Autism and Jenny McCarthy
By Dr. Nicole Sundene
I was just reading this article by Jim Carey on vaccines and started thinking….
Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall at Jim Carey and Jenny McCarthy’s house? I have always been a fan of both of theirs and am delighted to see that they found each other.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a celebrity take on a cause that is personal to them. Jenny McCarthy’s son has autism and she wrote a book about it. As a physician, I appreciate celebrities personalizing these causes because I can only imagine how frustrating and alone it would feel to be a mom or dad of a child with Autism.
God bless Jenny McCarthy for writing a candid book on her personal experience. Nothing warms my heart like seeing that someone with a hilarious sense of humor also has a huge heart. On top of that, she is an educated and informed parent.
Jenny did not accept the doctor’s lack of answers for her son’s condition, or the medications that were not helping. She took responsibility for his health by spending hours on the internet researching her son’s condition. Now normally, this kind of parent or patient scares the heck out of most doctors. We don’t like you to know more than us.
After all her research, she then placed her son on a gluten free casein free diet. Is there a whole lot of research out there supporting this? Not really…a little bit. But who cares? It is wheat and dairy! It is not an anti-psychotic medicine that causes Tardive Dyskinesia as a side effect (given off label to boot! Meaning there is no FDA indication or research supporting its efficacy…)
So what is the harm in trying it? After a while, I think, in order to really problem solve conditions, you HAVE to think outside the box, outside the “standard of care” and go back to the basics…like that childhood game of “Hot and Cold”. Are we getting warmer or getting colder? Maybe there isn’t a name for what is wrong with you, so let’s instead play a game to find out what makes it better and what makes it worse.
Ok…then let’s avoid the things that make it worse and only do the things that make it better.
Sorry is that too simple?
Sometimes I think that a preschooler would make the best doctor. We have over-complicated medicine to the point that doctors are so stressed out that half the time they cannot even think clearly or freely. We need our palm pilots and our Merck Manuals and heaven forbid that the internet is down and I can’t look stuff up on FP consult or Google it.
What is that?
The internet is down today?
I have to THINK!!!
Oh the horror!!!
Trust me, I am not poking fun at any particular doctors as I am just as guilty of these mannerisms as the next doctor. I love my PDA and Google is my best friend. I will be the first person to ask you where your double blind randomized controlled trial is to support your treatment choice….
However, do we really need this kind of research for common sense?
If Jenny McCarthy comes in to my office and tells me that her son is better without gluten and casein, instead of acting in shock and disbelief shouldn’t I just rejoice with her that it was as simple as avoiding wheat and dairy? So we make sure her son gets enough fiber, zinc, b vitamins, and calcium somewhere else in their diet while we give it a whirl…why not?
Why must doctors always play the role of the authority figure in the situation? Listen I am happy to step down from my pedestal…I am scared of heights as it is. Why not let the parents play some of this “Hot and Cold?” game. Like the parent’s in the movie “Lorenzo’s Oil” that took curing their son’s rare condition in to their own hands.
If you or your child have a rare disease I highly recommend watching that movie with a BIG box of Kleenex. It may just be the inspiration you need to keep on going, and keep on doing what you are doing.
Now I am not saying that you should ever go against what your doctor says. I am simply suggesting thinking critically for yourself and your family. If something doesn’t feel right, if something doesn’t sound right, then question it.
Participate in your health care, ask questions, keep copies of your own labs, understand when your doctor says “I don’t know,” and allow for that to be an acceptable answer.
Too many doctors think they have to be the know-it-all. Let’s all keep in mind that “I don’t know” is actually a fantastic answer!
Doctors are only human beings, they are not gods (that may be new information to some of my colleagues in Orthopedics…he he.) One of the leading causes of death in America is from “Iatrogenic causes” a fancy way of saying that some medical person seriously messed up and killed you.
Whether you grab the wheel away, or just sit shot gun, whatever you do….don’t take a backseat to your health. Pay attention, take notes, let Jenny McCarthy and her son’s “recovery from autism” remind us that all hope is not lost when the current answer is “I don’t know.”
I believe that for every problem there is a solution it simply is a matter of us taking the time to look for it. Is the treatment that helped Jenny’s son, Evan, going to help your kid? I don’t know….but there is very little harm in trying it when done properly with the guidance of a nutritionist or qualified physician.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table,
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