Dear Ms. Tsouderos:
In your recent article entitled, “FDA Warns Maker of Product Used as Alternative Autism Treatment” (June 23, 2010), you have once again provided a vital public service by informing readers about the shortcomings of pseudo-scientific treatments for autism, in this case OSR #1. As you mention in the article, the lead chemist behind this drug has made grossly inaccurate claims about the danger and toxicity of proposed “dietary supplements.”
Parents of children with autism are bombarded with treatment options, often to the point of confusion. It is unconscionable that medical professionals in leadership roles make unsubstantiated declarations about unproven treatments, especially those that may have side effects that threaten health and safety of children.
There is an urgent need to promote effective, science-based autism treatment, and we commend the Tribune for taking a watchdog role against unproven and potentially dangerous interventions. We agree that for parents, pseudo-scientific claims about these treatments raise false hopes, deplete limited financial resources, and divert attention away from treatments with a scientific record of effectiveness.
Thank you again for your commitment to raising awareness about autism interventions.
Hannah Hoch, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Media Review Committee, Association for Science in Autism Treatment
Daniel W. Mruzek, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Board Member, Association for Science in Autism Treatment