What Fresh Hell Is This? Age of Autism and ALS
I’ve run across Age of Autism before, primarily when talking about vaccines and autism. Now AoA appears to be branching out – spreading misinformation about ALS as well.
A very brief primer o ALS before we get to Kim Stagliano’s nonsense.
ALS is a disease that affects motor neurons – that’s the nerve cells that either go from your brain to your spinal cord, or your spinal cord to the voluntary muscles in the body. While I may go into the details in a later post, for now it’s enough to know that ALS causes these nerve cells to progressively die. You have alot of different muscles in your body, so the initial symptoms of ALS vary depending on where exactly the nerve cells start to die. It can be as simple as being clumsier – starting to trip over things without realising it. It can be twitching in your hand that you didn’t really think about, but now is getting worse. Your speech may start to slur.
Then the symptoms tend to spread, and get worse. This happens at different rates in different people. Off the top of my head (and not off the top of a clinical trial) I think the mean survival after diagnosis is 3 to 5 years. There is alot of variability even then though – some people live 10 years, or more. Many patients with ALS end up dieing when the muscles that help with breathing, and swallowing are affected. At this point, a patient will need help breathing, and clearing their secretions (the gunk that you cough up or spit out), and is often already bedridden. Once this happens, they’re at very high risk to get pneumonia or other infections, which is often how these patients die.
ALS is a horrible disease. My heart goes out to people who have been diagnosed with ALS, and their loved ones. I can’t pretend I know how it feels to be handed basically a death sentence, and I won’t pretend I do. What I can say is that patients with ALS, or really any other devastating diagnosis, they’re prime targets for snake oil salesman. Your doctor tells you the situation is bad, someone else says “well yea, but I’ve got a miracle cure that THEY don’t want you to know about!”, often a patient might say ‘well what have I got to lose?’
Physicians are obligated to obligated to guide our patients away from dangerous treatments, and treatments that are just implausible. No one knows what causes ALS for sure. Despite this, I can be pretty sure when I say that the answer isn’t mercury poisoning. Chelation is therefore, completely useless as a treatment, and potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, AoA appears to be saying that the One True Cause of ALS, or at least One Big Factor, is mercury.
Today Katie Wright put up a post here, comparing the pace of research in autism with that of ALS. Frankly her post contains so much gibberish, and so few facts that I couldn’t even find a way to fisk it appropriately. To be honest, her article isn’t all that interesting anyway. What’s more interesting is the note attached to the beginning of her post by the managing editor, Kim Stagliano. Here it is, in it’s entirety:
Managing Editor’s Note: I have a dear friend who was diagnosed two years ago with ALS. He was told there is no treatment and no cure. He found a website called Patients Like Me, that offered info from patients, not doctors. He found a doc willing to run tests – and learned he was highly mercury toxic. The diagnosis center had given him yet another flu shot just last year. He’s on the ALS equivalent of the DAN! protocol and has slowed the rate of descent. All because he didn’t take “go away and die” for an answer. Familiar, indeed, Katie. KS
While I don’t know what the ALS equivalent of the DAN! protocol contains, if they’re claiming the cause of ALS is mercury poisoning their go-to answer probably includes chelation. Chelation is not a therapy that works for Autism, and it’s not a therapy that works for ALS. This is beyond offering false hope to a patient with a terrible disease, it’s irresponsible, dangerous medical mismanagement.
There is a reason that the flu shot is recommended for patients with ALS – I mentioned that they often die of pneumonia or other respiratory infections. The flu can often lead to those infections. Any additional protection you can give a patient from pneumonia then, is protection that they should have. Suggesting a fairy tale – that ALS is caused by mercury toxicity – will just lead to putting them needlessly at risk. Not to mention the danger of giving a sick person chelation therapy they don’t need.
Perhaps more on this later – depending on whether or not AoA follows this up with more stupidity, and time pending, as always.