Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery

An appropriately named book

Via The Millenium Project, I’ve learned that some of the “Dummy” books may be living up to their names a bit too literally:

I almost didn’t believe it when I was told that Understanding Autism for Dummies contains advice about how chelation might be a useful treatment for autism, so I used Amazon’s “search inside the book” feature and there it was. Perhaps the authors could get a testimonial for the next edition from Abubakar Tariq Nadama. Oh that’s right, Abubakar can’t give testimonials because he’s dead.

Understanding Autism for Dummies, indeed. Peter Bowditch is right. It’s all there, if you search inside the book using the term “chelation,” including a list of chelating agents. There’s also a credulous treatment of Mady Hornig’s infamous “Rain Mouse” study. Brief and flaccid caveats are presented in a brief paragraph at the end of the section.

I never expected high science from the Dummies series books, but I at least expect semiaccurate information, particularly given the popularity of these books among lay people as introductions to a wide variety of topics.

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]

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