Saturday, January 15, 2011

Quacks of the world, keep your dirty paws off autism!

The text below is a translation (omitting some minor parts) of what I posted on my Bulgarian blog on Jan. 11 as a reaction to the dangerous export of autism quackery to Bulgaria.

The problem of children with autism is that they look quite like the others. When there is inborn malformation, chromosomal disease, sensory disability or another quite obvious problem, parents and society eventually accept the fact that this child is different and will remain so. But the inpredictable time course of autism, its still mysterious nature and the normal appearence of autistics mislead parents to hope that they will somehow be able to bring their child to norm. In fact, today the diagnosis of autism is handed around like candy, often by people who are not competent to diagnose but know well how to "cure" the incurable condition of autism (you ask how? - by relieving parents of their too abundant money). Many of the alleged autistic children actually have only speech delay and eventually catch up spontaneously. But pronounced autism is another thing. In the framework of an unaccepting society, it is perceived by parents not as a part of their child's personality but as an enemy to be faught. And then the quacks wishing to separate them from their money lure them easily and catch them on a hook without even a bait.
The last "achievement" of this sort belongs to Tokuda Hospital in (the city of) Sofia... They organized a conference on autism on Jan. 8-9. A special guest who presented a lecture on this conference was Dr. Arthur Krigsman, (advertised as) "a world-renowned gastroenterologist" from the USA...
A minute's Google check shows that he is indeed world-renowned. Have you a page in Wikipedia? Has your child's doctor or the hospital's director such a page? No? Eh well, Dr. Krigsman has one. You can read in it that he is known for his controversial and widely-criticized research in which he attempted to prove that the MMR vaccine caused autism. I love this little English word "controversial". It is used e.g. for Jeremiah Wright - the US president's favourite minister known for his statement that the USA deserved the Sept. 11 attacks. When a doctor is called "controversial" by a restrained source like Wikipedia, you can be sure that he is a top quack already fired from everywhere and awaiting only the prosecutor's subpoena, if not having received it already. I guess the coming of such a high guest to Bulgaria must be a reaction to some call "Quacks of the world, unite!".
From the conference at Tokuda Hospital Dr. Krigsman went to the At a cup of coffee TV show aired on the Nova TV Channel, so that the entire Bulgarian nation could enjoy his blessings. I owe thanks to my mother in-law who heroically watched the program and then retold it to me (I could not see it personally). To sum up, Dr. Krigsman explained for an hour how the neurological disability known as autism is due either to the digestive system or to the immune system or to heavy metal poisoning, how vaccines are to blame, how autistic children must be subjected to colonoscopy and biopsy (an invasive and not quite safe procedure) and how his method provides a cure for autism, described in all medical textbooks as incurable. And at the end of this hour, the gentleman said, "We are not curing autism, we are curing gastrointestinal diseases!" Ha-ha-ha. Western quacks always include such a disclaimer in order to avoid the heavy grip of law. Dr. Krigsman was unaware that in our part of the world, rule of law is a bit sickly and everybody can lie as he wishes without any disclaimers at all.
Unfortunately, (TV show host) Gala - this pride of Bulgarian journalism, really succeeded in advertising the US quack doctor. You can see the discussion in BG-Mamma (the major Web forum of Bulgarian mothers). I could endure only a brief glance on the first page. It looks to me like a chorus from the circles of Hell where gullibility is reinforced by positive feedback as it is handed from one desperate soul to another. But those who are really in the circles of Hell are the children (and adults) with autism. Not because of the autism itself but because of our attitude.
What do I mean? Imagine that you have a disability - let's say, you are blind or your legs are paralyzed. Imagine that society does not wish to accommodate to your disability, refuses to give you Braille books or a wheelchair and instead wants you to start seeing or walking. It suggests to you that if you fail to achieve this, you have no value, you are not a complete human, it is not clear whether you are human at all. Now imagine that your family members, on whom you have to rely because of your disability and your tender age, are not interested in your real needs but instead wonder how to cure you. They put you on a diet without bread, dairy products and everything you like, and they swear that, thanks to this diet, you already distinguish light from darkness or have slightly moved your left toe. (I am referring to the notorious gluten-free casein-free diet that not only does not lessen autism traits a bit except for the placebo effect, but deprives children of calcium and so makes their bones thinner.) Moreover, your relations bring you to some quack to poison you allegedly to detoxicate you from heavy metals, endangering your life. They also bring you to another quack to puncture your intestines, again endangering your life. They subject you to all sorts of experiments that are not even included in a legal experimental medicine study. They repent for the vaccines that have allegedly contributed to your condition, and swear not to vaccinate your little sister - which you take as a message that they'd prefer her to die of measles than be like you.
Unfortunately, right now I have no time to write a serious text about autism, which seems to be necessary. For those who can read English, I recommend the sincere tale of Dr. James Laidler how he himself got involved in quackery because of his desperation after his two children were diagnosed with autism, and then the blog of "Prometheus" - a molecular biologist and father of an autistic child. Meanwhile, to all who care for children or adults with autism, I wish high spirit, health, physical and emotional strength - and act cleverly!
(In an update, I added that Gala's guest was not only Dr. Krigsman but also his pal Dr. Anju Usman, who has direct responsibility for the death of 5-yr-old Abubakar Nadama by referring him to Dr. Kerry to be "treated" with the poison EDTA that killed him.)


KateGladstone said...


" Imagine that society does not wish to accommodate to your disability, refuses to give you Braille books or a wheelchair"

"Society" is only a fancy word for "other persons."

Imagine that someone asks: "What makes you think that you have a right to be given -- at other persons' expense -- Braille books, or a wheelchair, or anything else that you cannot buy and that the other persons do not choose to give?"

Imagine also that someone asks you:

"Since you are not being given these things, you cannot make them yourself, and cannot buy them yourself ... imagine that you had the opportunity to steal those things, or to steal the money to buy them with. Would it be right for you to take that opportunity: to have those things at the expense of another person?"

How would you answer each question -- and why?

Maya M said...

In the countries usually referred to as civilized, law entitles disabled people with the right to obtain accommodations free of charge, or at a subsidized reasonable price (e.g. a Braille book may cost as much as the same printed book, although its production costs are higher).
So the shortest answer to your first question is: the law.
It is only just and fair. I know that some non-disabled people do not like the fact that they must subsidized disabled people by tax money. However, I do not give them even the degree of sympathy I give to pacifists who are unhappy that they fill the defence budget. I bet that if these people become disabled, by accident or disease or simply by old age, they will change their opinions. This means learning the hard way how stupid you have been.
If, however, I am disabled and accommodations are not given to me, I have no right to steal them. I think suffering an injustice is no license to inflict another injustice. I should, instead, take my case to court.

drjohndrj said...

The measure of a society is its humanity especially toward the disadvantaged . Children with learning and developmental diabilities have the same rights as those who dont. Society has to provide the opportunity for all people to develop to the best of their ability,whether it means a wheelchair or braille books . Spend less on Arms i say

Anonymous said...

Is it true that Krigsman not only spoke but came to perform procedures on them?

Maya M said...

During Krigsman's visit, Tokuda hospital announced its intention to begin a treatment program for autistic children. However, I cannot find any written announcement - they are either not ready yet or have changed their minds. Anyway, life in Bulgaria is not easy and I do not find it likely that Krigsman would stay here for long enough.

Mary said...

Wow, KateGladstone,

Imagine if a baby could talk and say," I have the right to be fed, clothed and sheltered, even though I can't pay for it myself." Imagine if the family rejects the child and everyone else thinks it's not their responsibility. What a cold heart you must have. Imagine if nobody would fight for your country. I hope you don't lose your ability to see or walk or get brain damage and nobody comes to your rescue. That would stink, wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

You can get calcium from plenty of other foods firstly which you would know if you actually had any knowledge on the issues related to autism aswell as gluten free bread, pasta and porridge etc...
Also if you actually know the ingredients of the vaccines our children are recieving?

Anonymous said...

Aswell as the regression loss of speech, balance and skills after vaccination as did my son.
And the chronic GI issues children then develop and you think ok let's just leave them screaming in pain as they are non verbal, lets just let them eat all these foods despite sudden progress from diet change!
People like you make me sick you need to research more and then say something, say something honest, credible and knowledgeable.
Don't sit at a computer ranting a load of bias bs.
Please research a little do something constructive rather than criticising on a subject you clearly know nothing about....

Maya M said...

Yes, children CAN get calcium from plenty of other foods, but unfortunately they DO not get that calcium. Because parents subjecting their children to gluten-free-casein-free-nutrient-free diet are too busy with their anti-autism crusade to provide adequate nutrition.
I can see the ingredients of vaccines any time I wish. Anyone with access to Internet and even minimal proficiency in English can.
In their first months and years of life, all children in civilized countries receive many vaccines. Which means that, whatever regression happens during that period, it would be "after a vaccine". I am sorry it happened to your son.
A friend of mine illustrates this logical fallacy with the following statement: 99.8% of people who get cancer have eaten cucumbers, hence, cucumbers cause cancer.
If a child feels badly after certain foods, a gastroenterologist must say what is happening. However, gastroenterologists do not subscribe to the theories I am criticizing.
I am a biologist; how can you say that I know about autism? Who knows, then - the quacks who take your money with false promises to cure your child? But even if I am wrong, I am honest. It is not too fair for you to claim the opposite. It is not fair for you to say that I should not use a computer or write whatever I wish on my own blog under my real identity, just because you happen to have a different opinion.
I do not "rant". It is you who rant - you who come to this blog uninvited and anonymous.
However, if you are really who you claim to be - a parent of a child with autism facing many challenges, and if insulting me makes you feel better, feel welcome to continue doing it.

Anonymous said...

You are one crazy brainwashed dillusional human clearly....
My son is the healthiest kid I know eats better food then any other non autistic child I know. Gluten and casein free diet all organic whole foods. I don't know what you are talking about....
Also if you suffered severe abdominal pain, reflux, constipation and Diahroea at the hospital they would offer colonoscopy but if you have autism you should be left to suffer? What morals do you have clearly not many if any at all...
I don't have time to educate someone as small minded as yourself if you were a parent with a child I would try a lot harder for the sake of that child you would have in pain suffering.
Write whatever you want I didn't say don't write I said write truth not bias propaganda and a subject you know nothing about.
As I said I won't waste my time just needed to get that off my chest as people like yourself literally do make me sick, but carry on I'm sure not many will read and follow as its written so poorly and distasteful.

Maya M said...

Your language tells everything one needs to know about you. But let's see what you are claiming, besides the insults.
Your son has a developmental disorder, and yet you claim he is the healthiest kid you know because he eats organic food (minus some most important nutrients, indeed, but you have apparently obtained a revelation from God that they are not needed).
You think that invasive procedures should be done on autistic children just because a parent brings them to the hospital and wants something done. God helps children who have such parents.
You don't want to waste your time on this blog? Excellent. I shall be happy if indeed you do not comment anymore. There are plenty of Internet parents like you who think their disabled children will become typical if only enough unpleasant, invasive quackery is done on them. Go to one of their forums and you will be welcomed.