The lowest of the low: Quack treatments for autism

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Screen Shot 2014-04-28 at 1.42.44 PMAs if parents with autistic children don t have enough to worry about, there are a number of vultures out there who are all too willing to take advantage of these parents by selling treatments that are ineffective and dangerous, according to a report by the FDA.

Since April is National Autism Awareness Month, the FDA chose this time to warn parents that not only is there no treatment for autism, but ethically-challenged companies are selling bogus cures that could put children at considerable risk.

ACHS s Dr. Josh Bloom, who writes frequently about unapproved (and useless) alternative therapies says, This is about as low as it gets. Discovering that your child is autistic is devastating enough, so there is a special place in hell for those who offer not only false hope to desperate parents, but dangerous false hope.

Some of the treatments are quack treatments that have been (mis)used for other conditions: Chelation treatment, which is useful (and approved) only for cases of lead poisoning and removal of excess iron, which can be be life-threatening. But when used for no reason, chelation therapy can deplete the body of necessary minerals.

Other phony therapies mentioned by the FDA include hyperbaric oxygen, clay baths, CocoKefir probiotics (coconut water with a bunch of useless junk in it) and a beauty called Miracle Mineral Solution, which causes severe nausea and vomiting, and dangerously low blood pressure, while doing nothing useful. Aside from that it s just fine.

Dr. Bloom adds, It is an all too common misconception that because there is no modern or western treatment for a disease or condition, that there must be something alternative that will work instead. This used to be called snake oil 150 years ago. Now it simply has a different name and is sold in a different bottle.

The NIH fact sheet on autism is also recommended reading.