Facts, not Fantasy

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Despicalbe Human Being gets Just Rewards (Oh, and FISH)

Today a despicable human being who claimed the title of "Doctor" lost his privileges to that because of his abuses and rejection of reality.  Yet this is the sort of person that so many people end up going to because the aren't satisfied with the current state of knowledge (or lack thereof) when dealing with autism.  Sadly, I am afraid this will not serve as a lesson to the quacks that behave like this excuse for a medical practitioner, nor will it warn off frustrated and tired parents from similar pro-disease wackjobs.  I think Dr. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy summed it up quite well:
I do so love to report these wins for reality, as rare as they are: the very vocal antivax advocate Mark Geier has had his medical license revoked in Maryland. Why?

The Maryland State Board of Physicians reviewed nine cases of autistic children seen by Geier, of which he treated seven. Of those nine, the Board found he misdiagnosed six of them. He (mis)diagnosed them with "precocious puberty", a medical condition where kids have extremely early onset of puberty. Why would he do such a thing? Well, this condition can be treated with Lupron, a drug which lowers testosterone (it’s used to chemically castrate adult men). Geier happens to think Lupron can also help autism — despite there being no evidence at all that’s the case — which makes his diagnosis very suspect. It implies strongly that he used the precocious puberty diagnosis as an excuse to prescribe the drug.

By the way, Lupron costs $5000 – $6000 a month to administer. The side effects can be severe as well, including seizures, and it’s known that autistic children are prone to seizures. That’s why the Board wrote that Geier’s treatment "exposed the children to needless risk of harm, " (pp 12 – 13). As far as his medical expertise, the Board also wrote that Geier’s "assessment and treatment of autistic children as described herein, however, far exceeds his qualifications and expertise" (p. 13). That dry assessment does nothing to convey the horror I felt reading the Board’s document, though. In several cases, he didn’t even diagnose the children in person
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For more information, feel free to go to sites like Harpocrates Speaks, Seth Mnookin, and Orac.  These folks really get into the details.

Oh, did I mention FISH in the title?  My good friend IVAN3MAN sent me a link from the BBC that caught my interest, and I figured that I would share this one as well. It's an interesting article about how we betray our fishy origins every time one of us is conceived and gestates.  And we still bear the marks after we are born, yet never think about it.  Here is a quick excerpt from the article:

Anatomical clues to human evolution from fish

By Dr Michael Mosley

It may seem strange that humans have evolved from fish, but the evidence can be found not just in fossils but also within our own bodies.

Your face is your most expressive feature; it tells the world what you are feeling, who you are and where you come from. Although no two faces are exactly the same, they share a number of common characteristics; a couple of eyes, a nose, a mouth and a philtrum.

The philtrum is the groove on your top lip that lies just beneath your nose. You see it every day in the mirror so you probably never think about it.

It has no obvious function. Instead it is an accident of our origins, a clue to our fishy past and how our faces first formed.

Your face is formed in the womb in the first couple of months of life, from when you were the size of a grain of rice to when you were the size of a kidney bean.
The video (above) of a growing human face shows how this process happens. It has been created from high quality scans of human embryos at early stages of development, provided by universities and hospitals.
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