Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Buyer Beware - ACAB

Here's a "press release", issued on that highly respected stalwart of news wire services, "ChiroEco.com", that trumpets:
"...a world-class board of advisors that bring extraordinary expertise concerning autism spectrum disorder care and represent the many different facets of recovery. This board oversees “Hope for Autism” the first BioNutritional Care certification program ever designed specifically for chiropractors."
This "board of advisers" is the board of one American Chiropractic Autism Board. Sounds very official! How encouraging!

Or maybe not ...
As a friend recently put it, "Health Care Fraud is a booming business, and the bad guys know all about autism."

Let's begin with a quick trip over to the American Board of Medical Specialties website, which is the "gold standard" for physician certification. If a "board" is not listed there, its not legit. A quick search for 'American Chiropractic Autism Board' and 'ACAB' turns up ...... nothing! So let's understand at the outset that we are dealing with a "...world-class board of advisors..." that has no regard or respect for established accreditation/certification with mainstream medical standards of practice. But that's nothing new for the cottage autism "cure" industry, is it?

So the ABMS search came up empty. How else can we validate the credibility of this seemingly remarkable group that is in a position to " [meet] ... the demand of parents who are desperately searching for a physician to help their child recover;..."
Conveniently, the press release has listed on the bottom a link to their very own website! A quick perusal unveils their "board members", which turns out to be a veritable pantheon of purveyors of quackery. To wit:

  • Andrew Moulden, M.D., Ph.D. (watch about 2 minutes of this video - recorded at a 9/11 conspiracy theorist march, no less - for all you need to know about this guy).
  • Boyd Haley, Ph.D., the man who has concocted and patented a home-tested chelator to market to parents of autistic children.
  • William Shaw, Ph.D, who is director of the Great Plains Laboratory. This is the primary "mail-order" lab that generates deeply misleading and flawed reports on heavy metals contamination among autistic children, primarily by comparing "provoked" urine samples to "standardized" measurements.
  • And the "Sisters Tocco" - Mary and Renee. Read on...
  • Renee is a (surprise!) DAN! doc. Hey, don't they require a medical degree for that? Uh, no.
  • Mary is an "independent vaccine researcher". She sells a DVD on her website - childhoodshots.com - titled "Are Vaccines Safe?"

Let's review for a minute. What we have here is the ACAB, made up of known hucksters, 9/11 conspiracists, anti-vaccine zealots, DAN! docs and other alt-med-gurus, backed by those who operate the bogus testing labs as well as someone who sells a home-brewed chelating agent masquerading as an FDA-approved "nutritional supplement" (OSR by Boyd Haley). Can the rabbit hole of quackery get any deeper than this? Every single one of these players has something to sell you. Speaking engagements, lab tests, DVD's, online consultations, BioNutritional "Hope for Autism" programs, supplements, chelators, certifications. And, notably, not one single peer-reviewed, documented case of even one single autistic child benefitting in even one single way from anything they sell! Its a grand scheme, and who is falling for it? Look no further than the original press release itself, as it so callously labels its target market:
"The benefits of being a certified “Hope for Autism” doctor include:

• Having the solution to the number 1 healthcare crisis affecting children;

• Meeting the demand of parents who are desperately searching for a physician to help their child recover;

• Being a part of the movement of chiropractors who are dedicated to healing our nation; and

• Increasing patient base complimenting autism care and chiropractic, allowing for the best opportunity of recovery."

Unbelieveable, isn't it? Un-freakin'-believable.

Picking up the pieces here, let's just take a quick look back at the purpose of the press release to begin with (believe it or not, we haven't even discussed that yet).
The purpose is to advertise a 3-day seminar. This seminar does NOT include the words 'autism', 'chiropractic', 'nutritional', or even 'health' in its title. It is actually called "The 2009 International Vaccine Risk Symposium". I'm not making this up - its right there on the press release.
The final two days of the 'symposium' will be spent training chiropractors on the newly minted "Hope for Autism" (HFA - nice pun, eh?) certification that promises to:
"... equip chiropractors to responsibly address autism, ADD, learning disabilities, and other neurological developmental problems using BioNutritional Care."
Just two days, and they are miraculously suited to cure children of autism and other neurological problems!

So the next time you see media reports offering a 'balanced' view of the vaccine controversy, please consider that these are the type of people that populate the anti-vaccine side. This is the sales machine that so actively pursues, to use their own words, parents who are "desperately" searching for solutions. And these are the tactics they use.
It is One Dad's Opinion that this is shameful exploitation and needs to be exposed for what it is.


Heraldblog said...

Great Plains Lab is just getting around to setting reference ranges for its bread and butter urine test. And sorry for using "bread", "butter" and "urine" in the same sentence.

Kathleen Seidel said...

It's this mom's opinion, too. Thanks for giving the hairy eyeball to yet another newly-hatched litter of extremist antivaccinationist entrepreneurs, grandly posing as "autism experts," just itching to create more parental "demand" for their pointless procedures and overpriced bottles of powder and pills.

laurentius rex said...

Must be my upbringing or something, ACAB signifies something rather different to me, usually seen tattooed across the knuckles of the right hand

Alyric said...

"Increasing patient base complimenting autism care"

Anyone concocting this bit of novel English shouldn't tackle anything heavier than a labouring job with apologies to literate labourers everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Who says autism is such a bad thing? We participants are (metaphorically) shouted down by self-proclaimed experts (all with PHDs in unknown fields) who seem expert only in the arranging of words in patterns that will make people pay money.

And that is the inspiration: Money. Money - may it ever be slightly boring. Autism, on the other hand, is interesting to a bewildering degree, as the able writings on One Dad shows.

To conclude: how can anyone pretend that they are an autism expert? The field drips with contradictions. No-one know the cause. No-one know the fundamental mechanism by which it operates. And we see autistics helpless in institutions and other autistics with happy families and well-paying jobs.

When someone works it out, can someone please inform me?
(My penchant for false names and secrecy may make it difficult to contact me, but any proper autistic should be able to track down my email details.)

P Buddery

isles said...

This is exactly the kind of profiteering quack that Autism's False Prophets is about. They are totally shameless.

Steve D said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.
In particular, P Buddery seems to have hit the nail on the head in pointing out the tenuous nature of the autism "expert".

Phil Schwarz said...

I want to know when we're going to get it together to get the board of directors of the Autism Society of America to stop selling ad and conference-vendor space to Great Plains Labs.
Years ago, ASA used to sell ad and conference-vendor space to the Judge Rotenberg Center -- until a coalition of autistic self-advocates and allies convinced ASA to stop.
ASA has what it calls its "Options Policy" -- which is to make available to parents information about all treatment/intervention/education options out there. But the self-advocates and allies convinced ASA that physical and psychological abuse of the kind JRC engages in is *not* a valid option.
Great Plains Labs is the semantic equivalent of the dishonest auto mechanic who dips a part from your car into his waste oil, then shows the phony oil leak to you as evidence of a problem that will be very expensive to fix.
When are we going to get it together to convince the ASA that *fraud* is not a valid option for parents, any more than physical and psychological abuse are?

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