It was only a matter of time before the big papers caught on to some of the quack treatments being pedalled by certain (in)famous autism doctors.
The idea of using it with vulnerable children with autism, who do not have a life-threatening disease and pose no danger to anyone, without a careful trial to determine the unwanted side effects or indeed any benefits, fills me with horror,” (said Professor Simon Baron-Cohen)
“It has become a cottage industry of false hope, and false hope is no gift to parents,” said Autism Science Foundation President Alison Singer, whose daughter has autism. “A lot of these therapies have no science behind them. You are using your child as a guinea pig.”
I blogged earlier this month about the Geier’s at a conference and their totally unsubstantiated claims at this conference:
they are also claiming that they have ‘found that testosterone blocks the body’s ability to make glutathione’. Searching PubMed for ‘lupron glutathione’ returns no hits at all. So where have they found this? Under the stairs? Why aren’t they publishing this science if they’re so sure?
The Geiers said they found signs of premature puberty, such as facial hair, body odor and early sexual development, in 80 percent of the autistic children in their clinic.
Which is yet another unverifiable statistic. A search of PubMed reveals just one study relating to precocious puberty and autism and that showed no link.
Mark Geier said laboratory tests at his clinic show that after just three months on Lupron, autistic children improved in dozens of cognitive and behavioral ways. This just seems another figure pulled out of thin air. Theres nothing anywhere to support such an idea and if they’re so sure why haven’t the Geier’s published?
“In terms of science, there is nothing suggesting the most basic elements of what they are talking about,” said Tom Owley, director of the Neurodevelopmental Pharmacology Clinic at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a specialist in the treatment of autistic children with medicine. “That there are high levels of mercury in autism—not proven! That they have precocious puberty—not proven!”
Mark Geier responded that these are “opinions by people who don’t know what they are talking about,” saying the pediatric endocrinologists interviewed by the Tribune don’t treat autistic children and have not tried the Lupron treatment. David Geier said prominent scientists support their work and gave as an example Baron-Cohen, the autism expert who told the Tribune that the Geiers’ Lupron treatment filled him with horror.
So Mark Geier is either a liar or badly informed. I know what my opinion is.
AutismOne – the huge Chicago based autism woo fest kicks off today and the Geier’s are scheduled to talk about their miracle drug. They’ll be talking largely to people already sold on the idea that screwing with their kids bone density and hormonal growth is a good thing as long as it helps with their kids autism. Trouble is, it doesn’t.