The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a new campaign to take legal action against those engaging in promotions of alternative products and therapies touted as treatments for autism. Dr. Amy Taylor, a pediatrician at the FDA, said in a public statement that "Existing autism therapies and interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can bring about improvement." Existing therapies refers to therapies such as psychiatric drugs that treat symptoms of anxiety or aggression, ABA (applied behavior analysis) to target maladaptive behaviors, and speech and occupational therapies that address specific language and sensory processing disturbances.
According to the FDA and most medical organizations there are no cures for autism, as recent estimates indicate that close to 1 in 50 children are now being diagnosed on the autistic spectrum, an exponential rise that has occurred over the last few decades. Those who are promoting alternative treatments have gathered data and testimonials from thousands of cases where children showed exceptional improvements and even full recoveries following alternative therapies. Typically, these children had exhibited limited improvements or no improvement with the standard autism treatments recognized by the FDA.
Therapies cited by the FDA as being falsely advertised as possible cures for autism include chelation therapies that help remove heavy metals from the body, hyperbaric oxygen therapies that increase oxygenation of the body, detoxifying clay baths, CocoKefir (a dairy-free probiotic-supplying drink made from raw fermented coconuts), and MMS/CD (an oxidative compound used for water purification that has been found by researcher Jim Humble and others to wipe out harmful microorganisms in the body). The proposed benefits of these therapies for autism relate to factors that are commonly found in children on the spectrum, which include gut disturbances, immune system dysfunction, and heavy metal toxicity.
Researcher Kerri Rivera, a homeopathic physician treating autistic patients in Mexico, has developed a protocol combining a diet designed to help with repairing the digestive tract and a cleanse of toxins and microbes and parasites, using MMS/CD and other resources. Well over a hundred children using that approach have documented reversals of autism, disproving the FDA claim that autism can't be cured and that those with alternative therapies are all offering false hope. The biomedical autism treatment approach promoted by Generation Rescue advocate Jenny McCarthy and numerous physicians has focused on using nutrition and detox aids to help heal the damaged biological systems that are fostering the autistic symptoms. Since the factors involved are complex some children have a greater response to those interventions than others. There are many cases of dramatic improvements and a significant amount of children once diagnosed with autism who become normal, non-autistic in functioning after receiving alternative treatments.
Since the FDA works to preserve public trust in pharmaceutical products, it often takes steps to suppress public awareness of non-drug therapies demonstrated effectiveness at treating or curing various illnesses. If alternative approaches work and can actually reverse autism, why would parents wish to just suppress symptoms with drugs and let their children grow up impaired without trying these alternative methods? Propaganda and scare tactics appear to be a means by which the FDA and pharmaceutical business benefactors in the medical field are steering parents away from the alternative treatments. As the good news about those therapies spreads via the Internet, word-of-mouth, and publications by physicians, the propaganda against alternatives is losing its power and the FDA appears poised to take more tyrannical steps to keep people from accessing therapies that can help many children heal from autism and other health concerns.
Whatever you may have heard or previously believed about autism and the treatment alternatives that are available, it may be helpful to further your research and investigation, to speak with your health care providers, examine the evidence and arguments offered by those with conflicting views, and to come to your own conclusions. Ultimately, anything that is presented via various media sources (this one included) is just information for you to consider in educating yourself. For any individual case the qualified health care professionals and the patient or his/her parent/guardian must examine the options and intervene according to the wishes of the patient or patient's parent/guardian. Since the FDA is not anyone's legal guardian it cannot mandate what treatment someone will pursue, although it can take legal steps to limit what claims are made about products and treatments and whether those products or treatments can be offered in the USA. As a result, many people have traveled overseas to gain access to treatments not allowed in the USA, implying that there may be more freedom in the domain of health care in some other countries than there is in America.