Since my teenage son Charlie was diagnosed with autism almost 13 years ago in July of 1999, we have heard of too many “remedies,” “treatments” and “cures” for autism to count. Most have promised miraculous results; pretty much all are presented by their practitioners as “science-based”; many are on a collision course with what any of us would do to treat any condition. The most recent, and one of the most boggling-the-mind, treatment we have heard of is bleach.
Yes, the very substance you perhaps use as a household cleanser is being discussed as a treatment that “recovers” children from autism, at a conference called Autism One this weekend.
Bleach Enemas As a “Treatment” For Autism
Autism One is an annual conference whose stated mission is to educate “parents, professionals, and the public about the care, treatment, recovery and prevention of autism and related disorders by making critical information available through new channels as well as traditional ones.” Educational therapies (such as behavior, speech and occupational therapy) and medication (antipsychotics, antidepressants and others ) would be considered “traditional” while the “new channels” referred to tend to be in the area of experimental biomedical treatments, often drawn from complementary and alternative medicine.
One speaker, Kerri Rivera, says that 38 children recovered from autism in 20 months via Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), a treatment she offers at her clinic, AutismO2 Clinica Hyperbarica, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. As science blogger Orac writes after reviewing the clinic’s website, MMS “in essence, is industrial strength bleach, 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water.” Orac continues:
It is frequently diluted in acidic juices, such as orange juice, resulting in the formation of chlorine dioxide, which is, as the FDA characterized it, “a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment.” According to its proponents, MMS can cure almost anything: cancer, AIDS, and just about any other serious disease you can imagine. Never mind that there is no biological plausibility and no evidence, either preclinical or clinical, that MMS can do what its proponents claim it can do. True, bleach can kill bacteria or cancer cells in a dish at a high enough concentration, but that doesn’t mean it’s a useful antibiotic or chemotherapeutic. agent.
From her website, it seems that Rivera “treats” autistic children by giving them MMS by mouth and by enema, as well as recommending that they bathe them in it.
As Orac says of this very questionable treatment using industrial chemicals, “if there’s any form of quackery out there, someone, somewhere will be using it on autistic children.”
Recovery From Autism vs. Autism As Lifelong
Besides bleach, autism treatments we have heard of over the years include fecal implants, far-infrared sauna therapy, camel’s milk (on this year’s Autism One agenda) and chemical castration using the drug lupron.
Be critical of such treatments (as I am doing here) and you will find yourself harshly critiqued for denying hope to others and for not being yourself willing to “do everything to help your child.”
Photo by deven.laney
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