Monday, October 15, 2012
Dear Mr. Drezner,
It is a sad day when it takes a journalist to suggest to parents that administering bleach (via any orifice) to our children is not a good idea. In your article, "The Curious Case of Autism and MMS" (June 14, 2012), you showcase the dangers of pseudoscience and the unregulated marketplace in autism treatments. For that, we applaud you.
As a science advocate, the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) often runs afoul of members of organizations such as Autism One who provide platforms for those peddling their wares (no matter the dangers) to families willing to move the world to help their children with autism. Unfortunately, in addition to asking for (often significant) outlays of cash and time, some peddlers ask much more – the suspense of disbelief. It is important for families willing to do anything to help their children to keep science and peer-review as their arbiters. There are unscrupulous people willing to sell treatment to parents such as administering 28 percent sodium chlorite (the equivalent of industrial strength bleach) orally or by enema. By contrast, other ineffective treatments may suddenly seem much more reasonable (e.g., chelation, HBOT).
For those advocating humane and evidence-based treatment, the Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) seems to be a clear and unmistakable instance of exactly the opposite. However, this methodology was given a platform at the Autism One conference – a frightening fact. Happily, your article is one of the tools that parents and families navigating their way through life with an autism spectrum diagnosis can use to help identify pseudoscience. ASAT has posted a list of 15 warning signs to help people discern pseudoscientific treatment. In your article about MMS, you point out the first five!
As we continue to combat the pushing of treatments with no basis of evidence that they work (and many lack the plausibility to boot!), we gladly reach out to those in the journalism world willing to expose these “treatments” for what they are – snake oil in a bottle. Again, we commend your article, and are glad to have partners in our effort to make certain that science guides the development and implementation of effective treatment for those diagnosed with autism.
Joshua K. Pritchard, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment