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Age of Autism claim ‘hundreds of case reports’ of recovered children

Posted Dec 20 2008 6:45pm

A post on the Age of Autism about an interview with the New York Times describes how the interviewee believes that:

....none of our health authorities have any explanation of cause or cure [of autism], we have a whole community of doctors and parents who are actually recovering children. And, without ever treating an autistic child, interviewing a DAN! doctor who treats them, or exploring the several hundred case reports of complete recovery and thousands of stories of improvement…

I was fascinated by this. I have not ever seen one published case report of a child recovered by a DAN! doctor in a respected medial journal. In fact, its a common refrain of mine that these things do not in fact exist at all. And here the author of this post is claiming that there are ‘several hundred case reports of complete recovery’. I thought maybe there’d been an upsurge in PubMed so I went to have a look.

I found one case study that referenced DAN! methods: The recovery of a child with autism spectrum disorder through biomedical interventions. This study (for which no abstract is available) is published in ‘ Alternative therapies in health and medicine ’ which claims to be a peer reviewed journal and who’s subject matter includes such medical breakthroughs as Reiki, prayer and reflexology. How this magazine got listed in PubMed I have no idea.

Anyway, suffice it to say that it is totally unsurprising that this study got published in such a publication ( Eigenfactor here – compare to New England Journal of Medicine for an idea of how good it is).

So, here’s one very dodgy ‘study’. Where are the other several hundred case reports?

It is also well established that those who use Alt-Med and go on to claim recovery also use mainstream therapies (e.g Jenny McCarthy’s child who was on GFCF, some other stuff….and one-to-one speech therapy). In a 2006 study ‘ Internet survey of treatments used by parents of children with autism ‘, it was established that:

The mean number of current treatments being used by parents was seven….

I haven’t read the ‘study’ in the Altie journal but the experience with Jenny McCarthy’s child, and plenty of others I have read online indicates that this is true for most parents who claim to be recovering their kids biomedically. As such, you have to give weight to the treatments that are established to have some benefit already. And lets also look at the results of the recent Helt study which reported that a non vaccine related, non-biomed set of kids had somewhere between 3 and 25% recovery. This indicates that sometimes, kids just recover. For reasons we are not really aware of yet.

So I am left puzzled as to why the Age of Autism claim there are several hundreds of case reports. I am puzzled as to how they know it was the biomed intervention which precipitated the alleged recovery and I am puzzled as to how they link any sort of treatment to recovery. All in all, it seems like a set of claims that are not reality based are being made. But maybe I’m wrong – if so, please – anyone from AoA – provide a link to the peer reviewed journal published several hundred of case reports that you claim exist.

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