Thursday, February 17, 2011

If it walks like a duck...

So, i had no plans to post today. I am still recovering from this killer cold/fever, and thought i would give myself a bit of a break and watch a little TV and chill out. Not so much.

So, thanks to Dani G over at I'm Just That Way, I learned that Dr. Oz was going to have a show on the causes of Autism today. Now, let me state for the record that I am not a Dr Oz, Dr. Phil or Oprah fan--in fact I have a few choice words I would use when discussing them, none of them suitable for anyone under the age of 14 (because let's face it, by then they pretty much know more curse words than we do. Am I wrong?) But my nausea and disgust aside, I figured I should take this show in to see what this guy would do. I mean--he's got a voice, LOTS of women across the country listen to him and I figure I should at least witness this.

The guy has an hour long show. He spent HALF of it on the causes of autism. 3o minutes. On what may be one of the most medically complex and emotionally charged issues of the day. 30 minutes. Really?

He had a "panel of experts" (if experts mean "know-it-alls) from different viewpoints (ok--kudos for that bit of diversity of thought). He had a bunch of Pediatricians who were propped up like beleaguered victims. (oh the poor peds. who have to answer questions and deal with fearful parents--oh woe be onto the person who chooses pediatrics for their profession!) And an audience of angry mothers and fathers.(how hard is that?) Two of which he completely blew off to "tag on" his own questions, when really he just wanted to ask his question.

You know what--Phil Donohue had more class and would have handled this 100x better. And I'm not just sayin' that cause I'm old or mistrust smarmy medical folk.

Now, the possible causes discussed were genetics, vaccines and environment. Naturally they spent a GREAT deal of time on vaccines because that's the hot topic. Some time spent on environment (which really includes vaccines, so I don't know why it’s a separate cause) and a few minutes on Genetics. Now, I'll admit my annoyance about the time spent on genetics is biased--this is the camp into which I fall, (with some slight leaning toward environment), so naturally I'd like to hear more than "being an older mom increases your risks"--which seemed to be the gist of the genetics portion of the show. Thanks Dr. Oz. Thanks.

Now I would be remiss here if I didn't acknowledge that the vaccine camp holds very little faith in Dr. Oz who promotes the AMA guidelines for vaccines. Even though, he admitted in the show, that he staggered the vaccines for his kids. And how that was somehow "hard to keep track of"--really? I realize the kids get a lot of shots the first year, but unless you have three children all 9 months apart, I don't see how keeping track of a schedule of vaccines, like WRITING IT ON A CALENDAR, could be that tough, esp for someone with a MEDICAL DEGREE. Am I crazy here? Or anal retentive? 'Cause my house ain't that neat, and my laundry aint' done, but I can damn well keep track of my son's vaccine schedule.

Some time was given to he GFCF diet--and I'm not knockin' that. I'm glad it works for so many kids. It just sucks when you are one of the ones for whom it doesn't work--as Dr. Sears pointed out, thank you. (as you might guess, I'm a little tired of the "well you must have done it wrong" argument i hear when I say that GFCF didn't work for Ben.)

But he spent NO time discussing early intervention, or proven and promising therapies. In fact he said he was "angry" that Autism Speaks refused to come on the show that day, and said they would come on the show if things like "early intervention, insurance reform, and life strategies" were discussed. Oz said it made him angry. Angry? I'm not a huge fan of Autism Speaks, but at least they had the foresight to know he was NOT going to treat this professionally and were not going to waste their time. I only wish I had been so wise.

In the end, I am glad that he at LEAST spent 30 minutes on this topic, so that more folks across the country will at least hear more of the argument. I wished it hadn't been so doom and gloom--throwing up statistics and then saying "we don’t know, and it sucks". I'm not saying he's wrong, but wow could we use a better message than THAT. an Autism diagnosis isn't a death sentence, and there is more to it than the struggles and the difficulties. But you wouldn't know it if you only watched Dr. Oz.

Seriously, that guy needs to drink more.