Archive | Science RSS feed for this section

‘Miracle autism cure’ seller exposed by BBC investigation

12 Jun

The BBC have a new story taking on the so-called “Miracle Mineral Supplement” in ‘Miracle autism cure’ seller exposed by BBC investigation.

MMS (AKA chlorine dioxide, CD, or part of a so-called “parasite protocol”) is a bleach solution produced by mixing two chemicals which are sold separately and manufactured often in rather dubious factories. Case in point, the BBC tested the chemicals they were given and found they were much stronger than labeled.

Through his website, Mr Edwards, who says he is not attending the conference, sold the researcher the one bottle of liquid labelled as 22.4% sodium chlorite and a second labelled as 4% hydrochloric acid.

When the BBC sent the chemicals to Kent Scientific Services, an independent laboratory, they were found to be 57% and 45% stronger than the advertised concentration respectively.

The BBC approached a seller of MMS and purchased the chemicals. The person selling MMS, one Leon Edwards, made the usual huge claims: it cures malaria, HIV, cancer and, of course, autism. Of course they don’t say “cure”, they say in this case “purge”.

MMS is a scam, plain and simple. It is sold as a cure to autism parents for use on their disabled children. The sales pitches present it with the usual approach: claims of children “recovered” together with some scienc-y sounding discussion to make it seem legitimate. And, of course, if you blame vaccines for autism and claim your product somehow heals vaccine injury, you will get nothing but support from a vocal group of autism parents.

Fiona O’Leary–an autism parent–is quoted in the story. She’s been a major advocate for autistic kids through her efforts to expose MMS.

Fiona O’Leary, a mother of two autistic children, is a leading campaigner against MMS. She warned: “This has been offered as a cure for autism in 60 countries.

“What worries me is people normalising this treatment – it does not even warrant the word treatment, autism is not a ‘disease’ that you can ‘cure’ with bleach.

“We need legislation so that people offering it are always prosecuted, but we don’t see the authorities addressing this issue.”

She added: “The suffering children are going through is shocking – it’s child abuse.”

By Matt Carey

No, gastrointestinal symptoms are not a sign that autism is environmentally caused

21 Jan

There is a great deal of misinformation in the vaccines-caused-an-autism-epidemic message. The most commonly discussed misinformation is the fear that is spread about vaccines. But there is also a great deal of misinformation about autism causation and biology. For example, it is often stated that environmentally derived disabilities can be treated and that genetically derived disabilities can not. Some of the recent proposed treatments for autism have come from studies of fragile-X syndrome (a genetic condition with a high prevalence of autism). People with Down Syndrome are living longer and more healthy lives due to improvements in treatment. Another misunderstanding that get promoted is that co-morbid conditions, especially gastrointestinal symptoms, in an individual indicate that his/her autism is a result of environmental influences. Much of this impression likely results from the work of Andrew Wakefield, who tried to tie autism, GI disease and the MMR vaccine together.

While it has been long known that this “GI disease means environmental causation” idea is false, a recent paper helps to illustrate that. Gastrointestinal problems in 15q duplication syndrome discusses how gastrointestinal problems are very prevalent in individuals with the genetic 15q duplication syndrome. 15q duplication syndrome, like fragile-X, is a condition with a high prevalence of autism. About 80% of people with 15q duplication syndrome have GI problems, and this number is the same whether or not the individuals also have an autism diagnosis.

Chromosome 15q duplication syndrome (Dup15q syndrome) is a neurodevelopmental disorder involving copy number gains of the maternal chromosome 15q11.2-q13 region, characterized by intellectual disability, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and epilepsy. Gastrointestinal (GI) problems in Dup15q syndrome have been reported only rarely, mostly focused on neonatal feeding difficulties. A retrospective review of the medical records of 46 patients with Dup15q syndrome was conducted to assess GI issues and their treatments in this population. GI symptoms were present in 76.7% of subjects with an isodicentric duplication and 87.5% with an interstitial duplication. There was no clear association between GI issues and ASD, with symptoms occurring in 78.9% of all subjects and 78.2% of ASD subjects. The most commonly reported symptoms were gastroesophageal reflux (56.7%) and constipation (60%), with 30% of subjects reporting both. The most common treatments were polyethylene glycol for constipation and proton pump inhibitors for reflux. Behaviors such as irritability and aggressiveness improved with treatment of GI symptoms in several subjects. The results indicate that GI symptoms are common in Dup15q syndrome and may have an atypical presentation. Diagnosis may be difficult, especially in individuals who are nonverbal or minimally verbal, so increased awareness is critical for early diagnosis and treatment.

Genetic conditions are frequently multisystemic. Consider Down Syndrome:

People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Many of these conditions are now treatable, so most people with Down syndrome lead healthy lives –

It seems to be a relatively small point I know. It is a topic that I see come up a great deal. And given the guilt that is instilled in parents and the way that the vaccine-causation idea is used as a hook for people selling useless and often risky alternative treatments, it really isn’t such a small point.

By Matt Carey

If MMS, CD, chlorine dioxide, “parasite protocol” is safe, why does ClO2 dissolve tissue?

15 Jan

One of the marketing ploys for MMS* is that it somehow attacks viruses, bacteria, parasites, heavy metals, toxins and more but doesn’t affect human tissue. It’s safe! Of course this is from the same people who said that it isn’t a bleach. Emily Willingham did a very simple and elegant demonstration that, MMS: Yes, It Is Bleach. Put a few drops on a black cloth and, lo an behold, it bleaches it.


I thought about taking this to the next step–putting some drops on raw meat to see how much tissue would be bleached. Then I thought, I wonder if there’s a study on this already? Consider this paper, Comparison of Organic Tissue Dissolution Capacities of Sodium Hypochlorite and Chlorine Dioxide (full paper here).

Organic tissue dissolution capacity. In other words: how well do these solutions dissolve tissue.

According to the main site promoting MMS as an autism cure:

What is MMS?

MMS stands for Master Mineral Solution. It’s chemical name is Chlorine Dioxide (ClO2). ClO2 is a gas that is produced as a result of combining 2 liquids, Sodium Chlorite (NaClO2) and citric acid. When added to the sodium chlorite, the citric acid brings the combined pH level to under five, causing the sodium chlorite to become unstable and release chorine dioxide. (ClO2) Chlorine dioxide is an oxidizer with a lower oxidation potential (.95 V) than any of the other oxidizers in the human body.

MMS starts out as sodium chlorite, not the hypochlorite as mentioned in the paper. But the final solution contains ClO2, the same as one tested in the above paper. In that paper they were exploring whether these solutions (sodium hypochlorite and ClO2) could be used in dental work. They wanted to test whether ClO2 solutions would have an effect on tissue, in this case the pulp from the inside of teeth. They already knew that sodium hypochlorite dissolved tissue.

What did they find? When they put tooth pulp (taken from cows) into these solutions, after 20 minutes about 28% of the tissue was dissolved.


In ClO2 solution.

But wait, you say. That’s a paper using cow teeth, published in Turkey. Realizing that this argument would come up, I searched for more papers. Such as Effect of chlorine dioxide and sodium hypochlorite on the dissolution of human pulp tissue e An in vitro study. Which concludes

5% Chlorine dioxide is capable of dissolving human pulp tissue but sodium hypochlorite was more effective.


Comparison of Organic Tissue Dissolution Capacities of NaOCl and ClO2

Conclusion: Within the limitations of this in vitro study, it was concluded that ClO2 is efficient as well as NaOCl in dissolving organic tissue.

Not all tissues are the same. Skin, especially the dead skin in the outer layer, is likely more resistant than tooth pulp. But, how about the intestinal lining (a consideration for those using this as an enema solution)? Or once absorbed in the stomach (for those taking an oral route) or the esophagus?

OK, it dissolves tissues. But why go to these papers? How about just looking at the MSDS? People have long brought out the MSDS for thimerosal to tell us that it should be removed from vaccines. The MSDS for thimerosal shows that the LD50 level (the exposure where 1/2 of the test animals died, lethal dose 50) is Acute oral toxicity (LD50): 75 mg/kg [Rat] for thimerosal. A chlorine dioxide solution of 0.054 weight% Chlorine Dioxide is less toxic than thimerosal, with an LD50 (oral) rats: 292 mg/kg. So, it would take about 4 times as much chlorine dioxide solution at this concentration to kill a rat as thimerosal.

The thing is, people don’t drink thimerosal solutions. Or do so repeatedly. People are encouraged to drink MMS.

Consider what happens if we increase the concentration of ClO2. Up the concentration to 3% ClO2 in water and it is as toxic as thimerosal. But, again, dose makes the poison and the dose of ClO2 from MMS is much higher than the dose of thimerosal from a vaccine.

The idea that MMS, or CD or Chlorine Dioxide is somehow a magical solution which rids the body of harmful substances while having no effect on human tissues is just flat out incorrect. It dissolves organic tissue. It’s toxic and the doses are significant.

(*MMS is “miracle mineral solution”, a relatively new bit of alternative medicine that is being sold as an autism cure. It has been promoted at parent conventions such as Autism One and by the blog The Age of Autism. It is a scam and if the discussion above wasn’t clear: it should be avoided.)

By Matt Carey

Yes, it may be illegal to sell MMS

14 Jan

A few years ago a new “treatment” appeared in the alternative medical world: MMS or Miracle Mineral Solution. As just criticism came out on this treatment, the name has morphed. One can now find it called CD (chlorine dioxide) or CDS (chlorine dioxide solution) or even the “parasite protocol). It goes by many names and it’s a scam. It is a well marketed scam and it’s taken in a lot of smart people. If you haven’t heard of it before you may be wondering what it is. Essentially, it’s a bleach (sodium chlorite) which is supposed to be mixed with a weak acid to make another bleach (chlorine dioxide). There are some effective marketing materials posing as scientific talks that use the classic alt-med sales techniques: testimonials and science-like discussions. In the autism world, this means claiming that it makes autistic kids non-autistic. Usually they avoid the “c” word (cure) because that is a quick way to get noticed by the people who are supposed to protect us from such scams.

MMS is sold often with a wink and a nod as a water purification solution. Such appears to be the case with a team charged with defrauding regulators and the sale of MMS as a cure or treatment. Per the press release below, it seems that this U.S. based team was importing their materials from Canada. At some point they “smuggled sodium chlorite into the United States from Canada using fraudulent invoices to hide the true end use of the product. In these invoices, according to the indictment, they falsely claimed that the ingredients they were purchasing for MMS were to be used in wastewater treatment facilities.” Their website shows them selling 4 ounce bottles of the solution. It would take a lot of those bottles to supply a wastewater treatment facility.

Here’s a point I haven’t seen made about MMS. One can purchase the base material, sodium chlorite, for about 50 cents a pound. Alibaba shows the liquid selling for $100-300 per metric ton. (click to enlarge)

Alibaba Sodium Chlorite

But, let’s look at the website of this team selling the sodium chlorite solution. For only $20 you could get a 4-ounce bottle. That’s a savings of $5 off the regular price! Anyone want to do the calculations of how many 4-ounce bottles could be filled with a metric ton purchased for a few hundred dollars?

If one doesn’t want a ton shipped from China, Canada (where this team was sourcing their material) has sellers selling seven pound jars of the solid for $200. Not as big a profit margin as buying by the ton, but still a notable markup.


The “project green life” team point out that they are selling it as a water purification product only. If, by chance, you are planning on doing the “MMS protocol” they will provide you with information “for your safety and convenience”. And just in case, they have a one-stop shop in that they will sell you the second part of the MMS protocol, citric acid.


Wink. Nod. It’s just a water purification product, right? Sold at a huge profit. And for a small additional fee, one could also get the second part of the MMS product.

Apparently after this one team had their production facility inspected by the FDA, they moved production on to the property of one of their team members. There’s a silicon valley legend about companies starting in garages. It’s one thing for making electronics or computers. It’s another thing when we are talking about something sold (even with the wink) for human consumption.

Here is the press release from the Justice Department about when the charges were made.

Louis Daniel Smith, 42, and Karis Delong, 38, both of Ashland, Ore., were charged with defrauding regulators and suppliers in a scheme to manufacture and sell industrial bleach as a cure for numerous illnesses, including arthritis, cancer, and the seasonal flu. Also charged were Chris Olson, 49, and Tammy Olson, 50, of Nine Mile Falls, Wash. A federal grand jury returned an indictment, unsealed yesterday, charging Smith, Delong and Tammy Olson with one count of conspiracy, four counts of interstate sales of misbranded drugs, and one count of smuggling. The grand jury charged Chris Olson with one count of conspiracy, one count of the interstate sale of a misbranded drug and one count of smuggling.

The indictment alleges that Smith and Delong operated a business called “Project GreenLife” (PGL) from 2004 to 2011. PGL provided various health products for sale over the internet. According to the indictment, Smith and Delong arranged the manufacture and sale of the “Miracle Mineral Supplement” (MMS), a mixture of Sodium Chlorite and water. Sodium chlorite is not meant for human consumption. Suppliers of the chemical include a warning sheet with the chemical that states that it is harmful if swallowed.

According to the indictment, PGL provided consumers directions to combine MMS with citric acid to create Chlorine Dioxide, and the instructions told consumers to drink this mixture to cure numerous illnesses. Chlorine Dioxide is a potent agent used to bleach textiles, among other industrial applications. In humans, Chlorine Dioxide is a severe respiratory and eye irritant that can cause nausea, diarrhea and dehydration.

As part of the scheme to manufacture MMS, the indictment alleges that Smith, Delong, and others smuggled sodium chlorite into the United States from Canada using fraudulent invoices to hide the true end use of the product. In these invoices, according to the indictment, they falsely claimed that the ingredients they were purchasing for MMS were to be used in wastewater treatment facilities.

According to the charging documents, Smith and Delong were the managing members of PGL Smith co-founded the company, and Delong frequently handled financial transactions for the company and recruited friends and family to participate in the business. The indictment alleges that Smith and Delong paid Tammy Olson to handle all customer inquiries regarding the product. It is alleged that Tammy Olson continued selling MMS on her own website after federal agents shut down the Project GreenLife website and production facilities.

The indictment also alleges that Smith and Delong paid Chris Olson to clandestinely manufacture MMS in a building on his property after regulators from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspected PGL’s original manufacture and shipping locations.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the health and safety of people with cancer and other serious medical conditions,” said Stuart F. Delery, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Our most vulnerable citizens need real medicine – not dangerous chemicals peddled by modern-day snake oil salesmen.”

Charges contained in the indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty it is to determine guilt or innocence.

The case was investigated by agents of the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The case is being prosecuted by Christopher E. Parisi, a Trial Attorney at the Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch in Washington, D.C.

The defendants have made a number of motions and at least one appears to be defending himself (filing pro se). Here’s an example of one such motion:

In his motion to strike for lack of standing, ECF No. 37, Mr. Smith disputes whether the “United States” and the “United States of America” are “legally one and the same.”

I’d want a real attorney if I were a part of this group, but that’s me.

By Matt Carey

Unethical DAN doctor to be supervised by acupuncturist

31 Dec drusman1[1]

An Illinois doctor who subjects autistic children to “unwarranted, dangerous therapies” must have her work reviewed by an acupuncturist. The state medical board also fined Dr. Anju Usman $10,000, ordered her to take additional medical education classes, and placed her on probation for at least one year, as part of her plea agreement with state regulators.

The acupuncturist, Dr. Robert Charles Dumont, is a pediatrician, and a member of the faculty of the Integrative Medicine Department of Northwestern University School of Medicine. According to the consent decree, Usman “shall submit ten active patient charts on a quarterly basis” to Dumont. When asked if Usman is allowed to select which charts will be reviewed, a medical board spokesperson referred the reporter to the language in the consent decree.

Usman suggested to regulators the doctor who will be reviewing her charts, according to Usman’s attorney.


Usman is director of True Health Medical Center in Naperville, Illinois and owner of Pure Compounding Pharmacy. She a is regular presenter at Autism One, an annual gathering of vendors, providers, quasi-researchers and desperate parents.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation says Usman provided “medically unwarranted treatment that may potentially result in permanent disabling injuries” to a boy that Usman started seeing in the spring of 2002, when the child was not quite two years old. Records indicate Usman diagnosed the boy with a calcium-to-zinc imbalance, yeast, “dysbiosis”, low zinc, heavy metal toxicity, and abnormally high levels of aluminum, antimony, arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, silver, tin, titanium and selenium. Usman prescribed chelation, a hormone modulator, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which regulators describe as an “extreme departure from rational medical judgment.”

The complaint against Usman was filed by the boy’s father in 2009. A year later, he sued Usman and Dr. Daniel Rossignol of Melbourne, Fla. for harming the child with “dangerous and unnecessary experimental treatments.” A Chicago-area lab, Doctor’s Data, was also sued. The plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the suit in 2014, but will reportedly reinstate it in 2015 or later.

Usman was the subject of a 2009 Chicago Tribune investigation into questionable medical practices aimed at treating autism. The article noted that Usman and Rossignol “are stars of Defeat Autism Now!, having trained thousands of clinicians…  They are listed on the group’s online clinician registry, a first stop for many parents of children with autism seeking alternative treatment.”

Usman’s name is also connected to the 2005 death of Tariq Nadama, a five-year-old boy who died at the hands of Dr. Roy Kerry. Usman diagnosed the boy with high aluminum levels, then referred him to Kerry, an ear-nose-throat specialist in Pennsylvania. Kerry treated the child for lead poisoning, even though his blood lead levels were below that which indicates the need for chelation.

Cross posted from Autism News Beat

IACC Presentation by Lisa Croen: Psychiatric and Medical Conditions Among Adults with ASD

20 Nov

The last meeting of the previous Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) was a workshop on under recognized co-occurring conditions in ASD. One of the speakers was Lisa Croen of Kaiser Permanente. She spoke about psychiatric and medical conditions among adults with ASD. Much of this work (and more) was presented as a webinar at SFARI. This work was also presented at IMFAR.

If you can find the time to watch the video (it’s 17 minutes long), it’s well worth it. This is the sort of work we just haven’t seen before now–a look at medical needs of autistic adults. If you don’t have that time, here are a few highlights.

First consider the sort of medical conditions that get a lot of attention in the pediatric population: Sleep, GI and immune. For the pediatric population, one can watch the presentation by the Lewin group that was also given at the IACC workshop: IACC Co-occurring conditions workshop: Lewin Group presentation on co-occurring conditions in autistic children in the U.S..

In adults, GI, sleep and immune conditions are found more often in the autistic population than in the general population. Moderately more often. Interestingly, thyroid conditions are 2.5 times more common (compare this to GI disorders, which are 1.3 times more common).

croen 3

By contrast, psychiatric conditions like anxiety, depression and suicide attempts are even more common in the autistic population. Schizophrenia is 22 times more common.

croen 1

Neurologic conditions are also more common in the autistic population. Parkinson’s is 32 times more common in autistics. Dementia is 4.4 times more common.

croen 2

This is the sort of work I’ve been calling for since even before I was appointed to the IACC. The autism parent community and the research community spends a lot of time talking about learning about kids and getting tools into the hands of pediatricians. But what about adults? We know that epilepsy often has an onset about puberty for autistic kids. We know that for another developmental disability, Down Syndrome, early onset dementia is relatively common. But what is going on right now with adults? What is do we, parents and autistics, have to plan around for the future?

If I recall correctly, the last comment I made as a member of the IACC had to do with this study.

Those are exactly the kind of things that frankly scare the heck out of me and I would like to know more about. And know there’s something on the horizon I need to know about and if there is a way to intervene with adults.

By Matt Carey

IACC Co-occurring conditions workshop: Lewin Group presentation on co-occurring conditions in autistic children in the U.S.

4 Nov

Anjali Jain of the Lewin group presented on data they have collected from medical records about the prevalence of co-occurring conditions found in autistic children in the U.S.. This presentation was made to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee in Sept. 2014. (the original video is here, and the Lewin Group talk started at about timestamp 17:50.  The original has closed captioning).

Some of the most common co-occurring conditions are anxiety and depression. In fact, mental health conditions are found in about 70% of autistics. Similarly, neurological conditions and neurodevelopmental disorders are found in about 70% of autistics. By comparison, GI+nutritional disorders (which include areas like allergies), which get a great deal of attention, are found in about 20% of the autistic population. While large, this is much less common than the 70% rates found for mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Another interesting finding was that autistic children are seen more often for treatment of infectious diseases. If the risk for serious problems from infectious diseases is higher in autistic children, this makes the decision of many autism parents to stop vaccinating their children even more problematic.

The full video (with closed captioning) can be found here:

By Matt Carey


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,267 other followers