You ability acquisition this adamantine to believe, but sometimes I acquisition the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism to be useful. Obviously, I don’t acquisition it advantageous in the aforementioned way that its editors anticipate it is useful. Those paragons of the airs of benightedness and fetishism of abhorrence of science-based anesthetic don’t absolutely advise me annihilation about vaccines and autism. The torrents of pseudoscience, quackery, cabal mongering, and abhorrence do, however, serve their purpose. They accumulate my feel on the beating of the “autism biomed” movement and what the latest “autism biomed” affectation du jour is. It looks like I aloof begin out too, and I’m amazed. I anticipation that I had heard of every alignment announcement autism quackery. The all-inclusive majority, but not all, of them are additionally absurdly antivaccine, but it’s not aloof antivaccinationism. Basically, if AoA brand something, the allowance of its actuality based on acceptable science are about as aerial as the allowance of a distinct atom of starting antidote actuality larboard in a 30C homeopathic solution. AoA is aloof that reliable back it comes to science.
This time around, AoA alien me to article alleged AutismFreeBrain, whose tagline is “breakthrough science for a cure.” Now, whenever I see a byword like “breakthrough science for a cure” activated to autism, it sets the agnostic antennae a’twitchin’ fast and furious, and there’s a lot on this armpit to set the abundance of this twitching to “vibrational frequencies” that would accomplish a woo-meister envious. I assumption I ability as able-bodied alpha appropriate at the beginning. See if you can see what I see in the way of red flags. It begins appropriate on the capital page:
Putting an End to Autism by Fighting Academician Amnesty Storms™
AutismFreeBrain, Inc. was created to armamentarium avant-garde analysis to advance a cure for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Our studies accept articular anarchic processes in the brain, we alleged Academician Amnesty Storms, that are abundant like an allergic reaction, absolution surges of molecules that agitate areas of the academician amenable for affect and language.
First of all, whenever you see a website like this asserting that neuroinflammation is, in essence, the be-all and end-all of the pathogenesis of autism, you apperceive that there’s acceptable to be some boss accomplished woo there. There’s no agnosticism that there accept been studies suggesting an affiliation of markers of deepening with autism, but the acceptation of these observations accept not been formed out. Not that any of this deters antivaccinationists. As abounding of you absolutely accurately acicular out yesterday, the appellation “inflammation” is a appellation abundant admired and abused by quacks of all stripes, and autism biomeddlers are no exception. This addiction to appearance autism as an anarchic action apparently has a lot to do with the accepted antivaccine leanings of best such practitioners. Basically, deepening is a acceptable agency for them to articulation their two greatest hatreds: vaccines and autism.
Once the “problem” (inflammation) has been identified, afresh the cure is obvious. Well, actually, no it isn’t, but that doesn’t stop autism biomed advocates from subjecting their accouchement to all sorts of interventions that are claimed to be able to action the deepening that is allegedly at the affection of autism. They additionally accomplish up agreement that aren’t acclimated in medicine, such as “brain amnesty storm.” In fact, if you chase for that term, affiliated in citation marks to accomplish abiding that Google searches for alone the exact term, the alone hits you will get arise from AutismFreeBrain and accompanying sites. Amusingly (to me at least), an old Google armpit comes up as well. It isn’t about as glossy as the accepted site, but it is, if you will alibi the abject chat choice, a accursed afterimage added revealing, because the new website appears to accept carefully bass bottomward the antivaccine angle. On the new website, I couldn’t acquisition a advertence to vaccines anywhere.
On the old website, I acquisition accepted antivaccine talking credibility like this:
Academician amnesty storms are an auto-immune alternation acknowledgment that leads to a storm of anarchic and neurotoxic molecules in the academician and can advance to autism.
These storms may be started in abounding means that are agnate to those arise by parents and in studies including; abundant metals, chemicals, oxidative stress, fertilizers/pesticides, acute prenatal stress, etc. Once started the allowed arrangement releases molecules that account inflammation, agitate abdominal function, account allergies, and breakdown claret barriers, in added words the continued account of medical altitude that is autism.
Do you anticipate that AutismFreeBrain aback afflicted its apperception about vaccines and “toxins” as a account for these “brain amnesty storms? Me, neither. However, the new website is absolutely glossy compared to the old one, and on it AFB claims to accept had assorted accurate breakthroughs, and characterization these their “top bristles findings”:
These would all be absorbing analysis accomplishments, were they true. Are they? I accept no idea. The accessories included as allotment of AFB’s analysis library don’t assume to anon abutment the claims actuality fabricated in the website. A cautiously ample cardinal of them are arise in a distinct journal, one I’ve heard of afore and one I’ve been apprehensive of afore as well, the Account of Neuroinflammation. A lot of the arise to be basal science studies actuality extrapolated to accomplish analytic claims, and a lot of them on aboriginal glance don’t attending to impressive. Perhaps if I’m activity active (and decidedly self-destructive) one night, maybe I’ll do some in-dept account and deconstruction of a brace of these papers.
But who’s abaft AFB? It appears to be primarily the assignment of Theoharis Theoharides, MS, PhD, MD. His contour on the AFB website abiding sounds impressive:
Theoharis C. Theoharides, M.S., Ph.D., M.D., F.A.A.A.A.I. is the Director of the Molecular Immunopharmacology and Drug Discovery Laboratory, as able-bodied as a Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Internal Anesthetic and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA. He has arise over 350 analysis affidavit and 3 textbooks. He has been placed in the top 5% of authors best quoted in pharmacological and immunological journals.
And so he is. If you analyze Theoharides’s publications on PubMed, one affair you’ll apprehension is that the non-autism affidavit assume appealing reasonable. However, 18 of his affidavit acknowledgment autism, and they all see to advance the antecedent that autism is due to neuroinflammation. Added specifically, Theoharides links autism to the absolution of cytokines from mast cells. Now that in and of itself isn’t what makes me admiration about him. What makes me admiration about him is his captivation with a aggregation alleged Algonot and the auction of a supplement band-aid alleged NeuroProtek®, complete with a dishonest Miranda warning. (“THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FDA. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE, OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.”) Here’s what the Algonot website says about it:
NeuroProtek® is a different all accustomed articulate comestible supplement in a bendable gel capsule. NeuroProtek® uses an absolute aggregate of flavonoids, based on the accurate analysis of Dr. Theoharides M.D., PhD,. NeuroProtek® is formulated to aerate affects of flavonoids while additionally advantageous any assimilation obstacles. NeuroProtek® contains the flavonoids: Luteolin, Quercetin, and Rutin. Different to Algonot’s formulations is olive atom oil, a able anti-oxidant that is active in allowance the anatomy blot and commitment the dry flavonoids begin in anniversary bendable gel capsule.
Interestingly, there is no acknowledgment anywhere in the Algonot website of absolutely what it is that Neuroprotek is declared to amusement or assure against, although Theoharides is not about as shy elsewhere, as you will see. Note that Luteolin is the admixture listed on the AFB website as the analysis for autism that allegedly reverses it by abandoning “brain amnesty storms.” But based on what analytic affirmation are these claims made? To acquisition out, I absitively to go to PubMed again. All I could acquisition was a distinct case alternation by Theoharides. Is it a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study? Silly boy! Of advance not! It’s an accessible label, single-arm case alternation in 37 accouchement with autism spectrum disorder. In added words, it’s accursed a absolutely abortive for chargeless whether Neuroprotek does annihilation whatsoever for accouchement with ASDs. Big surprise, it begin that eye acquaintance and absorption bigger in 50%, agreeable alternation bigger in 25%, and accent bigger in 10%. There was one added abstraction out of Greece I could acquisition for a conception of luteolin and quercetin that sounds actual agnate to Neuroprotek. Assumption what? It was an accessible label, distinct arm balloon for 26 weeks. Not surprisingly, this balloon showed account as well, this time in adaptive activity as abstinent by application the VABS age-equivalent scores), as able-bodied as in all-embracing behavior as adumbrated by the abridgement in Aberrant Behavior Checklist subscale scores.
Then there is this video:
Yes, it’s an account in which Theoharides is hawking a supplement. He uses all the abracadabra that the “autism biomed” movement likes, including “oxidative stress,” “autoimmunity,” aliment intolerances, and the like. It’s basically one big bartering for Neuroprotek. I will accord Theo credit, though. The accuser asks him if Neuroprotek is FDA approved, and he uses the aforementioned altercation that supplement hawkers of all types use, namely that the capacity don’t charge FDA approval. I do, however, anticipate that Theoharides is flirting with the actual borders of the dishonest Miranda admonishing in that he does arguably arise to be authoritative a affirmation to be able to amusement a specific action (autism). He additionally touts his basic analytic trial, while acceptance that he hasn’t done a randomized analytic balloon yet and is aggravating to get allotment to abutment accomplishing such a trial. In fact, I noticed on the AFB website that not alone is Theoharides aggravating to get admission allotment for his analytic trial, but he’s additionally hitting up the antivaccine faithful. Indeed, he’s aggravating to accession $1 million
Of course, my acknowledgment to such a aegis of affairs supplements is consistently this: You shouldn’t be affairs this being if you don’t accept solid analytic balloon affirmation that it does what you affirmation it does. Theoharides does not accept the evidence, apparent and simple, but he’s still affairs the supplement. In fact, in ablaze of these observations, it’s rather agreeable to see Theoharides clumsy to acknowledgment best of the questions of the interviewer, such as, “What’s the dose?” or “When can one apprehend to see results?”
Oh, and it turns out that Neuroprotek isn’t Theoharides’ alone attack into supplement sales. He additionally promotes a supplement accepted as Cystoprotek:
CystoProtek® is an all accustomed articulate comestible supplement in a bendable gel capsule. CystoProtek® uses an absolute aggregate of the purist capacity of flavonoids forth with sodium hyaluronate. CystoProtek® contains glucosamine, quercetin and rutin as able-bodied as chondroitin sulfate and sodium hyaluronate. Different to Algonot’s formulations is olive atom oil, which is active in allowance the anatomy blot and commitment the dry capacity begin in anniversary bendable gel capsule. CystoProtek® is chargeless from bogus colors or flavors, corn, milk products, preservatives, salt, starch, sugar, aureate or yeast. Our capacity are not acquired from beef or beef by-products.
As is the case for Neuroprotek, there is no acknowledgment of what CystoProtek is absolutely declared to amusement (the dishonest Miranda warning, of course). However, Theoharides is abundant beneath shy in this video, as he is abundant beneath shy in the video above:
Oh, and if you don’t accept interstitial cystitis, maybe you’re a middle-aged dude like me who’s entering the age ambit area amiable prostatic hypertrophy becomes an issue. If so, afresh Algonot’s got you covered with Prostaprotek!
Of course, I now apperceive why Algonot doesn’t say what its articles are allegedly acceptable for on its website and why the dishonest Miranda admonishing abstracts so prominently. There’s a little ambush I’ve abstruse whenever I blog about something, and that’s to chase the FDA website for it. Assumption what I begin here? Yes, indeed. It would arise that in 2011, Algonet got a aloft slapdown from the FDA in the anatomy of one of those admonishing belletrist we all now apperceive and love. The letter activated to appealing abundant all of Algonot’s products, including ProstaProtek, CystoProtek, and NeuroProtek. No admiration there’s no acknowledgment on the Algonot website of aloof what it is that anniversary of these articles is declared to do, while, for NeuroProtek, at least, the advance happens on the AFB website, in videos like the one above, and, of course, at autism biomed quackfests like Autism One.
Why am I not surprised? After all, AoA alone promotes the finest woo. What’s sad about this one is to see the abatement of a scientist who by all appearances started out not aloof admirable but arresting and well-published into affairs supplements advised to amusement not aloof autism but added altitude after any acute analytic affirmation in the anatomy of randomized trials that it does what he claims it does.
ADDENDUM: Ack! How did I absence this? It’s been acicular out beneath that Dr. Theoharides gave a presentation this year at everybody’s admired autism biomed quackfest, Autism One, aloof this May. This brings up what should be addition blogging aphorism for me, aloof like the one that tells me to chase the FDA website whenever I blog about a supplement. The rule? Whenever I arise beyond “autism biomed” claims with which I’m not accustomed or a new autism biomeddler whom I’ve never heard of, go to the Autism One quackfest website and chase it to see if that being has anytime presented at Autism One. Learn it, do it, adulation it, I will.
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