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A Chinese Mind-body Exercise Improves Self-control of Children with Autism
 
July 27, 2013 -
Self-control problems commonly manifest as temper outbursts and repetitive/rigid/impulsive behaviors, in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which often contributes to learning difficulties and caregiver burden. A study aims to compare the effect of a traditional Chinese mind-body exercise, Nei Yang Gong, with that of the conventional Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) technique in enhancing the self-control of children with ASD. The study was jointly conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Henan Songshan Research Institute for Chanwuyi in China.

Forty-six ASD children were randomly assigned to receive group training in Nei Yang Gong (experimental group) or PMR (control group) twice per week for four weeks. The participants' self-control was measured by three neuropsychological tests and parental rating on standardized questionnaires, and the underlying neural mechanism was assessed by the participants' brain EEG activity during an inhibitory-control task before and after intervention.

The results show that the experimental group demonstrated significantly greater improvement in self-control than the control group, which concurs with the parental reports of reduced autistic symptoms and increased control of temper and behaviors. In addition, the experimental group showed enhanced EEG activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region that mediates self-control, whereas the PMR group did not.

The present findings support the potential application of Nei Yang Gong exercises as a form of neuropsychological rehabilitation for patients with self-control problems.

This study is published by Public Library of Science in July of 2013.

 

 


 
 

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