Breastfeeding advocate is anti-vaccine activist?

Of all the public health interventions the world has ever known, very few compare to breastfeeding… Wait, is breastfeeding a public health intervention? Yes and no. It isn’t because it’s something that is natural, and something that almost all women can do for their babies. Then again, it is because we have to remind women that breastfeeding is natural, and that they need to breastfeed their children.

Yes, there are women who cannot breastfeed for a variety of reasons. They either do not produce the right amount of milk, have an infection that could be passed to the child, or are taking a medication that could affect the child if it goes into the breastmilk. Sadly, there are women who are shamed away from breastfeeding, or they are somehow convinced that they shouldn’t breastfeed. In all of these situations, there are professionals out there who coach women on the right way to breastfeed and the necessity of breastmilk for the developing child.

So it should not come as a surprise that certain state and local governments issue handbooks on breastfeeding. For example, here is the one from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The history of this handbook is found within it:

“Nikki Lee, RN, BSN, Mother of 2, MS, IBCLC, CCE, CIMI, ANLC, CKC and Marjorie Scharf, RD, Mother of 3, MPH, created the original Philadelphia Breastfeeding Resource Handbook in 1992, inspired by Holly Lucard, BA, Mother of 3, IBCLC, who organized information about breastfeeding resources in the Philadelphia area for the Nursing Mothers’ Advisory Council. Thanks go to Kay Hoover, M.Ed, Mother of 3, IBCLC, FILCA, who, for nearly 13 years as lactation consultant for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, served (and continues to serve) breastfeeding dyads and healthcare professionals with love and the highest level of professional practice.”

Pay attention to the name “Nikki Lee.” She’s going to be important in a little bit. (And I bet you know where this is going, right?)

Maryland also had a 2005 version of the breastfeeding handbook. In it, the authors thank the original handbook:

“This handbook used the original Philadelphia Breastfeeding Resource Handbook (9th edition 1999) as a model. Many thanks to Nikki Lee, RN, MSN, IBCLC, ICCE and Marjorie Scharf, RD, MPH who created the original Philadelphia Breastfeeding Resource Handbook. Special thanks to Kay Hoover, M Ed, IBCLC for sharing the innumerable resources and her support of this project.”

Again, Nikki Lee, RN, MSN, IBCLC, ICCE is thanked. Have you guessed what I’m on about?

Nikki Lee has a website and a Facebook page. You can google her site. I’m not going to drive traffic to it. Her Facebook page, on the other hand, caught my attention because of some of the postings on it. In one posting, Nikki Lee, breastmilk expert, states this:

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 8.53.43 PM

Craniosacral therapy? What the heck is that? Let’s read from the Quackwatch entry on it:

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is one of many terms used to describe a various methods based on fanciful claims that:

  • The human brain makes rhythmic movements at a rate of 10 to 14 cycles per minute, a periodicity unrelated to breathing or heart rate.
  • Small cranial pulsations can be felt with the fingertips.
  • Restriction of movement of the cranial sutures (where the skull bones meet) interfere with the normal flow of cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord) and cause disease.
  • Diseases can be diagnosed by detecting aberrations in this rhythm.
  • Pain (especially of the jaw joint) and many other ailments can be remedied by pressing on the skull bones.Most practitioners are osteopaths, massage therapists, chiropractors, dentists, or physical therapists. The other terms used to describe what they do include cranial osteopathy, cranial therapy, bio cranial therapy, and two chiropractic variants called craniopathy and sacro occipital technique (SOT).

In other words, it’s bullshit, but Nikki Lee promotes it on her Facebook page as something that could be helpful. It’s not. The page that she links to from Facebook says this about this quackery:

“Craniosacral therapy works on three levels. First, it stimulates the parasympathetic system, our relaxation system. This is very important, as so many of us are in a hypersympathetic state that we never allow ourselves to rest. Second, it assists the body to normalize function in any system in the body, based on the idea that the body knows best how to heal itself. Third, craniosacral therapy can tap into what can be called ‘connective tissue memory.’ Basically, any trauma that we experience in life, whether physical, mental or emotional, gets stored in our tissues. In a sense, we freeze during trauma and never shake it off.”

You could be asking yourself what the harm is in this. In the next paragraph, we are told that a “Dr. Lisa M. Chavez” showed that craniosacral therapy helped a group of Tibetan political exiles deal with their post-traumatic stress disorder. “Dr. Lisa M. Chavez” is not a naturopath. She’s as much a doctor a chiropractor.

Breastmilk cocktails all around!

Breastmilk cocktails all around!

Speaking of chiropractors…

A mommy blog had an interview with Nikki Lee, and this is what she had to say about chiropractic:

“Chiropractors are licensed health care providers who work on the spine, the vertebrae and the joints in a signature strategy called an adjustment. The purpose of adjustment is to restore joint mobility and reduce nerve compression. Adjustment is done by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become misaligned or dislocated. Restrictions and misalignments can be caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, an automobile accident, a difficult birth, or by prolonged repetitive movement. Such trauma affects joints, causing inflammation, pain, and diminished function. Adjustment of the affected joint and tissues moves the joint into alignment, and restores mobility, alleviates pain and muscle tightness, and allows tissues to heal. The controlled force, from light fingertip manipulation to directed high velocity touch, varies with the style of practitioner, and the situation.”

It is a very, very, very, very bad idea to practice chiropractic manipulation in children.

Reading the rest of that interview, I became convinced that Nikki Lee believes in all of these scientifically unproven “therapies” and recommends them loudly and proudly. Just read her thing on acupuncture. Acupuncture!

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.13.22 PM

What’s next? She’s anti-vaccine? Well…

This is what Nikki Lee had to say about vaccines:

“The immunization decision is a complex one to make. How can mothers trust a healthcare provider when situations occur as with the rotavirus vaccine? That vaccine was approved in July 2001 and taken off the market November 2001, as it was implicated in a number of infant deaths. As some news reports indicated, data from certain international clinical trials was not considered during the approval process for this vaccine. How can one trust when egregious errors like that occur?

I remember the major reason for development of the chickenpox vaccine was to decrease the amount of time women had to take away from work to care for sick children, not for any health benefit.

When literature from around world repeatedly concludes that artificial feeding leads to the most death and morbidity in infants and children, it makes more sense for the US government to put a significant portion of the money spent on vaccines towards breastfeeding support and protection. Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, then continuing after the introduction of complementary foods for at least a year, and thereafter as long as mother and baby are content with the relationship would do more and cost less to reduce the costs of infant illness.”

The whole thing with the failed rotavirus vaccine comes up time and time again in the anti-vaccine playbook because it is one of very few examples where a vaccine was proven to cause harm. Even then, it was also proven to prevent a ton of rotavirus. (We since then have a much better and safer vaccine.) And that’s not counting the dozens of other vaccines that are very safe and very effective.

So then I went to her website and looked up the term “Vaccine,” and, oh boy!

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.17.25 PM

In a post titled ““Trust me” said the doctor. “It’s perfectly safe.””, Nikki gives us a laundry list of things that were once thought to be safe but weren’t. Sure, many of them are things that were thought safe because they were never tested for safety. (And she doesn’t mention what quacks have said is safe but has been proven to be less than.) There was no rigorous science behind the stuff she complains about, but that doesn’t stop her from then saying this about vaccines:

“There are more examples than these of how medical recommendations about new devices, drugs, and practices have turned out to be not only wrong, but terribly injurious and even fatal decades later.
Now the public is asked to believe that 49 doses of vaccines given to babies before starting school is perfectly safe. And, that it is a good idea to give more vaccines to everybody, children and adults alike.
How can they know that this is safe? Where are the studies showing that giving babies 8 different types of vaccinations will be safe when those babies are in their 50s and 60s? Where are the studies looking at the impact of vaccinations on the gut microbiome? Or the developing immune system? Where are the studies showing that it is safe to inject aluminum salts into our babies, along with formaldehyde, mercury compounds (still in the flu vaccines), and human proteins from aborted fetuses? Pregnant women are now advised to be vaccinated to protect their infants, despite the package insert saying that there is no research showing this practice to be safe.”

You have to remember that this is a nurse writing this, Nurse Nikki Lee, breastfeeding consultant, someone to whom health departments go for guidance on how to keep babies safe and healthy.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.21.00 PM

In another post, this one titled “A new view of germs”, Nikki Lee has this to say about antibiotics and vaccines:

“Now the scientific journals are full of amazing new ideas.The amniotic fluid, the placenta, and the mamma’s milk are all full of germs that are good for the baby and the mamma. I still find it difficult to visualize this new idea. This is the nature of things. Humans are only now discovering this, Humans have been, since the time of Descartes, working to control and manipulate their environment. Learning about the importance of germs is a completely 180-degree turn, and a shock.
We thought, that by using antibiotics and vaccines, we would get rid of old germs like polio and rheumatic fever. Not only have we not, there are now new deadly germs like community acquired MRSA and HIV. Reports tell us that polio is re-emerging because the resources ( refrigeration) are not sustainable, so vaccines can’t be kept cold. Figuring out how to solve this problem is a new challenge. Seems as though we have yet to be successful. Humans have yet to discover that as we are colonies of germs, the planet is colonies of its living citizens. Humans are as varied as any collections of germs. As germs are to us, we are like germs to the Earth. I want to be a helpful germ, like a mold that turns leaves back into soil. I wish all humans thought this.”

Did Nurse Nikki Lee tell us that HIV came about because we couldn’t control Polio? I’m sure I’m just reading her wrong. Maybe HIV came about because we use antibiotics? No, that can’t possibly be it. That’s too stupid a thought to even run it by my head. Yeah, I must be reading wrong.

But here’s the coup d’ grace:

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.23.59 PM

In it, Nikki Lee falls for the anti-vaccine tropes of “too many too soon,” “sick children everywhere!” and “the immune system can’t take it!”:

“When I was little, I hated going to the doctor for a “shot”; my parents took me anyway. By the time I was 6, I had received 7 vaccines. Today’s child, if following the recommended schedule, would receive at least 36 vaccines by age 6. So, are today’s children healthier? Is giving more vaccinations better than giving less?
In 1972, when I was in college studying nursing, a child with maturity-onset diabetes was an extremely rare occurrence. Today, according to the CDC, “Health care providers are finding more and more children with type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older.”
When I was growing up in the 1950s, none of my peers was overweight or obese. Today, according to the CDC, “Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.””

We’re fat because vaccines, people! Open your eyes! It’s not that we’ve gotten better at diagnosing children with diabetes so that they don’t up and die of unknown causes. It’s not that we have more sedentary lifestyles and high-calorie foods. No, it’s the vaccines. It’s always the vaccines.

The rest of that post goes on to talk about this journal article as evidence that the immune system gets “overloaded” by vaccines. In that paper, the authors shot up mice with a variety of different antigens at very close time intervals. And I’m talking a lot of antigens from different sources:

“Mice (8 weeks-old) were immunized with 25 µg SEB (Toxin Technologies, Sarasota, FL), 500 µg OVA (grade V; Sigma, St. Louis, MO), 100 µg KLH (Sigma) or PBS by means of i.p. injection every 5 d…

For adoptive cell transfer, B, T, CD4+ T and CD8+ T cells were isolated from spleens to >90% purity using MACS beads (Miltenyi Biotec, Germany). The cells were transferred into naïve BALB/c or β2m-deficient mice via i.p. (5×106/mouse) or i.v. (2.5×107/mouse) injection. The recipients received a single i.p. injection of 25 µg SEB or 500 µg OVA 24 h after cell transfer, and sera, urine and organ of recipients were studied 2 weeks afterwards.

BALB/c mice were injected i.p. with 200 µg anti-CD4 antibody (GK1.5; BioLegend) to deplete CD4+ T cell 24 h after immunization 8× with OVA. Four days later, CD4+ T cells from mice immunized 12× with KLH were transferred to the CD4+ T-depleted mice. The recipient mice received a single i.p. injection of 100 µg KLH 24 h after the cell transfer.”

So, because genetically modified mice reacted in a certain way to an overloading of injected antigens, we humans must react the same way to vaccines. Makes sense since humans are so much like humans. I mean, I have an enormous craving for cheese right now.

All joking aside, mice models are a good starting point for biomedical studies, but you are a fool if you draw conclusions on human physiology from what you see in mice models. Primate models are a whole other thing. Phase I or II clinical trials, yeah, okay, you can draw a ton from that. But mice models? Hardly. It’s only a place to start and move forward, not a place to draw conclusions.

But, if you want to talk about antigen overload, just look at any child who scrapes their knee on the ground. Have you ever seen soil under the microscope? There are bacteria, viruses, and insects. The child who scrapes their knee on the ground and gets dirt in it need only reasonably wash it with soap and water. What about babies?

What about them? Babies have a remarkable immune system of their own. They go from a sterile environment in the womb to our dirty world in a matter of minutes, and they fight it all off very well. They do so because they get antibodies from mom in the womb, and they also get antibodies from breastmilk. But Nikki Lee should know that, right?

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 9.38.59 PM

Of course, Nikki Lee also seems to subscribe to the idea that a vaccine that works only some of the time must not work any of the time. She even makes fun of gambling addicts when talking about the flu vaccine. Yeah, the flu vaccine is not the best thing we have, but it still is the best thing we have. I wonder if Nikki Lee would say that no women should breastfeed if not all women can breastfeed?

Anti-Vaccine Bingo!

Anti-Vaccine Bingo!

As far as I can tell, Nikki Lee works for a Department of Public Health. You can use Google to find her email and phone number at the office. I’m not going to publish it here. I’m also not going to call for her to lose her job. That’s not my style and it is something that I detest.

Instead, I wrote this post to show to you that people like Nikki Lee are out there. They have all the right credentials and do all sorts of “good” work. They get recognized by others in public health. However, some of these people have a darker side to them, from a public health point of view. In Nikki Lee’s case, she is anti-vaccine. (If she is not, she has fooled me.) She believes RFK Jr. that vaccines with thimerosal cause autism. She believes that Dr. Paul Offit is still getting money from his rotavirus vaccine. (He isn’t. He’s donated the patent.) She posts on her Facebook page, website, and on Twitter all sorts of anti-vaccine articles, and other articles promoting “alternative medicine” (which isn’t medicine at all), and she does so with the authority of someone who should know better.

Be careful when you encounter these people. Don’t be afraid to counter their bullshit, even if they throw their CV and/or resumé at you. Having all those letters after your name doesn’t save you from being taken in by the dark side of the healing arts.

How sad that the Department of Public Health where she is listed as working hasn’t caught on to the likely damage she’s doing in promoting anti-vaccine views.

Advertisements

Homeopathy for autism? Negatory!

A friend of mine sent me a story the other day of a group of homeopaths who thought they could go peddle their magical thinking in West Africa and try and treat people with Ebola. I’m happy to say that they were soundly refuted by health authorities and are now left to wander around with their tails between their legs, begging for scraps. To think that you can treat anything with magic is idiotic at best and extremely dangerous at worst.

It’s not just Ebola that these idiots are attempting to treat with homeopathy, of course. They are also trying to treat autism with homeopathy. That really grinds my gears because they, the homeopaths, prey upon unsuspecting parents who are eager for a “cure.” I’m sorry to say this to you, but there is no cure for autism.

Check that. I’m not sorry. I’m glad.

The quicker we accept that autistics are and always will be autistic, the quicker we can move away from quack treatments for it and into what works: occupational therapy, behavioral interventions, accommodations at school and in public places… Acceptance.

Take this crackpot, for example. He read a book on homeopathy, became hooked, and then got a “four year degree” in it. Now he’s offering to consult and treat autism over Skype.

Over effing Skype. I guess he has a problem looking at the people he’s swindling in the eye?

Alright, so he does have a clinic in person:

“I graduated in 2009 & now work full-time as a homeopath. I see people in my clinic in London and over Skype. I also supervise a student clinic, as well as working in one of the homeopathic pharmacies dispensing remedies & giving advice on acute conditions.

I treat a wide range of conditions, but have particular interest in treating children with autism, which I believe to be a reversible condition often caused by toxins (be they from vaccinations, or other medications or sources of heavy-metals).”

Ah, yes, the damned vaccines. It’s always the vaccines.

If you look at his blog, there is nothing there but pure, unadulterated, non-diluted (non-homepathic?) bullshit. He claims that ultrasounds cause autism, without giving much of a citation to his evidence, and dares his readers to take the detox challenge, for a convenient fee, of course.

The more I read about this guy on his blog, the more I began to be convinced that some of his testimonials are not exactly true. For example, this is his experience with an Italian mother whose child he’s treating over Skype:

“There was a clear regression at both 8 & 22 months after he received his childhood vaccines. He went white, floppy and cold after his MMR vaccine at 8 months.”

To the uninitiated — and we are initiated, aren’t we? — this might sound legit. The initiated among us know that you don’t give the MMR under 12 months because the body will not mount an effective immune response. We’d also check the European immunization schedule and find, with no surprise, that the MMR there is given at 12 months in Italy (and most of the European Union). So someone is probably lying in that story.

Big surprise.

Then again, there are plenty of people who do fall for this stuff. After all, our homeopath friend would not be in the business if it weren’t profitable. That’s the reason I teach. It pays well. I wouldn’t do it for free, that’s for sure.

He also has a history of lashing back at his detractors, so we’ll see how he reacts to some “choice” comments I made on his blog. Who knows? He might be reading this blog right now and furiously googling my name to know more about me.

You can find me in Atlanta, bro. *wink*

Before you do contact me, you should look and see what the Advertising Standards Agency has said to homeopaths like you, then decide if you want to continue your game. Read this part with particular care, almost like as if it was written by Hannemann himself:

“Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation.”

Can you independently prove your magic works, Alan?

Yes, you should be concerned that measles is back

When we last met, I told you how the anti-vaccine crowd were not the only ones to blame for the current resurgence in vaccine-preventable diseases. One of you mentioned how pediatricians who cater to anti-science views are to be blamed as well. I almost forgot about the likes of Dr. Jay Gordon and Dr. Bob Sears, and others. Thanks for reminding me. The one thing I did not do was absolve the anti-vaccine activists from any blame. Certainly, when you are outspoken about things that have been proven to be wrong to you, when you write about them here and there and post videos on YouTube and other places to continue to try and convince people of lies, then there is plenty of blame to come your way.

Hat tip to “Lilady” for a pointing me to this ridiculous blog post over at Age of Autism, the daily web newspaper of the non-existent autism epidemic. Remember, for them to continue to exist there must be an autism epidemic, and for them to continue to be supported by anti-vaccine luminaries like Andrew Jeremy Wakefield, this “epidemic” must be caused by the MMR vaccine. They certainly walk a fine line by also blaming thimerosal, which was never in the MMR vaccine. Look at it this way: If any of the thousands of studies done to find a causal link between thimerosal and autism were proven to be true, then the MMR-autism causal theory would get blown out of the water. It’s a fine line indeed.

Anyway, the blog post in question is titled with the ridiculous question of “Should we be concerned”? (No question mark on their title, though.) It is written by the first half of this pair of American Loons. The reasonable person’s answer to that question is “Yes! Yes, we should be concerned. I mean, my God, we almost eradicated the goddamned virus, why the hell is it back?” But the authors at AoA and a majority of their readers don’t seem like reasonable people for me. So, of course, articles like that will find a natural home in that blog.

The post starts and continues will all manner of errors, misunderstandings and misinformation about measles:

“Prior to 1960, most children in the United States and Canada caught measles. Complications from the disease were unlikely. Previously healthy children usually recovered without incident.”

Notice how he makes it out to be that measles is a perfectly normal thing that every child got through. It’s not normal. It’s a viral infection. It causes complications and even death. You forgot to mention that, you lunatic! The post is also filled with convoluted reasoning like this:

“Authorities also claim that unvaccinated people are contracting the disease and spreading it to others. However, a study published this year in Clinical Infectious Diseases showed that people who are fully vaccinated against measles can spread the disease to other people who are fully vaccinated against measles. Thus, vaccinated people are vectors for the disease.”

Did you catch it? He is trying to tell us that the unvaccinated are not to blame because there were a handful of cases where vaccinated people caught it and spread it. Like the two things are mutually exclusive. Of course vaccinated will still catch measles. The vaccine is not 100% effective. There will always be those for whom the vaccine doesn’t trigger immunity. But, because people are willingly not getting vaccinated, the number of non-immune is bigger than it has to be.

Then there is this enormous misunderstanding of how relative risk works:

“It is also important to note that in nearly every outbreak of measles, large percentages of the cases occur in people who were fully vaccinated against the disease. For example, in 1988, 69% of all school-aged children in the U.S. who contracted measles were adequately vaccinated. In 1995, 56% of all measles cases in the U.S. occurred in people who were previously vaccinated.”

In every single outbreak of a disease for which the large majority of people are immunized, there will be a majority of people who are immunized and are cases. However, when you break it down to relative risks, those who are vaccinated are less likely to be part of the outbreak. In 1995, there were 301 confirmed cases of measles in the United States. That’s an important number because, at the time, it was the lowest number of cases in the country since we started keeping more accurate records of measles in 1912.

But facts and figures and statistics don’t seem to bother Mr. Miller, the “health pioneer” and “independent researcher.” Also, vaccines don’t save anyone:

“Today, most developing nations require their infants to receive several inoculations, including a measles vaccine at 9 months of age. They have very high vaccine coverage rates (a percentage of the target population that has been vaccinated), yet their infant mortality rates are dreadfully unacceptable. For example, in 2011 Gambia, a poor country in Africa, required its infants to receive multiple vaccines, vaccinated 90% to 96% of its infants (91% received measles vaccines), yet 58 of every 1000 infants still died before their first birthdays. Ghana also required its infants to receive several vaccines, vaccinated 91% to 98% of its infants (91% received measles vaccines) yet also had a dismal infant mortality rate: 52 of every 1000 infants died before their first birthdays.”

Ah, yes, silly us. We thought that children who have to deal with malnourishment, malaria, HIV/AIDS and all sorts of other existential threats could do without measles, but Mr. Miller smashes all causes of death together to tell us, basically, that we should stop vaccinating because children are still dying. The level of flawed reasoning is astounding. “Yet 58 of every 1000 infants still died before their first birthdays,” he writes. You know what they DID NOT die from? Measles. Mr. Miller doesn’t tell us how much higher the death toll would be if these children also had to face vaccine-preventable diseases.

Another frequent reader of this blog, “Todd W.”, decided to step into the murky waters of the comments section, and I applaud him for that. But you can read for yourself that it is hopeless. Immediately, his credentials were questioned, and they wondered if he was being paid to comment. He was told that he reads “like a CDC commercial”. (Have you seen any commercials brought to you by CDC?) But, again, that’s par for the course for the quacks and hacks that know very well how to manipulate words and numbers to please their crowd.

Don’t be fooled. Age of Autism is all about pleasing the kind of people who want to believe in monsters under the bed. They are now even catering to the “chemtrail” crowd:

chemtrail_age_of_autism

This blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

Have you heard about the Quack Miranda Warning (QMW)? I have. Even if you haven’t heard about it, you have probably heard it over and over again on the radio, on television, and in the fine print of advertisements for many remedies and supplements. The makers of these supplements, though they make millions of dollars sometimes, somehow don’t have it in them to submit proper evidence to regulatory agencies that the stuff they are selling you works. As a result, they have to tell you that their product “is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”… Although they’re selling you their product to either diagnose, treat, cure or prevent a disease. They just don’t want to be in violation of this federal law which requires that they prove their product works.

But that’s about it. The advertisements for these products usually claim virtually everything they disclaim in the QMW.

For example, let’s see what’s out there for a medical condition. Continue reading

The Price of Quackery

What follows is part of a consent order from a state’s board of physicians to a physician under their jurisdiction. I’m not a physician, so I will give this physician the “professional courtesy” of not criticizing his practice of medicine, much. Instead, I’m going to quote for you a part of the order in which one of the cases under this physician’s care is described. In my opinion as someone who has always worked hard to be professional in work, and as a regular human being, the case described in the order painfully exemplifies what happens when parents of an autistic child are out of options and are sold a bill of goods by practitioners of alternative medicine.

Before we go any further, please be advised that the description is painful to read, and I can imagine it would be especially more painful to read to parents who have lost a child or have struggled with a special needs child. If you are interested in obtaining the whole order, please leave a comment with your real email in it, and I’ll tell you how to get it. It is publicly available, but you have to search for it.

This is the description of “Patient 5” in the order. The “Respondent” is the physician against whom the order has been written. Words in brackets [] are my clarifications of terms; parentheses () are part of the actual order.

“Patient 5, a male, had a history of ASD [Autism Spectrum Disorder] with severe self-injurious behaviors (“SIB”) including eye injuries (detached retinas). Patient 5’s parents brought him to the Respondent for alternative therapy; he had been on multiple psychotropic medications without success.

The Respondent conducted three in-person visits of Patient 5, beginning on October 27, 2011. Additional encounters included telephone and e-mail consultations. The last documented encounter was a telephone consultation on January 17, 2012.

The Respondent treated Patient 5 with various supplements, dietary changes, Zithromax, LDA [low-dose allergen therapy] treatments and Lamictal [a seizure medication].

The Respondent elicited a detailed history during his initial visit, but failed to conduct a physical examination of Patient 5.

On October 27, 2011, the Respondent prescribed Lamictal to Patient 5.

The Respondent initially treated Patient 5 with LDA on October 29, 2011 (“LDA #1”). He failed to conduct any allergy testing prior to injecting Patient 5 with the LDA treatment.

LDA is not an accepted treatment for ASD.

Since the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] does not regulate LDA it must be compounded individually. The composition must be specified for each patient use.

The Respondent failed to document a specific prescription for Patient 5 for the LDA.

On December 11, 2011, Patient 5’s father sent an email to the Respondent noting that Patient 5 had shown no improvement and had worsened in some areas. The Respondent recommended stopping the Lamictal.

On December 19, 2011, the Respondent documented that LDA #1 had helped for one week. Patient 5’s school was reporting difficulty with his management. The Respondent administered a second LDA treatment on this date. He also provided Patient 5 with a prescription for Zithromax with one refill.

On December 29, 2011, Patient 5’s father stated in an email to the Respondent that Patient 5 had experienced increased agitation, outbursts and SIB after giving Patient 5 a six pill package of Zithromax noted in paragraph 80 [above].

On January 4, 2012, the Respondent participated in a conference call with Patient 5’s school staff. There had been an increase in Patient 5’s aggression including throwing furniture, destroying property and SIB. Patient 5’s school recommended an in-patient stay based on safety and learning problems. The Respondent recommended that Patient 5 be provided a homebound instructor as he needed to be with his parents.

On January 17, 2012, the Respondent documented a telephone consultation with Patient 5’s father, stating in part that Patient 5 had been discharged from school, that he had discussed two new supplements (VSL3 [probiotics] and methylfolate [a B vitamin]) and that the family was considering a trip to Africa. The Respondent documented that the plan included VSL3, “if stable” methylfolate and zinc. The Respondent mailed a prescription for methylfolate with six refills issued to Patient 5. The Respondent had further documented that the plan included “LDA” and consideration of additional supplements on the next visit scheduled for February 14, 2012.

The Respondent failed to include signed informed consent forms in Patient 5’s record indicating that Patient 5’s parents were aware of the risks of the alternative therapies he was prescribing.

On February 29, 2012, Patient 5’s father sent the Respondent an email telling him that Patient 5 had died while in Africa.

The Respondent failed to meet appropriate standards of delivery of quality medical care of patient 5 in violation of [regulations].”

It was very hard for me to read this, re-read it for comprehension, and then transcribe it to this blog post. The board of physicians ordered the “Respondent” in question to pay a fine of $5,000 and to not administer any more chelation or anti-fungal medication as part of his alternative approach to treating symptoms of autism. His license was also placed on probation, but he is allowed to continue his pediatric practice. To me, this seems like a slap on the wrist, especially after reading the other cases in the order. If a healthcare provider keeps prescribing medication off-label and without evidence of it working, then that person needs to be in some other profession. Again, this is my opinion.

However, I’m not a healthcare provider, and I do not know all the specifics of all the cases.

Still, what happened to “Patient 5” in Africa that he ended up dying? Was he taken there by his parents for alternative treatment, a vacation, visit relatives?

And how did the school react to the recommendation that Patient 5 not be treated at an in-patient facility? That is, did anyone else advocate for him besides his parents and the “Respondent”?

Again, if you want to read the whole order, leave a message and make sure to include your real email in it. I will not disclose that email to any third parties under the commenting policy of this blog.

GW School of Public Health Responds, Raises More Questions

I’ve received a comment from the GW School of Public Health Office of Communications on the post from the other day whereby a student there, one we all know as the anti-vaccine activist “kid”, had as site preceptor for his practicum experience the father of the Father and Son team of Mark and David Geier. The comment reads:

“The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services is still investigating the claims in this article.

However, your article gives the impression that Mark Geier was teaching or advising a GW student who was doing a practicum at SPHHS. In fact, Mark Geier was facilitating the use of a non-GW database the student used while doing his/her research, which was not part of a practicum. The student in question was being supervised by a faculty member at the university and the student’s contact with Mark Geier was limited mainly to accessing the information in this database.

GW School of Public Health
Office of Communications”

Here is the guidebook for the practicum at GWSPH. In it, on page 9, a site preceptor is described thus:

“Sign-in on the Practicum Website and complete the following:

o Site Application
o Site Preceptor Application
 Receive verification, password , then load project
o Project Description
• Review and approve Student’s Practicum Plan
• Engage Student in work and provide constructive feedback and guidance to Student
• Provide guidance for professional conduct
• Verify Student’s weekly contact hours
• Complete the following on the Practicum Website:
o Midpoint Evaluation Form in conjunction with the Student
o Final Site Preceptor Evaluation of Student and Practicum
• Negotiate payment/stipend with Student, if applicable
• Evaluate Student’s professional behavior
• Address Student’s reports of problems, including site safety issues and/or sexual
harassment”

If Mark Geier, as the site preceptor (as identified to and by Autism News Beat) was not “teaching or advising”, then what does it mean to “review and approve Student’s Practicum Plan”, “provide constructive feedback and guidance to Student”, “provide guidance for professional conduct”, and evaluate the student? On the other hand, if “Mark Geier was (only) facilitating the use of a non-GW database”, why was Mark Geier identified to ANB as the site preceptor of the student?

Can we see the student’s research summary, paper, abstract to determine what role Mark Geier played?

Your site preceptor chemically castrated children. Period.

If you don’t know the story of Dr. Geier and his son (heretofore referred to as “The Father and the Son”), you can read this excellent wrap-up of the history of these two. It boils down to this: They chemically castrated autistic children to “treat” those children’s autism. It’s really such a horrible thing that the state of Maryland’s medical board suspended the license of the father and filed charges against the son for practicing medicine without a license (making it look like he was a clinician). That was back in 2011. The date is important, and you’ll see why in a little bit.

When you go to school at the George Washington University School of Public Health, you are required to do a practicum (professional experience) at a site that is relevant to public health when you’re getting a master of public health (MPH) degree. A few friends of mine have gone there, and they did their practicums at DC DOH, at Maryland DOH, in Virginia, at hospitals, community clinics… Somewhere where they could learn about public health practice.

One particular individual, someone we refer to as “the kid”, did his practicum with – you guessed it – the Father and the Son. Well, okay, maybe just the Father, as the Father has been revealed to be the practicum site preceptor for the kid. A major university in the heart of the nations’ capital, one which has graduated some pretty great epidemiologists and public health practitioners, one that is up there in terms of public health research and practice, one that charges students a ton of money for a good quality education, approved a physician whose license was suspended in 2011 and revoked since to be the site preceptor for the kid.

Whether the kid knew that the Father and the Son were in hot water legally is up for discussion. One thing we know for sure, the kid knew what the Father and the Son were doing to autistic kids. He has blogged about it and defended it in different media. This is disturbing in many, many ways. Here we have an anti-vaccine, conspiracy theory-believing, public health professional (because he has the MPH, whether or not we like it) who knew what these guys were doing to autistic kids and still chose to do his “public health culminating experience” under the Father’s supervision.

To quote a friend, “WTF?”

I think somebody dropped the ball and did not do the kid a favor. The faculty at GWU should have reviewed the Father’s qualifications to be a site preceptor and not allowed the kid to do his culminating experience there. He should have gone to a place where actual public health is practiced, not what can be best described as “quackery”.

It is no surprise to me that the kid has been defending the work of the Father and Son.