Posted by: Ticktock | January 4, 2010

Autism’s Alternative Treatments

It’s about time we wrote an update on all the autism myths swarming around and confusing parents. There seems to be a lull in the antivaccine war drums, but I wouldn’t doubt that another Hydra head will spring up to replace others that have been chopped down.  Indeed, we maybe seeing the next wave of tactics by vaccine haters with a new libel suit against Dr. Paul Offit, a man who has been vilified by his anti-science opponents for (deservedly) making $5 million as a co-inventor of the vaccine for rotavirus. Go to Science-Based Medicine to see the full scoop on Offit’s legal challenge.

So, most of us know what the antivaccine army opposes, but let’s take a look at what they recommend.

What is Lupron? Lupron is a hormone therapy meant to reduce excess testosterone. It’s been used to chemically castrate sex offenders. Mark and David Geier are the scientists who have been promoting this treatment, despite the fact that they are not experts in endocrinology or autism. Lupron has been used to treat precocious puberty and to chemically neuter sex offenders. The amount of Lupron recommended by the Geiers is ten times greater than the dose recommended for precocious puberty, and essentially castrates autistic boys with “masturbation problems”.

There have not been trials of this procedure, so any parent using this method is willfully subjecting their children to a treatment with unknown risks. These $5000 Lupron treatments come in the form of intramuscular injections. It seems that the Geiers themselves are the folks who profit from the injections, and the only evidence behind their recommendation for Lupron is their own poorly done studies. Read more at The Chicago Tribune.

What is chelation? Chelation is the use of untested industrial agents added to creams or pills to draw heavy metals from the body. Some parents use chelation on their autistic children, even when there’s no evidence of higher metal toxicity. Children with autism are given chelating agents to release metals that have been bonded to tissue. Their urine is then tested for heavy metal toxicity, but the results are compared on a scale that was not meant to include results from chelated individuals. Which means that parents are gambling on a risky, potentially dangerous procedure without two important control groups: one to see whether children without autism also have high metal toxicity levels after chelation, and another to see whether non-chelated children report similar levels of progress.

This whole idea that autistic kids are contaminated with toxic levels of metal is based on the accusation that heavy-metals in vaccines stimulate autism, but there has never been any evidence for such an association (mercury is no longer in vaccines and aluminum is a minuscule ingredient). See more at The Los Angeles Times.

The Autism Diet?

I’ve said it before, but now it’s even more official. MSNBC reports that 25 experts have come to a consensus that there is no proof that children with autism are more prone to digestive problems or that gluten/casein-free diets are effective in “curing” (or even helping) symptoms of autism. In fact, the panel, which was funded by The Autism Society and other autism groups, warned pediatricians to watch for malnutrition in children with autism because of the limitations of wheat-free and dairy-free diets.

The idea that gut issues and autism had a connection to the MMR vaccine was, by all accounts, manufactured by Dr. Andrew Wakefield – his study on 12 autistic children has long since been debunked. Yet, Wakefield defiantly stampedes forward at Florida’s Thoughtful House, where he continues to treat autism with an income of a quarter million dollars per year, despite the lack of support from his scientific peers. How nice for the man who revived measles from the dead!


That’s all well and good, I suppose, but I don’t take particular glee in these news stories. There are people in my life who have placed their bets on these expensive treatments. I empathize that they want answers, they want cures, and that they’ll try anything that might have a chance of working. Having a child on the spectrum is an incredible frustration for some people, one that I will likely never understand. Many parents have said that my right to speak on this topic should be revoked because I can’t possibly relate to their struggles. Regardless of those objections, I will report on the evidence as indicated in the legitimate scientific publications and mainstream media.

I will never say that there’s no possibility that some children with autism have high testosterone, are intoxicated with heavy metals, or are unable to digest wheat and dairy. What I will say is that there’s no evidence that these symptoms occur more in children with autism than they do in children without autism. In addition, the treatments for each supposed cause of autism are similarly unproven, and each of these treatments are potentially dangerous to human homeostasis.

Let’s hope that we can come up with a true cure and a definitive cause for autism in the near future.


  1. While you are looking at the Autism’s Alternative Treatments you should take a look at the diagnoses of the condition. With the CDC now saying that 1 in 110 children are autistic, and learning what I have as we have gone through the process it looks to me like it is becoming a Self-Licking Lollipop. I think that in order to get children services needed for things like speech, because of insurance requirements and a host of other hurdles that may be required, parents are forced to get a “diagnoses” to get services. These hurdles may be causing doctors to label children as “On the Spectrum” when the child may only need a single kind of service, such a speech therapy, gets thrust into the system overloading it. This has the effect of making the system unable to provide the quantity and quality of services that some children need.

    Autism is a real condition, but I think it is being over diagnosed to ensure services because of bureaucratic requirement of insurance companies.

    Sorry if this rambled some but hey it’s late.

  2. Wow. I am stunned at the lengths some parents would go. Chemically castrating their children. Without proof or real evidence. Fucked up.

    • Not only “godless” but “senseless” if you believe anything in the original post above.

      Defending Offit and using the blog sciencebasedmedicine marks this post as straight from the drug industry shill factory

      Dr Wakefield’s 1998 paper is one of 100s he has published. The paper was never debunked, but Glaxo spread some money around to get people in power to help persecute Dr Wakefield & fraudulently trash his work (done with 12 co-authors who stand behind the integrity of the paper to this day)

      The paper was published in 1998 & supported by The Lancet’s Richard Horton for 6 years until Feb 2004. In June of 2003 Horton’s boss, Crispin Davis (CEO of Elsevier) was made a paid director of Glaxo, Britain’s MMR maker. Horton and “journalist” Brian Deer came out swinging at Dr Wakefield in 2004. Horton used the lies Deer was printing in The Sunday Times

      Who is Deer’s boss? Rupert Murdoch owns the Sunday Times. Guess what…? He is also a paid director of Glaxo
      Also in 2004 funding for MMR litigation was cut off by a judge, Nigel Davis, you guessed it, Crispin’s brother

      The original article is also filled with complete mistatements of fact. Mercury, in the form of thimerosal, is still in some pediatric vaccines & many adult vaccines. There is no requirement for it to be removed, it was only recommended. That’s why the pediatric flu vax contains 250 times the EPA recommended daily ORAL dose of mercury. Injection of mercury into muscle tissue means COMPLETE absorption, and about 80 days of chronic exposure in infants and kids to a NEUROLOGICAL TOXIN.

      Aluminum is used as part of the adjuvant in many vaccines. It is not a miniscule quantity, and is potent enough to cause a more intense & long acting immune response to antigen and any immune reactive substance in vaccines like bacterial endotoxins, monkey tissue, embryonic chicken cell debris & MUCH MORE

      Vaccines are the only obvious substance correlated to autism. Dr Bernadine Healy said in a 2008 CBS News interview “Vaccines may cause autism” & “It’s inexcusable that the proper research has not been done”. Dr Healy is a former NIH Director, Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins, Chair of The Research Institute at The Cleveland Clinic, author of over 100 peer-reviewed studies & papers. Her opinion is expert and relevant.

      Genes cannot cause the 20 year rising epidemic of autism or any epidemic rise in disease. The % of solely gene-caused disease remains constant

      This study shows we still can’t identify any autism genes-
      April 2011 – Pubmed PMID 21522181 “… despite the strong influence of genetic factors, association studies have yet to identify statistically robust, replicated major effect genes”

      This autism study supports the idea that environmental triggers, like vaccines, are more important in autism than genes, even in identical twins
      July 2011 – Pubmed PMID 21727249 – “Susceptibility to ASD has MODERATE GENETIC HERITABILITY and a SUBSTANTIAL shared twin ENVIRONMENTAL COMPONENT”

      This study hypothesizes immune reactions in a mother can permanently affect a developing fetus, causing autism. If true, vaccine induced immune/allergic reactions in a baby could cause the same damage-
      Autism as a neuroimmune response –

      Vaccine Court records show 83+ kids with vaccine-caused brain injuries also have autism –

      MMR package insert has 5 pages of adverse events, contraindications, warnings & precautions

      Neurological effects Merck reported in clinical trials – Encephalitis, encephalopathy, measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE), subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), convulsions & seizures (with & without fever), ataxia, polyneuritis, polyneuropathy, ocular palsies, subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), aseptic meningitis

      • Dr Wakefield’s 1998 paper is one of 100s he has published. The paper was never debunked, but Glaxo spread some money around to get people in power to help persecute Dr Wakefield & fraudulently trash his work (done with 12 co-authors who stand behind the integrity of the paper to this day)

        Please post real evidence of this statement. And if the dozen co-authors still stand by the integrity, why did ten post a partial retraction in 2004:

        We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.

  3. Even worse, when that meta-analysis about diet and autism was released, the media (more specifically, ABC nightly news and Diane Sawyer) actually asked Jenny McCarthy for commentary. She, of course, said that the scientists were incompetent, and the research was worthless. It’s nice to know our national media is turning to such competent sources in their evaluation of science. That one literally made me want to cry.

  4. Autism is overdiagnosed and the label misused, says a You Tube video called ‘autism epidemic out of control” The video also tells us, or rather cites research backing this up, so it’s pretty compelling. I had no idea people were abusing this label so bodly

  5. Would love any comments on this upcoming “Changing The Course of Autism” Conference coming to Calgary. Some of the speaker’s backgrounds and the subject looks a bit like disguised woo to me.

  6. Health insurance companies simply refuse to cover autism and related expenses. If doctors were going to deliberately misdiagnose, as some of you suggest, they would be diagnosing away from the autism spectrum, so their patients could be covered and the doctors could get maximum reimbursement.
    Unless some of you are foolish enough to suggest that Health Insurance companies are manipulating doctors to diagnose more kids with autism so they can reduce their liability for other conditions these kids have that they traditionally cover. Are you folks that foolish?

    Articles on Health Insurance and Autism

    The way some people will try to manipulate the issues to deny that vaccines can damge a susceptible group of children is simply horrific, all in the name of protecting drug companies and govt regulators from liability.

    No one can argue against vaccines damaging a small percent of children. It is admitted by the FDA/CDC/VICP. It has been acknowledged since the late 1980’s when legislation was passed (NCVIA) to shield vaccine makers from any liability for their products, even if they were negligent (as a recent Philadelphia court found). Since that time vaccinations for kids have tripled, for-profit-toxins and cheap manufacturing methods have added novel toxic/immune-reactive substances to most vaccines.

    It is no wonder that as we increased the # of vaccinations and toxic substances in them we increased the percentage of kids reacting to them. Coupled with poorer nutrition, gene altered foods adding more unstudied contaminants to kids diets, less breast feeding, mountains of genetically engineered High Fructose Corn Syrup entering the food chain, toxic substances reaching us from China through a variety of items from kids toys to sheetrock in houses to irradiated spices/food products… it’s no wonder we have a tremendous surge in developmental disorders…

    While vaccines may not be to blame for all of the rise in developmental disorders I firmly believe they are responsible for a major portion. Until we somehow free our regulatory bureacrats from the influence of the drug industry we will never get the honest epidemiological or clinical science necessary to find the truth

    The basis of the NCVIA is a short but important phrase. “Unavoidably Unsafe”… that is the phrase that exempts vaccine makers from liability for the damage their products are known to cause.

    As long as they meet the FDA standards and place a proper warning label with the vaccine they are not liable for any damage vaccines do because vaccines are “unavoidably unsafe”

    The sociopathic sytematic lying must stop. Vaccines damage kids, autism occurs around the time of vaccination, this is a correlation REQUIRING clinical studies, which have never been done to truly determine if vaccines do not cause autism along with a host of other side effects

  7. Michael Polidori:

    Vaccines damage kids, autism occurs around the time of vaccination, this is a correlation REQUIRING clinical studies, which have never been done to truly determine if vaccines do not cause autism along with a host of other side effects

    I already know that insurance is screwed in regards to neudevelopmental disorders, not just autism. That has been my life for several years. I don’t need to pay the NY Times $20 a month to learn that! When my son was first diagnosed with a developmental disability there were rules put in place to get him therapy up to age seven. But then, the insurance companies skipped around the laws by putting in therapy time limits, and other restrictions.

    Of course, that was all for naught when he required therapy up to at least age twelve (that we paid for!).

    Correlation does not causation. There have been several epidemiological that show that autism is not related to vaccination. Plus there is lots of evidence that diseases cause disability and death (just ask the Roald Dahl/Patricia Neal family about that!).

    How would you design a study to prove your hypothesis? Remember that you need to abide by several ethical criteria that were developed between 1945 and 1975 including the Nuremberg Code, the Declaration of Helsinki and the Belmont Report.

    So really, what evidence do you have that vaccines are more dangerous than measles, mumps, Hib, pertussis, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, real influenza, rotavirus, and other vaccine preventable diseases? Be sure to show your work with citations to publications available in my local medical school library.

    • Screwed up HTML is supposed to be this URL:

    • You don’t use epidemiology to disprove a correlation. That you make such a statement marks you as a complete lying shill
      The correlation of vaccines & autism is well known, but as Dr Bernadine Healy notably said in 2008 – “Vaccines may cause autism. It is inexcusable that the proper research has not been done”. Of course she was referring to the same epidemiolgy that “Chris” BLINDLY refers to
      That “Chris” uses these well known manipulations & lies while attacking me and defending the drug industry, makes it hard for me to believe he has a child with a developmental disability… but if he does, to use his child’s medical problems in an attempt to pretend to “speak from authority” while spouting lying/deceptive industry propaganda is unspeakably heinous… but this is typical of the mindset of those who use deception over truth when discussing the health and welfare of kids
      “Chris” also lies about what I have said, pretending to make a point
      In his last paragraph claims I said vaccines are more dangerous than vaccine preventable diseases. Of course I did not, but all “Chris” can do is lie, hoping I won’t find the time to notice or expose him, and he will lie again after I have posted this
      What I ALWAYS say is there are kids who cannot be vaccinated. Merck in their “MMR package insert” readily admit this. Merck says that if anyone in your family has an immune problem then you shouldn’t get MMR until your “immune competence is proven”
      That insert lists hundreds of afverse events (coincidence/correlation MAYBE causal) and adverse reactions (for which Merck has causal evidence, but doesn’t release it publicly). The FDA told me I have to submit a “carefully worded” FOIA request to get it.
      The kids who can’t be vaccinated have primary (genetic) or secondary/acquired (toxin/drug induced or infectious) immune problems or they may have sensitivities to the contaminants in vaccines.
      Kids and adults that are injured by vaccines are people that should have never been vaccinated, and that happens because we do a poor job of screening.
      “Vhris” knows all of this already, lies about it, denies evidence exists then disingenuously demands citations be posted… and you want me to believe WHAT about your child?

      • Mr. Polidori, why do you wait two years to reply with fact free comments? Have you never heard of these things called “paragraphs” or “evidence”?

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