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FDA Warns Consumers About Claims Regarding Autism Treatments

NATIONWIDE -- The Food and Drug Administration is advising consumers to beware of false or misleading claims for treating autism.

The issue is more prominent in Utah than in many places, 1 in 54
children in the state fall on the autism spectrum disorder, according to
the Centers for Disease Control.

It’s a statistic the FDA believes some businesses may take advantage of, if the public isn’t cautious. Click here for the recently released advisory.

“It’s important for folks to realize that there isn’t a medication or
medical procedure which cures autism: It just doesn’t exist yet,” said
Dr. Deborah Bilder, the medical director of the Autism Spectrum Disorder
Clinic at the University of Utah.

Bilder agrees with the FDA’s advisory for consumers. Too often, she
said, families will turn to unsupported treatments that don’t have any
real benefits.

According to the FDA, some of the most common alternative therapies advertised include:

  • Chelation Therapy
  • Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy
  • Miracle Mineral Solution
  • Detoxifying Clay Bath
  • CocoKefir probiotic products


“Why we would use a procedure like hyperbaric oxygen when it has no
FDA indication, why we would recommend that when it’s costly to families
and it’s an unnecessary medical procedure, makes no sense to me,”
Bilder said.

But other medical professionals have found success in alternative methods.

“We know that the autistic brain is an inflamed brain,” said Dr.
Sherman Johnson, medical director of Advanced Wound Care Center in
Taylorsville. “We know the children with autism have inflamed intestinal
tracts. The gut problems with autistic children are really significant.
And hyperbaric oxygen can reduce all of that inflammation.”

For the last decade, Sherman has been using hyperbaric chambers to
treat wounded patients, but the common procedure has also attracted
patients with autism spectrum disorder.

“I won’t say that I treat autism spectrum patients,” Johnson said.
“We do provide hyperbaric oxygen treatments for them, with the
understanding that they may or may not be helped.”

But for the few clients he has seen, Sherman believes the treatments have been successful.

“The most interesting and dramatic effect is in their socialization
and language development,” Sherman said. “They gain, rather quickly, new
vocabulary, new receptive language skills and expressive language

Still, the FDA advises consumers to proceed with caution when seeking
alternative treatment methods. They recommend the public be suspicious
of any places or products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases,
or ones that offer testimonials instead of scientific evidence.

FDA Warns Consumers About Claims Regarding Autism Treatments

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