Speakers: Saturday

John Hicks, MD

“The Endocannabinoid System and Inflammation”
This talk will be presented by Tracy Fritz, MD, and Judy Mikovits, PhD.
Pseudoscience category: Cannabis

Dario Siniscalco, ChemD, PhD

PhDs are not MDs
Editor-in-chief of the international peer-reviewed journal Autism OpenAccess, OMICS group, which sounds impressive unless you are aware that the OMICS group publishes predatory journals according to Beall’s list. Has coauthored papers with Bradstreet and colleagues regarding GcMAF and stem cells for autism. He promotes that unproven and unregulated use of stem cells as a treatment for autism.
Pseudoscience category: GcMAF, Stem cells

Stuart H. Freedenfeld, MD

“Overview of Causative Factors and Biomedical Treatments for Autism and Some Thoughts About Prevention”
Member of the Autism Research Institute known for DAN! (chelation therapy). Has been
Pseudoscience category: Homeopathy, Naturopathic medicine, Heavy metals and chelation

Frances Dougherty Kendall, MD

Specialist in rare genetics disorders, including mitochondrial disorders.
Read more from the CDC on the FAQ page about mitochondrial disorders. To quote from the CDC: “A child with autism may or may not have a mitochondrial disease. When a child has both autism and a mitochondrial disease, they sometimes have other problems as well, including epilepsy, problems with muscle tone, and/or movement disorders. More research is needed to find out how common it is for people to have autism and a mitochondrial disorder. Right now, it seems rare. In general, more research about mitochondrial disease and autism is needed.” This does not mean that all autistic children with autism have a mitochondrial disease or that mitochondrial diseases cause autism or that autism is a mitochondrial disease. In fact, most children with mitochondrial disorders are not autistic.

Martin L Pall, PhD

“The autism/ASD epidemic is caused by low intensity EMFs (acting via VGCC activation) and chemical exposures (acting via excessive NMDA activity) which both act via excessive [Ca2+]i to disrupt synapse formation and function in the brain.”
Believes autism is an epidemic (it’s not) causes by “toxins” and EMFs.
Pseudoscience category: Toxins, EMFs

Allison Folmar, JD

“Winning the Legal Battle”
Speaks about “parental rights” in choosing medical treatment for their child. This is coded language adopted and distorted by the anti-vaccine movement.
Pseudoscience category: Vaccines

Tracy Fritz, MD

“Cannabidiol (CBD) in the Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)”
“PANS and Lyme Disease in ASD”
Pseudoscience category: Cannabis, Chronic Lyme, PANDAS

Peter Sullivan, MS

His talk hits almost every category of pseudoscience discussed on this site, but his focus is on heavy metals, toxins and EMFs.
Pseudoscience categories:EMFsHeavy metals and chelationToxins

Charles Barker

“Improving cell efficiency through molecular electron nutrition”
With no scientific or medical training, Mr. Barker has invented his own line of supplements that he wants to sell you. These supplements contain copper, which contradicts other speakers who think that heavy metals CAUSE autism. There is no scientific evidence provided on the website, just testimonials, which are not useful as evidence. Other ingredients are standard supplement ingredients with questionable safety and efficacy.

Dmitriy Niyazov, MD

“Genetics of autism: from chromosomes to mitochondria”
A geneticist who studies the genetics of autism with a goal to improve diagnosis.Speaking again for the non-CME audience (see Friday)
The first half of his talk discusses the genetic architecture of autism. The second half of his talk at AutismOne promotes the use of feeding tubes and various supplements in autism. The miraculous testimonial nature of his slides and lack of citation or mention of studies raised some red flags among us so we dug a bit deeper. Despite being well-published and respected within the genetics of autism field, Dr. Niyazov has not published any papers on the use of feeding tubes in autism. That said, information from the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that children with certain developmental disabilities have a higher rate of feeding problems that children without developmental disabilities. In some cases of severe eating problems, use of a g-tube is warranted to address resulting malnutrition. However, the actual data do not suggest the kind of broad recommendations and drastic changes that are presented here, and feeding tubes come with their own risks. He claims that mitochondrial dysfunction underlies the majority of autism diagnoses. See above section on Frances Dougherty Kendall for info on the problems with that claim.

Rosario Trifiletti, MD, PhD

“PANDAS/PANS: a common mechanism in the neurotypical and autistic child”
While PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections) are a real thing (read about them here from NIH), Dr. Trifiletti has been criticized in the past for over-zealous diagnosis of PANDAS in an strange case where 18 people developed an unusual tic disorder. To make it even more unusual, the anti-vaccine group Age of Autism jumped into the mix and tried to blame this on the HPV vaccine.

Robert J. Krakow, JD

“Analysis 2016: How has the controversy over vaccination evolved, and what are the legal aspects?”
An anti-vaccine lawyer who encourages parents of autistic children to sue because he is a firm believer in the more than thoroughly disproven idea that thimerosal in vaccines causes autism.
Pseudoscience category: Vaccines

Frances Dougherty Kendall, MD

“The Use of Medical Cannabis in Mitochondrial Disease Symptom Management: A Personal Review”
Specialist in rare genetics disorders, including mitochondrial disorders.
Please see above description about previous talk for additional information.
Pseudoscience category: Cannabis

Janet Levatin, MD

“Keeping Our Children Healthy with Homeopathy”
A brief reminder that for homeopathy to work, everything we know about chemistry, physics and bioogy would have to be wrong.
Pseudoscience category: Homeopathy

JoQueta Handy, PhD, CCC-SLP

“How to Teach the World’s Unteachable: 7 Ways to Break Through to Brilliant Learning”
“How to Uncover Hidden Brilliance A Nutritional Approach for Increasing Cognition Using Herbs to Heal the Gut”
Doctorate in Quantum Medicine, a branch of complementary medicine that uses low-dosage electromagnetic radiation in the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of disease. Quantum medicine uses scientific language for what is essentially energy healing. For more on the lack of science behind quantum medicine, read here and here.
Pseudoscience category: Energy medicine, Microbiome, Diets

Michael W. Elice, MD

“Biomedical Intervention: Treating the “Why” not the “What””
Dr. Elice is a pediatrician whose practice focuses on biomedical investigation and treatments for children and young adults on the autism spectrum. He is on the faculty of MAPS and has presented at all the conferences favored by autism quacks, including Defeat Autism Now!, TACA, SEPTA and, of course, AutismOne. On his website, he promotes and sells nearly every pseudoscientific treatment discussed on this website.
Pseudoscience category: All the categories

Theoharis C. Theoharides, PhD, MD, FAAAAI

“An Autism Subgroup With Brain Inflammation Is Treatable”
Dr. Theoharides promotes the idea that autism is the result of inflammation and can be cured by taking the untested and unapproved flavenoid, methoxyluteolin, which he also sells. However, a search of the medical literature turns up only one single case series on the use of this supplements (by Dr. Theoharides). This is an example of exaggerating and overinterpreting research findings and making clinical claims that are not backed by evidence. Read here for information on his claims.
Pseudoscience category: Inflammation

Brian Hooker, PhD

“Further Adventures at the CDC”
Brain Hooker of CDC whistleblower fame. Please see the coverage of Vaxxed we provided on vaccines page.
Pseudoscience category: Vaccines

Edwin Black

“Keynote Address: American Eugenics — from Long Island to Auschwitz”
Edwin Black is an award-winning author who has written about human rights, eugenics and a variety of social justice issues. In a fully ironic description of his talk completely lacking in self-awareness, AutismOne writes: “Black splendidly conveys the evil depth and breadth of eugenics philosophy, the pseudo-science and social theory that unleashed a half-century of war against society’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Richard Frye, MD, PhD

“Metabolic Disorders Associated with Autism”
Believes autism is the result of abnormalities in the folate pathway. A reminder that the treatments dicussed in his talk have not been evaluated or approved by the FDA for safety or efficacy.
Pseudoscience category: Folate/MTHFR

Bose Ravenel, MD

“UnderLyming Factors in Autism – A Functional Medicine Approach”
Pediatrician, also spoke on Wednesday
Believes ADHD, autism, and other behavioral disorders do not actually exist, despite extensive evidence of a strong genetic component for ADHD and other neurobehavioral phenotypes. There are legitimate scientific questions about ADHD and especially the use of medications, but whether or not ADHD exists is not one of those questions. Today’s talk blames the fake diagnosis of chronic Lyme for autism (Chronic Lyme refers to the false idea that bacteria chronically infect people, not to the chronic effects that persist after Lyme)
Pseudoscience Category: Denial/Big Pharma Conspiracy, Chronic Lyme

David L. Lewis, PhD

“How genetics studies underestimate the impact of environmental pollutants”
Microbiologist, specialized in HIV transmission
Current Research Director of the Focus For Health Foundation.
Dr. Lewis one of the central players in the so-called CDC whistleblower “manufactroversy” and is a long-time defender of Andrew Wakefield. His presentation is full of factural errors about how genetics works. His entire talk is based around the false idea that somatic mutations can be inherited.
Pseudoscience categories: Vaccines, Toxins, Heavy Metals

Jane Smolnik, ND

“Advanced Stress Reduction and the Role of Dopamine”
A naturopath (not a doctor) who believes that autism is cured by a light therapy, that seems to be a form of energy healing.
Pseudoscience categories: Naturopathy, Energy Healing, Iridology

Shawn K. Centers, DO, FACOP

“Reaching Optimum Potential: The use of cranial osteopathy, energy medicine, and essential oils in the child labeled autistic”
Speaking yet again, Dr. Centers adds energy healing and essential oils to his list of unproven and implausible treatments. He promotes the use of a variety of manual therapies in children, including cranial osteopathy, massage and soft tissue techniques, marma therapy (an Ayurvedic energy healing technique), chiropractic, and movement therapies. None of these are evidence-based techniques. Also speaking on Thursday.
Pseudoscience categories: Craniosacral therapy, Massage, Energy Healing, Chiropractic (more here and here), Essential Oils

Beth Secosky, MA

“Diets that Heal: The Most Effective Intervention You Aren’t Using and How to Get Started”
Masters in human resources, no training in medicine, biology, nutrition or dietetics
Promotes the use of the Special Carbohydrate and GAPS diets.
Pseudoscience category: Diets

Nicola Antonucci, MD

“Brain Inflammation and Microglia Activation: cutting-edge of autism treatment”
Promotes the idea that whatever the cause of autism, the common pathway is microglial activation and inflammation. He now sells untested and unregulated supplements to correct this supposed “cause”, including the yogurt sold by Dr. Ruggiero. And has sold or recommended many other unsupported and dangerous “treatments”: from DAN! (chelation) to GcMAF to HBOT to stem cells. Dr. Antonucci is also anti-vaccine and a colleague and co-author of many of the typical players (many who are also speaking at this year’s conference.)
Pseudoscience categories: GcMAF, HBOT, Heavy metals and chelation, Stem Cells, Vaccines

Christopher Shade, PhD

“Chemical and Heavy Metal Detoxification – How to Successfully Navigate Difficult Terrain”
Has supplements to sell to combat supposed toxins and heavy metal poisoning. Misrepresents valid science on exposures and mercury poisoning (for example, in a interview about mercury exposure, in response to a question about vaccines, he neglected to mention the difference between ethylmercury and methylmercury or that there is no evidence of mercury in vaccines having ill effects.)
Pseudoscience categories: Toxins, Heavy Metals

Tyler Dahm & Sonia O’Donnell McGowin, DC

“Detoxifying Across Barriers: Harnessing the Power of Ions”
Sonia McGowin is a chiropractor, DAN! doctor and MAPS fellow. Tyler Dahm is a holistic health practitioner. Neither have actual medical training.
The handouts are full of misrepresentations and oversimplificatons of basic cellular biology and toxicology. They promote a detox system, the IonCleanse, that has been demonstrated to NOT reduce levels of toxicants (which are likely below levels that are of concern anyway). Read a study of this specific device here and here for a discussion of ion detoxing foot baths, in general.
Pseudoscience categories: Toxins

Suzanne Goh, MD

“Next Generation Treatments for Autism: From Mitochondria to Music”
Dr. Goh offers a mix of evidence-based and non-evidence based practices. As with other MDs and scientists presenting at AutismOne, one must wonder at her continued association with AutismOne and the Autism Research Institute (where DAN! originated) and why she embraces treatments that lack evidence.

Jodie Dashore, OTD (Neurology), MSc, HHP

“Exposure to Mold and Biotoxins: Implications For Treatment and Prognosis of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder”
Promotes the invented term “Biotoxin Illness” as a source for ASDs, ADD, PANDAS, Chronic Lyme. This suffers a bit from the “one true cause” fallacy by claiming to be the cause of so many different issues with a list of symptoms that covers nearly every possible complaint.