More than 120 homeopaths in the UK are offering a “cure” for autism that involves supposedly detoxing children of the vaccines and antibiotics held responsible for the condition, the Guardian has learned.
The homeopaths are accredited practitioners of CEASE “therapy”, which stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression. CEASE was invented by a Dutch doctor called Tinus Smits, who died of cancer in 2010.
His book and website, which lists therapists around the world, describe a method of ridding children of toxins – predominantly vaccines and medication – that are said to cause autism. It involves homeopathic remedies and high doses of vitamin C in excess of those recommended by national guidelines.
Diarrhoea, which could be a result of excessive vitamin C, and fever in children should not necessarily be cause for concern, say CEASE therapists, because it is the child’s body purging itself of toxins.
“It’s absolutely appalling,” said Carol Povey, director of the centre for autism at the National Autistic Society (NAS), which helps develop best practice. “As healthcare practitioners, homeopaths should still be working on evidence-based practice and looking at national guidelines.”
The NAS is concerned by the suggestion that autism, a developmental disorder, could be cured. It is also disturbed by the claim that autism is linked to vaccines, as proposed by Andrew Wakefield – a theory that has been comprehensively discredited. Wakefield, a former gastroenterologist, was struck off the medical register over his claims.
Homeopathic cures, like other bogus therapies on the internet, “hoodwink new parents when they are vulnerable” and can cause harm, said Povey.
A minority of CEASE therapists in the UK are members of the Society of Homeopaths. Its regulatory body, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), has said the Society of Homeopaths must state by the middle of next month what action it will take to ensure children are safe as a condition of its re-accreditation.