Application of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in the cases of Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder

| July 7, 2010 | 0 Comments | 964 views

Autism is a severe neurodevelopmental disorder that begins at birth or within the first two-and-a-half years of life.12It is a spectrum disorder (Autistic Spectrum Disorder / ASD), meaning that it affects people differently.  Some children may have speech, whereas others may have little or no speech.13 Most autistic children are perfectly normal in appearance, but spend their time engaged in puzzling and disturbing behaviors which are markedly different from those of typical children. Less severe cases may be diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) or with Asperger's Syndrome (these children typically have normal speech, but they have many "autistic" social and behavioral problems).12


Its cause is still a mystery, neurological studies seem to indicate a brain dysfunction.01The basis of the disorder may be neurochemical, neurotransmitters, neurobiological (genetic basis), neuropsychological or neurophysiological (dysfunction of complex information processing).02


In Autistic / ASD patients the transmission of impulses / signals (i.e. information processing) between nerve cells in the brain can not process properly or neurons (nerve cells) can not establish  their  accurate coordination accordingly between each other to connect the neural circuit through its rich neural network. Therefore, due to this reason autistic / ASD children sufferer develop various problems.


Autism /ASD is characterized by deficits in language, social communication, symbolic or imaginative play,03cognition and less or no eye contact.Children with autism / ASD usually have secondary problems in behaviour including aggression, irritability, stereotypies, hyperactivity, negativism, volatile emotions, temper tantrums, short attention span and obsessive-compulsive behavior.02


But, the good news is that there are now a wide variety of treatment options which can be very helpful. Some treatments may lead to great improvement. Now, Autism is treatable.04In such condition, acupuncture along with herbal therapy is highly effective. Excellent results are being achieved through simultaneous application of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in the cases of ASD / Autism and Cerebral Palsy in different countries of the world.


There are several research papers, articles etc. that has been published all over the world about the efficacy of Acupuncture and Herbal Medicines. Below are some of the mentionable quotations / statements, cited from those documents in favour of effectiveness of these methods of treatment.

About the Acupuncture Therapy:

01. "The use of Acupuncture in neurological and developmental disorders has been increasing lately to a great extent. The World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed and standardized scalp Acupuncture (to treat neurological and developmental problems) in 1984. In 1988, the WHO published the first standard pamphlet on scalp Acupuncture.05"

02. "Better cognitive (speech, memory, and calculation stimuli) performance achieved by the latter group was due to the added effect of the acupuncture sessions, which increased the blood-flow velocity to the brain.03"

"The majority had functional improvement of various degrees, depending on the age and severity of their disabilities. Some improvement was noticeable within a few Acupuncture sessions.03"

03. "Acupoints on the scalp and body have been found effective for treating children with brain dysfunction, resulting in improvement in the patient's overall functional abilities.02"

"In a revolutionary new treatment, our research team has demonstrated for the first time in a clinical trial how acupuncture can successfully improve the dysfunction related to autism, by activating vital connections in the brain.We hypothesize that repetitive stimulation of specific acupoints can reconnect the neural circuit through its rich neural network to the cerebellum. Improvement may result through the resignaling of the neural circuits via neurotransmitters, like serotonin / 5-HT, dopamine and neurochemicals like cortisol. This reconnection of the cerebellar-frontal-temporal circuits may reverse the basic dysfunctional pathways in autism, including attention, emotion, or hyperactivity, and open up a positive road for learning communicative or cognitive skills.02"

04. "Many studies conducted all over the world targeting humans and animals have shown that scalp Acupuncture is very effective in treating developmental and neurological diseases in children. Research shows that the level of certain hormones in the body and cerebral blood flow improves with this type of treatment.06"

05. "In that study, the researchers used body acupuncture for a longer period than the current study. Concluding that there was significant speech improvement in 12 of the studied (out of 13) CP subjects.07"

About the Herbal Therapy:

01) "Herb Bacopa has been used in several cases of Autism with positive effects 08"

02) "Two chemicals in Bacopa Herb, bacosides A and B, improve the transmission of impulses between nerve cells in your brain. These bacosides regenerate synapses and repair damaged neurons, making it easier to learn and remember new things. Bacopa also increases level of serotonin, a brain chemical known to promote relaxation. The herb's ability to boost brain function while reducing anxiety may explain why it helps treat ADHD, ASD". There was significant improvement in Verbal learning, Memory consolidation, Early information processing09"

03) "Herbs Gingo bilobaimproves blood supply to the brain and also increases the rate at which information transmitted at nerve cells.10"

04) "The reconstruction of neuronal networks in the damaged brain is necessary for the therapeutic treatment of neurodevelopmental-degenerative diseases. Herb Ginseng showed potent regeneration activity for axons and synapses, and amelioration of memory impairment. Also showed neurite extension in normal and damaged cortical neurons. Trigonelline, a constituent of Coffee Beans demonstrated the regeneration of dendrites and axons, in addition to memory improvement.11"



02. Journal of the Neurological Sciences 2001;187 (Supp1):S329-330 "Can Acupuncture of the help Autism?",  Wong V.,   Sun JG., Division of Neurodevelopmental Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, The University of Hong Kong, Proceedings of 17th World Congress of Neurology (June 17-22, 2003, London, United Kingdom).

03.  Ref: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume-14, Number-2, 2008, "Scalp Acupuncture Effect on Language Development in Children with Autism", H. ALLAM, M.D., 1 N. G.  ElDINE, M.D.,2 and G HELMY, Ph.D.1, 1Complementary Medicine Department, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt, 2Phoniatric Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University , Cairo, Egypt. Presented at the International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research, Munich, Germany, May 11–13, 2007.

04.  Autism Research Institute-USA.

05. Standard Acupuncture Nomenclature. World Health Organization (WHO), Regional Office for Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines, Part 2, rev ed., 1991:11.)

06. Acupuncture Research Journal-1996;21:7–9, TCD observation on cerebral blood flow dynamics: Inference of cerebral palsy with scalp therapy [in Chinese]. Xiang L, Wang H, Li Z.)

07.  Abstracts ICMART 2005;107–108, "Acupuncture treatment of cerebral palsy and speech disorders"  Fiala P, Stepanka R., Charles University,  Czech Republic. )

08.  Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Fact Sheet.

09. Neuropsychopharmacology (2002) "Effects of Bacopa on Human Memory" S. Roodenrys, D. Booth, S. Bulzomi, A. Phipps, C. Micallef  and J. Smoker, Department of Psychology, University of Wollongong, Woolongong, Australia, Psychopharmacology – 2001; 156: 481- 484, "Chronic effect of an extract of Bacopa on cognitive function in healthy normal human subjects" C. Stough, J. Lloyd, Australia.)

10.  Dr. Simon Yu, Prevention & Healing Inc. St. Louis. USA.

11. Neurosignals 2005;14:34-45, "Search for Natural Products Related to Regeneration of the Neuronal Network" C. Tohdaa, T. Kuboyamaa,b, K. Komatsua,b ; aResearch Center for Ethnomedicines, Institute of Natural Medicine, and b21st Century COE Program, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama, Japan.)

12. What is autism? Autism Research Institute –San Diego, CA, USA.

13. Advice for Parents of Young Autistic Children: Autism Research Institute –San Diego, CA, USA)

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