Search results for 'DAN!'

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”
http://www.ariconference.com/enews/enewsletter_201010.html

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

“Spring 2011 ARI Conference
(formerly known as Defeat Autism Now!)”
http://www.ariconference.com/enews/enewsletter_201011.html

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.

Source

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.

Source

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.

Source

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.

JMGR

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.”

Source

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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The DAN! Treatment of Tariq Nadama

25 Jul

This post was sent to me, as is by someone who wanted to write about this. I was happy to ‘host’ it.

Does the DAN! ‘Protocol’ have more to do with an autistic child’s death than meets the eye? Why does the newly re-designed Autism Research Institue’s (ARI) website still contain a statement about the death of Tariq Nadama, by Bernard Rimland (1928-2006), that appears to be based on old information and doesn’t amount to much more than logical fallacy? Does it matter that two physicians who treated Tariq Nadama are ARI-listed as DAN! practitioners?

The ARI website appears to have recently undergone some serious change. While such change may certainly have some supporters (after all, even Michael Jackson has die-hard supporters), in my opinion, it seems to call attention to the possibility that there are more flaws visible now (links to Generation Rescue), than there were to begin with. Perhaps some of the “less than pretty” parts stand out just a little bit more than they used to. The apparent involvement of DAN! practitioners in the “treatment” of Tariq Nadama, and a mother convinced that her child was “autistic due to immunization shots” is a good example. I actually find it hard to believe that this statement is still up on the ARI website, given what is now known about the story:

A DAN! practitioner (and endorser of ARI’s “Treatment Options for Mercury/Metal Toxicity in Autism and Related Developmental Disabilities: Consensus Position Paper”) apparently referred the Nadamas to Roy Kerry, it doesn’t appear to be the case that Tariq had “been mistakenly been given a ‘look-alike’ drug” since Roy Kerry’s apparently prescribed the use of IV disodium EDTA, ENDRATEand Roy Kerry apparently became a "DAN! " after the death of Tariq Nadama.

Source

August 29, 2005
(updated March, 2006)
The Safety and Efficacy of Chelation Therapy in Autism
Statement by Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Director, Autism Research Institute regarding death on August 23, 2005 of 5 year-old Tariq Nadama Of Pittsburgh, who was given intravenous EDTA chelation I have received many media calls regarding the above, very unfortunate matter.Although the autopsy conducted immediately after Tariq’s death was inconclusive, the medical community and the press quickly leaped to the (incorrect) conclusion that Tariq’s death was due to chelation therapy. A later formal report by Mary Jean Brown of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that Tariq’s death was not caused by properly administered chelation, but was instead a result of a drug error. He had mistakenly been given a ‘look-alike’ drug, Disodium EDTA, instead of Calcium Disodium EDTA.Here is some additional information about chelation:
1. Chelation is not used to treat autism, but rather to treat heavy metal overload (lead, mercury, cadmium, etc), which is a major cause of autism and retardation.
2. Tens of thousands of children and hundreds of thousands of adults have been treated safely with chelation therapy for many decades.
3. The child’s mother, Marwa Nadama, said that her son showed such remarkable improvement after the first few chelation treatments that if she had a choice, she would choose chelation again.
4. Conventional physicians, who have been critical of chelation, routinely use drugs such as Risperdal and Clonidine in treating autism. Death is a known side-effect of such drugs (read the labels!). Such deaths get no media attention. In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration reviewed the research literature on Risperdal in autistic individuals. They decided not to approve Risperdal because of the number of deaths associated with it. Despite this deadly “side-effect” of Risperdal, it continues to be the most frequently prescribed drug for autistic individuals.
5. Most autistic children who are chelated are chelated orally or transdermally (by gel, through the skin), as suggested in our Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!®) document available at our website http://www.autism.com.
6. Thousands of parents of autistic children, treated safely with chelation, report, like Tariq Nadama’s mother, that their children have shown remarkable improvement after chelation was initiated. Formal data collection is just getting underway, but the initial data, on several hundred children is very encouraging:
7. Since 1967 The Autism Research Institute has collected “Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions.” To date, over 24,500 parent responses have been collected. Chelation is a recent addition to our list of interventions. So far, of the first 470 parents who reported on the efficacy of chelation, 75% report “good” results, which is by far the highest “good” percentage reported for any of the 88 biomedical interventions (including 53 drugs) the parents have rated. See: http://www.autismwebsite.com/ari/treatment/form34q.htm.

See related article titled “Chelation: The story behind the headlines”

Okay, now that it’s refreshed in your memories, let’s take a much closer look at this statement.

Although the autopsy conducted immediately after Tariq’s death was inconclusive, the medical community and the press quickly leaped to the (incorrect) conclusion that Tariq’s death was due to chelation therapy. A later formal report by Mary Jean Brown of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that Tariq’s death was not caused by properly administered chelation, but was instead a result of a drug error. He had mistakenly been given a ‘look-alike’ drug, Disodium EDTA, instead of Calcium Disodium EDTA.

What the ARI website doesn’t tell you, is that the Order To Show Cause by The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs before the Pennsylvania State Board Of Medicine (the complaint against Dr. Roy Kerry, the Pennsylvania doctor who prescribed the chelation therapy drug that resulted in the death of Tariq Nadama), leaves very little question about what apparently really happened:

“69. Respondent spoke to Professional Conduct Investigator of the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigator concerning his treatment of Tariq.”
“70. Respondent admitted that EDTA is very rare to use on children.”
“71. Respondent admitted to using Disodium EDTA to chelate Tariq.”
“72. Respondent stated to Investigator Reiser that Disodium EDTA is the only formula of EDTA he stocks in his office.”
“73. Respondent admitted that CaNa2EDTA is available but that he has never used this agent.”

Mary Jean Brown’s statement to the press was apparently made in January of 2006. The Order To Show Cause was not made public until September of 2006, so it’s understandable that ARI’s statement from March of 2006 does not reflect this new information. Isn’t it time for ARI to update their statement?

Here is some additional information about chelation:

1. Chelation is not used to treat autism, but rather to treat heavy metal overload (lead, mercury, cadmium, etc), which is a major cause of autism and retardation.

Okay, so this is probably a statement of belief on the part of Bernard Rimland. I am not aware of any science supports the notion that heavy metals are “a major cause of autism” let alone that autistic children in general are “overloaded” with such metals. Why not just leave the explanation at, “Chelation is sometimes used to treat heavy metal toxicity”, or re-phrase it as a clear statement of belief? It also seems clear from the Order To Show Cause that there doesn’t appear to be any evidence that Tariq was “overloaded” with heavy metals.

“44. Respondent obtained a “post provocative” urine sample from Tariq on July 22, 2005.”
“45. A “post provocative” sample is a urine sample taken after the patient has been subject to drug therapy or chelation.”
“46. The laboratory report of this sample was completed on July 29, 2005 and sent to Respondent.”
“47. This laboratory report listed Tariq’s lead level as “elevated” but not in the “very elevated” reference range.”
“48. It should be noted that this laboratory report has a notation in bold print that reads “Reference ranges are representative of a healthy population under non-challenge or non¬provoked conditions.””
“49. Tariq had a minimal elevation of his lead level.”

2. Tens of thousands of children and hundreds of thousands of adults have been treated safely with chelation therapy for many decades.

Apparently, death is not as uncommon as ARI’s website might have readers believe, but aside from that, an appeal to the number of people treated with chelation therapy says absolutely nothing about the appropriateness (or major lack thereof) of chelation therapy for autism. While Rimland’s statement is clear that chelation is used to treat heavy metal toxicity, it seems pretty obvious from the Order To Show Cause that this probably was not the case given the lab results discussed and apparent desire on the part of the mother for the procedure.

16. The current complaint notation reads “wants to have iv … edta injection … an iv push. mother states Tariq is autistic due to immunization shots he was a normal pregnancy .. 1st shots were given the day he was born … no sx noted until age 18 mo … has had 12 other inoculation by time he was 18 mo old/…”

3. The child’s mother, Marwa Nadama, said that her son showed such remarkable improvement after the first few chelation treatments that if she had a choice, she would choose chelation again.

Hmm. Apparently it was the third treatment that killed Tariq, so to say he showed remarkable improvement after the first “few” chelation treatments would seem rather difficult. I suppose it’s possible that she may have been referring to other previous chelation attempts which may fall under the:
“has not been responding 10 other types of therapies and therefore she is recommending EDTA” described in the Order To Show Cause, but that doesn’t make sense that she would view them as having been responsible for “remarkable improvement”. I guess we’ll just have to chalk this one up to “appeal to testimonial”.

4. Conventional physicians, who have been critical of chelation, routinely use drugs such as Risperdal and Clonidine in treating autism. Death is a known side-effect of such drugs (read the labels!). Such deaths get no media attention. In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration reviewed the research literature on Risperdal in autistic individuals. They decided not to approve Risperdal because of the number of deaths associated with it. Despite this deadly “side-effect” of Risperdal, it continues to be the most frequently prescribed drug for autistic individuals.

Tu Quoque! Two “wrongs” do not make a “right”. Risperdal is irrelevant to the safety or efficacy of chelation.

5. Most autistic children who are chelated are chelated orally or transdermally (by gel, through the skin), as suggested in our Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) document available at our website http://www.autism.com.

Ah the good old appeal to popularity. Are readers to assume that because most autistic children who are chelated are chelated orally or transdermally, that it acutally does anything for autism itself, or that chelation is safe? Are readers to assume that because this is what’s popular, that the (DAN!®) document available at their website http://www.autism.com will appropriately caution about IV EDTA chelation? The (DAN!®) document discusses three common chelators. It does mention IV adminstration of “many different agents”, but it doesn’t appear to mention, exclude, or warn about EDTA by name at all.

_”There are many different agents for detoxification of metals, and some agents can be administered in different ways (IV, oral, rectal suppository, transdermal). The three major ones we will discuss include DMSA, DMPS, and TTFD. “_

It should be tempting to think that a document devoted to chelation, and endorsed by thrity-three professionals, would exclude EDTA. After all, the name “EDTA” is not specific to either of the two types of EDTA (Endrate or Versenate), and it’s use is notably cautioned by its own package insert.

6. Thousands of parents of autistic children, treated safely with chelation, report, like Tariq Nadama’s mother, that their children have shown remarkable improvement after chelation was initiated. Formal data collection is just getting underway, but the initial data, on several hundred children is very encouraging:

I don’t expect that this is any kind of data that would be peer-reviewed and published in mainstream scientific literature, but I suppose I could be wrong.

7. Since 1967 The Autism Research Institute has collected “Parent Ratings of Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions.” To date, over 24,500 parent responses have been collected. Chelation is a recent addition to our list of interventions. So far, of the first 470 parents who reported on the efficacy of chelation, 75% report “good” results, which is by far the highest “good” percentage reported for any of the 88 biomedical interventions (including 53 drugs) the parents have rated. See: http://www.autismwebsite.com/ari/treatment/form34q.htm.
See related article titled “Chelation: The story behind the headlines”

Parent Ratings? Please read what Prometheus had to say about this. But what’s one to make of “88 Biomedical interventions (including 53 drugs)!? Fifty-three? Holy experimentation Batman!
Let’s recap.

1) According to documents from Roy Kerry’s office, Tariq’s mother apparently came to believe her autistic child is autistic “due to immunization shots”.
2) Somewhere along the way, the parents seek treatment from DAN! practitioner, and endorser of the DAN!® “Treatment Options for Mercury/Metal Toxicity” document, Anju Usman.
3) While under the care (or prior to being under the care) of DAN! practitioner Anju Usman, some 10 odd therapies apparently fail to produce desired results. (This may or may not have included oral and or transdermal chelation as well).
4) The DAN! document makes no warning about IV EDTA. In fact, DAN! practitioner Anju Usman apparently refers Nadama family to Dr. Roy Kerry for IV EDTA chelation (she may have actually been the physician who recommended CaNa2EDTA – line 43 of the Order To Show Cause).
5) Roy Kerry (not a DAN! practitioner at the time according to Bernard Rimland), is the physician who prescribed Endrate.
6) Tariq Nadama is dead.
7) Roy Kerry is now listed as a DAN! practitioner.

DAN! Doctor Roy Kerry chelation charges

10 Jul

Thhe full set of charges against the people responsible for the death of Tariq Nadama have been posted online.

In particular, DAN! (defeat autism now) ‘doctor’ Roy Kerry has to face some very serious charges indeed.

At the time, various anti-vax apologists were saying it was a mix up of the chelating agent – that the wrong one was used. These charges kill that piece of silly rationalisation stone dead:

71. Respondent admitted to using Disodium EDTA to chelate Tariq.

72. Respondent stated to Investigator Reiser that Disodiun EDTA is the only formula of EDTA he stocks in his office.

Maybe someone could explain to me how it was a mix up when the guy only stocks one type of EDTA? Please, this I have to hear.

The list of charges against Kerry strike right at the heart of the whole quackery surrounding the use of chelation. Here’s a selection:

24. The aforesaid death of Tariq Nadama was caused by the negligence of Dr. Kerry in the following particulars:

a. In failing to make a diagnosis of the child which would justify the use of disodium EDTA;
b. In deciding to administer EDTA therapy to a child;
c. In deciding to administer disodium EDTA to “treat” autism when he knew, or should have known, that such therapy is not effective treatment for autism;
d. In administering disodium EDTA when he knew that such product was not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in “treating” autism;
e. In administering the wrong type of EDTA, e.g. one that did not contain an appropriate calcium additive;
f. In ordering the administration of the EDTA in an excessive dosage and concentration;
g. In ordering the administration of the EDTA via IV push when he knew, or should have known, that said method of administration was too fast;
h. In failing to appropriately train, educate and instruct the employees of Advanced Integrative Medicine Center, Inc., who were involved in the administration of the EDTA;
i. In failing to advise the deceased’s mother, Marwa Nadama, of all of the risks of chelation therapy and all appropriate alternatives to such treatment;

This shows the autism/chelation cottage industry up for exactly what it is – dangerous psuedoscience with no regard for the children who are essentially experimented on by quacks with their parents approval.

I’m very seriously conflicted by the Nadama’s decision to sue these people. A large part of me is glad that Tariq will get justice and that RoY Kerry will join the ranks of his fellow DAN! Doctors who have injured people or who have court judgements against them. He deserves no less.

On the other hand, I think the Nadama’s bear some responsibility themselves – as do those who ‘advised’ her. The mother, Marwa, was a regular on various Yahoo/autism groups and had also posted to the (now defunct) guestbook of Autism Fair Media, Erik Nanstiel’s quack interview website. She was immersed in chelation quackery and yet her husband was a Doctor – a specialist registrar in respiratory medicine at an NHS hospital. It beggars belief that if they could find the quackery on this subject that they couldn’t find sites like mine which expose the quackery. A google.co.uk (the Nadama’s are British) for the phrase ‘autism chelation’ reveals Kathleen, Jim Laidler’s site, Stephen Barretts site and Diva’s site on page 1, this site on page 2. I simply cannot believe they did not know chelation for autism had a dubious reputation.

One thing that cannot be questioned is the dedication and skill of the investigators who have put long hours into putting this case together and (obviously) rescuing the Nadama’s from their beliefs in chelation/autism quackery. About the only positives to come out of this is the fact that the Nadama’s can now see autism/chelation for what it is. What a shame its two years and one life too late.

DAN! Doctors – The ‘other’ list

12 May

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed a new main menu entry at the top of this page between ‘wiki’ and ‘contact’ called DAN! Doctors.

This page contains a (worryingly long) list of some of the people with the loose honorific of ‘DAN! Doctor’ who are on the official ARI list. However, unlike the ARI list, this list will tell you the ‘other’ side of the happy-clappy hero’s of DAN! It contains notes on prosecutions, license suspensions, criminal acts and current investigations.

I can take absolutely no credit for the compilation of this list. It was handed to me by someone who wishes to remain anonymous.

This is a static page at the moment. In the near future, this page will move to its own domain and website and be driven by a database backend as it grows (as I’m sadly sure it will) however I wanted to get this up as quickly as possible.

The bottom line is that over 10% of DAN! docs (that have been looked at so far) have been in trouble. Trouble ranges from killing a patient, to paedophilia, to gross negligence to tax evasion. If you know a parent considering a DAN! doctor then make sure they read this list first. At the very least, even if they do decide to go ahead, they can avoid the bad guys.

DAN! – On a mission from God

9 Oct

The Exorcist

Back in 2004, a self ordained minister (well, technically he was ordained by his brother but seeing as the ordination happened at a ‘storefront church’ I’m going to go ahead and call it a load of old twaddle anyway) killed an eight year old autistic boy, Terrance Cottrell Jr, and was convicted of:

felony physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm

The ‘minister’ was attempting an exorcism…:

..to remove “evil spirits” of autism from Cottrell. Hemphill, who weighed 157 pounds, described how he would sit or lay on “Junior’s” chest for up to two hours at a time, whispering into the boy’s ear for the “demons” to leave his body.

This ‘man of god’ decided to appeal (de rigeur these days for those who have no sense of personal responsibility) and in August this year, his appeal was happily quashed.

I’ve written before about this story but I’m bringing it up again as I was notified about something pretty incredible – at least to me.

Jeff Bradstreet – Man of God

Dr Jeff Bradstreet is two thing. The fist thing he is, is a DAN! doctor. The second thing he is, is an expert witness in the Autism Omnibus case to be held next year.

But in fact, Jeff Bradstreet is _three_ things. Just like that compassionate driver of autism demons Ray Anthony Hemphill of the above tragedy, Jeff Bradstreet is a keen advocate of Exorcism as a treatment for autism.

No, I’m not kidding. Here’s an email message from Holly Bortfield of a pro-chelation group ‘Autism Recovery Network’ made to the Yahooo Autism Biomedical Discussion (ABMD) group in Feb 2005, the group is not open to the public so you can’t read the original unless you sign up (if you do its message 49660) but I’ve linked to a screenshot of her message:

You certainly have a right to the opinion that Jeff [Bradstreet] is the diety himself, but as a former patient and friend to a number of former patients, I can assure you not everyone holds him in such high regard. If you’d like to check out list archives from 1998 and 1999 I bet you will find the discussions of his exorcism referrals (I kid you not)…

Screenshot

When someone on the list suggested the word ‘exorcism’ was too strong, Bortfield replied (message: 49764):

Honey, that was his word not mine. I can think of a dozen people he told to have their kid exorcised

And poster Larry Leichtman chimed in with:

Actually, I heard that from him myself. He is a true believer in the devil and exorcism.

Screenshot

And not only does DAN! offer exorcism, it seems the National Autism Association heartily endorse it, as this message (49765) from Jo Pike of the NAA in reply shows:

Well may[be] its working LOL! I’ve talked to so many parents who have told me their children are improving dramatically and they all give credit to their office. Bottom line is the outcome and it seems they’re helping a lot of families.

Screenshot

And Ricci, the owner and list-moderator for the ABMD board also voiced concern in a long list of troubling DAN! traits. Its too long to quote here (screenshot here, but the lsit included DAN! practitioners who:

1) Have had their licenses suspended for overbilling insurance companies
2) Have had their licenses suspended for substance abuse
3) Have pushed MLM (multi level marketing/pyramid schemes – outlawed in the UK I believe) and lied about their involvement.
4) Received their degrees from a diploma mill in a strip mall
5) Have treated children for conditions they didn’t have and ignored conditions they clearly did have
6) Charged outrageous fees (Ricci quotes $300 for a bottle of Japanese secretin one can buy onesself for $5)
*7) Have performed exorcism on their own autistic children and recommended others to do the same*

Frankly, this is a little more than disturbing. Its crazy. Here’s Jeff Bradstreet – who the Autism Omnibus lawyers are putting forward as an _expert witness_ recommending exorcism as a viable treatment for autistic kids.

How is this man still a DAN! Doctor? Are there really people out there who are happy about this person ‘treating’ their kids? Is the American legal system seriously going to make itself into a laughing stock by admitting this man as a viable expert witness?

DAN! Protocol For Dummies

20 Mar

Whenever anyone else hears the word ‘DAN!’ with that little exclamation mark do they go ‘DAN! – DAN! – DAN – DAN!’ to the opening four bars of the theme to ‘Dragnet’? No? Ah well, just me then.

Ken Aitken is a psychologist. He’s also a DAN! Doctor. One doesn’t need to be an actual Doctor to be a DAN! Doctor apparently:

As for choosing a DAN!, it just depends on what type of treatment you are looking for. DAN!’s that are MDs or DOs are typically going to be much more into testing and genetics and lots of expensive and invasive stuff. This, of course, is a gross generalization and isn’t necessarily true of all DAN! MDs, but rather something to be cautious of. A DAN! who is a homeopath or naturopath is typically going to do things more naturally and less invasive. Again, it’s a generalization. There are chiropractors, allergists and other types of doctors that are DAN!s as well, so it is really the type of doctor and treatment that best suits your needs. Many people go with a MD or DO because they can get insurance coverage for some of the services.

Homeopaths and Naturopaths doing things ‘naturally’. Heh. Does this lack of training in medical matters prevent them from performing things like chelation (source as above)?

…which is why we went with a homeopath/naturopath…….We decided to get the mercury out because I knew that Seth had had way too much put into him and it wasn’t coming out at all (he’s a non-excretor).

Homeopaths and Naturopaths doing chelation. Cool.

I talked to one yesterday (a DAN doctor mind you) and how he got qualifications to be one is beyond me. He told me has a couple of autistic patients and knows of the chelation process. If this is all that is required to be a DAN doctor then I don’t see a distinct advantage to them either.

Source.

Is your mind boggling yet? Here’s the reply to this commenter (source as above):

I think that being on the DAN list (in the past) meant something like that the person had attended some DAN training– or something rather general like this. Someone (in some post, somewhere) who went to the recent DAN conference wrote about that there is/was some discussion afoot to try to improve on this and make the
info on doctors more useful (or more detailed….or something??)

This doesn’t sound like a recipie for disaster at all. Was Roy Kerry a DAN! Doctor? I don’t know.

I came across some priceless websites pushing the DAN! protocol. They had numerous things in common, chiefly the disclaimer – all variations on the theme of:

this is not medical advice

Which is odd because from that point on, they mostly plough into what can only be thought of as _advice_ about what _medication_ an autistic child should take. There’s a fairly representative sample of what a dutiful DAN! Doc should do on the website of Miriam Jang MD. First, the usual copout from responsibility:

At this point, I would like to point out that this is not medical advice, even though I am a Medical Doctor. Rather, this is a wish for your child or your loved one(s) to have the advantage of what took us eight years to discover. Please take this as a medical disclaimer. All suggestions here should be done at your own risk.

‘Own risk’. Right. Or actually – wrong. She means the risk of the child receiving the treatment. Thats whos health will suffer when if it all goes wrong.

Dr Jang decides to lead off with some impressive science:

In both Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, the sages believed that there were only two ways to health: one was to correct deficiencies; the other was to get rid of toxicities.

Ayurvedic? What the hell?

This ancient art of healing has been practiced continuously for over 5,000 years. The principles of many natural healing systems now familiar in the West, such as Homeopathy and Polarity Therapy, have their roots in Ayurveda. Ayurvedic practices restore the balance and harmony of the individual, resulting in self-healing, good health and longevity.

So, DAN! Doctors are homeopaths and naturopaths who practice er, Polarity Therapy. Polarity Therapy? What the hell?

Polarity Therapy is a comprehensive health system involving energy-based bodywork, diet, exercise and self-awareness. It works with the Human Energy Field, electromagnetic patterns expressed in mental, emotional and physical experience.

Riiiight. OK. Back to er, Doctor (?) Jang. Basically, there’s a load of stuff with no cites – such as:

An important finding is that about 85 percent of Autistic kids are high in Copper and low in Zinc. Furthermore, these kids are very low in an important protein call Metallothionein, or MT Protein.

Hmm. Searching PubMed for ‘Metallothionein autism’ reveals two results. One is an inaccessible review and one is a free PDF published in the confidence inspiringly named ‘Alternative Medecine Review’. A Google search for the same reveals the predicted circus of quackery.

Except….another one of the mercury/autism darlings, Vijendra K. Singh has a paper that states:

serum level of MT did not significantly differ between normal and autistic children. Furthermore, autistic children harboured normal levels of anti-MT, including antibodies to isoform MT-I (anti-MT-I) and MT-II (anti-MT-II), without any significant difference between normal and autistic children.

A dilema, no? (You can read more on this paper here.)

Dr Jang continues with:

I will include a list of supplements that Marky is taking. There are many protocols, with many rationales. When we write down the dosages, please take into consideration that Marky is 11 years old and weighs 75 pounds. Please adjust your dosages according to your child’s weight.

Marky is her son. But isn’t it amazing how a DAN! Doctor is assuming parents know *how* to adjust medications for weight – and is happy to trust them to do so without medical supervision or even consultation!

Towards the end of her piece she says:

Please remember that, if you introduce your child to a new supplement, it is not unusual for the child to experience some adverse effects for a short while…When this happens, it does not necessarily mean that you should discontinue the supplement, unless the adverse effects are dangerous, or persistent….If there are adverse effects, stay at this dose until the adverse effects are gone, then proceed to a slightly higher dose, etc.

So there may be adverse effects but don’t stop unless the adverse effects are dangerous, instead stay on the same dose until the adverse effects are gone. I can’t imagine any Doctor thinking this is good advice. Interestingly, the following appeared from Dr Jang as part of an email newsletter:

I would like to start with some very serious news: we do have to be careful of Vitamin A toxicity with our sweet kids. There is a child with reported Vitamin A toxicity that was so severe that the child had to be hospitalized for 12 days.

Her patient? I wonder. Maybe the practitioner (whomever s/he was) read her advice to ‘stay on the same dose until the adverse effects are gone’.

Dr Jang tells us in relation to supplements that:

We noticed a difference in Marky in less than a week.

And yet later on she says:

In addition, you may not see the beneficial effects of these supplements for a period of time.

Something of a glaring contradiction. Which is true?

Anyway, having expounded all this good advice, Dr Jang closes with:

So, be curious and be persistent. Take good care of yourselves so that you can endure this arduous journey called “Autism”!

Yes, be curious – try everything that takes your fancy. Be persistent – whats a little Vitamin A poisoning between friends? And above all take good care of _yourselves_ so that _you_ can endure this journey…..except, its not _you_ who’s undergoing all these treatments is it? Its your child.

Dr Jang is also a big clay bath fancier (clay baths cure autism? Who knew?)

“…I have put a huge number of patients on these clay baths and the levels of heavy metals – mercury, lead, arsenic, aluminum, and cadmium have come down dramatically…I have been monitoring the levels of metals using all three methods (TD DMPS, oral DMSA and clay baths)and the clay baths are way faster in the removal of metals”.

Hoooo boy! Rashid’s going to be plenty pissed with her. Better than TD DMPS? Surely not! Why not use both? Smother your child with TD DMPS and then wash that stuff off in a nice clay bath? At least your child will have a nice happy splash in a bath.

So, Ken Aitken – welcome to your new role as a Dan! Doctor. I feel sure you can uphold the strong scientific standards your colleagues demonstrate.

Two steps forward, one step back

21 May

Good News: British groups supporting unorthodox biomedical approaches to autism are distancing themselves from theories attributing autism to vaccines.

Bad News: These groups are still promoting treatments – such as stem cell therapies – for which there is no coherent scientific rationale and no good evidence of efficacy or safety.

Treating Autism, with an address in Bow, East London, and the Autism Treatment Trust, based in Edinburgh, have circulated ‘advocates and organisations involved in the care of patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder’ with a package including a (curiously anonymous) ‘scientific review’ entitled Medical Comorbidities in Autism Spectrum Disorder, a flyer for a conference in Edinburgh in June entitled Changing the Course of Autism: The Science and Intervention, and a complimentary copy of The Autism Revolution: Whole Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be, by the American paediatric neurologist Martha Herbert.

The most striking – and most welcome – feature of this package is that it contains no mention of the cause with which both these groups have been most closely associated over the past decade – the campaign claiming a link between childhood immunisations, particularly MMR, and autism. Bill Welsh, former property developer and president of the ATT and of its predecessor Action Against Autism, has been a leading figure in the anti-vaccine campaign in Scotland since 1998. Wakefield himself was a platform speaker at Treating Autism’s first two conferences, in 2007 and 2009, and TA members were prominent in the protests in support of Wakefield outside the GMC when he was struck off the medical register in 2010.

In relation to the current TA/ATT package, MMR is, like the dog that did not bark in the night, significant in its absence.It might be too much to expect that these groups would acknowledge the harm that the anti-MMR campaign has caused to families affected by autism (particularly in encouraging so many into the futile and demoralising litigation) and to child health more widely (confirmed by the recent measles outbreaks).Yet, on a more positive note, Martha Herbert, the keynote speaker at the forthcoming Edinburgh conference, makes the forthright declaration – ‘I strongly encourage vaccination’- in her book (The Autism Revolution, p103). This is progress indeed.

The TA/ATT focus on ‘medical co-morbidities’ – conditions, such as sleep disorders, gastro-intestinal disturbances and epilepsy, that may co-exist with autism – is also a welcome and timely initiative. The ‘scientific review’ draws attention to a number of recent studies that reveal the unsatisfactory standards of medical care experienced by people on the autistic spectrum, highlighting inadequacies in relation to examination, investigation and treatment. It is unfortunate that this review appears to rely largely on North American, Australian or even Middle Eastern sources, and appears to be unaware of the extensive work – both in terms of research and advocacy – carried out by Mencap and others in the UK, in relation to the wider population of people with learning disabilities. This work has been summarised in the Confidential Inquiry into Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities, http://www.bris.ac.uk/cipold/fullfinalreport.pdf.

It is also unfortunate that the discussion of co-morbidities has a perfunctory character in the TA/ATT review, being largely confined to a brief introduction. The question of medical co-morbidities is subsequently conflated with a quite distinct issue – the author’s claim that recent studies confirm a ‘paradigm shift in our understanding of ASD’. From this perspective autism is ‘now increasingly recognised as a whole body disorder, with the core deficits in communication, social interaction, restrictive/stereotypic behaviours that have been attributed to ASD, being surface manifestations of a systemic and complex disease process’. In fact, this is not a new ‘paradigm’, and nor is it ‘increasingly recognised’. It is the familiar dogma promoted by the ‘unorthodox biomedical’ fringe associated since the early 1990s with the (now defunct) Defeat Autism Now! group in the USA. (For an account of the emergence of this movement from the ‘metabolic psychiatry’ of the 1960s, and its incorporation of biochemical and immunological theories in the 1970s and 1980s, see my books, MMR and Autism: What Parents Need To Knowand Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion.) The TA/ATT review includes a plethora of references to recent studies claiming to confirm ‘earlier findings of widespread biomedical abnormalities in autism’. On past experience, these claims, based on preliminary laboratory studies or small scale – and often poorly constructed – clinical trials, will turn out to be of dubious significance.

Though the TA/ATT review includes little commentary on interventions, it resorts to selective quotation of mainstream academic sources to provide legitimacy for interventions favoured by unorthodox biomedical practitioners, notably exclusion diets. For example, in relation to the gluten-free, casein-free diet the author cites a recent authoritative Cochrane systematic review in the following terms: ‘from the existing trial evidence it concluded that “the diet poses no disbenefit or harm” [emphasis in original], and it identified positive effects of this diet relating to improvement in overall autistic traits, social isolation, and overall ability to communicate and interact (Millward et al., 2008)’. This is a significant distortion and misrepresentation of the Cochrane review (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18425890).This review does not contain the sentence quoted, but in the discussion section it comments, in relation to two major studies of the GFCF diet (Knivsberg, 2003, Elder et al,2006), that ‘neither study reported disbenefits including harms and costs of these diets’. The statement presented by the TA/ATT review as the judgement of the Cochrane authors is in fact their (critical) description of the Knivsberg and Elder papers. The Cochrane authors’ categorical conclusion is that ‘we cannot recommend these diets as standard treatments’. Not only is this ignored by the TA/ATT review, it is immediately contradicted by an endorsement of the GFCF diet by Paul Whiteley and Paul Shattock, Britain’s leading advocates of this diet (and of the wider unorthodox biomedical campaign) over the past 20 years.

The TA/ATT offers several highlighted quotations from the recent ‘consensus report on the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders in individuals with ASD’, produced by of the American Academy of Paediatrics. (See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20048083) Yet it neglects prominent statements from this report which contradict the approach recommended by the TA/ATT review. For example, echoing the Cochrane review, the AAP concludes that ‘available research data do not support the use of a casein-free diet, a gluten-free diet, or combined gluten-free, casein-free diet as a primary treatment for individuals with ASDs.’ Furthermore, it dismisses the sorts of claim made by the TA/ATT review for the significance of various immunological and microbiological factors in relation to autism:

‘A direct cause-and-effect relationship between immune dysfunction and autism has yet to be proven.’

‘The role of gut flora in the pathogenesis of gastro-intestinal disorders in individuals with autism is not well understood.’

The TA/ATT review presents a dozen brief case histories to illustrate its claims – and to demonstrate a 100% success rate from the interventions it recommends. Given the lack of clinical detail – or any information about how these cases were selected – it is impossible to offer any evaluation. However, it is worth noting that in eight of the 12 cases, improvement appeared to follow treatment with antibiotics. The AAP consensus statement observes that ‘it should be noted that empirical antibiotic and antifungal therapy in patients with ASD is not recommended.’

The programme for the Edinburgh conference includes only one speaker on the question of co-morbidities – Dr Daniel Goyal. He is also scheduled to advise attenders on ‘How to Approach Your GP and Paediatrician’. This seems a bold enterprise for a doctor who is qualified as neither a GP nor a paediatrician and whose main experience is in occupational health. His experience in relation to autism appears to have been acquired entirely in private practice, at the Breakspear Clinic in Hertfordshire (recently sanctioned by the GMC over chelation treatment) and at his own Sincere Health ‘nutritional and environmental medicine’ clinic in Harley Street. It is striking that the TA/ATT approach cannot attract the support of a single paediatrician, paediatric gastroenterologist, child psychiatrist or autism specialist working in the National Health Service in the UK.

The most worrying feature of the Edinburgh conference is the prominent place on the platform allotted to Drs Nicola Antonucci and Dario Siniscalco (who are scheduled to give three talks in the course of the weekend). Antonucci, a psychiatrist who acquired training in DAN! therapies in the USA, has teamed up with Siniscalco, formerly a pain researcher with a background in chemistry and pharmacology, to provide stem cell therapy for children with autism at a clinic in Bari in southern Italy. The pseudoscience behind this treatment, now available in the Ukraine, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama and China as well as Italy (but illegal in the USA and the UK) is discussed in Defeating Autism (pp 114-115). At last year’s Treating Autism conference in London, stem cell therapy was promoted by Dr Jeffrey Bradstreet, a Florida preacher and vitamin salesman and former colleague of Andrew Wakefield, who was severely chastised for his role as both expert witness and treating physician in the ‘omnibus autism proceedings’ in the USA in 2009. (See:http://www.spiked-online.com/site/article/6283/) It is alarming to discover that Antonucci and Siniscalco have collaborated with Bradstreet in various publications.

Whatever my reservations about Martha Herbert’s misanthropic evangelical environmentalism (see Defeating Autism, pp19-22), she offers sound counsel against the use of some of the more dangerous therapies currently popular in the unorthodox biomedical world, notably hyperbaric oxygen and heavy metal chelation. I hope that she will take advantage of her place on the Edinburgh platform to remind attendees (and fellow speakers) of this judgement from her book:

‘Stem cell therapy is an example of a treatment that does not make biological sense to me for autism, is wildly expensive (in part because it’s not legal in the United States), has made some kids whom I know worse, and carries a high risk of danger. I would avoid it.’ (The Autism Revolution, p65)

Michael Fitzpatrick 21 May 2013

Montagnier and the Autism Treatment Trust

22 Nov

This summer the Nobel Prizewinner, Luc Montagnier, seemed to lend credibility to homeopathy.

French virologist Luc Montagnier stunned his colleagues at a prestigious international conference when he presented a new method for detecting viral infections that bore close parallels to the basic tenets of homeopathy.

Although fellow Nobel prize winners — who view homeopathy as quackery — were left openly shaking their heads, Montagnier’s comments were rapidly embraced by homeopaths eager for greater credibility.

Montagnier told the conference last week that solutions containing the DNA of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, including HIV, “could emit low frequency radio waves” that induced surrounding water molecules to become arranged into “nanostructures”. These water molecules, he said, could also emit radio waves

He suggested water could retain such properties even after the original solutions were massively diluted, to the point where the original DNA had effectively vanished. In this way, he suggested, water could retain the “memory” of substances with which it had been in contact — and doctors could use the emissions to detect disease.

Luc Montagnier won his Nobel Prize just two years ago, for the discovery of HIV in 1983.

The excellent Gimpy’s blog reports that Montagnier has turned his eye towards autism. He is seeking to use his new found ability to detect infections using “low frequency radiowaves” at the Autism Treatment Trust with a Dr. Skorupka and Dr Amet. Skorupka is described as a DAN! practitioner from Paris; Dr Amet is a neuroscientist, but not a registered medical practitioner. As readers of this blog will be aware DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) practitioners use non-standard biomedical treatments that have little in the way of supporting evidence. Often “studies” in this area (in the US) will be funded by parents.

The Montagnier study as published at the Autism Treatment Trust, hopes to use Montagnier’s alleged ability to detect viruses and bacteria from the “low frequency radio waves” they emit. Montagnier is of the view that “some abnormalities in autism as well as in a whole range of neurological conditions, such as chronic fatigue and multiple sclerosis may be caused by potential infective agents.”, and has recently received a grant from the Autism Research Institute to study bacterial DNA in autism.

There are three main aims to the study:

1- Investigate the possibility that some cases of autism are associated with a range of bacterial infections, based on laboratory testing and clinical examination conducted by Dr. C. Skorupka in Edinburgh.

2- Assess the ASD children for the presence of nanobacteria following Prof Luc Montagnier’s protocol of investigations. The protocol would require a blood draw conducted at the clinic with the help of our nurse. The blood normally has to be centrifugated immediately and the supernatant extracted, then frozen to -80C and shipped on carboice to France.

3- Evaluate the efficacy of antibiotic intervention as well as behavioural evaluations (ATEC and ADOS). This would involve meeting with Dr Skopurpka and Dr. Amet every 2 months and reviewing progress over the phone in the interim month.

The opportunity to take part in this study is going to cost parents serious money:

Cost of study: £1800 (over 6 months).
Antibiotic treatment: £30-60 a month.

For that, you will get:

1. A scan using Montagnier’s new “resonance” screening system for bacterial and virological material.

2. A “very sensitive PCR assay”

3. A progress review by Dr Skorupka and Dr Amet every two month’s, plus interim phone reviews.

4. A blood test at the start of the treatment, and after 6 months of treatment.

5. Behavioral evaluations at the start, and after 6 months of treatment.

The study is restricted to 12 autistic children, involves PCR, has no controls, and involves blood tests. Any alarm bells ringing yet?

The webpage about the study does not show evidence of authorisation by the MHRA (perhaps surprising given the anti-biotic treatment), or having undergone any ethical review in the UK (perhaps surprising given the blood tests and antibiotic treatment in a vulnerable group of children). I have emailed the Autism Research Institute to ask for clarification on this point, and have yet to receive any confirmation of any authorisation. I have therefore emailed the National Research Ethics Service and the MHRA Clinical Trial unit to see if they are aware of the study being registered.

In 2008, when Montagnier was receiving his Nobel prize, The Daily Mail ran a news story “The Great Autism Rip-Off” about the biomedical industry that feeds on vulnerable families with autistic children. The Autism Treatment Trust and Dr Amet were featured in the article (consultation £120, £480 for tests including urine and hair tests, follow-up £400).

At the time, Richard Mills, a director of Research Autism, stated:

“Many of the practitioners who sell these treatments are no better than snake-oil salesmen. This kind of hard-sell approach is completely immoral. Lack of regulation means anyone can set themselves up and claim to be able to successfully treat autism, without any proof that it’s actually possible,”

Who would have guessed that an industry the Daily Mail exposed, would eventually attract the interest of a Nobel Prize Winner?

See also Gimpy’s blog on this study as well.

Nature Fubar

13 May

Nature, the usually reputable Science magazine have launched a Scitable Autism section and with it screwed up their usual impeccable attention to detail.

Who for example thought it necessary to put:

Determining the cause of — and the cure for — autism is crucial for our society

I wonder. And who thought it necessary to link to no less than three anti-vaccine links on the home page of this….blog? Wiki? Two links to Autism Speaks whose controllers recently attended a DAN! conference and one link to ARI itself.

Its a ridiculous and desperately sad state of affairs when even Nature, that bastion of good science resorts to scaremongering about autism and promoting an anti-vaccine viewpoint.

Listen to parents…except when they say things you don’t want to hear

25 Mar

How many times do we hear, “Listen to the parents” on medical issues involving their autistic kids? Usually this comes from alternative medical groups who don’t have the science to back up the safety and efficacy of their therapies. What happens when a parent disagrees with these groups?

In Lawsuit against alternative medical practitioners Usman and Rossignal we discussed a father who has brought suit against prominent Defeat Autism Now (DAN) doctors Usman and Rossignol, and the laboratory Doctor’s Data.

Orac, at Respectful Insolence, has discussed this case as Suing DAN! practitioners for malpractice: It’s about time, where he uploaded the actual complaint.

In that complaint the father is alleging many things. High amongst them is the question of whether the “challenge” chelation tests are valid, These were used on his child and supposedly showed heavy metal poisoning. In a challenge chelation test, a chelator drug is given to a child before a urine test is taken. Chelators are designed to draw metals out of the body and allow them to be excreted through the urine (and other ways). There are no standardized references for metal contents in challenge testing. The American College of Medical Toxicology has made a very clear statement about challenge chelation testing. Here is their conclusion:

It is, therefore, the position of the American College of Medical Toxicology that post-challenge urinary metal testing has not been scientifically validated, has no demonstrated benefit, and may be harmful when applied in the assessment and treatment of patients in whom there is concern for metal poisoning.

Recall, challenge testing is noted in the lawsuit. From the section of claims against the Doctor’s Data (who are also defendents in the lawsuit):

The non-standardized method of testing that Defendant utilized on or about April 22, 2004, January 27, 2006, January 13, 2007, February 26, 2007, May 26, 2007, August 6, 2007, October 30, 2007, November 13, 2007, January 12, 2008, January 26, 2008, April 26, 2008, October 29, 2008, and March 27, 2009, wherein specimens were collected after the administration of a provoking agent and compared to unprovoked or unchallenged specimens was an improper method of determining whether A.J. had a potentially toxic level of heavy metals in his system

So, challenge chelation testing isn’t scientifically validated, has no benefit, but was used to justify certain therapies on this child. How did the Autism Research Institute respond to this? They blame the parent’s marital situation.

No, really, I’m not making this up. Rather than accept the complaints on their face and give this autism parent respect, they dismiss his multiple complaints as being…well, you read it:

Recent articles by ABC News and the Chicago Tribune on M.D.s who subscribe to the Defeat Autism Now! approach to treatment indicate the spread of misinformation and misunderstanding in recent months. The complaints about Drs. Usman and Rossignol resulted from a custody case– a painful situation for any family, one that can lead to accusations that must be sorted out in a court of law—not the media

Yes, it isn’t because the father is really annoyed that he was told challenge chelation testing is valid, or that his family spent lots of money on testing and on chelation. It couldn’t be that the father has not seen benefit from these therapies. It isn’t any of that. It is a custody battle issue. For the record, the defendants in the case do not include his wife.

ARI defends their approach in rather vague terms:

The Defeat Autism Now! approach to autism invites the medical community to be more responsive, inquisitive, and knowledgeable about treating these disorders.

The approach is not in itself a source of controversy, since many treatment interventions are commonly prescribed by traditional health professionals.

My view differs from the ARI statement. It would seem to this observer that the approach is the source of controversy. From their own website:

The best diagnostic test for toxic metal overload is the chelation challenge test. The chelation drug is administered, followed by a timed urine test to help assess the body’s burden of toxic elements.

This is in direct contradiction to the statement from the American College of Toxicologists. The ARI approach (including challenge testing) is a key point of the lawsuit. I am not able to reconcile this with the idea that the “approach itself a source of controversy”.

The great problem is rather that chronic, unaddressed illness plagues many, if not most, of the children and adults on the autism spectrum. These conditions, thoroughly documented in the scientific literature, often involve the gastrointestinal system and/or the immune system, but the medical establishment has been professionally insensible to what is a desperate situation in the expanding autism population.

Odd. If anyone outside of the alternative medical community ever makes a statement that the is driven by “desperation”, they are sure to get jumped on.

The focus of the Defeat Autism Now! approach is twofold: to provide patients with allergen-free nutritional support, to uphold and to repair the immune system as needed, and, if appropriate, to reduce the body burden of environmental toxins; to provide clinicians in-depth medical and scientific information, with Continuing Medical Education credits.

There is the mention of what is a main crux of the lawsuit, “body burden of environmental toxins”. That’s it. No mention of challenge testing. They mention that the approach includes reducing “the body burden of environmental toxins”, but doesn’t address the key question: when is this approach “appropriate”. How is that decided? The challenge testing approach has not, to my knowledge, ever been defended in court. This case is

The ARI press release doesn’t discuss the real questions here. Brushing this off as a custody issue is not doing anyone any good and is rather insulting to the parent bringing this suit forward and his child.