Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Cures for Autism? or evoking Dr. Olaf?

Today's New York Times ran a guest blog by Liane Carter that detailed her efforts to find a cure for her son, diagnosed with autism. Her family tried all the standard treatments as well as the fringe ones: a gluten/casein-free diet, probiotics, cranial sacral therapy, auditory integration therapy, homeopathy. Her doctor "charged thousands of dollars," offering "one cure du jour after another, quick to take advantage of our desperation." All this led to the following Olaf-like moment:
Finally, he insisted our 4-year-old had stealth birus [KMA: a condition I cannot find mentioned online, which makes me think it's either a typo or extreme madness]. He urged us to give him a cytotoxic drug called ganciclovir then being used for AIDS patients and other severely immuno-compromised people.

“How many children have you treated with this?” I asked.

“I’m treating one patient right now,” he said.

I was relieved that the author pulled her son from this doctor's care. Science continues to evolve, and quackery remains, and the post is a great reminder of that. To read the full story, see The False Prophets of Autism.