Governors should stay the hell out of the autism wars.
Their intrusion leads to naught but embarrassment and the enfranchisement of questionable characters. Example: In 2009, Charlie Crist appointed anti-vax chiropractor Dr. Gary Kompothecras to his Autism Task Force. After his appointment, Kompothecras -- not incidentally, a man whose uncanny ability to raise funds for politicians has earned him the moniker "the rain maker" -- attempted to strong-arm the Florida Department of Health into turning over state medical records to the execrable father-son team of quack autism experts, Mark and David Geier. (My partner and I broke the news of this embarrassing episode for the Miami New Times.) Crist, who was not elected for his scientific acumen, did the public a profound disservice by lending these gents the credibility implied by his office.
How profound? The Geiers are the leading proponents of what's called the "Lupron Protocol" -- the purported science behind which is explicated here -- which involves dosing autistic kids with large amounts of the chemical castration agent called Lupron. They get away with this by diagnosing autism as "precocious puberty." Even when used on children who actually do suffer from precocious puberty, the drug can occasionally cause permanent sterility. For those children who do not suffer from precocious puberty, the permanent effects are likely more severe -- especially since the Geiers prescribe the drug in extremely high doses.
The Geiers are from Maryland, and the elder Geier -- Dr. Mark -- just had his medical license suspended in that state. His son David is on more solid ground, for he has no medical license to lose. He is not a doctor.
And yet Maryland's governor, Martin O'Malley, has appointed "Dr." David Geier to his own Autism Task Force as a "diagnostician." David Geier is obviously aware of this appointment -- he brags about it on his own website -- but he doesn't seem to have done anything to correct O'Malley's mistake.
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By the way: The Geiers still run a clinic in Tamarac, on North University Drive. This clinic is headed by Dr. David Clayman, whose medical license is still valid.
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