Undoubtedly having a child with autism is one of those circumstances that affect parents emotionally, and at first, it can be disconcerting to not know what to do in order to help their children. Many parents just want their children to have a healthy life, be happy and achieve their dreams. But parents often fall for external comments and pressures with promises of treatments that supposedly cure autism, without scientific evidence of actual results that show improvement in patients.
Sometimes these treatments, in addition to being costly and ineffective, can become unsafe for the health of our children so it is advisable to consult with an expert in the area before beginning any treatment for our children, and never stay with a single medical opinion. The gold rule in these cases is never to believe in 100% everything that is on the internet and always go to your doctor to get more information.
It is recommended that parents question whether there is a scientific and coherent basis on the treatment in which they are interested, in addition to trying to find information on statistics and effective results on those treatments. It is always important to check that those treatments have been endorsed by doctors with a high reputation or that such treatments have been published by specialized magazines in the field of health and autism.
So today we will talk about treatments that some parents have tried to cure autism that are not really supported by scientific evidence.
15 Gluten Free-Casein Free
Many parents believe that gluten-free diets can help children with autism and reduce the symptoms or behaviors that are associated with it. To apply this type of treatment, parents must avoid their kids ingesting foods such as wheat, rye, and barley, in addition to eliminating casein, which refers to dairy products.
In fact, the American actress Jenny McCarthy has shared her story as a mom with an autistic son, and in her book "Louder Than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism", she talks about the whole process and mentions the GFCF diet. Jenny stated for CNN that "We believe what helped Evan recover was starting to gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and antifungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines. Treatments, speech therapy and applied behavior analysis helped him quickly learn the skills he could not learn while he was frozen in autism. " However, there is not enough information to support this treatment as a total cure for autism.
14 Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS)
In recent years, a product called Miraculous Mineral Solution (MMS) was released that promised users it could cure diseases such as malaria, AIDS, cancer and even autism, which made it popular with parents seeking to help their autistic children control their symptoms. The problem? This product is made in a solution of 28% sodium chlorite that, when it's mixed with citric acid, forms chlorine dioxide, commonly known as bleach, which is used in industries and the textile field. So ingesting this product orally or in enemas is highly dangerous to health.
According to the FDA, since 2010, it has issued warnings regarding the product and its consequences. "It can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and symptoms of severe dehydration" if swallowed. In addition, there are reports of at least one possible death from the use of MMS. In these cases, it is best to always go to a doctor before starting any type of treatment that is not approved or supported by experts.
13 Nicotine Patch Therapy
According to Autism Science Foundation, another of the alternative treatments to remedy autism are nicotine patches. Its defenders say that the use of the patches reduces the symptoms of ASD, regulating the receptors in a positive way. However, despite having a scientific basis, the use of this treatment remains experimental and there is not enough evidence that they really cure autism.
Currently, some people are using patches to treat autism and schizophrenia. It is believed that thanks to the patches children can develop a better control and concentration in their day-to-day. But this treatment continues without demonstrating long-term guarantees. Also, among the side effects include skin irritation, insomnia, headache, indigestion and even nervousness. So it is always better to consult with an expert doctor because although some parents claim to have noticed improvements in their children, it must be remembered that each organism is different.
12 Dolphin-Assisted Therapy
The therapy with dolphin involves the child or person with autism swimming with the dolphin in a pool in a suitable environment for both and interacting with these beautiful creatures, helping to develop their social skills. According to the Autism Science Foundation, swimming with dolphins brings benefits such as improved emotional control, communication skills, and helps develop their attention.
And although this therapy is one of the most popular among parents due to its exposure in the mass media, there is no scientific evidence to support this treatment with verifiable long-term results. In addition, this type of therapy is usually quite expensive because not all centers with dolphins are trained to deal with children or people with ASD.
On the other hand, these treatments are still quite controversial around the world, because humans prohibit the freedom of these animals and confine them in pools that limit their activities. In fact, Linda Wolfe says in Born Free USA that despite having these animals in a controlled environment with good food and medical assistance captive animals do not survive for as long as their free counterparts.
11 Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
According to Lindsay Oberman, director of the Neuroplasticity and Autism Spectrum Disorder Program at Brown University's Bradley Hospital, TMS is a non-invasive process that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve or reduce certain functions.
Dr. Oberman is a pioneer in the use of TMS in people with autism and believes that brain plasticity is capable of modifying the structure and function of the brain. Usually, the first session is to observe the behavior of the brain and predict certain reactions, but by repeating the treatment several times it is expected to stimulate and change certain brain responses. However, side effects such as headaches and discomfort on the scalp should be considered. This type of treatment continues in studies and there are still no guarantees for 100% of their results in autistic children.
10 Raw Camel Milk
According to the website autismsciencefoundation.org, there is a popular belief that giving raw camel milk to children helps them during growth because it gives them a series of nutrients that are good for their health. In fact, some parents with autistic children say that this natural treatment helps improve eye contact, reduce inflammation and improves their motor skills. However, from this treatment, there is no scientific or medical evidence to support it as a definitive cure.
Many parents still believe in its healing properties, because raw camel milk supposedly has benefits such as probiotics that inhibit pathogenic bacteria and increase immunoglobulin, it has more minerals than bovine milk and higher protein, and contains probiotics that inhibit pathogenic bacteria and increase immunoglobulin. But parents should consider that raw camel milk should be consumed in small doses because otherwise, it can generate negative reactions physically in children.
9 Lupron Therapy
According to the Autism Science Foundation, Lupron is a drug that is used as a testosterone inhibitor, which is why its used in cases of precocious puberty, a rare disease. But in recent years this drug has gained popularity among parents with children suffering from autism because there is a hypothesis that autism is caused by a harmful link between mercury and testosterone, and according to this theory children with autism have too much of the hormone, but Lupron can fix it.
According to the Chicago Tribune reporter Trine Tsouderos, there is no long-term or short-term evidence to support the use of Lupron as a safe and effective treatment for autism. Also among the side effects of this treatment include hives, numbness of the body, weakness, blood in the urine, osteoporosis, difficulty breathing and swallowing, and finally groin pain.
8 Vitamin Supplements
For all people, it is important to have a healthy and balanced diet, which is why it is common for doctors to recommend nutritional supplements to add to the diet of people with or without autism. According to the Autism Science Foundation, people should be careful when deciding to add vitamin supplements to the diet of autistic children without first consulting a doctor because ingesting certain supplements in very high doses can generate reactions contrary to the desired ones.
For example, if vitamin A is taken in high doses for prolonged periods can become toxic. And although some people believe that vitamin supplements can cure autism, the truth is that though they can help to improve their health there is no scientific evidence to support that hypothesis as a definitive cure.
7 Therapeutic Horseback Riding
Many people believe that animal therapies help stimulate certain areas of the brain in children with autism. And like swimming with dolphins, therapies with horses supposedly help improve their motor skill, communication, and social skills, because autistic children have problems creating emotional connections with others.
The cons of this treatment? The Autism Science Foundation argues that although some studies have been conducted regarding this type of treatment, they are usually only descriptive and have been used with small samples, so they do not have enough long-term cases that demonstrate an absolute cure of autism. On the other hand, this therapy is one of the most expensive, with an annual value of $5000. Besides, it is difficult to find centers that offer this type of treatment in all localities or regions around the world.
6 Prism Glasses
According to the Autism Science Foundation, there are people who use prism glasses to improve the symptoms of autism because it alters the visual perception of patients and triggers an alleged improvement in behavior and some vision problems.
The defenders of this theory believe that some people with ASD suffer from distorted perception which causes their bodies to perform unusual movements and postures, unlike people who do not suffer ASD, such as the inclination of the head. What this treatment seeks to achieve through the prism glasses is to help visual development and thus improve spatial perception, visual awareness, mood, facial expressions and fine and gross motor skills. But like the other treatments on this list, there is no scientific support available to prove whether it really works in the long term or not.
5 Hippie Therapy
First of all, we must clarify that the use of Mary Jane in most countries around the world is illegal, and although grass can be used for medical purposes - in some cases - parents should always consult a doctor. In the case of autism, some people say that it helps to reduce symptoms in severe cases.
According to Yardena Schwartz, for USA TODAY, Israel is a pioneer in the use of medical herb in people with autism. In fact, they talk about the case of Noa, Yael's daughter, who belongs to the test program about the benefits of grass in children with autism and assures that "cannabidiol or CBD helps children to control their symptoms ". But they are still doing research to see if the results are real because the negative part about the prolonged use of grass its that generates learning problems and increases the risk of certain respiratory diseases.
4 Chelation Therapy
According to the Generation Rescue website, Chelation is a treatment used in people or children with autism because it is believed that the use of these chemicals serves to eliminate mercury and it improves the symptoms that those patients suffer. And although chelation is something that occurs naturally in our red blood cells when porphyrin binds to iron, and during other processes, when it's used as a medical treatment we must make sure it is done correctly because otherwise, it can cause severe damage.
In fact, the Autism Science Foundation explains that it proved fatal in 2005 because the chelating agent joined the boy's calcium making his heart stop working. This treatment is quite risky to use in patients with autism and does not have the scientific backing to use it as a treatment to heal this condition.
3 Holding Therapy
Research Autism explains on its website that the holding therapy is a psychological treatment based on forced retention by a therapist or by one of the patient's parents until the child stops resisting and makes eye contact with them. This type of psychological intervention is based on the idea of embracing without using force or coercion, and that remaining embraced by a certain period of uninterrupted time should make the physical and emotional contact between the two develop a bond, mainly between parents and children, helping to their social development.
But although this treatment has some groups that defend it and claim some improvements in autistic children, the truth is that scientifically it has been ineffective and there are no positive long-term results.
2 Antifungal Agent Therapy
There is a popular belief that the bacteria in the gut causes autism, which is why some people think that ingesting the antifungal drugs that are responsible for eliminating these bacteria can cure autism.
The Autism Science Foundation explains that treating children with antifungal agents can cause side effects such as itching, diarrhea, burning, stomach pain, rashes and other harmful reactions to the body. In fact, some treatments such as Nizoral, Sporanox, and Diflucan, among others, can prevent the liver from working properly, which is why it is suggested to parents that before trying any treatment with their children, consult a medical specialist because at the moment the antifungal agents have not been scientifically proven to improve the health or condition of people with autism.
This kind of treatments should only be used if it's recommended by the doctor and because it's designed to eliminate certain bacteria in the organism, not for any other purposes.
1 Secretin Injections
The FDA has approved the use of secretin, which is a hormone that controls digestion, in single doses and for special cases such as gastrointestinal problems, ulcers or in the case of adults suffering from an impaired pancreatic function, but has not been approved as a safe treatment for autism.
Secretin in the case of people with ASD has not shown reliable data on its long-term efficacy and repeated sessions, which is why the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development stated in a report that the use of secretin it cannot be taken lightly because it can generate negative reactions for the body if people don't use it for the right purposes. They also explained that the effectiveness of this treatment in autistic people remains unknown.
References: Autismsciencefoundation.org, Sciencebasedmedicine.or , Raisingchildren.net.au, Theguardian.com, Vice.com , Edition.cnn.com , Ee.usatoday.com, Autismspeaks.org, Bornfreeusa.org, Chicagotribune.com, Generationrescue.org, Researchautism.net