Evidence of Harm: DAN! practioners and parents of autistic children

A recent post by Orac on Mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism and ASD: A failed hypothesis brought out the best in the anti-vaxxer crowd (sarcasm). Although it is repost, it is appropriate because of the recent findings in the Autism Omnibus Test Cases. The Special Masters in the first three cases which were dismissed wrote that the petitioners' physicians and experts had "gross medical misjudgement". That is about as close they could come to saying what we in the medical community already knew, that they committed malpractice and are basically incompetent. They were especially harsh on Dr. J. Jeffrey Bradstreet. Kathleen Seidel provides the transcripts of this in her post Autism Treatment in the Evidence Gap.

I was appalled reading the "autism treatment" at what the young boy, described as "C" from the Snyder vs. HHS decision, had to endure. Over a period of more than eight years, Dr. J. Jeffrey Bradstreet subjected this boy to numerous invasive tests, including several Lumbar Punctures, blood draws, urine tests, and numerous non-standard tests that were not approved by the FDA and/or were preformed outside of the USA. He had numerous dubious "autism treatments" that were not supported by the medical evidence as valid treatments (the diagnoses were not valid and neither was the medical reasoning behind them), including many dietary supplements (some with severe side effects), IV secretin, IV Imunoglobulin therapy (a long and painful process), IV chelation (with severe side effects), HBOT (noted but not detailed), predinisolone (steroid), antibiotics, antifungals, and antivirals, and referral for colonoscopy with biopsy.

This young boy was tortured. As a physician I consider this abuse. And this was in my mind as I read Orac's post and the responses. Several persistent and virulent anti-vaxxers would not concede that the evidence does not support vaccines as the cause of autism. Then someone, HCN I believe, dug up what one parent, Kevin Champagne, put his son through, here:

Diane wrote; "How long have you been living it? And what are your work hours"?

Well Diane I'm not sure why you made this personal but I will tell you how long.

Diane, I have been living it for 5 years. My son is 7 and was diagnosed at 2.

What are my work hours? You must assume that because I'm the father that I'm not at home or not "living it" because I'm at work all day?

Diane, my work hours are usually 14-16 hours per day but only 4 days a week.

Trust me Diane, I've lived it. I flew with my son to North Carolina for bi-weekly IV chelation treatments for one year while he screamed and disrupted the entire plane. One time we were on a 5 hour ground hold at Newark airport and I thought I was going to lose my mind. I helped hold him down over the last 5 years through countless blood draws while he screamed at the top of his lungs. I went through 30 straight days of HBOT treatments with him while he screamed and scratched my face until I was bleeding.

I took an entire summer off through the Family Medical Leave Act when my son was first diagnosed so I could be home to rub transdermal chelation on him 2 times per day and watch and listen to him scream through ABA therapy.

I have been to at least 12 different autism conferences and my son has been a patient of the following doctors over the last 5 years; Hardy (6 months), Krigsman (for an autism gut study), Buttar (2 years), the Geiers(6 months), and Charles Ray Jones (6 months - present). All of which included long plane rides and or car rides with more hitting, scratching, and screaming.

Diane, I have definitely lived it and I'm still living it and no matter how many hours Governor Palin spends on the campaign trail I believe she is also living it and she has a tough road ahead and hopefully while she is our VP.

And while I'm airing it out here, in my opinion, mercury DOES NOT cause autism ...low pH blood levels do. Research it. Some unvaccinated kids are being diagnosed with autism. Children on special diets most likely improve because their pH levels go up.

Take ten minutes and watch this YouTube video about low pH and how it affects the body;

Mr. Champagne didn't "listen" to his own son. He persisted in torturing, abusing his own son. And I know there are many, many others out there who subject their children to the same abuse.

Much of the finger should be pointed at the quacks, like Dr. Bradstreet, for pushing this pseudoscience, but the parents have some responsibility here. Wake up! How much more evidence will it take to convince you that vaccines (and other crazy theories like pH changes) are not responsible for autism?  Why are you still subjecting your children to meaningless and painful treatments?

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Feb. 21, 2009 at 3:48 PM

It's amazing what we parents of children with ASD are willing to try in our search for a cure.  I drew the line at trying vitamin supplements.  I take to heart what my daughter's pediatrician has told me.  He said that he has parents at both ends of the spectrum and every spot in between--those who will go to any length and any method to try to find a cure, to those who do very little beyond traditional therapies like speech and occupational.  What he has noticed is that none of the more extreme therapies have had any affect--certainly no lasting ones--and that he finds that most children still develop in the same way, which for children on the spectrum is more like a stair-step fashion than a straight incline in abilities that you would find more with typically-developing children.

I don't find fault with the parents who are desperately searching for ways to help their children.  I do find fault with the "professionals" who have no problem bleeding dry the parents' bank accounts while torturing their patients, with no real cure possible by their methods.

By the way--my daughter has been making great progress with the therapies that she receives at her preschool--speech and occupational therapy, as well as learning social skills through a method called Video Self-Modeling.  The beauty of it is that she has learned and progressed in most painless of ways--playing and growing.  I get to watch her laugh and learn, rather than scream while more blood is drawn, or being forced into compliance through some less gentle methods of therapy.  I realize that I can't speak for all parents of children with autism, nor are all children going to respond to the same therapies with the same success.  But I do believe that the children deserve the happiest and most gentle of methods available first.

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Feb. 22, 2009 at 7:26 AM

I just switched Jillian to a DAN doc/developmental ped who told me in his introduction of himself that he is a pedi first and the DAN only came about because of his son's autism.  He made is absolutely clear that other methods may help and probably only for a short period of time.....he made it very clear that he does not believe there is a cure.....he also stated that Jillian is on such a big medication regimine and that he didn't necessairly like that, (neither do I), but that "if it works and helps her get through the day, don't fix it".  Maybe I just got lucky?  He seems to be on the up and up and not into all the hogwash therapies....

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Feb. 22, 2009 at 8:01 AM

Momrunner, from your other post you said he was a general pedi, not a developmental pedi.  Big difference.  General pedis are not autism experts, no matter how many kids they have or see with autism.  They haven't got the right training in the specialties that are considered to be the experts on autism.  He sounds like he isn't too deep into the DAN! pseudoscience, like Dr. Bradstreet.  Now that it is so extremely clear by the evidence and in court that vaccines do not cause autism, hopefully we can move on and concentrate on strategies that really help our children.

I urge you to read Dr. Paul Offit's book, Autism's False Prophets, and you will see how the DAN! movement and pseudoscience they usually practice got going.  What most DAN! practitioners will never admit is that autistics mature and learn things over time, they are not static in development, so the supposed improvements from the DAN! protocol would have occurred without treatment, and with less anxieties and fear on the child's part from being constantly poked and prodded and given quack IV treatments and being told constantly that they have to be "fixed".

If you read through what Dr. Bradstreet, a general pediatrician who thinks he is God's gift to autism, the special masters lay out his incompetence and malpractice time and time again.  It is shocking to read.  As a physician, I am outraged he has done this and is still doing it.  He needs to be investigated, his medical license should be revoked.

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Feb. 23, 2009 at 9:07 AM

Thank you, thank you, Karen, for bringing this whole DAN nonsense to light.  It frustrates me beyond words to think of all these children are put through.. why are some people drawn to these quack practices, as opposed to the well-known and documented treatments such as ABA, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.. etc..  I have an acquaintance who spends $2,000 per month on vitamins for her autistic son!!  My friend says, "it seems to be helping.."  Like you said, Karen, our kids tend to get better over time.  Too bad these parents take that fact to "prove" these quack treatments work.

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