There are so many strange theories about autism which come and go that one doesn’t have the time to read up on all of them. Such is the case with MMS, which I now know stands for Miracle Mineral Solution. Recently the chatter on some of the yahoo groups I subscribe to increased with discussions of MMS and I just didn’t read what they were talking about.
To put it simply, “Miracle Mineral Solution” is bleach. Like many alternative medicine treatments, proponents of MMS claim it can help almost anything. Including autism.
If you unfamiliar with it, AutismOne is a parent convention with a large focus on claims of vaccine causation and alt-med therapies for autism. When Andrew Wakefield lost his medical license for unethical practices, he was given a standing ovation at the following AutismOne conference. When Mark Geier’s medical license was suspended, he also was given a standing ovation. Year after year one can hear discussion of the failed idea about how mercury in vaccines caused an autism epidemic. There are some presentations at AutismOne which appear useful (such as special education law), but the fact that they have such low standards for science and treatment topics trumps whatever good they might do.
As in the talk this year on MMS (38 Children Recovered in 20 months: Autism Treatment with MMS). Slides for the talk are online.
The talk has a lot of the usual warning signs:
1) claims of recovery substantiated by anecdotes and testimonials.
2) pseudo-scientific claims (in this case discussion of the chemistry of the molecules)
3) reliance on non-scientific explanation of autism (in this case that autism can be cured by ridding the body of parasites)
4) re-defining adverse reactions as expected and helpful.
And it is this last point that is particularly troublesome. Many alt-med therapies result in adverse reactions. Read yahoo groups and you will see them frequently. For MMS you will see vomiting and diarrhea. Parents discuss ramping up the dose of MMS until the child starts to vomit, then backing off.
The presentation from AutismOne includes:
It is common to find that the child gets a fever. This is very good.
As well as a claim that the adverse reactions are “Herxheimer reactions”. Herxheimer reactions exist–search the Mayo Clinic website and you will find it for when syphilis is treated with penicillin. You won’t find it for when a child is made to drink bleach.
Why would a child have an adverse reaction to MMS? Because it’s bleach. Here is an FDA warning on MMS:
FDA Warns Consumers of Serious Harm from Drinking Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)
Product contains industrial strength bleach
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers not to take Miracle Mineral Solution, an oral liquid also known as “Miracle Mineral Supplement” or “MMS.” The product, when used as directed, produces an industrial bleach that can cause serious harm to health.
The FDA has received several reports of health injuries from consumers using this product, including severe nausea, vomiting, and life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration.
Consumers who have MMS should stop using it immediately and throw it away.
MMS is distributed on Internet sites and online auctions by multiple independent distributors. Although the products share the MMS name, the look of the labeling may vary.
The product instructs consumers to mix the 28 percent sodium chlorite solution with an acid such as citrus juice. This mixture produces chlorine dioxide, a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment. High oral doses of this bleach, such as those recommended in the labeling, can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration.
MMS claims to treat multiple unrelated diseases, including HIV, hepatitis, the H1N1 flu virus, common colds, acne, cancer, and other conditions. The FDA is not aware of any research that MMS is effective in treating any of these conditions. MMS also poses a significant health risk to consumers who may choose to use this product for self-treatment instead of seeking FDA-approved treatments for these conditions.
The FDA continues to investigate and may pursue civil or criminal enforcement actions as appropriate to protect the public from this potentially dangerous product.
The FDA advises consumers who have experienced any negative side effects from MMS to consult a health care professional as soon as possible and to discard the product. Consumers and health care professionals should report adverse events to the FDA’s MedWatch program at 800-FDA-1088 or online at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm.
One has to question whether AutismOne spent any thought about promoting giving bleach orally or rectally to disabled children before accepting this speaker. Seriously, how hard is it to consider that forcing anyone, and especially disabled children, to drink bleach is a bad idea?