This is what we’re buying into if we, as is currently mooted, ditch the NHS in favour of the US way of life and health. Hey! Snake oil! Let’s go with it! DAN (Defeat Autism Now) is one of the biggest purveyors of snake oil transformations in autism medication.
In a nation that pays insurance dues to any old quack who ducks under the radar, any treatment is good treatment, and anyone who can tell a good marketing story is in with a chance to get insurance payments made to them. Autism must be the biggest money-spinner in the USA.
And it works best if autism is catastrophised. ‘My child is a train wreck’ works well. As does, ‘My child is toxic’. Millions of Americans believe that their autistic child has been poisoned by a Big Pharma conspiracy to vaccinate their children with mercury derivatives. Apparently, they all have Pink’s disease. What? Ask them why their kids’ teeth haven’t fallen out, the first sign of mercury poisoning, and even their orthodontist hasn’t got a clue.
There’s a tradition of salvation in the USA. And it’s assisted by medical insurance. Moreover, it’s within the pageant tradition. At every DAN conference the ‘recovered’, autistic, children march in to wild cheers from the captive audience.
And why is this happening? It’s mostly the set-up. In the US, autistic children are identified at 30 months, and if they can be diagnosed at that age, they can get all interventions paid for. But research shows us that autism is usually identified rather later. There’s a dodgy is it/ isn’t it (?) autism window in children between 17 and 40 months. All research into autism has revealed that this window is crucial, and we can’t call it. That window, when autism may be an option, but may be not be, is the key. Truly, it can’t be diagnosed until after 36/40 months. Any number of diagnostic alternatives are available until then.
This has given rise to multiple manifestations of ‘recovery’ and ‘regression’ in the USA, which have been the subject of best-selling books and ‘cures’. Catherine Maurice’s Let me Hear Your Voice, and David Kirby’s Evidence of Harm are among the worst manifestations of this marketing issue.
In the UK we can’t, as parents, have access to the veterinarians, osteopaths, dieticians, and nutritionists, and behaviourists who contaminate the USA private medical world with their claims to ‘cure’ autism in 18-month old children, and earn big bucks by appealing to those who won’t accept that autism is a neurological and largely genetic condition. Medical insurance pays for the treatment meted out. We have to make do with an ineffective NHS for diagnosis and treatment, and that can take years and lots of heartache. Who’s to say what’s best?
On balance, I’d go for the NHS. It’s slow but steady Eddy. It knows what it knows. It’s established that for some children who may have traits of autism, there may also be co-morbidities of gastric and amino acid involvement. But autism is not primarily a gut problem, nor an amino acid problem – nor in fact, a heavy metal issue – although all these environmental problems (including GABA dysfunctions) can play their part, and often do. Relieving any co-morbid bio-med issues may relieve pain, and therefore may greatly help communication problems, but that’s a welcome assistance, rather than the universal panacea it’s deemed to be by those who earn a living from claiming ‘cure’.
Autism is believed to be a genetic neurological condition which is developmental – that is, it involves developmental delays in most cases. And developmental delays may cause gut function, which is part of the enteric nervous system, and other functions, to be delayed, also. And some nutritional support may help. End of.
Mark Hyman, who quotes the discredited UK researcher, Andrew Wakefield, and Bradstreet, and that awful Holmes study, and the Geiers who have no evidential base, may not be wrong. But he’s not right. There is no empirical evidence to back up his claims. He sounds like a pageant organizer.
Thank goodness for the NHS and its bureaucratic scepticism. Thank goodness that we as a nation deny the veterinarians and the quacks and the Salvationists. We all have a state insurance policy.
There are some drawbacks, but at least we don’t have to accept the brutal marketing of dubious and unsupported medical claims which may be acceptable in the free market economy of health in the USA. We have, thank goodness, grown beyond an annual advertising pageant of the ‘cured’.
Mark, yet another ‘miracle’ cure? I hope that you put this child in this year’s pageant. Hey, that’s what DAN is all about! Great. Lovely. Keep the marketing going. It must be earning you a fortune.
- First Class posts on Friday Letters From A Tory
- September 11, 2009 at 10:06 pm