By Mary Anne Pankhurst – April 15, 2019
It’s World Autism Month, a perfect time to help foster greater understanding and support for the people in our lives who are on the spectrum.
But it’s also an opportunity to dispel myths.
Especially that cobwebbed carry-over from a now 20-year-old, fraudulent study that involved 12 children, falsely linked the MMR vaccine to autism, and could potentially have made the author money from a patent he registered for his own measles vaccine.
Yet, the myth gets amplified by money-making misinformation campaigns that give rise to outbreaks that sicken and kill people.
Unfortunately, anti-vaxxers can profit from spreading lies in many ways.
Some make celebrity appearances or are paid speaker’s fees. Still others can be hired to impact court decisions, publish books, organize seminars, sell dubious and sometimes downright dangerous products, write articles or benefit from advertising revenues.
Others in the misinformation biz like to share their own “special” knowledge.
Jason Christoff even reports on his Facebook page that he’s been invited to speak to school children in Cornwall, Ontario, about “the real world” and “making money.”
And some of his home-schooling Facebook flying monkeys say they want to expose their kids to his philosophies and beliefs as part of their children’s curriculum.
But beyond autism awareness, it’s also World Homeopathy Awareness Week.
And let me tell you, my eyes bugged out upon visiting the Autism Canada website, where I read, what in my view is a sales pitch for homeopathy. LINK
Yes, homeopathy. That 18th century made-up-in-a-single-day idea that water can remember things completely diluted out.
Of course, magic water has a certain appeal to we humans.
Maybe that’s why homeopathy is on track to become a $17 Billion market, globally, within five years even though it still shows no good evidence for anything beyond placebo.
After visiting Autism Canada, I contacted Ryan Armstrong, PhD.
He’s the executive director of Bad Science Watch LINK a Canadian organization staffed by volunteers and that exists, in part, to help protect people like you, me and our kids.
“They might just as well have an article recommending voodoo.”
Ryan Armstrong PhD.
“By failing to contextualize the lack of scientific validity, let
alone the utter implausibility of homeopathy as a treatment for
anything, Autism Canada lends legitimacy to it. This is especially
the case when noting ‘health issues or symptoms…may benefit from
treatment.’ But what is the standard for claiming that a specific
therapy ‘may’ work?”
Here’s what Catherine Leroux of Ottawa, Ontario, has to say.
“As the mother of a child with autism, I am very aware of all the various alternative medicine claims regarding ‘healing’ a person with autism. It’s scary to think that someone could use their business as a vehicle for misinformation.
Our children are not Guinea pigs and our society is where it is BECAUSE of science and modern medicine.
I chose to make informed decisions based on science for my children and myself. It’s not because I have given birth to a person that I can blindly jeopardize their health and well-being.
It’s scary that in the name of ‘curing’ our children, some adults will set aside their logic and not demand scientific proof of a treatment. I am very scared for my children because you never know what kind of health-related decision their friends and classmates’ parents have made. Very scary.”
Attention MDs, NPs and pharmacists! Here you can read about a randomized controlled trial of homeopathic nosodes versus actual vaccines, and covered by Canadian Pharmacist, Scott Gavura, for Science Based Medicine. LINK
If you’re anything like I was some 12 or 14 years ago, and don’t really know much about homeopathy, I highly recommend Dr. Harriet Hall’s homeopathy lecture.
Dr. Hall is a retired physician and former U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and skeptic who writes about alternative medicine and quackery.
Part 1 of Ms Pankhurst’s series. LINK
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