Autism: A Chiropractic Perspective

Autism: A Chiropractic Perspective
Received 12 July 2004; received in revised form 21 June 2005; accepted 16 August 2005
Jane Jennings *, Martina Barker
Clinical Chiropractic (2006
NCD Zeolite Study on Autism

Newbury Chiropractic Centre, 6 Cheap Street, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 5DD, UK

KEYWORDS
Autism;
Behavioural
abnormalities;
Aetiology;
Chiropractic;
Pediatrics;
Spinal manipulative
therapy

Summary Chiropractors, as with other primary healthcare clinicians, are often
faced with a child whom they suspect may have symptoms of autism, often previously
undiagnosed. As such, it is important that there is familiarity with the symptoms,
primary of which are difficulties in communicating or relating to other people.
Although there is no known cause for autism, various potential aetiologies are under
investigation. A number of abnormalities are found in multiple systems and functions
in the autistic individual who presents a number of management challenges.
Some researchers have discovered a laterality of the atlas in children with autism
and there are various suggestions as to why removing upper cervical dysfunction may
have a positive effect on the symptoms of autism. This paper offers a systematic
review of the condition with emphasis on the elements pertinent to the manual
therapist.
# 2005 The College of Chiropractors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Introduction
Autism is a life-long developmental disability,
which, in the United Kingdom, affects approximately
90 people in every 10,000. Put into clinical
perspective, this means that the average general
practitioner (GP) will have 18 people with autism on
their list.1
Individuals with autism are affected in different
ways, but all seem to suffer from a triad of impairments:
difficulty in interacting with others, impairments
in social communication and difficulty
thinking imaginatively. An absence of play is often
one of the first obvious signs of autism.

The cause of autism is unknown; there are no
universally accepted explanations. Current research
favours a genetic component,2,3 although other
factors are also implicated, including environmental
triggers and imbalances in neurochemistry.4
There is no medication that can ÎcureÌ autism.
When medication is used, it is to treat a particular
symptom of the syndrome.5 Specialist education
often dramatically improves the quality of life for
sufferers and their families.1
Many chiropractors and other manipulative
therapists report good symptomatic improvements
following treatment.6 However, there is little literature
available to support these claims.
Autism affects the way a person communicates
and relates to people around them, particularly with
respect to understanding other peopleÌs emotional
expression. Learning difficulties may further compound
the difficulties that they face.1

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +44 1635 48088.
E-mail address: newburychiropracticcentre@hotmail.com
(J. Jennings).
1479-2354/$30.00 # 2005 The College of Chiropractors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.clch.2005.08.001

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