Ms Ann Yau says scalp acupuncture is effective for treating autistic children


尤傳香醫師指頭皮針能有效治療兒童自閉症

An autistic child patient receives scalp acupuncture treatment


一名兒童自閉症患者接受針刺治療

Date: 16 Oct 2017 (Monday)

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HKBU clinical study finds scalp acupuncture effective for treating autistic children

浸大中醫藥學院臨床觀察顯示頭皮針能有效治療兒童自閉症

The School of Chinese Medicine (SCM) conducted a clinical observation of scalp acupuncture treatment for 68 children with autism. The findings indicated that 66 patients have shown improvements after treatment, resulting in an overall efficacy rate of 97%. The treatment was found to be more effective in younger children.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder of brain neural development. The majority of the autistic patients developed significant impaired social interaction, verbal communication delay and behavioural disorder before the age of three. The effect of medication on improving the language, behavioural and communication abilities of the autistic patients is limited.

Between May 2010 and June 2013, Ms Ann Yau, Lecturer of SCM’s Division of Continuing and Professional Education, attended to the 68 autistic patients at the HKBU Chinese medicine clinics, comprising 57 boys and 11 girls aged between 2 and 10. She performed on each of the patients a course of scalp acupuncture comprising 30 bi-weekly sessions over a period of 15 weeks.

Among the 68 autistic children, 47 are diagnosed to be suffering from “natal autism”, i.e. they have shown abnormal social development and speech delay in the first one or two years after birth, while 21 are diagnosed with “regressive autism”, i.e. they have normal development in the first one or two years after birth but have gradually lost the previously acquired skills and started to show symptoms of autism.

Ms Yau selected five of the most common symptoms of autism as assessment criteria: impaired social interaction, delayed verbal communication, behavioural problems, noise sensitivity and food selectivity. The young patients were given a rating for each of the symptoms, the higher the score, the more serious the symptom is. The data were compared and analysed before and after the treatment programme.

The findings of the clinical observation revealed that the treatment has significant effect on 51 patients (75%) whose symptoms have been reduced significantly; the treatment is effective for 15 patients (22%); and ineffective for two patients (3%), giving rise to an overall efficacy rate of 97%.

For the natal autistic patients, decreases were registered in the total score of each of the symptoms: a drop of 34.8% in delayed verbal communication, 37.9% in impaired social interaction, 27.6% in behavioural problems, 21.8% in food selectivity, and 17.2% in noise sensitivity.

The children with regressive autism also recorded decreases in the symptoms: a decrease of 31.4% in impaired social interaction, 32.8% in delayed verbal communication, 21.4% in noise sensitivity, 23.4% in behavioural problems, and 30.9% in food selectivity.

Ms Yau said that after the treatment the patients showed more notable improvements in social interaction and verbal communication than in behaviours, noise sensitivity and food selectivity. Moreover, the earlier the children receive acupuncture therapy, the higher the effectiveness. This therapy is also more effective for natal autistic patients than patients with regressive autism.

The observation also studied the percentage of patients with allergic diseases and the percentage of their family members with allergic diseases. For the natal autistic patients, the percentages of those with individual and a family history of allergies are both 21%. For the regressive autism cases, 38% of the patients have allergic diseases while 52% of them have family members suffering from allergies.

中醫藥學院早前對68名自閉症兒童進行了頭皮針治療效果的臨床觀察,其中66人接受治療後病情得到改善,總有效率達97%。病童愈早接受針刺治療,效果愈見理想。

自閉症是大腦功能發展障礙性疾病,大部份患者在三歲前已出現明顯的社交障礙、言語遲緩及固執行為。現時的藥物未能有效改善自閉症兒童的語言、行為和溝通問題。

中醫藥學院持續及專業教育部講師尤傳香醫師於2010年5月至2013年6月對68名已確診的自閉症兒童進行頭皮針治療,包括57男11女,年齡介乎2至10歲。他們每星期接受針刺治療兩次,30次為一個療程。

在68名自閉症兒童中,47人屬於「原發性自閉症」,於出生後首一至兩年已有異常的社交發展和語言遲緩症狀;21人則屬於「退行性自閉症」,他們出生後首一至兩年發展正常,其後漸漸失去早期已有的技能,並開始出現自閉症的症狀。

尤醫師從多種自閉症的臨床表現中挑選出五個最常見的症狀:「社交障礙」、「語言遲緩」、「行為固執」、「聲音敏感」,以及「飲食挑剔」,按各症狀的輕重程度為每名病童評分,症狀愈重,評分愈高,然後將治療前及治療30次後的得分作統計、比較及分析。

臨床觀察結果顯示,51名兒童(75%)的症狀在治療後顯著減少,15人(22%)被評為有效,另外2人(3%)則為無效,總有效率達97%。

在「原發性自閉症」組別中,病童接受治療後各項症狀的整體評分均有所下降,顯示症狀在治療後得到改善:「語言遲緩」降34.8%、「社交障礙」降37.9%、「行為固執」降27.6%、「飲食挑剔」降21.8%、「聲音敏感」降17.2%。

另一方面,「退行性自閉症」組別的整體評分也在病童接受治療後下降,依次是「社交障礙」降31.4%、「語言遲緩」降32.8%、「聲音敏感」降21.4%、「行為固執」降23.4%、「飲食挑剔」降30.9%。

尤醫師說,針刺療法對改善社交及語言方面的症狀,較改善行為、聲音及飲食方面的症狀明顯;兒童愈早接受針刺治療,能有效改善症狀的機會愈大;相比之下,針刺療法對原發性自閉症兒童較退行性自閉症兒童更為有效。

此外,臨床觀察也統計了病童及其家庭成員患過敏性疾病的比例。在「原發性自閉症」組別中,患有過敏性疾病的病童與其家庭成員的患病率一樣,均為21%;在「退行性自閉症」組別中,38%的病童患有過敏性疾病,其家庭成員患此病的比例為52%。