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, CINAHL, Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, Agricola, and Food Science Source. Results. Our literature search identified 2687 clinical publications. After the title/abstract screening, 139 publications were obtained for detailed evaluation. After detailed evaluation 67 studies were included, from hand search of references we retrieved 13 additional studies for a total of 80. Conclusion. There is no conclusive evidence supporting the efficacy of CAM therapies in ASD. Promising results are reported for music therapy, sensory integration therapy, acupuncture, and massage.