2011 – The Last Year For ARI’s DAN! Doctors

2 Jan

As late as just a few months ago, The Autism Research Institute (ARI), promoted their upcoming Fall 2010 Defeat Autism Now! conference in a monthly newsletter. Note the name of the conference:

“Fall 2010 ARI/Defeat Autism Now! Conference”

Now look at ARI’s promotion of their Spring 2011 conference.

“Spring 2011 ARI Conference
(formerly known as Defeat Autism Now!)”

Do you see the difference? It’s pretty hard to miss. What about all those practitioners (physicians, nurses, chiropractors, nutritionists, naturopaths, and homeopaths, etc.) who want to participate in the “DAN! Physician Training”, you know, become “DAN! Practitioners”? How does one become a DAN! doctor, if Defeat Autism Now! is a former identity?

A quick look at the ARI Conference website answers that right away.

The Autism Research Institute Conference Formerly known as Defeat Autism Now!

The practitioner seminars are still part of the conference. But there’s something potentially newsworthy here too.

As of 12/31/11, ARI will no longer be maintaining a clinician registry (a.k.a “the DAN list”). No new names will be added to the registry in 2011.


You read that correctly – no new names in 2011, and at the end of this year, it’s over. No more list of DAN! Doctors.

According to ARI’s website, one is best served in finding a “talented clinician” by way a support group – local, or you know, out there on the interwebs.

As recently as 10 years ago it was nearly impossible for parents to find clinicians who approached treating patients with autism from a medical point of view, so ARI started keeping a clinician registry (the “DAN list”). We tried a number of measures to ensure that every clinician on our list provided high-quality care, but we are a small non-profit with limited resources. We have determined that those seeking a talented clinician are best served by connecting with support groups—either locally or online—instead of choosing from a list that cannot be vetted.


I’m not sure what they mean by having tried “a number of measures to ensure that every clinician on our list provided high-quality care”. I understand that there were special “clinician training” sessions at DAN! conferences in the past, but as far as I understood it in the past, becoming a listed DAN! practitioner might have required little more than attend a conference, sign a statement pledging to “conduct their practice in accordance with DAN! philosophy”, and ask to be listed. Although I could be wrong, I find it incredibly difficult to believe that there were in fact any significant measures taken by ARI to ensure the provision of high quality care by clinicians on its list. I seem to recall that Roy Kerry was added to ARI’s list of DAN! practitioners in 2006 after the death of Tariq Nadma in 2005.

ARI’s notes and disclaimers for the remaining year of life for the list of DAN! doctors seem pretty careful:

If someone claims to be “DAN-certified,” they’re overstating; neither ARI nor Defeat Autism Now! has ever had a certification program.

The following are practitioners who have asked to be listed as providing Defeat Autism Now!®- based interventions for patients with autism. Most are physicians, others are licensed health-care professionals in related fields.

ARI has no means of certifying the competence nor quality of practice of any practitioner. The lists are provided as a community service. The Autism Research Institute disclaims and does not endorse or support any individual or entity listed; makes no representations, warranties, guarantees or promises on behalf of or for those listed, and assumes no liability nor responsibility for any service or product provided. ARI does not ‘certify’ practitioners or guarantee competence, skill, knowledge, or experience.


So is that it? Is this really the end of DAN! doctors in less than a year? Isn’t there a D-List celebrity with apparent anti-vaccine leanings , who can save (or may have already saved) the day for all the poor physicians, nurses, chiropractors, nutritionists, naturopaths, and homeopaths who need be available to all those parents who are desperate to recover an “epidemic” of kids from autism, mercury poisoning, or “vaccine-induced” whatever?

Aha! Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue! Where, from the home page, a parent can click on “Find A Doctor” and learn about the NGMD’s.


What’s an NGMD according to Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue?

Answer: According to Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue website, an NGMD is a “New Generation Medical Doctor”, and “These clinicians share Generation Rescue’s ideologies, practices, and philosophies of treating the underlying medical issues of individuals with autism.”


I think this is potentially an interesting development, because in the past, a parent brand-new to an autism diagnosis might have assumed scientific credibility from a movement’s (Defeat Autism Now!) list of practitioners associated with a name like “Autism Research Institute”. If nothing, ARI is a scientific sounding name. I don’t think that’s as likely to be the case for the “NGMD’s”, who could be seen by many as simply associated with a fringe anti-vaccine group promoted by Jenny McCarthy.

What do you think?

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30 Responses to “2011 – The Last Year For ARI’s DAN! Doctors”

  1. Harold L Doherty January 2, 2011 at 15:24 #

    Hello Do’C.

    What do you recommend for treating and curing autism disorders?

    Can you provide a credible reference list of doctors and other professionals involved with the treatment and cure of autism disorders?

  2. Marc Rosen January 2, 2011 at 16:45 #

    It’s a fine year to be autistic, indeed! The dumbasses are making their retreat, and in spectacular fashion!

    • Sullivan January 2, 2011 at 17:40 #


      keep in mind that the head of DAN!, Stan Kurtz, is now in a prominent position at Generation Rescue. Perhaps the credit doesn’t go to “D-list celebrities”.

      Notice the carefully chosen words in the statement, by the way:

      As recently as 10 years ago it was nearly impossible for parents to find clinicians who approached treating patients with autism from a medical point of view,

      They don’t claim to be “treating autism” but “treating patients with autism from a medical point of view”. The statement is incorrect on its face. I have never had a doctor refuse to treat my child from a medical point of view.

      You also appear to have left out the excellent advice from that webpage

      If a practitioner claims to “cure” autism, run in the other direction.

  3. Broken Link January 2, 2011 at 18:12 #

    It’s astonishing that an organization which used to call itself Defeat Autism Now! states that you should run from a practitioner who says that they can “cure” autism. “Defeat” is actually a more loaded word. “Defeat” implies that there is an enemy out there and the enemy is autism. “Cure” at least is a more neutral word.

    I think that it’s about time that the DAN! movement recognized that they haven’t really “cured” any kids.

  4. Joseph January 2, 2011 at 18:22 #

    NGMD – Not Good at Medicine or Data analysis.

    I think it’s a bit surprising DAN! was so unsuccessful it had to be shut down. Placebo-based “medicine” usually has some measure of success. My guess is that its association with anti-vax crankery brought it down.

  5. Science Mom January 2, 2011 at 19:06 #

    It sounds as though ARI is in CYA mode. I wonder how the lawsuits against some DAN! doctors are proceeding.

    What do you recommend for treating and curing autism disorders?

    Well for starters Harold, how about recognising that autism is not developmental stasis? And not shoveling who-knows-what untested garbage down their throats treating them like diseased freaks?

    Can you provide a credible reference list of doctors and other professionals involved with the treatment and cure of autism disorders?

    There is no cure for autism Harold although a substantial fraction of children may be remitted. And this is accomplished without DAN! nonsense. But many credible references for autism therapies/treatments may be found here: http://tinyurl.com/36wwztn

  6. Mike Stanton January 2, 2011 at 19:52 #

    Dropping DAN looks like a tactical move to me. ARI are now setting up a global autism collaboration to bring as many biomed orgs as possible into the tent. By continuing to promote the idea of an autism epidemic and the notion that autism is treatable (by biomedical methods) while not being tied to a single protocol ARI can be all things to all quacks and jump on any available band wagon or cure de jour as it comes along.

    • Sullivan January 2, 2011 at 22:25 #

      Mike Stanton,

      I believe that Defeat Autism Now dropped the “DAN” acronym a while back after the real DAN (Diver’s Alert Network) pressed their right to the trademark. I could be wrong there, though. Either way, my guess is that they aren’t planning an acronym for this new initiative. Too bad, I like the name Gac!

  7. Brian Deer January 2, 2011 at 23:01 #

    As an observer pretty much on the sidelines of these kind of issues, I looked at the Rimland operation’s upcoming conference, and also this thing with Edelson and the Arrangas. I have to say that the overwhelming impression I got was of the sheer absence of calibre.

    OK, the conference has Buie, but even he’s only participating by videolink. Otherwise they have nobody at all of much stature in medicine or science, and many of the speakers are having to cover several slots which otherwise it seems can’t be filled. I can’t recall going to a conference where the same non-too-memorable people (mostly selected for prominence by vaccine case attorneys) kept popping up at different sessions with quite such frequency.

    The putative global collaboration, meanwhile, just struck me as an outburst of suspiciously over-systematized grandiosity by the poison dwarves of Norwalk, or wherever the Arrangas live.

    All these people have going for them, IMO, is Jane Johnson, whose main claims to fame, as far as I’m concerned, are her Dead Pharaoh make-up range and her love tussel with Polly Tommey over my friend Andy. Oh, and she’s loaded.

    My point being that since Rimland died, these people have had nobody. They were hoping for Wakefield, but they’ve had to shuffle him off into the attic, like some mad aunt they wish they’d never asked to stay.

    You would think that a nation of 350 million would be able to come up with at least one or two people of real stature. But they just can’t seem to cut it, for some reason.

    Maybe it’s because pretty much everything they say is, as we Brits call it, bollocks.

  8. Mike Stanton January 3, 2011 at 00:01 #

    Brian said
    You would think that a nation of 350 million would be able to come up with at least one or two people of real stature. But they just can’t seem to cut it, for some reason.

    My abiding memory of the Autism Omnibus Proceedings is of the gulf between the petitioners so-called experts and the expert witnesses for the government. Yet still they think they were cheated and cannot see that they lost because they had a very weak case that was ineptly presented.

  9. Software Company January 3, 2011 at 08:18 #

    Autism is considered a serious disorder in children mutilating not just the child but the whole family.
    Though no medical treatment can better help autistic children and the treatment paradigms are oriented towards behavior therapy and group psychotherapy involving family members, it is the doctors who are to guide the parents of these children in the treatment paradigm who are already psychologically worn out.
    So more psychologist and practitioners be involved in autism treatment since it is found in many children today.
    ARI should take necessary steps towards this.

  10. Julian Frost January 3, 2011 at 09:49 #

    Mike, I don’t think the Petitioners’ case in the OAP was ineptly presented. In fact, I think that the lawyers did the best they could. Their problem is that no-one can make beefsteak from bulldust.

  11. Liz Ditz January 3, 2011 at 12:01 #

    Is it possible that the emperor finally is seen as buck nekkid?

    There was that whole big deal at Autism File (IIRC) on the “Arizona 5″ (children removed from home by child protective services because parents weren’t vaccinating & were treating childrens’ autism etc. with biomedical protocols) campaign. St. Andy even made a video. The campaign was to raise $50K by end of December. Actually raised (and this is from the anti-vax faithful): $2,250

    Or more likely — new parents, and parents with new autism diagnoses for their children, aren’t falling for the anti-vax / biomedical woo the way they were in 2000 or 2005.

  12. Laurent January 3, 2011 at 14:37 #

    A tactical move after the change of the public opinion about anti-vax theory.

  13. Joseph January 3, 2011 at 15:02 #

    There was that whole big deal at Autism File (IIRC) on the “Arizona 5” (children removed from home by child protective services because parents weren’t vaccinating & were treating childrens’ autism etc. with biomedical protocols) campaign. St. Andy even made a video. The campaign was to raise $50K by end of December. Actually raised (and this is from the anti-vax faithful): $2,250

    @Liz: Was it ever confirmed that the case actually exists? There are no news reports of this that I can find. The original source appears to be a video where Wakefield is standing in front of a house making all these claims, but he doesn’t interview a single person. I wouldn’t put anything past Wakefield.

  14. Ken Reibel January 3, 2011 at 15:31 #

    I called the Ariz. state prosecutors office and asked that question. The nice woman I talked to said she’d check into it. She called me back later and said no one in her office had heard of such a case.

    I called back a few weeks later and the same woman said that would be confidential information, and that her office cannot confirm or deny anything.

  15. jypsy January 3, 2011 at 20:06 #

    watch for a re-branding….. I recently saw someone post on a mail list about their DAN Dr. – “Here is the intro about our doctor who focuses on Diet and Nutrition (DAN)” …. Could this be the start of something?

  16. Liz Ditz January 4, 2011 at 01:27 #

    Joseph, there was a woman commenting at AoA (again IIRC) who claimed she knew the family and knew the children’s protective agency officers who had recommended removing the children from the home.

    Based on Ken’s response from AZ prosecutors, and the fact that there are often gag orders on cases such as these, I’m inclined to think that there was indeed a family whose children were placed in care, in part because of non-vaccination & parents’ medical buccaneering (ie biomedical or DAN or whatever it is called this week).

    But the big deal to me is not if the family exists or not, but that there was skepticism & doubt expressed by the AoA/Autism File/GR faithful and that the funds just didn’t come through.

    I am involved with several non-profit groups. Fundraising has been tight since mid-2008, but this is a spectacular fail.

  17. Anne January 4, 2011 at 02:58 #

    Re the “Arizona 5″ (actually 4), the case is on appeal. Appeal docket is here and opening brief is here. The case doesn’t seem to involve autism, vaccination, or DAN! treatments. Sorry to veer off from the original post.

  18. Broken Link January 4, 2011 at 03:19 #


    How do you know this is the “Arizona 5″? It does seem to involve a parent who has been suspected of exaggerating the childrens’ symptoms in order to gain medical treatment (IIRC, there was supposed to be Munchhausen’s syndrome by proxy involved with the “Arizona 5″). And it has been said that the children are “recovered” from autism, through biomedical treatment, so that they no longer have the diagnosis, so this might explain why there is no mention of autism in the documents you link to.

    However, in the youtube video, Wakefield clearly refers “their children” implying that it is a two-parent family involved. Yet, these documents clearly refer to a single parent family.

  19. Anne January 4, 2011 at 04:10 #

    Broken Link, I think I may have been wrong and that the “Arizona 5″ case is not the Shauna T case. I got a link to Shauna T’s blog from a discussion in the comments at AoA, but upon more careful reading, it appears that Shauna T claims to be similar to the “Arizona 5.” Thanks for making me look again.

  20. Brian Deer January 4, 2011 at 07:24 #

    Ah, now I see why Wakefield was so interested. The issue of a parent exaggerating issues was right at the heart of it all for his activities as well. That parent went on to make all kinds of obstructive manouvres in various legal cases and to set up a website to abuse me.

    All of the doctors, from her own GP right through to consultant and nursing staff at hospitals, had similar problems. There was talk of removing the children, as I understand it, and one Royal Free doctor travelled to attend a local meeting, but in the end I think they concluded that this would be a worse option. Eventually, the Royal Free said they would not offer any further care, and she launched a complaint against them too.

    The GP basically said that she should try to let her children grow up and get on with their lives.

    I’m surprised something can’t be found in the media. These kind of parents are usually first to parade their children in the news because, fundamentally, they want the attention. Possibly, however, the court has forbidden coverage to protect the children.

    Who wants to grow up with your name and details online in such circumstances, even if its because you don’t want schoolfriends to know about these things?

  21. Broken Link January 5, 2011 at 00:39 #


    Were these documents posted to the internet by the parent? If so, then why is the case of the “Arizona 5″ under a gag order? What makes it different? A gag order might be a convenient excuse for avoiding real discussion. Even the hard-core anti-vaxers at AoA expressed cynicism about the facts of this case.

  22. Anne January 5, 2011 at 19:34 #

    Hi, Broken Link, my guess would be that Arizona law may prohibit the publication of certain information in cases involving minors. The appellate opening brief in the Shauna T. case was apparently posted by the parent, but the brief doesn’t identify the children by last name. The Arizona 5 case, if there really is one, may not be a criminal case but rather a case brought by Arizona’s version of child protective services to terminate parental rights. The extent to which the parents in these cases are free under Arizona law to discuss them, I couldn’t say, not being familiar with the law in that state.

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  1. Autism Blog – 2011 – The Last Year For ARI's DAN! Doctors « Left … | My Autism Site | All About Autism - January 2, 2011

    [...] Original post: Autism Blog – 2011 – The Last Year For ARI's DAN! Doctors « Left … [...]

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    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, Brandon Blietz, Emily Willingham and others. Emily Willingham said: Are DAN! doctors now a non-existent breed? http://bit.ly/fhAgFj #autism [...]

  3. Science-Based Medicine » Blame and magical thinking: The consequences of the autism “biomed” movement - February 25, 2013

    [...] This interview is very telling. In it, Lambert describes having a child with what she calls “almost autism,” who had sensory, skin, allergy, and behavioral issues. The funny thing is, apparently her pediatrician didn’t agree that the child had all these problems, because Lambert complains that every time she took her child to the pediatrician he would tell her that her child was fine and developing on-target. So Lambert went doctor shopping and found a “Defeat Autism Now!” (DAN!) doctor. As many readers know, DAN! was a name for a set of “autism biomed” quackery, and DAN! doctors were doctors who practice such quackery. They were listed on the registry of the antivaccine autism biomed group “Autism Research Institute,” but the DAN! classification was dropped after 2011, and the ARI no longer maintains a list of DAN! doctors. [...]

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