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.