Many homeopaths in the UK are offering a “cure” for autism that involves supposedly detoxing children of the vaccines and antibiotics they hold responsible for the condition, The Guardian reports. Around 120 homeopaths are accredited practitioners of CEASE “therapy”, which stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression. CEASE was invented by a Dutch doctor called Tinus Smits, who died of cancer in 2010.
The report says his book and website, which lists therapists around the world, describe a method of ridding children of toxins – predominantly vaccines and medication – that are said to cause autism. It involves homeopathic remedies and high doses of vitamin C in excess of those recommended by national guidelines.
Diarrhoea, which could be a result of excessive vitamin C, and fever in children should not necessarily be cause for concern, say CEASE therapists, because it is the child’s body purging itself of toxins. “It’s absolutely appalling,” said Carol Povey, director of the centre for autism at the National Autistic Society (NAS), which helps develop best practice. “As healthcare practitioners, homeopaths should still be working on evidence-based practice and looking at national guidelines.”
The report says the NAS is concerned by the suggestion that autism, a developmental disorder, could be cured. It is also disturbed by the claim that autism is linked to vaccines, as proposed by Andrew Wakefield – a theory that has been comprehensively discredited. Wakefield, a former gastroenterologist, was struck off the medical register over his claims.
Homeopathic cures, like other bogus therapies on the internet, “hoodwink new parents when they are vulnerable” and can cause harm, said Povey.
The report says a minority of CEASE therapists in the UK are members of the Society of Homeopaths. The UK regulatory body, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), has said the Society of Homeopaths must state by the middle of next month what action it will take to ensure children are safe as a condition of its re-accreditation.
The PSA told the Society of Homeopaths that “CEASE therapy contravenes medical advice by apparently advising against vaccination of children, avoiding antibiotics in the case of infection and advocates high doses of vitamins not recommended for children. We are also concerned that the full name of CEASE (Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression) strongly implies the ability to cure autism through this therapy”.
While the society had responded that its members “should not be practising the aspects of CEASE that defy medical advice”, this was not clear on its website, said the PSA.
Mark Taylor, CEO of the Society of Homeopaths, said it was looking into how many of its members practised CEASE therapy and whether they complied with advice on respecting medical evidence. “We are looking at the advice we will offer over the next few weeks so there is nothing more to say at the moment,” he is quoted in the report as saying.
Many other homeopaths who are also CEASE therapists are not members of the society.
The report says the PSA urges the public to choose only those on its accredited register.
One child Smits treated had diarrhoea that “relieved his system so much that his autism almost disappeared instantly”. After 10 days, however, his mother was so concerned that she took him to the doctor, who gave him immodium to stop the diarrhoea.
“Almost immediately the child had a setback and became autistic as before. The diarrhoea was a perfect detoxification for his bowels and brain. Neither the doctor not the mother understood this, and the medication interfered with the progress of the cure,” claimed Smits.
Ursula Kraus-Harper, a member of the Society of Homeopaths, said in the report that she has used CEASE therapy since attending a seminar with Smits in 2010 but that she uses it in conjunction with classical homeopathy. Children started improving after a certain set of detoxes, she said. She did not believe homeopathy was a cure, however.
She said she was not against vaccination but said “vaccines can be a problem and so can medical drugs. That is more and more accepted by everybody who is not blinded by drug-driven medicine.” She denied CEASE put children at risk. “Tell me of one child, one person that has died from high doses of vitamin C,” she said. “When the body has had too much of it, it will produce diarrhoea; then you lower the dose and the diarrhoea will stop.”The Guardian report