Conventional medicine has no treatment for the epidemic of Autism, as the NHS website (surely an authority on the subject) confirms.
"There's no 'cure' for autism, but there are ways to support autistic people, their families, carers and friends......Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how people communicate and interact with others."
Moreover, conventional medicine does not know what causes Autism, again the NHS website confirms this when it states that
"The exact cause of autism is currently unknown. Autism is a complex neurodevelopmental condition. The causes are still being investigated. Current evidence suggests that autism may be caused by many factors that affect the way the brain develops. These include genetics and environmental triggers."
What conventional medicine does know, indeed is absolutely adamant about, is that it is NOT caused by childhood vaccines, like DPT and MMR. Vaccines are entirely safe, quite regardless of what is said on the vaccine package inserts.
And the BBC knows all this too, as they demonstrated on 2nd April 2019 in their 'You and Yours' (Y&Y) programme. Please can I ask everyone to listen to this programme, it is available here. The programme is a scurrilous (and almost a laughable) attack on homeopathy. The problem is that homeopathy believes that it IS possible to treat autism, successfully, using a therapy known as CEASE. Moreover, many homeopaths (including myself) suspect that childhood vaccines, such as DPT and MMR are strongly implicated as a cause. So clearly there is an issue here, an important difference of view.
- conventional medicine says that the cause of autism is unknown, and there is no treatment
- homeopathy believes that the cause of autism is known, and there there is treatment available that can cure it.
Yet before you listen to the programme, let us consider on what basis we might judge this short Y&Y’s piece (it lasts 6-7 minutes). I suggest that the BBC’s own ‘Editorial Guidelines’ might provide an acceptable set of standards to ascertain the quality of the organisation’s own journalism? A cursory look at these guidelines show that these are the principles that should underlay what our ‘public service broadcaster’ should do when such issues is covered, including, these:
- (Cause no) Harm or Offence.
- Editorial Integrity and Independence from External Interests.
This Y&Y’s piece has confirmed once again, that the BBC gives total allegiance to conventional medicine, that it is unwilling to discuss the fact that there is an alterative view, and by doing so it fails to comply with the principles of its own Editorial Guidelines. Here are a few 'quotes' from the Y&Y programme
"... a stark warning to homeopaths who offer treatment they CLAIM can cure autism..."
"... there needs to be legislation brought in to stop these 'snake oil' salesmen taking advantage of parents and making autistic children ill..."
Remember, homeopathy is the second most widely used medical therapy in the world, and insults like this are generously strewn throughout the programme! There was absolutely NO attempt made by the BBC to ensure that this piece was accurate, impartial, or fair.
The Y&Y programme emanated from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) who are seeking to ban advertisements that claim homeopathy can cure autism. ASA informed the programme that it had served 'enforcement notices' on 150 homeopaths who offered "so-called" CEASE therapy, telling them to "stop misleading people". He said that five homeopaths could be prosecuted under consumer protection laws.
ASA is not an ‘authority’. It has no legal status. It is a private limited company. It makes its money through companies who advertise. One of the biggest advertisers in Britain is the pharmaceutical industry - which means that ASA makes most of its money through drug companies. It has a vested interest. The ASA has been attacking homeopathy for many years, including myself. Their position is simple. Conventional medicine has told them that there is no evidence supporting homeopathy, so any evidence presented to them by homeopaths just cannot be correct; and in any case, they are not sufficiently expert to make a judgement on such evidence!
The programme also used the expert opinion of the National Autistic Society (NAS). This charity has an annual budget of almost £1 billion, and it’s an organisation funded to a significant degree by the pharmaceutical industry. Certainly, this exchange between Dr Vernon Coleman and NAS in 2007 confirms that this was the situation at that time, and I can find no evidence that this situation has changed since then.
So perhaps unsurprisingly, NAS confirmed the view of conventional medicine that autism is a 'life-long condition’, and a "part of who people are", that it was "wrong and appalling that anyone to claim that bogus and potentially harmful therapies such as CEASE cure autism".
A parent was then introduced, selected presumably from the hundred’s of parents who have autistic children and have tried homeopathy, and one of the many thousands who have autistic children. She described how desperate she was after she was told she had an autistic child, how she was “ready to try anything". Actually the parent does describe how the paediatrician was able to offer nothing, but criticising conventional medicine was not the purpose of the BBC. So described herself as "a bit lost, a bit stupid" - so went to a CEASE therapist. She actually suggested that she did see some changes, but encouraged by the investigator she went on to deny this.
"No, because it is 'drops of water', but I think I desperately wanted (to see changes)”.
The investigator then commented that this parent spent several months going to this treatment, and spent several hundred pounds on it. She was then asked "is there any scientific evidence to support what these CEASE therapists are claiming?". The investigator stated, unequivocally, that homeopathy was based on claims that toxins in the environment and vaccines may have caused Autism but that "and these claims have been found to be false". Moreover, she stated that some experts had actually said that this treatment may actually be harmful.
Then an expert was brought in, Professor Nicola Martin, London South Bank University, who had advised on 'harmful interventions into autism”.
"It's something that is based on no scientific foundation, which talks about curing Autism, and autism is not a disease, it's not something that needs to be cured, and I would describe it as one of those 'quack' cures. Psychologically it is really harmful to give parents the idea that the way to love and nurture their autistic child is to try to cure their autism."
A campaigner for greater regulation of homeopathy was then brought in to continue with the monologue. This is what she had to say.
"As an autistic adult it disgusts me that these charlatans are taking advantage of parents. I have been campaigning for five years for legislation against fake cures for autism.... There are a lot of vulnerable patients out there that are desperately seeking help for their children and they believe that this will help. These people are very professional, they have a nice website.... there should be legislation brought in to stop these 'snake oil' salesmen taking advantage of parents and making innocent children ill."
It was never explained how homeopathy was ‘harmful’ to children, or made ‘innocent children ill’ but then the whole Y&Y's piece was littered with inaccuracies from start to finish
So where was the accuracy, the impartiality, the fairness? Did the BBC seek to offer balance by bringing in people from the other viewpoint? There was a brief mention of the Society of Homeopaths (SoH), who were fleetingly quoted as saying that the term CEASE was "problematic and misleading”. But nothing else! Was this really all that SoH had to say? Or was the rest just ignored?
The investigator also said that homeopathy is ‘unregulated’, although the SoH run courses for practitioners - inaccurate information - but never mind, no lack of accuracy must stand in the way of BBC's attack on homeopathy!
I have talked about BBC Editorial Guidelines before on this blog, emphasising how the BBC persistently disregards them when dealing with health issues, and particularly when it wishes to attack homeopathy.
The BBC has become an echo chambers for the pharmaceutical industry, and for conventional medicine.
Whenever health issues are covered, the BBC shows no ‘editorial integrity’ that is, in any way, shape or form, ‘independent from external interests’. Nor will the BBC allow a 'right of reply' even though homeopaths were accused of being 'snake oil salesmen' and ‘charlatans’, or for trotting out the totally inaccurate mantra that ‘there is no evidence for homeopathy’.
Perhaps the BBC does not consider that these articles cause ‘harm and offence’ to the homeopathy profession. It certainly does not care if it does. In any other circumstance, in any other sphere, if someone tries to attack and abuse someone else, when they are not present to defend themselves, they are stopped from doing so. Does the BBC believes that homeopaths the only people that should be denied such courtesy?
Yet in fact this is such bad journalism it is almost laughable. Perhaps this is why, to my knowledge, there has been no official response from the homeopathic community, and perhaps this is right. Homeopathy is either useless, just water and sugar pills (this was also mentioned in the programme). Or it harms people, makes them sick! Does anyone really want to engage in this level of thinking or discussion?
Except perhaps that once again the BBC has broken, ridden a coach and horses, through its Editorial Guidelines. It has made yet another gratuitous attack on homeopathy. So I am going to make a formal complaint to the BBC. And I would encourage anyone else, after listening to this desperately awful programme, to do likewise.
Go to this website, and click on 'make a complaint'. Don't spend too much time on it though, the BBC will not take it seriously. They never do. But I will blog their response when I receive it.
This will be the first of 4 blogs on the subject of Autism and Homeopathy, so watch out for the next 3 in coming days.
- the second will reference the many cases of autistic children being treated successfully with homeopathy.
- the third will concern the scientific studies that shows the relevance of homeopathy in the treatment of autism.
- the fourth will concern the evidence that conventional medicine not only has no treatment, but the major cause of autism.
If the BBC will not deal with the subject of Autism and Homeopathy accurately, impartially and fairly, at least this blog will do so.