April is National Autism Awareness Month, a fitting time to think about the growing need for concern and awareness about autism.Some of the "cures" that the FDA has warned about are:
One thing that is important to know up front: There is no cure for autism. So, products or treatments claiming to “cure” autism do not work as claimed. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism. Some may carry significant health risks.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in warning these companies against making false or misleading claims.
- “Chelation Therapies.” These products claim to cleanse the body of toxic chemicals and heavy metals by binding to them and “removing” them from circulation. They come in a number of forms, including sprays, suppositories, capsules, liquid drops and clay baths. FDA-approved chelating agents are approved for specific uses, such as the treatment of lead poisoning and iron overload, and are available by prescription only. FDA-approved prescription chelation therapy products should only be used under medical supervision. Chelating important minerals needed by the body can lead to serious and life-threatening outcomes.
Research suggests that chelating in the absence of heavy metals can actually cause permanent neurological damage in children because the chelators will scavenge essential nutrients necessary for growth and development. None of those peddling chelation for autism have any safety or efficacy data to support their claims. Jenny McCarthy's Generation Rescue peddles chelation along with off-label prescription drug use to "recover" your autistic child.
- Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy. This involves breathing oxygen in a pressurized chamber and has been cleared by FDA for certain medical uses, such as treating decompression sickness suffered by divers. It has not been cleared for autism, among other conditions.
- Miracle Mineral Solution. Also known as Miracle Mineral Supplement and MMS, this product becomes a potent chemical that‘s used as bleach when mixed according to package directions. FDA has received reports of consumers who say they experienced nausea, severe vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure after drinking the MMS and citrus juice mixture.
- Detoxifying Clay Baths. Added to bath water, these products claim to draw out chemical toxins, pollutants and heavy metals from the body, falsely offering “dramatic improvement” for autism symptoms.
- CocoKefir probiotics products. Product claims include being a “major key” to recovery from autism, but they are not proven safe and effective for this advertised use.
I applaud this action by the FDA as special needs children are being subjected to dangerous, harmful and downright abusive "treatments" by dubious quacks and cranks. Now if only the AMA and AAP will recognise these abusive "treatments" for what they are and disciplining their own physicians, perhaps autistic children may be spared from harms perpetrated by the very people who should be protecting them.