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Antivaccine nonsense Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

The return of J. B. Handley

He’s ba-ack.

Remember J. B. Handley? He and his wife were the founders of the antivaccine crank group Generation Rescue (GR) back in the day. When I first started blogging, GR was new and shiny, with JB and his wife showing up all over the media blaming autism on mercury. In fact, I think it’s worth reminding my readers, for the benefit of newbies (and in this case, newbies could be anyone who hasn’t been reading at least five years) just what GR used to say about autism:

Generation Rescue believes that childhood neurological disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, speech delay, sensory integration disorder, and many other developmental delays are all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.

When you know cause, you can focus on cure.Thousands of parents are curing their children by removing the mercury from their children’s bodies. We want you, the parent, to know the truth.


Of course, that was a long time ago. The makeover that made GR more—shall we say?—flexible about autism causation, such that it now says that autism is caused by “an overload of heavy metals, live viruses, and bacteria.” And, of course, vaccines. Toujours les vaccins. Same as it ever was.

After Jenny McCarthy was recruited to be the public face of GR, JB faded into the background. We didn’t see him much. Oh, sure, he still pops up from time to time to say something incredibly stupid, such as his comparing the original antivaccine quack Andrew Wakefield to “Nelson Mandela and Jesus Christ rolled up into one,” attacking the American Academy of Pediatrics, likening a female reporter’s pro-vaccine article to her having been “roofied” by Dr. Paul Offit (classy, as ever), making silly bets as to the identity of pseudonymous pro-vaccine bloggers, and equating autism to “brain damage.” However, over the last couple of years, Handley’s been mighty quiet. It’s almost as though he’s disappeared from the organization he founded. He hardly shows up on the antivaccine crank blog Age of Autism, which is tightly associated with GR, any more.

So it was that I almost missed that he’s back, with a post entitled Who’s afraid of autism recovery? It seems to be a post commemorating ten years of Generation Rescue, which is akin to celebrating a decade of resurgent vaccine-preventable disease, but, then, this is GR.

He starts out with a bit of reminiscing about the old days of GR, when it was just a rag tag band of rebels fighting the medical establishment. To hear JB tell it, he was just interested in “recovering” children, but the message of “recovery” through biomedical quackery got lost:

So, the original plan for GR was really a colossal failure and I think understanding why tells us a lot about where we are now.

First off, no matter how hard you try, you can’t talk about recovery from Autism without talking about causation, and then you are officially wrestling with the Vaccine tar baby, which gets everyone dirty, sticky, angry, and confused. That happened to us, almost immediately. We really wanted parents to talk to parents about what was working to recover their children, but every reporter covering GR’s launch wanted to talk about mercury and vaccines. And we obliged. Before we knew it, the message of recovery was buried and the message of vaccine controversy was everywhere.

This is, of course, nonsense. GR was antivaccine from the beginning, because, as I described above, GR was founded based on the idea that mercury from the thimerosal preservative that was until early 2002 present in some childhood vaccines was the cause of what has been called the “autism epidemic” or even worse terms, like the “autism tsunami.” Never mind that the apparent increase in prevalence is mostly due to diagnostic substitution, better screening, and increased awareness.

I remember it well. Back in 2005, I was a freshly minted blogger just starting to make a name for himself, when I encountered the antivaccine movement, in particular the wing of the antivaccine movement known as the mercury militia for its insistence that mercury was The One True Cause of Autism. Leading the mercury militia at the time was JB Handley and GR, using the “intellectual firepower” of David Kirby, who had written Evidence of Harm; Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., all purpose antivaccine crank and author of a conspiracy-laden antivaccine screed, Deadly Immunity, that led to one of my earliest viral posts; and, of course, the father-son mercury militia researchers, Mark and David Geier. Sadly, Robert F. Kennedy is still around, having recently published a new book and managed to get himself and his partner in crime Mark Hyman on The Dr. Oz Show.

Yes, GR was an antivaccine group from the beginning. This whining about the “message” about “recovering” autistics getting lost due to the attention the antivaccine message garnered in the press is an enormous stinking pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys. It’s revisionist history.

Of course, Handley owes me a new keyboard (a new MacBook Pro, actually), as this one’s been fried because I was drinking iced tea while reading this:

The Autism biomed community goes through phases of recovery ideas that work for some children and then get broadly adopted. GF/CF, chelation, IVIG, B12 shots, homeopathy, HBOT, are just a few of the many treatments that have been innovated by members of our community and played a role in recovering children. It’s really a remarkable cycle of innovative and experimental medicine, and it’s the most likely way a solution (cure!) for Autism will be developed.

Innovation. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Experimental medicine? I suppose you could call it that. It is, as I’ve discussed before, unethical experimentation on children involving everything from chelation therapy causing the death, to hyperbaric oxygen chambers, to radical dietary manipulations, to injecting “stem cells” (it’s not actually clear at all that that’s what they are) into the cerebrospinal fluid of autistic children in quack clinics in Costa Rica, and even subjecting autistic children to bleach enemas.

Speaking of bleach enemas:

In the last few years, an entirely new theory has developed about what’s causing the behaviors and symptoms we call Autism: parasites. It’s a novel theory, spearheaded by three very innovative people: Kerri Rivera, Andreas Kalcker, and Jim Humble. (Parents like Robin Goffe have further added to the protocols.) As a ten-year veteran of biomed, I’m skeptical to any and all new ideas, and was extremely skeptical of the claims being made by these revolutionary parents and practitioners.

I hope all parents will take a closer look at the Parasite-Autism theory and see if their child may fit the profile of a child suffering from parasitic infection. What’s most shocking about this new treatment approach are the claims being made by parents. At last count, 163 parents claim their children have recovered from Autism by following Kerri Rivera’s protocol. One hundred and sixty-three kids? I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a lot of kids, particularly for something that’s supposed to be impossible to do! And, as if we need to ask, how many people from the CDC, AAP, or Autism Speaks have looked into the parasite-autism theory or interviewed the parents of the 163 children they claim are recovered? You know the answer.

Regular readers might recall Kerri Rivera. She’s the one who thinks she can bleach autism away with something called Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS). What it is, in essence, is an industrial strength bleaching agent, 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. Before being given to autistic children, it is frequently diluted in acidic juices, such as orange juice, resulting in the formation of chlorine dioxide, which is, as the FDA characterized it, “a potent bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment.” According to its proponents, MMS can cure almost anything: cancer, AIDS, and just about any other serious disease you can imagine. Over the last two and a half years, Rivera has popularized it (if you can call it that) among the autism biomed quackery underground. It’s a treatment that led to one of the greatest retorts of all time to parents subjecting their children to quackery, “Your son sounds adorable. Please stop feeding him bleach.”

Basically, Rivera claims that MMS kills “parasites,” as demonstrated by an anecdote that I like to cite whenever the topic of MMS comes up:

My 14YO son has autism. I’ve been treating him with a parasite cleanse system for 1.5 years (5 days on, 2 days off). He’s made some remarkable improvements, but every time I try to wean him off the cleanse, the parasite symptoms flare up. He is nonverbal and fairly low-functioning, so I don’t get any feedback from him as to how he is feeling. Last week, I started him on 1 drop of MMS then upped the dose to 1 drop, 2x a day this week. After about 4 days at 2 drops/day, he vomited once and had diarrhea all day. I am assuming it is the MMS . I decided to drop down to 1 drop/day again until he gets beyond this. He tends to have loose stools anyway, which I am guessing is related to this ongoing battle with the parasites. His gut tends to be very sensitive to anything I give him, so I have to go very carefully with anything new like the MMS . I am still giving him the other parasite cleanse (Systemic Formulas VRM 1-4). I would love to hear anyone’s ideas or insight into this. I am working with a homeopath who has done extensive research into parasite cleanses, but she has not researched MMS. I’m looking to get my son beyond these parasites once and for all. My homeopath and her colleagues are autism experts and do consults with parents from around the world. They have found that the children with autism who are considered “tough nuts” tend to also be parasite kids. With their compromised immune systems, it is difficult to eradicate parasites.

Not surprisingly, since 2012 Kerri Rivera has been a regular fixture at the yearly autism quackfest known as Autism One, because nothing is too quacky for that quackfest. Just last year, AutismOne advertised a bit of Bleach Enema Karaoke with Kerri Rivera.

You know what I see when I see someone like JB Handley go on about the “innovation” of the autism biomed movement, in which parents flit from quackery to quackery, seemingly willy-nilly? I see desperation. I see parents whose child is not “recovered” or “recovering.” If the child was “recovered,” all this quackery would not longer be deemed necessary by the parents. As despicable a human being as JB Handley is at times, it’s hard for me not to read this and feel a bit sorry for him. Far more than that, though, I feel sorry for his child. I’m also sorry for all the children of the parents who chimed in so proud and eager to tell their MMS stories in the comments of JB’s post, victims of what I consider to be child abuse, all of them.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

151 replies on “The return of J. B. Handley”

he vomited once and had diarrhea all day. I am assuming it is the MMS .

A fair assumption. If only these people could follow it logically, like their vaccine = autism assumption…
I mean, what’s wrong with these people? If the intake of a mainstream treatment is followed by nasty side-effects, most people, including us pharma shills/sheeple, will want to stop taking it and ask their doctor for something else.

I am still giving him the other parasite cleanse […] I’m looking to get my son beyond these parasites once and for all.

And now we have spontaneous generation of parasites (I mean, where are they coming from?). Either that, or the cleanse is doing nothing and may as well be abandoned.

I understand these people are deeply desperate. But still, for people so proud of “using their brain and doing their own research”.

As a ten-year veteran of biomed, I’m skeptical to any and all new ideas

It would be interesting to see the list of new ideas that Handley has rejected.

My homeopath and her colleagues are autism experts
No signs of intelligent life here, Captain.

Emphases added.

“First off, no matter how hard you try, you can’t talk about recovery from Autism without talking about causation, and then you are officially wrestling with the Vaccine tar baby, which gets everyone dirty, sticky, angry, and confused.

That thar’s the sort of nonlinear thinking combination that one doesn’t see every day.

^ Oh, rats, I forgot that italics are implicit. “Wrestling” and “which” were the other styles.

every reporter covering GR’s launch wanted to talk about mercury and vaccines

That’s your refined, weapons-grade cowardice and evasion of responsibility right there. It was the reporters who came up with this idea of vaccines and mercury causing autism and forced poor Handley to talk about it!

no matter how hard you try, you can’t talk about recovery from Autism without talking about causation, and then you are officially wrestling with the Vaccine tar baby

There are a few missing steps in this explanation, like how the Vaccine strawman red herring True Scotsman Tar Baby became so irresistibly attractive as to lure him into its adhesive embrace whenever he tried to speak of etiology. A lot of other people manage to talk about autism etiology without succumbing to its attractions; in fact almost everyone else managed. It is as if Handley was being singled out in some way. It must have been the journalists again.

I’m intrigued as to the nature of these “parasites” that MMR is supposed to flush out. Do any of these people using the protocol claim to have actually isolated any and examined them? Perhaps sent them off to a lab for analysis? I know if my daughter had “parasites” and they were coming out in her faeces, I’d want to know exactly what they were; what kind of creature (insect? leech? woodlouse? Venusian Lobster-bear?), where they came from, how to stop her from contracting them again…

Surely someone must have looked..?

@Rebecca Fisher

Oh, people using MMS on their kids claim to have found all manner of parasites in their stool. Unfortunately for the kids, these tend to be things like mucosal linings.

The idea that parents can subject their children to bleach enemas horrifies me more can I can say. This is blatant abuse and assault. Why is it not sanctioned by the law?

“he vomited once and had diarrhea all day. I am assuming it is the MMS .”

A true alt med enthusiast would refer to these effects as resulting from “parasite die-off” or “toxins being flushed out of the system”.

Todd is right. I seem to recall some warrior mom displaying pictures of those linings after dosing her son with bleach.

BTW, bleach is way less dangerous (in most cases) than chlorine dioxide.

@Rebecca
“Surely someone must have looked..?”

Oh most definitely. And not just someone…. Doctor’s Data! A leader in innovative diagnostics!
They have a full parasitology panel available for any GI symptoms or ASD, ADHD, and numerous other conditions, according to their brochures.

I don’t understand the justification for such a huge battery of specific testing if one is just going to use bleach as treatment, but I guess it gives parents the peace of mind knowing their kid’s ADHD is caused by a super exotic intestinal pathogen.

Oh, I’ve seen the pictures of “ropeworms”, but have any of them actually tried to keep one alive and investigate it?

Or are there any results from Doctor’s Data available?

Oh, I’ve seen the pictures of “ropeworms”, but have any of them actually tried to keep one alive and investigate it?

Or are there any results from Doctor’s Data available?

Nope, none. Some of the parents will “self-diagnose” it’s a worm but not a single one has ever sent it to a parasitologist. Vile shitwits.

Right.
TMR ( see blogs by author, “Poppy”, June 2012) presented ‘Bugs, Moon Cycles and Lunacy’ wherein our heroine** explains how it all works:
parasites are most active during the full moon – which is revealed to observers as deterioration of functioning- because they are laying eggs and then “kick up toxic stench that makes its way to the brain”. The fine organic foods and supplements parents push on their children are like unto ambrosia for these creatures which are turned into ‘superbugs’. AND as we all know, there’s only one way to deal with superbugs.

** guess how she had her ‘nym

ropeworms

There was an article on SBM in 2014 by Harriet Hall on the topic, with pictures. She was not exactly convinced, and a lot of readers were certainly grossed out.

@ CTGeneGuy

a super exotic intestinal pathogen.

Thinking of writing a thesis entitled:
“From Alien to Goa’uld, the intestinal worm, endless source of modern faerie tales”

It seems to me that this is a pretty damning admission: “The Autism biomed community goes through phases of recovery ideas that work for some children and then get broadly adopted. GF/CF, chelation, IVIG, B12 shots, homeopathy, HBOT,…”

It looks like they’ve been through at least 6 “phases” of ideas and are still looking for a cure. Never mind that none of these previous 6 ideas is logically or scientifically consistent with the next one in terms of the supposed mechanism of the “cure” and that they don’t mind promoting all of them at the same time. My last six ideas didn’t work? Well, don’t give up like those “autism acceptance” losers! You’re a fighter! A warrior! Here, buy my next idea. Ka-ching! See you next year with idea # 8!

And how does a movement that draws in worried parents with safety concerns about vaccines lead them down a path to “experimental medicine” on their children? Where are the studies that show the safety of *these* treatments, alone or in combination?

Helianthus: “I mean, what’s wrong with these people?”

Fundamentally, most parents who blames autism on vaccines hates their kid, and wants to come up with a justification for reasons for that child to no longer be alive. There are a few who love their kids, and are kind of feeble-minded and easily lead, but they are few and far between.

As an aside:

I notice that anti-vaxxers have been rather quiet of late and frankly, it makes me suspicious-
possibly they could have realised that they indeed have very little to say ( which is unlikely going by their past history) or else they’re plotting something
– TMR is recycling old posts and sponsoring e-conferences ( the next one is on medical marijuana)
– AoA shills its cohorts’ books and harkens to the past
– Jake is strangely silent since the comment erasing debacle

Perhaps they’re waking up? Not likely.

Gah, JB Handey. His wife was a year ahead of me in high school. She was the class valedictorian and went to Stanford.

Darn you, Orac, you’re giving me h.s. trauma flashbacks.

The Autism biomed community goes through phases of recovery ideas that work for some children and then get broadly adopted. GF/CF, chelation, IVIG, B12 shots, homeopathy, HBOT, are just a few of the many treatments that have been innovated by members of our community and played a role in recovering children.

For no particular reason, I am reminded of http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Skinner/Pigeon/.

Rebecca,

I’m intrigued as to the nature of these “parasites” that MMR is supposed to flush out. Do any of these people using the protocol claim to have actually isolated any and examined them?

I used to be virtually acquainted with a parasitologist who was driven to distraction by people asking him to look at bits of undigested food they had fished out of their feces that they had convinced themselves were intestinal parasites.

IIRC correctly he was also the person who told me that the worms that were allegedly washed out of a patient through colonic irrigation turned out to be the sort of worms you can buy from any aquarium supply store to feed tropical fish, and were not human parasites at all.

Basically, Rivera claims that MMS kills “parasites”

Am I overreacting here, or would Rivera’s claims sound better in the original German? To me, at least, there are some Godwin-type overtones in a statement like that, particularly since the topic is an alleged treatment given to autistic children who, especially given what their parents are doing to them, are unlikely to grow up to enjoy anything even vaguely resembling a normal life. Not that the parents (in most cases, anyway; there have been one or two exceptions discussed here) are deliberately trying to kill the kids. The present legal system discourages that sort of thing, and the parents get the social benefit of playing the martyr card. But I wonder what they are really thinking here. “Parasite” does have another meaning.

MMS will almost certainly kill some/many parasites. It is used to treat water that can collect ‘green stuff’ which clogs pipes & pumps. Industrial cooling towers make good use of ClO2 to prevent the buildup of algae and other living stuff where it can be harmful.
NOT INTENDED FOR INTERNAL USE! Idiots.

@Denice:
It’s not an easy time to be an antivaxxer. The “CDC Whistleblower” story going over like a lead balloon has to be disheartening, and all the outbreaks of VPDs is putting them on the defensive.

I could hardly handle it after the “roofied by Dr. Offit” part. Someone with that sort of character shouldn’t be given much leeway on anything- geeze.

@ justthestats:

Sure. And Andy isn’t currently suing anyone/ appealing a decision/ re-appealing/ etc .

Has he finally quit?

Chlorine dioxide is used in the produce industry as an anti-microbial for food-contact surfaces, water flumes, and the produce itself. Hey, I think I’ve stumbled on a new marketing campaign selling ClO2-treated produce as a cure for autism. Fits right in with homeopathy since no active CLO2 remains on produce after it is washed. Thanks Orac!

I wonder what has happened to these kids in the 10 years the anti-vaxers have waged their futile war. I had enough science background to reject the Hg-autism stuff, which was popular when my daughter was diagnosed. We toughed it out with education, therapy and humor. She is still autistic, but set to graduate with honors in May. She understands she has language issues, but doesn’t feel “lesser” or “damaged”. How do these kids feel to hear themselves described as empty shells? I hope they can find the self-worth that their parents deny them.

Having studied parasitology at both the undergraduate and graduate level, I love to dive in to the alt med forums where, it seems, EVERYONE has parasites. When I ask if they’ve sent a sample to a lab, it’s the same memes every time – “Labs are incompetent, I KNOW I have parasites” or some such nonsense like “I put a worm I found in my stool right on top of my sample and the lab didn’t see it!” Then they are always saying stuff like “I saw eggs!” when there is no parasite ova visible to the naked eye. And the symptomology attributed to parasite infestation is strikingly similar to what other alt med practitioners say is “Adrenal Fatigue” or “Overgrowth of Candida”. However, a recent full page ad in a Seattle area newspaper placed by a local chiropractor says all these symptoms are from thyroid dysfunction and he has a nutritionist on his staff to help you with all those symptoms.

I don’t feel one bit sorry for J.B., who, along with his wife, has subjected his autistic child to abusive autism “treatments”.

Notice how science teacher/attorney, who already subjected his child to intrathecal stem cell treatments, chimed in to describe his success with treating his autistic child with MMS:

“JB:

Thank you for writing this article. I have also been actively working with the parasite protocol with my daughter and have seen significant improvements. My daughter has seizures and has been on the ketogenic diet for more than two years. Prior to the start of the parasite protocol she weighed just 70 pounds at the age of 16 years old. Within a few months she had gained 20 pounds, eating the exact same diet. We still have many issues, but that change is pretty dramatic. Although I think there may be more pieces, this parasite piece seems to be a significant one.

All the best,
Kent Heckenlively”

Kim Stagliano, who is on record as spiking her three autistic daughters breakfast foods and juices with Boyd Haley’s OSR #1 (an industrial mining chemical), is now using MMS to “treat” her daughters’ parasite-induced autism:

“We have battled pinworms on and off for 15 years. Standard meds, herbs, diet, washing everything in the house….. You name it. Many of our kids have poor bathroom hygiene making it easy to re-ingest eggs. My daughter’s seizure disorder was launched by antibiotics during a parasite outbreak. Her body could not handle the assault to her gut. Brain problems and parasites go hand in hand. We are TOO clean and our microbiome had been decimated. Cleansing treatments have helped us too.

Posted by: Stagmom”

Can you all say…

– Delusional Parasitosis?

– Munnchausen Syndrome By Proxy?

This site may also be of interest to folks: nomorebleach.

OMG, that is horrible. Take a look at the photos of “parasites” that the bleach people recovered from their kids. As a surgical pathologist, I can be certain that these are large strips of intestinal mucosa that must have been sloughed off by this stuff. The bleach people should be arrested for child abuse.

I’ll echo lilady’s above post; and specifically, re: nomorebleach, post 30.

Thank you, Todd. That is one of the most horrifying things I have ever read.
Quotes to haunt my dreams, paraphrased: “The school called CPS because of the chlorine fumes coming out of the bottle of my child’s treatment… …but I have to send some to school because he needs 16 treatments a day…” “Dr. Humiston has youtube videos about how he makes his two year old take it…” And all while lying to their spouse/doctor/teachers/CPS about what they are doing to their children.
IMO, something about forced bleach ingestion crosses some line between the everyday misinformation and institutional mistrust common to, say, vaccine refusal, over to a much deeper, darker psychopathology. Their paranoia in the posts is palpable. It reminds me of a patient I saw while a medical student on a psychiatry clerkship. He would mutilate himself with sharp objects trying to remove insects, spiders, and “sensors” that he thought in his body. One difference, I suppose, is that these parents have enough insight to know they need to lie and be discreet.
Delusional parasitosis, indeed.

What’s the over/under on JB Handley show up here in the comments and launching some accusations before retreating and not answering any requests for evidence?

“I used to be virtually acquainted with a parasitologist who was driven to distraction by people asking him to look at bits of undigested food they had fished out of their feces that they had convinced themselves were intestinal parasites. ”

Oh gosh, I’d be so tempted to tell them their gizzard isn’t functioning properly and they need to eat a few more rocks.

Holy Mother of God – these people have completely ceased to be logical or rational human beings….

They can’t possibly answer questions like:

So where do these “parasites” come from?

What are they, exactly?

Can you tell the difference between a “parasite” and the intestinal lining of your child’s digestive tract?

This is all so far into the tin-foil hat, Morgellon’s side of the house that I can only imagine what delusions these people must suffer from.

Krebozien: Were the aquarium worms added to the sample or did they come straight out of the patient?

Eric: That’s pretty much my take on it too. You do have to understand that after the diagnosis, most of these parents stopped thinking of their children as human. Most of them also wouldn’t deliberately kill their children, but that doesn’t mean they’d shed any tears if the kids did die.

Yes, GR was an antivaccine group from the beginning. This whining about the “message” about “recovering” autistics getting lost due to the attention the antivaccine message garnered in the press is an enormous stinking pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys. It’s revisionist history.

Where did they put their money? A few hundred thousand into their failed “vax/unvaxed” survey? How exactly did that help clarify that their message was recovery?

And let’s not forget their full page ads in USA Today and elsewhere. I recall checking at the time the ad rates and they were in the $200k range for nationwide coverage and full page. And GR put out at least 7 ads.

1) autism is preventable and reversible
https://web.archive.org/web/20101216052955/http://generationrescue.org/pdf/ads/050524.pdf

Today, 1 in 166 children is diagnosed with autism. It is critical that we have all the facts about
this epidemic, including recent developments about autism’s relationship to mercury poisoning and how
the right detoxification treatment can entirely reverse the disorder.

2) “Are we over vaccinating our kids”?https://web.archive.org/web/20101216052730/http://generationrescue.org/pdf/ads/070925.pdf

3) NY Times: “Autism and mercury poisoning: not a coincidence”

Basically a summary of the bad Medical Hypotheses paper claiming autism looks like mercury poisoning (it doesn’t).

Plus a nice big full page ad for David Kirby’s book: “Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy”

yeah, that’s on target. What’s the blurb in that ad?

Thousands of children are reversing the symptoms of autism by having the mercury removed from their bodies through detoxification under the care of a properly-trained physician.

4) Green Our Vaccines
https://web.archive.org/web/20101216052657/http://generationrescue.org/pdf/ads/080212.pdf

Yeah, that big banner headline “Are we poisoning our kids
in the name of protecting their health?” was on message for treatment.

5) “Thank you researchers”
Apparently the Wayback Machine doesn’t have this one captured.

November 14, 2005, New York Times
An Ad thanking researchers and listing the science that has helped us gain a better understanding of what is going on with our kids.

6) “If you caused a 6,000% increase…”
Again, no capture by Wayback.

But here’s the blurb

April 6, 2006, USA Today
The ad heard around the world? This ad caused the CDC to hold an emergency press conference. It featured the announcement of a new website, PutChildrenFirst.org that provided an explanation of how the CDC is covering-up the autism epidemic, including many emails captured through FOIA lawsuits.

More “vaccines are causing autism” stuff.

7) “Government again concedes vaccines cause autism…”

All about the Bailey Banks case. https://web.archive.org/web/20101216052750/http://generationrescue.org/pdf/ads/090223.pdf

We are talking about well over $1M. Likely $2M spent, mostly on promoting the idea that vaccines cause autism.

So, whose fault is it again that their message somehow, inexplicably, got twisted into being all about vaccines?

Lawrence,

Someone sent me Kerri Riviera’s book. She admits that the “parasites” don’t show up in regular testing.

She’s basically reworking the chelation marketing strategy. No surprise, she was big on chelation, even subjecting her kid to IV chelation.

1) use testimonials. Those are extremely compelling. It’s what hooked JB Handley into chelation nearly 10 years ago, for example.

2) use nonstandard (read: bogus) tests. With chelation it was all about “challenge” testing. Or hair testing. With hair testing if the mercury in your hair was below average, you needed chelation because your body couldn’t excrete mercury. If the levels were higher than average, you had a high amount of mercury in your system and needed chelation. If you excreted mercury in your urine in a “challenge” test (where you were given a chelator drug beforehand), you needed chelation (it’s like saying, “I am going to cut you. If you bleed you are a hemophiliac).

With MMS/CD/parasite protocol, it’s all about finding things in kid’s poop. Look at them, but don’t get them tested. She says that parasite tests don’t detect these things.

which brings us to

3) Do it yourself. Don’t go to the people trained in the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

With faux mercury poisoning, one was never referred to a medical toxicologist. Or almost never. Jeffrey Brent discussed this in his Autism Omnibus testimony. Occasionally he would get an autistic kid who was “mercury toxic”. He’d test the kid and find no such issue.

With the “parasite protocol” kids are treated by parents and not referred to doctors who specialize in parasites. Their tests just aren’t able to detect the parasites.

4) it helps if you can get people to spend their own money advertising for you. JB Handley spent a lot of money (I seem to recall him posting somewhere about it being millions) on Generation Rescue, which was essentially free advertising for a whole raft of charlatans.

Same business model. Apparently, it works on the same people.

@PGP

Please stop with the “they hate their kids” bit. Most of the parents in the quackosphere probably think that they are doing what is best for their children. They are horribly misguided. They are not accepting of their lot. They are angry. They want something else to blame. But I would wager good money that they care for their children and want what is best for them.

That they are blind to the harm they are inflicting does not mean they hate their kids. There may be some who do, but they are more than likely a very small minority.

I just had a few awful thoughts about what those who believe that their children are infested might do as an alternative to MMS:

– traditional medicine from all corners of the globe includes herbal remedies for intestinal parasites**

-there are also pet meds.

G-d! I hope I’m not giving anyone ideas!

** see Michael Tierra’s ‘The Way of Herbs’ altho’ it’s not indexed as such, individual entries are listed for their antihelmintic or antiparasitic qualities.

If I can pile on with Todd W.

I dunno what sub-grouping of parents of autistic kids you hang with, but the vast majority are not doing the most harmful woo they can find. Most eschew the woo and are loving parents who not just want but actively seek the actual best things for their kids so they can be as healthy and independent as possible by maximizing their potential.

I do think most of the parents that dive into the woo do still love their kids and think they are doing the best thing for them. Some are misguided, and unfortunately some of these parents will be sociopaths or have other issues that make them unable to really understand the harms or the risks of what they are doing to their kids.

I don’t see how a diagnosis of the child will turn every last parent (or a significant number) into a raging psychopath, and then what is the excuse for all the normal healthy kids that are getting abused even worse. I mean those parents manage to do horrible things to perfectly healthy kids who would thrive if only in reasonably normal household.

@Matt – my thoughts exactly, that they would never go to see an actual “parasite” expert because these are “special autism parasites” – and don’t appear on any real tests.

Of course, a rational person would then ask, well why don’t they?

Instead, the loonies just fall for it, hook line and sinker.

lilady, quoting stagmom:

We are TOO clean and our microbiome had been decimated. Cleansing treatments have helped us too.

Owwww. That gave me whiplash.

On the silence of the anti vaxxers: maybe we can be a smidge optimistic. They have been getting a fair bit of mainstream recognition recently, but to a great extent the sheeple, on ‘waking up’, have been telling them to fuck off. Which is probably not quite what they were hoping. Maybe this is in part due to the rise of pro-science groups with popular appeal such as the ‘Science Babe’ group which is drawing intelligent people who are horrified by the anti-vax movement. They’ve proved that they are just as good at rallying and spraying ammunition at online discussions as the anti-vaxxers. (Oh, and they construct better arguments and have better spelling).

Kaymarie: “I dunno what sub-grouping of parents of autistic kids you hang with, but the vast majority are not doing the most harmful woo they can find. Most eschew the woo and are loving parents who not just want but actively seek the actual best things for their kids so they can be as healthy and independent as possible by maximizing their potential.”

That’s as may be. Most of what I read on the web suggests that the best thing is to be 5,000 miles away from a parent of an autistic kid. Especially if you have a learning disability, depression or some other ailment that doesn’t readily respond to Western medicine.
The kids themselves tend to be smarter and nicer than their parents. (Except for Autismum, Sciencemum, CallieArcale and the ladies behind Squidalicious and Emma’s Hope Book who are all amazing people raising amazing kids.) Sadly, Age of Autism and TMR represent the majority.

Todd W: “But I would wager good money that they care for their children and want what is best for them.”

You are an optimist. I haven’t seen much evidence that they care about their kids. As I said, a few may be misguided, but I believe most of them know that what they are doing is wrong or questionable, and they don’t care.

I hate these posts mostly because of how sad I feel for the children and how angry it makes me at the parents. With therapy and assistance most children now who are diagnosed on the spectrum at an early age are beginning to fall off as they get older. Early intensive therapy to build language and social skills has been proven to work while the child’s brain is still elastic and can adapt more easily. These children can adapt so well that they may not even be diagnosed as autistic later. I think a lot of the hard core woo moms (and dads) are those whose children are severely autistic and unlikely to make significant gains. I have noticed from posts high levels of parents saying their children whom they are treating are non-verbal, have seizure disorders and other medical concerns. I think their desperation is very real. I just wish they wouldn’t fall for this fantasy. No lab can detect these ‘special’ parasites. I mean come on, this harkens back to the good old travelling snake oil salesman and his bottle of ‘cure everything that ails you’. Plus I just don’t see how they can know its bleach, apparently smell how potent it is, see their child vomiting and with diarrhea, and still carry blithely on as if this is somehow normal. And they call people who go to a regular doctor deluded. If I gave my small child medication prescribed by a doctor and he began vomiting and having diarrhea you can bet your sweet cheeks we would be stopping that and finding out why pronto. I feel for their problems but these people need to get a grasp on reality and stop poisoning their children. To the commenters who have discussed child abuse, well I assume most of these people are middle to upper class suburban parents. Good luck getting CPS interested unless the kids are coming to school covered in bruises and maybe not even then. Plus these parents are paranoid (as pointed out above) and they will lie through their teeth while presenting a charming façade to the case worker (provided you even get one interested enough to come out) and it will be dismissed. Most case workers aren’t familiar enough with this stuff to even realize what they are looking at much less figuring out how harmful the solution is.

“With therapy and assistance most children now who are diagnosed on the spectrum at an early age are beginning to fall off as they get older”

Not really. Some fraction has always “lost” their diagnoses. That fraction today seems low. The question is whether “biomed” increases, does nothing, or reduces the number of kids who lose their diagnoses.

A recent government survey found that about 3% of parents reported that some treatment resulted in their kid losing their autism diagnosis.
http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2013/12/27/details-about-the-potentially-recovered-autistic-kids-in-the-national-survey-of-childrens-health/

Of those, many still had other diagnoses such as anxiety disorder, intellectual disability, seizure disorder, etc.

The only thing JB Handley is good at is hiring lawyers, peddling useless remedies and spending other people’s money.

@PGP:
I’m also raising an amazing autistic kid, who probably is in fact smarter than me. I don’t think my kid is nicer than me yet, but we’re working on that.

This was an interesting comment in response to Handley’s article at AoA

By using this treatment you could be open to attacks or reported to child protective services if you are not careful.

Yep.

Sadly, Age of Autism and TMR represent the majority.

I’ll grant you that they are the most vocal, but that doesn’t mean they are a majority. Your post named several regular commenters here who are most definitely not AoA/TMR parents. I suspect that an even larger number of parents of autistic kids don’t even bring the subject up on the internet. Unless somebody volunteers this information, it’s none of my business that there is an autistic kid in the household.

As I’ve mentioned previously, there is a young man (early to mid 20s), whom I suspect may be autistic, living in the neighborhood with his parents. I don’t actually know if he is autistic, because his parents have never said so in my presence and it’s not my business to ask. But the parents (who are aging hippie types, the sort you might expect to be vulnerable to woo) have tried to give him a chance at as close to a normal life as he can have. The kid went to college, and has even had a girlfriend or two. There is certainly no evidence that the kid was subjected to chelation therapy, MMS, or any of the other forms of autism quackery Orac has discussed.

Anecdotal, yes. But I’m not prepared to accept your unsupported assertion that AoA/TMR parents are representative of a majority.

Denice: “I just had a few awful thoughts about what those who believe that their children are infested might do as an alternative to MMS…-there are also pet meds.

G-d! I hope I’m not giving anyone ideas!”

I have seen people who believe they have Morgellons disease discussing buying animal antibiotics/antiparasitic drugs at farm supply stores. One can imagine deluded parents of an autistic child going the same route, and it apparently would not be difficult for them to buy drugs from an online pharmacy.

I was just looking at a website of a person who believes he/she has systemic strongyloidiasis and has been taking quantities of antibiotics like Bactrim and the antiparasitic moxidectin (used on dogs, cats, horses and cattle). He/she lists multiple online drugstores where you supposedly don’t need a prescription.

The Internet has greatly increased the potential for self-harm through medication.

@ Kiiri:

I think that you may have something there:
that parents whose children have more severe symptoms may be more susceptible to the call of woo.

Quite a few of our faves @ AoA and TMR may fit that description.

@ Dangerous Bacon:

Exactly. I know that’s easy to get pet antibiotics w/o a script.

I also looked on-line for (cat) de-worming meds but the sites I viewed did require a prescription. I do recall however seeing something similar in brick-and-mortar shop w/o rx,

So the kitteh weighs 10-15 lbs and the kid weighs 50. Easy math- even for them.

Justthestats: Sorry, didn’t know! I think this is actually the first time you’ve talked about your personal life. So, me culpa, I’d’ve included you for sure, and I think Kiiri too. I don’t have kids myself- terrified of the parent police, and too poor.

Eric Lund: Does it make a difference who’s actually got more numbers if one side’s louder than the other?

Woah… I was pretty horrified by this chap’s use of ‘Tar Baby’… Maybe its something to do with differences in English and American-English, but in Britain that is a serious racial slur – right up there with the ‘N-Word’. Once you hear someone talking about ‘tar-babies’ you start expecting them next to tell you all about their swastika bedding!!!

@ PGP:

Although you asked Eric, I’ll also respond-

it DOES make a difference because we can demonstrate – as social scientists or pollsters- what the true numbers/ proportions are and that the virulent anti-vaxxers are a rarity as are other extremist alt med proselytisers.

Throughout the world, there are many factions who hold extreme, maladaptive beliefs about diverse subjects and their influence is often weakened because of their non-negotiable positions. AoA/ TMR/ Health Choice/ the Canaries are decidedly outside the mainstream and their wild ideas will not ever appeal to a majority of parents. They make themselves appear as though they have more followers than they do in reality- look at facebook figures- can any of them boast truly large numbers ( and you know that they must pad the meager results they have by adding each family member and probably pets as well)? And facebook is probably apropo for their age cohort.

A popular café or shoe designer could get numbers like that in no time flat,

You’re not vaccinating your kids, are you? Don’t you know vaccines are full of TOXINS? Here, use this bleach instead.

And, as if we need to ask, how many people from the CDC, AAP, or Autism Speaks have looked into the parasite-autism theory or interviewed the parents of the 163 children they claim are recovered? You know the answer.
… this is basically admitting that no clinical trial was put in place by the MMS proponents themselves before subjecting one hundred and sixty-three kids to this treatment. Waow.

Obviously, these people have been driven into this corner by the failure of their previous claims. The trial lawyers who lurked behind them had given up much hope with mercury almost a decade ago. Then they clung to MMR for a while, but Wakefield took them down the toilet on that.

So now they move to an argument that is effectively unfalsifiable. One could hardly conceive of any research programme that could show that no combination of heavy metals, viruses and bacteria cause autism. Indeed, there’s every reason to think that some infectious agents do.

A strategic problem, however, is that there is no obvious enemy: nothing much to inflame the passions of the vulnerable people who need to be recruited to turn a buck for the rich lawyers and people like Wakefield. This was the energy that drove the theories in the past and helped to keep Wakefield et al in the lush style of life to which he believes he’s entitled.

So the money needs, more than ever, to be suckered from the vulnerable at conferences. The quacks sponge from the vulnerable, GR, the Arrangas et al, sponge from the quacks, Wakefield et al sponge from GR, the Arrangas and the vulnerable rich.

So, “recovery” is the mantra: exploiting phenomena that have been recognised in developmental disorders probably since the Romans. But, one way or another, a whole bunch of people will be living high on the hog from this strategic repositioning.

So now they move to an argument that is effectively unfalsifiable. One could hardly conceive of any research programme that could show that no combination of heavy metals, viruses and bacteria cause autism. Indeed, there’s every reason to think that some infectious agents do.

Indeed, this is something I pointed out years ago when the studies exonerating mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism started really destroying the hypothesis. I noticed how antivaccine activists immediately pivoted to far less concrete, vague, multifaceted claims, which, as you note, are far more difficult, if not impossible, to falsify.

One of these is what I like to call the “toxins gambit,” in which autism is blamed on one “toxin” after another in the vaccine. Given that it would be impossible to test each one separately and that antivaccinationists would just then say it’s a “combination” the toxins gambit is essentially non-falsifiable except on basic science (e.g., formaldehyde at the concentrations in vaccines is not harmful and completely overwhelmed by the amount of formaldehyde the body generates on a daily basis through metabolism).

@ LouV

no clinical trial was put in place by the MMS proponents themselves before subjecting one hundred and sixty-three kids to this treatment

that we know of. These 163 kids are the ones touted as “recovered”.
The actual number of children under bleach abuse is likely to be much higher.

Not only do the anti-vaxxers require biologic or chemical agents on which to blame autism but they also need culprits**- human agents who caused or covered-up the crime and were well compensated for their deeds. Obviously their secret deals are unfalsifiable as well.. By continuously pointing out this criminality, the prevaricators distract attention away from their own shady actions and earnings.

Our alt media contingent behaves in a similar manner.

** I can name two of them commenting just above- to whom I tip my hat .

I was pretty horrified by this chap’s use of ‘Tar Baby’… Maybe its something to do with differences in English and American-English, but in Britain that is a serious racial slur – right up there with the ‘N-Word’.

While J.B. Handley is repulsive and vile in much of his thought and deed, I honestly doubt he had any intention of racial implications with that comment.

The problem is that even though the folktale from which the very useful metaphor originates exists all over the world in various forms, few people in the intended audience would recognize a reference to one of the other variants, such as “gum doll”.

@Gemman Aster – I agree, the use of “tar baby” is somewhat problematic. In this context it’s a literary allusion. However, some do consider it a racial slur. I’ve not heard it used that way myself, so cannot speak to how commonly it is used in that sense.

@Gemman Aster
I’m familiar with the metaphor, but I wasn’t aware that there was a story that goes along with it, and I’m not aware of it being considered a racial slur around here, although I can see how you could infer that.

@Eric Lund

I suspect that an even larger number of parents of autistic kids don’t even bring the subject up on the internet.

This. I’ve not mentioned that my child is autistic under any other ‘nym on the internet, and you could probably even Facebook friend me and not realize it.

@PGP
I’d mentioned it before on this blog, but I haven’t made a big deal about it. Partially because I’m a fairly private person, but mostly because my child’s challenges don’t define us.

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