Back in August of last year I wrote a blog entry about the Generation Rescue ‘recovery’ stories and how true recovery actually accounted for 5% of the stories on their website which I upgraded in May of this year when they redesigned their website. Their true recovery figure now stands at 7%. I even recounted how I sent my own daughters details to them under an assumed name using the exact truth about her state and condition which they duly published.
I was interested to come across some more fascinating dialogue between members of the Yahoo ABMD group – a group which believe mercury caused their kids autism and Biomed can help them. This is one of the oldest and most well regarded (amongst the mercury militia anyway) Yahoo groups.
The conversation began thusly:
From: Eva family
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2007 at 6:29 AM
the other thing that troubles me about all the “autism doctors” is that
no one seems to do any studies based on their patients. Some doctors
must have dozens of patients but there seems to be no published work
correlating their levels of minerals, reactions to diets, success of
But in general J McC, Yasko etc, Buttar, the zeolite-people earn lots of
money and publish nothing except opinions………..followed by
anecdotal acclaim from those for whom they work and silent despair from
those for whom they don’t.
Being an experienced reader of the material on these groups, I silently commiserated with this poster as I waited for the inevitable flame fest. But it never happened. Here are some of th responses this post received from other ABMD members:
From: Laura K. Fischer
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2007 at 4:34 PM
Sally, this has always been a concern of mine also, I honestly don’t know whether some of these alternative doctors have any better of a percentage record in improvements then say some of the better mainstream neurologists prescribing meds or even in comparison to kids who only do therapy and educational intervention. Although I recognize that part of my skepticism probably stems from the fact that most of the kids I personally know who have done a lot of biomedical treatment (those in my local community) don’t seem to have improved any more rapidly than those who did not, there are a couple who are even worse off. There is no clear advantage that I have witnessed with my own eyes and it may be that it is because there is a tendency for many of these families to have used a couple of the same DAN doctors in this region, I recognize that this could be a contributor. But I do share your concern with thisâ€¦.Laura
From: Lawrence G. Leichtman, MD
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2007 at 6:40 PM
I have followed about 100 children with autism doing biomed. I have never seen a single “recovered” child if by recovered you mean normal though 8 of
the children were claimed to be recovered by their DAN doctors. I have wseen about 10-15% improved kids, some slightly and 10% of kids who were
actually worse from biomed. Of my patients using Yasko prescribed treatment alone I have seen 0 improvment out of 12 patients. I still don’t know what
works or why and this is after 10 years of doing this.
The response from Leichtman is a bombshell. If you do not recall the name, he is the doctor who was quoted in Dan Olmsted’s Age of Autism pieces as treating Amish kids (who never have autism – heh). According to his (anecdotal) opinion he has never seen a recovered child out of the 100 he has seen who have been doing biomed, even amongst those whose DAN! claimed they were recovered. Fascinating.
From: Gina Mouser
Date: Mon, Aug 27, 2007 at 7:45 PM
We were seeing a very famous DAN dr. who told us that of all the 5000 plus
patients that the DAN doctor was treating, my son was the ONLY one that is
This shed’s some light on the way DAN! quacks falsely inflate their patients parents with hope or a ‘convincing’ explanation. Except, judging by the tone of this email, this mum isn’t convinced.
One of the responders went on to question why Dr Leichtman was a member of the ABMD board if he didn’t believe in biomed. He reiterated his position and confirmed his belief that DAN! docs either lie or are mistaken:
I have seen positive results 10 to 15 percent is still better than 0. I just don’t believe in the total recovery claims as several of my patients were claimed to be recovered by their DAN doctors but they weren’t.
The original poster chimed back in later….
In the UK in education we have something called “value added” — this is the amount that a school has done for a child over and above what might have been expected by simple development. I would like to autistic children measured and placed at a point on a graph as they come into a
doctor (this is already done as I understand it) and then measured again after set periods. Over time that would set baselines and it would be
possible to see which doctors/treatments were giving “value added”.
I don’t understand why no one is doing this. Surely anyone genuinely “recovering” children would be all over us with data, analysis etc — so
that their achievements could be recognised, replicated and they (the doctor) could receive universal praise.
Quite. A point some of us have been making for quite some time.
Then of course, someone finally did play the PharmaShill card at Dr leichtman:
From: Marisha Taylor
Date: Tue, Aug 28, 2007 at 3:12 PM
I think the “confusion” is coming from you trying to turn the outcome of the study to what “you” want it to be. You & the pharmaceutical
guys would get along great -how much are they paying you on the side? Thank God you are having problems getting it published – there is no
more space for flawed studies.
The most fascinating thing about this post was the speed and weight of the responses telling her to shut up. Not what I would be expecting at all.
As part of the responses Dr Leichtman dropped his second bombshell:
I don’t even understand what you are asking. Neurotypical is average for a child their age not with sensory issues, not with hyperactivity, not with behavioral disorders. I do not include those that I really don’t believe nor does my neurodevelopmentalist believe has autism despite coming in with that diagnosis. *I see plenty of children who come in with the diagnosis who don’t have it in the first place* so improvement or not may not be valid for their issues.
This was unbelievable stuff. Straight ‘from the horses mouth’ was the seconding of the opinions that a lot of us had held for years. That some ‘recovered’ kids were never really truly autistic to begin with. I would love to know if Leichtman ever saw the Berle’s.
Anyway, as I mentioned, when Leichtman was accused of being a Big Pharma shill, the entire group sprang to his defense, including Holly Bortfield, a well known mercury mom.
From: Holly Bortfeld
Date: Tue, Aug 28, 2007 at 3:24 PM
Wow, time to back off Marisha. Dr. L is a valued member of this list and you are out of line.
Bortfeld is a fascinating case. Later on in this discussion she says:
I know people who did only a few things and their kid is recovered and I know people who did EVERYTHING and their kid is still severe. While I do know some, they are very few in comparison, kids that are recovered. That sucks.
I am thrilled for them, but my kid isn’t one of them (recovered) despite having the best of the DAN docs, virtually unlimited therapies and the “best” of everything, regardless of money, he’s still screwed up at 12 years old.
‘Screwed up’? Nice. This post was in response to the owner of the ABMD group’s post when she said:
I believe (and I’ am very cynical at this point) that most stories of “recovery” are the result of a misdiagnosis, or a mispresentation of
the facts for some financial gain.
Wow. Just….wow. These are incredible things for a ‘mercury militia’ group to be saying. If you only heard Gen Rescue etc you’d believe Brad’s oft-repeated claim of thousands of recovered kids. Its amazing to know that people of the same essential belief differ so wildly.
But back to Bortfeld’s screwed up non-recovered son. Her stance is peculiar given that, back in 2001, she was part of a discussion on the ABMD list during which she said:
Each time we deal with one of his medical problems, the features that gave him the autism label reduce. So in my mind, if we heal enough of his body, the autism dx won’t apply anymore. He went from severe (62 on the CARS) to mild (29 on the CARS) with diet and secretin. The last CARS they ran on him was a 22 so that technically doesn’t even qualify him for the autism label anymore (CARS is from 30-60) but I keep the label for services.
So which is true? That her son is ‘still screwed up’ and isn’t recovered? Or, back in 2001, that he doesn’t qualify for the autism label anymore? Interesting confirmation that Rescue Angels falsely hang on to diagnosis just to receive services as well.
I talked recently about denial. Is this discussion evidence of the rift in the mercury militia between those who have moved past most of their denial and those who can’t? Is it evidence that DAN! doctors know exactly how to play on the hopes and fears of these parents? I think so.