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May 25, 2005


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My personal, totally non-professional, answers to the three points you raised are;
More and more these days people look for simple external factors for anything that goes wrong. As has been pointed out on many reputable sites the age at which Autism hits coincides quite nicely with vaccines. The fact that vaccines used to use a preservative based on a readily identifiable poisonous material made it a whole lot easier to point,shout and lay the blame on someone elses doorstep
The power of coincedence, peoples ability to fool themselves, peoples inability to admit error and whenever the drug companies try to correct the issue with facts the Alties overwhelming cries "They would say that!" and "Conspiracy!".

I've seen this drum beaten often on some of the discussion lists I read, with citations from many of the same sources you mention. What gets me is the lack of causal link and the exploitation of the fear generated by these theories.

I'm the first one to grant that some alternative medicine approaches work. I'm also the first one to ask for scientific proof that backs the claims, and often that proof simply doesn't exist. Even with the lack of proof, people will spend buttloads of money in the vain hope that they'll experience the same miracles. It's sad.

As the fahter of an autistic boy, I too was pessimistic about all this holistic therapy stuff for autism. In addition, as a physician and prior research biochemist, I strongly believe in the scientific method. The problem is when you are confronted with the reality of autism, you are looking for the best solutions to help your child. Allopathic medicine offers absolutely no help except intensive behavior therapy and the tradional drugs which we all know can have at best, idiosyncratic reactions in children. No thank you! My son at the time of his diagnosis was nonverbal and almost in a catonic state. He has severe food allergies typical of a large majority of these children. Once these foods were removed, he became more active, but remained without speech. Today, after extensive various alternative therapies and extensive behavioral therapy[ABA], he is doing very well. He is verbal, exhibits normal pretend play, and other than a few oddities is a "normal" 5 1/2 year old. I am not going to enter into a debate of controlled double blind placebo controlled studies with anyone, these would be the ideal we all would like to see. But as we have added various new alternative treatments to my son's regimen, we see continuing improvements. Only when the medical and psychiatric community realize that the signs and symptoms attributed to autism can be amelorated or even eliminated will true progrees into this disorder be realized. You see, as long as insurance companies can reject paying for biochemical and other testing because autism is strictly a "psychiatic condition", a great many of these questions will remain unanswered and many of the children who would have benefitted from some of these interventions will remain in their special, tormented worlds.

Steven P. Bowman M.D.

Re: Steven Bowman

Anecdotes aren't evidence. I may not know much about autism, but as a skeptic, I do know a thing or two about how people can fool themselves. Double-blind testing reduces or eliminates those tricks our minds play on us.

If you think the treatments really work, you should be pushing for DBTs, rather than telling us an anecdote. Good luck getting the practitioners to try, though.

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