The long-prepared study of herbal treatment for autism was approved by the Bioethics Review Committee. It is a long-term observational study to check the treatment rate of children with autism spectrum disorder for two years and see what percentage of them recover to the normal range. This will be the first long-term study of autism treatment using oriental medicine.
As many autistic children have experienced improvement through treatment, the study’s results are expected to produce corresponding results. However, there were no accurate statistics on what percentage would come out within the normal range, but it is anticipated that strict research results will come out this time.
The thesis work involves various concerns in the process of designing how the research work will be conducted. There were many recommendations from people around me to start with a straightforward thesis. It is advised to start with a case paper in which one or two treatment cases are grouped and presented. There are so many cases of improvement with treatment that writing a case thesis is not difficult. However, if the goal is to publish in an overseas journal rather than a domestic academic journal, it isn’t easy to be recognized for its value as a case paper.
I thought about the study’s design to write a large-scale thesis recognized in foreign countries. Then, many people advised me to design a study in a ‘double-blind’ study that compared the effects of a group giving herbal medicine and a group giving fake herbal medicine. It is a method with the highest reliability as a method of proving the effect with a thesis.
However, they were not determined to use a double-blind method. It was unacceptable to give fake herbal medicine to children with autism spectrum disorder, for whom it is essential to treat them as soon as possible. I already clearly know the efficacy of herbal medicine treatment. There is a marked difference in the treatment speed between autistic children who take herbal medicine and those who do not. However, giving fake herbal medicine was ethically unacceptable because it delayed treatment during that period.
Ultimately, the method chosen with difficulty is a prospective research method that conducts long-term observational research. In other words, it is a study that provides the best treatment program, including herbal medicine, for children with autism and statistics on the rate of improvement. If it is to prove only a slight improvement, it is possible with an observational study for about 3 months. However, I wanted to confirm the underlying effect. Therefore, a study method was adopted to verify the recovery rate to the standard category through treatment for 2 years.
As it is a long-term study, there are many difficulties. Right now, the financial burden is heavy due to the support that must be provided in conducting the research. In addition, there will be great difficulties in caring for and managing long-term treatment. It is expected that not only the researcher but also the clinical research participant will have many difficulties as they must go through the two-year treatment process faithfully.
However, since it is a necessary research process for children with autism spectrum disorder, I hope it will proceed smoothly from start to finish. In addition, we ask that parents of children with autism have more interest and participation.