Sunday, June 3, 2012

Crazy if you Wanna Go

I recently read on a blog about a “revolutionary” way to “cure” autism. Now, as a parent I would do just about anything to help my child. I have tried several different methods that claim to help other children, but they are not too crazy, and they are pretty healthy. However, the things that are out that claim to help a child are scary. The scary part to me is that some parents actually try these methods without thinking about the potential damage it could do to their children. These are radical and nonsensical. I’d like to share a few.

I’m going to warn you that these are disturbing and disgusting, and could anger some readers. I’m not doing this for shock value, I’m doing it to show that there are very radical things taking place in the world of autism, and some people are actually buying into these treatments. We as parents can sometimes be desperate and the old adage is that desperate times call for desperate measures.

The first one that caught my attention was that doctors are using bleach to cure autism. That’s right, bleach! According to the Care 2 Make a Difference website, a doctor in Mexico is using a solution of sodium chloride, distilled water, and acidic juices as an enema. The site states:

“It is frequently diluted in acidic juices, such as orange juice, resulting in the formation of chlorine dioxide, which is, as the FDA characterized it, “a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment.””

Ok, if you haven’t already found the problem in this one…You’re injecting a child with poison! Who thought this was a great idea?

The idea is that autism is caused by the overabundance of metals in a person’s body, which may or may not be true. However, to clean these out in such a way is just crazy.

The next one that coincides is a fecal transplant. Yes, you read that correctly. According to the idea is to inject healthy bacteria into a person’s body to help clean the impurities. The treatment, according to the site goes like this:

“Here is how this procedure was done by that physician in Canada who does not practice anymore. You collect the stool from a healthy relative (mother, father, so on) for a week in a bucket, no preservatives or cooling. Then mix well, fill in a decorating cone (that cloth cone you use to decorate a cake). Use the cone as an enema to empty all the content in the patient’s colon. The patient needs to hold that as long as possible.”

I have several puns for this one, but I think it’s disgusting enough, so I’ll just leave it alone. I hope everyone can find the problems in this one on their own.

I’ve heard for years about parents who use hyperbaric chambers to help clean the metals from a child’s system. The child is put into a small chamber and basically pressurized with a 100 percent oxygen atmosphere. There are several risks to this one including possible ear and sinus damage, collapsed lungs, and nausea. However, this is actually one of the least radical treatments, and has shown some signs of improvement. It is even endorsed by celebrity parents.

When researching this week I came across Chelation. This may not be new to some, but it is different for me. According to the Talk About Curing Autism website, a doctor administers Chelators, or medicines and supplements, which help remove the toxic metals from the child’s body. However, according to Dr. Jay Hoecker, M.D. on the May Clinic website:

“Chelation therapy supposedly removes mercury from the body, which chelation supporters say cures autism — but there's no evidence of a link between mercury exposure and autism. In addition, Chelation therapy can be associated with serious side effects, including potentially deadly liver and kidney damage.”

One such tragedy occurred in Pennsylvania in 2005. While being treated a five-year-old boy died of cardiac arrest.

These are crazy, but they seem logical when presented in a scientific way by trained medical professionals. So what should you do? Well, go with your gut most of the time. If it sounds crazy it probably is. Remember, this is not a disease that we’re working with. We’re not even 100 percent sure that it is caused by impurities in the body.

Here are some tips I found on thought that might help.

·         If this is a biomedical treatment (a treatment which involves any type of medicine, supplement, or other biological intervention), undertake it only under the direct and involved supervision of a qualified medical practitioner. This refers not only to Chelation and supplements, but also to specialized diets which may have a negative nutritional impact on your child.

·         If this is a new treatment, take scrupulous notes on what it is intended to do, and on its apparent outcomes - side effects included. Consider using a video camera to record your child's behavior before, during and after the treatment or therapy.

·         Try one approach at a time. If you start, for example, a special diet AND a new school AND developmental therapy all at the same time, it will be impossible to parse out which approach is working (or causing problems). Wait at least three months to decide whether a particular approach is helpful.

Parents are so hung up on miracle cures that they lose common sense. They want their children to have a better life, and for that I don’t fault them. I just ask that if you find these cures and really want to try them, please do some research. Find out if there is any scientific evidence to show that the children have truly been helped? Have there been children hurt? Are they actually poisoning a child? And always make sure that a doctor is involved. Just be careful!

Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column.

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