Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A recent NY Times article, “On Autism's Cause, It's Parents vs. Research" (6/25/05, sorry just first 50 words), has stirred up a lot of anger among the parents of autistic children who are also homeopathy supporters. My take on the piece is that hopeful and desperate (when did desperate become such a horrible moniker) parents, like myself, of children on the spectrum are bombarded with advice (often from MDs and PhDs) like:

Stop drinking fluoridated tap water.
Place your child in an infrared light-powered sauna.
Don't vaccinate: mercury in vaccines is neuro-toxic and measles in the MMR shot causes an immuno-neurological response.
Bathe your child in metal-chelating magnetic clays.
Eat only organic food.
Give your child expensive oral, topical or intravenous chelation therapy.
Stop consuming dairy products.
Feed your child concentrated algae.
Shine green light on your child.
Feed your child drops of RNA.
Give your child antifungals to kill yeast in their digestive tract.

Where does science end and the snake oil begin?

From what I have seen, a graduate degree guarantees neither sound ethics nor dedication to altruistic public service. And currently, the only thing certain about the roots of autism is that confusion abounds. It's too bad that some people have the "insight" to take advantage of this situation. Depressing. -BC


At 1/16/2006 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bart, several of these choices have resulted in dramatic improvements in the health of these kids... and some I've never heard of.

Instead of dismissing all of them out of hand...let's see a little more discussion of why you dismiss them. You've addressed your thoughts with heavy metals with how about the others, as long as you bring them up.

--Name withheld as long as you use a fake name.

At 1/16/2006 9:55 PM, Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

Anonymity is just fine with me. I'll leave the outing buisiness for others.

The point of this post is simple - given the barrage of techniques and "cures", how is one to sift through and get to the real stuff, if real stuff even exists? Why should I believe Joe when Jane says he's full of it? Why should I believe Jane when Jackie says she's a liar? Why should I believe J. Doe, PhD, when N. Smith, MD says Dr. Doe is incompetent?

I'm exasperated over it all, and that's what I'm expressing here. Put the treatment list in whatever order you want - that's not my point.

It seems to me that others are fed up too and these parents can take one of several roads:
1. Join up with a group that takes a strong biomedical stance (eg chelation).
2. Refuse to do any behavioral or biomedical treatment and simply rely on acceptance of the situation.
3. Dibble-dabble in many varieties of behavioral and biomedical treatments.
4. Stick to behavioral treatments only.

I'm not passing judgement on any one of these courses of action, although the more I read and the more I live the life of a parent of an autistic person I see the value in relying on acceptance and just trying to make our life as best as possible for the whole family while planning for the long term.

Can you imagine what would happen if what the US has spent on the Iraq war was spent on discovering the roots of autism? We wouldn't be having this discussion and my little list would be a footnote in a medical history article.


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