Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Get Out and Vote

This morning, I headed out the door early to make sure I could get to my polling place before the doors opened and ensure I wouldn't have to wait in line very long to vote. This election is very important, and not just because of the presidential race. Senate and House races can have a very, very big impact on where this country goes and how we interact with the rest of the world. And don't slouch on the local stuff, either. What you decide at your city or state level can work its way up the chain. Be smart. Get informed. But most importantly, vote!

Edited to add: If you are having trouble at the polling place and someone is keeping you from voting or in any way getting in the way of your right to vote, report them to the Department of Justice. On Twitter @TheJusticeDept. Call 1-800-253-3931 or go to their website.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Mark Geier On His Last Leg

Dr. Mark Robin Geier, about whom I've written about quite a bit, just can't get a break. Geier is the physician who, after reading a single lab study showing that mercury binds with testosterone when in a hot benzene environment (blogger Prometheus has a good write-up of this), thought that this explained how to treat autism. At the time Geier and his son, David (who has gotten in trouble for pretending to be a doctor), latched onto the two ideas that the mercury in thimerosal and testosterone played a role in autism causation. The former is now discredited, after numerous studies comparing autism rates in children who received thimerosal-containing vaccines and those who did not, as well as failed court cases based on this idea. The latter does have some validity to it, but only insofar as the fetus is exposed to high concentrations of testosterone in the womb. The way Geier, père et fils, decided they could treat autism based on this study that bears no resemblance to the environment of the human body, was to use the chemical castrating drug Lupron to lower testosterone levels in kids, followed by dosing with chelating drugs to remove mercury.

It was this treatment protocol that got the Geiers into trouble, first in Maryland. Dr. Geier was found to have been misdiagnosing autistic children with precocious puberty so he could get insurance companies to pay for his treatment, which also happens to be in violation of FDA regulations. Lupron is not approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of autism, so his spurious precocious puberty diagnoses got around this, as well. At any rate, this protocol, among other problems with how he ran his clinic, resulted in his license being suspended. The investigation also turned up that his son, David, practiced medicine without a license by making diagnoses and prescribing various tests and procedures to patients. The original suspension led to nearly every other state in which Mark Geier was licensed to suspend his licenses. Then in September and October ofearlier this year, Maryland, Indiana and Washington went beyond suspension and permanently revoked his license. Hawaii, Illinois and Missouri, however, have been dragging their feet.

Until now.