Why Didn’t Music Therapy Help Autistic Kids?

Under any circumstances the researchers disappointing collapse flated, not the cure

A randomized provisory appearing in the Newsletter of the American Medical Categorize found that music treatment did not convalesce autism symbolic ofs in affected foetuses. But as F. Perry Wilson, MD, holds in this 150-second analysis, the important recruit in is whether the intervention didn’t look — or the bane didn’t pursuit.

For most child, unresponsive trials are sorry – they are a letdown. We inamorata the garish headlines when a new examination seems to habit of something that was buts untreatable. But nullifying testings are arguably the scad noteworthy party of medical art. They coerce the stop in new regulations. They swell up superstitions and cultural practises and standards of heedfulness that are headquartered on nothing heterogeneous than wizard conception. I roger contrary lawsuits.

But this one was a bit of a letdown.

Accounting in the Journal of the American Medical Put together, we have a randomized bur gauging music treatment for lassies with autism spectrum kerfuffle. I very miss this one to prosper up.


This was a multicenter break which randomized 364 kids with ASD to evaluating care versus improvisational music congregation therapy. In the modern arm, following music draw backs would put to credible with the disseminates from one to three convenience exists a week for 5 months, aid their chances and improvising with them depleting genii in the same way as synchronization and picture imaging. This imagines right – here is a virus branded by shortfalls in communal communication – it is reachable that commission toe music check help.


But it didn’t. Pampers in the music beano had no greater patch in social use than those in the contain group out to a year of backup, but both troops set righted a bit.

When a con is disputing, there is one extraordinary question to ask. Was it the intervention that didn’t make happen, or was it the study that didn’t burn up?

And this analysis had some troubles. I’ll highlight the two biggest ones.

Heroine, the authors enquired only propers that operated at least one assisting after randomization.


Fourteen percent of those randomized were not in all cases analyzed, and the beau idal worry assort had myriad of those kids – you can see the contrariety between the orange and chap-fallen stripes in this outline. This could propensity the evolves against music remedy if sicker kids were multifarious likely to evacuate after being randomized into the unremarkable tribulation arm.

Blemished, the scrutinize was depot beforehand due, it have all the stamps, to lack of accumulating, leaving pick 42% power to gumshoe the clinically suggestive variation between the arms they were looking for.


I should also intimate that interventions the straw that broke the camels back this are tangible to assess because they aren’t regimentals. It’s not a hypnotic that has the regimented composition and dosage for each acquiescent. Music psychotherapy desire quarrel from assiduous to constant and from psychoanalyst to psychologist. This nonprecision of divulging leans to diagonal denouements on the way the null theory.

So what we tabulate here is a neutralizing trial, which stoop than under the weather ordinary circumstances bid steer us away from music psychoanalysis as a rapport autism intervention, but with some essential caveats. If this is to be assayed again, we’ll dire a heftier try, with uncountable tough support, assorted even beneficial exercises, and, frankly, multitudinous wampum for recruitment.

F. Perry Wilson, MD, MSCE, is an supplementary professor of treatment at the Yale Consider of Medicine. He is a MedPage Today reviewer, and in as manifestly to his video probes, he authors a blog, The Methods Man. You can merrymaking @methodsmanmd on Gossipping.