I have a dilemma, which I hope a bunch of reasonable educated people can help me out with*
I heard an advertisement on the radio this morning, for an organisation which does therapies for “Neuro-Developmentally Delayed” children. They didn’t actually say “Autism/ADHD” in the ad but that’s clearly, looking at their website, the market they’re targeting. Here is a list of the therapies they offer:
[li]Diagnostic Assessment of Neuro Developmental Delay[/li][li]Primitive Reflex Inhibition Program (INPP)[/li][li]Johansen Individualised Auditory Stimulation (Sound Therapy)[/li][li]Special Needs Tutoring (Dyslexia Specialist)[/li][li]Learning Anxiety Counselling [/li][li]Heavy Metal Testing and Chelation[/li][li]Gut Repair Therapy[/li][li]Lacto Fermentation Classes (Body Ecology Diet)[/li][/ul]
Looking at that list, an item immediately jumped out at me: Chelation therapy. Which I know to be quackery, and possibly dangerous quackery.
I’m strongly tempted to mail the radio station and say, I think you shouldn’t accept these folks as advertisers, and here’s why. This is a local community radio station that does actually have some standards, so I’m fairly certain they would at least listen to my arguments. What’s slightly holding me back is … it’s possible that there is something of value mixed in with the woo, and I can’t quite tell how much woo is in the rest of the list. I do believe, for instance, that attention to diet can trigger behavioural improvements in S/N kids, so maybe “Body Ecology Diet” and “Gut Repair” are not all bad? I haven’t found anything bad about them with a quick google. On the other hand, I’m really not okay with organisations that promote useless therapies to desperate parents of struggling kids.
So: does anyone know anything about all those other therapies on the list? Is there stuff of value in there? Should I pursue this?
*ObJoke: failing that, you guys will have to do. d&r
If you’ve got the time, then, yes, pursue it. At very least, write the radio station.
It can’t hurt, and it just might help, a little. It might make some guy at the station look at the facts with half-an-ounce of intelligent assessment. He might choose to take the quacks’ dime anyway, but he might not.
Maybe you can see if Quackwatch already has this targeted. If not, maybe post it there too.
If you don’t have the time, well, that’s fair. We’re all busy, and time is short. But you seem to care enough to post here, so, what the hell, drop 42 cents (or email) and try to do the right thing.
“For evil to prosper all it needs is for good people to do nothing.”
I rarely hear of successful appeals to the brains and conscience of media execs to get them to stop running ads for quackery (the sole example I can think of offhand was a protest campaign aimed at an airline that was running promos from an antivax group on its flights).
It’s like when newspapers run thinly disguised ads for prostitution in their personals section. If they’re not directly violating the law, the need for ad revenue trumps other considerations. I’ve thought of contacting USA Today over its banner ads for bogus “dietary supplements” and disease treatments, but based on their lack of response to letters protesting their support of woo in news articles, it’d be useless. Locally we have a chiropractor with a big ad budget who is constantly touting his mad skillz in treating diabetes and other non-musculoskeletal ailments in the newspaper. Sickening and nonsensical, but it doesn’t bother the paper much, if at all.
What might have some effect in the OP’s case is contacting a respectable autism advocacy organization/advocate that’s not into quackery, and have them talk to the relevant station personnel. It is highly doubtful that a lone skeptic is going to have an impact, even if that person supplies reams of information about the quackery and dangers involved in “heavy metal testing” and chelation (the dietary and “gut healing” stuff is almost certainly quackery too, but less obviously harmful).
For any one else who was confused by this, Chelation Therapyis valid therapy for removing heavy metals from the body. The woo crowd has latched onto it as treatment for other issues, which I hadn’t heard of before now.
Oh yeah, I didn’t mean to say that Chelation was all bogus. It’s just any time it’s in a child development context. And I totally don’t get how a bunch of new-age, tune-your-body-in-harmony-with-nature woo-merchants are okay with the whole “pumping chemicals into you to drive out other chemicals that you don’t actually have inside you” aspect of the therapy.
Aaanyway. Loving on Wakefield? They’re toast, inasmuch as I can make them so. Grr.
Sounds like they got those therapies from the Alternative Medicine Phrase Generator.[ul]Electro-astral energy-regulation (EAER)Hapto-resonating projections (HRP)Quantum-stimulating chi (QSC)Tele-kinetic quantum-analyser (TKQA)[/ul]
Well, in my case that would be the Therapeutic Goods Administration. And, yeah, that’s a point of view. However, there’s a question of exactly where on the spectrum of quackery you put the cutoff of “this should be illegal”. Reiki is quackery too, but I’m not going to chase after anyone touting that, because, hey, you’re not going to hurt anyone by waving your hands over them a bit.
Chelation tablets are freely available over the internet (maybe in pharmacies too - haven’t checked yet). There appears to be a range of more to less dangerousness, and the internet ones are the less dangerous sort, which is good. But still. I think approaching the TGA would be setting myself a VERY high bar to jump - approaching a community radio station (which, as it happens, I have donated money to in the past, and they have that info on file) isn’t going to get the dodgy operation shut down, but I’d at least like to make life difficult for them.
Anyway, I did send off my email and got a canned response saying something like “thanks for mailing, we’ll get a human to check this out sometime soon”. So we’ll see.