The Geier story on testosterone shifts again

19 Apr

When Mark and David Geier first proposed using Lupron on autistic children, it was supposedly to help remove mercury from the brain. Their theory was that mercury and testosterone bound together in the brain and that this prevented chelators from being able to remove the mercury. They first approached the Rev. Lisa Sykes, whose son was one of their patients, with the idea. You can hear her discuss that encounter here.

The blurb for that video was:

The Reverend Lisa Sykes is the mother of a recovering autistic boy (Wesley) and an ordained minister, currently serving as Pastor for the Christ United Methodist Church in Richmond, Virginia. In this interview, Rev. Sykes discusses how she came to having her son treated using the Geiers’ “lupron” protocol to more effectively remove heavy metals by first lowering Wesley’s abnormally high testosterone levels.

In the video, Rev. Sykes quotes David Geier (Mark Geier’s non-doctor son and partner in his clinic and research) in the video as saying:

“Do you know, we’ve figured something out!”

“We think we can get rid of the mercury by lowering the testosterone”

As the Geiers and the Rev. Sykes have been major proponents of the failed mercury causation idea, this is not surprising.

The science behind the idea was bad. To the point of laughable, if it weren’t for the danger posed to disabled children.

Mr. Geier has since had his license to practice medicine suspended, in large part due his “Lupron protocol” and the way he misdiagnosed children with “precocious puberty” in order to prescribe Lupron.

The Geiers and Rev. Sykes have a new paper out: “An evaluation of the role and treatment of elevated male hormones in autism spectrum disorders.”

The word “mercury” doesn’t appear in the main body of the paper at all. Just in a citation to one of the Geier team early papers. But they do conclude:

Anti-androgen therapy should be considered as an effective means to significantly help improve clinical features of patients diagnosed with an ASD.

The paper was published in Acta Neurobiol Exp, a journal by the Neuroscience Society. The journal has an editor who is a proponent of the idea that vaccines cause autism and has a history of publishing low quality papers promoting the idea.

Frankly, I see this as an attempt by the Geiers to create a defense for their previous actions, those which resulted in Mark Geier’s license suspension. By distancing themselves from both the purported chelation idea and the precocious puberty idea they can create a justification for why they treated disabled children with a drug for which there was no clinically indicated need.

8 Responses to “The Geier story on testosterone shifts again”

  1. David N. Brown April 20, 2012 at 08:30 #

    A very interesting development… I doubt if there’s any point in boycotting the journal (as I proposed when Wakefield’s last paper saw the light of day), but complaints to or against the publisher might be worth pursuing.

    Ultimately, this is just backing into what as been the biggest problem with the Geiers’ “theory”. As I commented on the last posting about the Geiers, many children with autism represent the OPPOSITE of what would be expected from excessive testosterone. Which does NOT mean it couldn’t happen, but it means it would take a lot more evidence than autistic boys behaving pretty much like ANY boys.

  2. Neuroskeptic April 20, 2012 at 08:57 #

    The plot thickens. I’ll grant the Geiers one thing – to change your story in this way, to jettison years of mercury-obsession and effortlessly switch to being all about testosterone, takes balls (geddit?)

    Seriously though, this is obviously a sign of desperation. Now even the Geier’s don’t believe in mercury (or vaccines – they don’t mention vaccines in the new paper!) I think it’s safe to say that the anti-vaccine movement is in decline.

  3. David N. Brown April 20, 2012 at 09:53 #

    One thing that stood out to me looking at the abstract: “Subjects diagnosed with an ASD have a male:female ratio of 4:1, and among subjects diagnosed with AS the male:female ratio is as high as 9:1.”
    Ah, yes, the ALLEGED gender disparity, which a lot of people (including me) suspect is substantially a relic of women being more underdiagnosed than men. And notice, even at face value, the numbers don’t fit the Geiers’ model: If autism is about being “extreme male”, why would there be a greater proportion of men among the MILDER forms of autism?

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona

  4. MikeMa April 20, 2012 at 15:24 #

    It isn’t as if the Geiers can disappear years worth of their bad science and Lupron stupidity. They have written about this and delivered numerous talks IIRC. Surely that record cannot be expunged even with an overwhelmingly supportive loon base such as the anti-vax groups represent. Surely, someone will testify to the Geier’s greed and ignorance. Add insurance fraud to that pile and the creaky boat father & son find themselves in must sink.

  5. David N. Brown April 21, 2012 at 04:39 #

    Actually, the Geiers seem to have been quietly cut off from the wider “anti-vax” movement even before their current troubles. Most notably, AoA published an openly critical account of their work, I believe back in 2009. Dan Olmsted himself raised concerns about the known side effects of Lupron. It seems likely that quite a few were alienated by just the fact that the drug the Geiers push is very much a product of “Big Pharma”.

    David N. Brown
    Mesa, Arizona


  1. Autism Blog – The Geier story on testosterone shifts again « Left … | My Autism Site | All About Autism - April 21, 2012

    […] Read more: Autism Blog – The Geier story on testosterone shifts again « Left … […]

  2. Looking back at two decades of Geier | Left Brain Right Brain - October 20, 2013

    […] How about the Geier theory behind using Lupron to shut down hormone production in autistic kids? It started as a way to enhance chelation. Chelation is without merit in autism treatment to begin with, but the Geiers took it a step further. One of their collaborators, and apparently the parent of one of the first kids to be subjected to the “Lupron Protocol” quoted David Geier as saying, “We figured something new out…..we think we can get rid of the mercury by lowering the testosterone”. The “science” behind the “Lupron Protocol” AutismOne throws their support behind the Geiers in Autism Science Digest is ridiculous. Even the Geiers shifted away from their original theory, leaving out the mercury angle: The Geier Story on Testosterone Shifts Again. […]

  3. More bad epidemiology from Dr. Brian S. Hooker and friends | Epidemiological - November 5, 2014

    […] Will they? Remember that the Geiers made a lot of money treating kids with autism based on a flawed theory that testosterone (a hormone found in males in greater concentrations than in females)…. So we’ll […]

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