Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quacks of the Month: Mark and David Geier

This one's kind of old news, but it's new to me.

Father and son team Mark and David Geier are in the vaccines-cause-autism camp. Their based-on-falsehoods hypothesis is that thimerosal (which is no longer in vaccines) causes mercury poisoning; mercury binds with testosterone; kids with autism have too much testosterone; therefore removing testosterone from the brain frees up the mercury so it can be removed by chelation, thus curing autism.

The Geiers, through their practice, ASD Centers LLC, prescribed autistic children daily injections of Lupron, which reduces the production of sex hormones in the body. This is a way-off-label use of a drug used for chemical castration, the treatment of cancer, and sex reassignment.

Last year, Dr. Mark Geier lost his medical license in several states because of his unorthodox autism treatment. His son, David Geier, was charged by the Maryland State Board of Physicians with practicing medicine without a license; he has a BA in biology and a couple of graduate courses under his belt.

Do I have to explain why it's a bad idea to castrate your child? Apparently I do, because there are lots of desperate families who signed their kids up for this "treatment." I understand why a parent would buy in to this: testimonials on the ASD Centers LLC website extol the Lupron Protocol, saying it transformed their aggressive children into more passive and cooperative little people. Yes, removing testosterone tends to reduce aggression. This doesn't mean your child isn't still autistic, and it doesn't mean these injections are the best way to calm the volatile situation going on in your home.

Our primary job as parents is to help our children grow up to be the best adults they can be. When you reduce their bodies' production of sex hormones, you halt their development, infantilizing them and limiting their future options, both reproductive and otherwise. Please tread carefully.

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Keep it civil, people.