Autism Complementary and alternative medicine Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

I thought they were just kidding…

This is disturbing.

Yesterday, I did a rather light-hearted edition of Your Friday Dose of Woo about “ionic foot detoxification.” A reader pointed out that in a story in which Randi had also discussed this woo, there was a comment along the lines of “I think autistic children should really do this.”

How prophetic! Sadly, it turns out that autistic children are already being subjected to this woo. For example, I found this particular video on YouTube that has to be seen to be believed:

It’s a woman named Ashley discussing “ion cleanse” foot detox for her 4 year old autistic son Braden. Her blather about the “foot detox” is so utterly inane, credulous, and without a basis in any science that I find it hard to believe anyone would publicly post it. Witness the part where she describes how the detox occurs through “reverse osmosses.” She also claims that the foot detox can get rid of mercury, the “bad yucky yeast,” nicotine in the air, and all manner of other unnamed “toxins.” I have to say, the part where she discusses how there’s “no way to know” if by “moving the mercury around” and not getting out all of the mercury this might cause harm is painful to watch.

The only good thing that can be said about this is that it’s probably harmless. Probably. Even so, it’s painful to watch a mother fall so hard for this quackery, to the point of posting in essence a testimonial for it on YouTube. One must remember that not all quackery is as seemingly harmless as this. The belief in the discredited concept that mercury in vaccines causes autism has led parents to subject their autistic children to all manner of quackery, such as chelation therapy (which can kill) and a number of “biomedical” interventions with no good evidence to support their efficacy.

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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