The Problems of "Alternative Medicine."

I sent my daughter a great cartoon the other day. An ambulance was at the scene of an accident, and on it's side it read "Alternative Medical Services." The ambulance attendant was kneeling by an accident victim yelling "clear!" She has two acupuncture needles in her hands. Not the kinds of services that I would hope for. Yet not one block away from my home in Vancouver there is a "holistic medicine" practice. They advertise they provide treatment for ADHD, autism and Asperger's. They provide a long list of their services from blood cleaning to auditory "realignment." None of these are supported by scientific evidence, and many have been clearly proven to be ineffective. Yet families go to these clinics and spend all of their government funding looking for cures and hope. The lack of regulation disappoints me. And watching families waste all their funds on unproven, or worse, disproven therapies is disheartening.

In my assessment reports I have begun to list web sites and resources that I hope guide people to scientifically proven interventions. But we need more of these, and professional organizations like the BC Colleges of Medicine, Psychology and Nursing need to take a firmer stand on the promotion of unproven or disproven treatments.

For ADHD one good source is Dr. Russell Barkley.

Dr. Barkley has written about the various treatments that do not have a sound scientific basis for use in ADHD or that have been disproven in research. These include diet or nutrition treatments or diet supplements for ADHD, health food or homeopathy, sensory integration therapy (usually provided under occupational therapy or physical therapy), chiropractic treatment, EEG biofeedback, neurofeedback, or neurotherapy, cognitive or cognitive-behavioral training, or alternative treatments. One of his recent research reviews on EEG and its use in biofeedback appears on his site. I urge all parents to read it.

Dr. Barkley

Two other good sites are Quack Watch and Science Based Medicine. Check them out for good information on ADHD, Autism and Alternative MEdicine you should avoid. There are also resources listed on my web site, RelatedMinds.