I have acquired the Case Notes of a case of Autism that John Melnychuk, RSHom (NA) claims to cure. These Case Notes were anonymised by John Melnychuk and were presented at a conference as well as being available on the web, I am assuming that all necessary permissions were sought by John Melnychuk, the organisers of the conference and the owner of the website. They make for distressing reading and are presented unedited below (apologies for length):Case Notes by John Melnychuk;
A Simple Case of Autism
John Melnychuk, R.S. Hom. (N.A.) CCH
This case is written nearly verbatim and in the order the mother gave the case. (small changes made only to enhance readability.)
Initial consultation 9/19/05 K.S., Six year old boy. Both parents bring him to my office complaining that he has Autism and that he is violent to others.
We sit down and I observe: K. presented with paroxysms of noise and motion. Small stature, large head. Beautiful. This small stature is related to digestive impairment secondary to gut injury. Large circumference head is commonly found in autistic individuals. Autistic children are usually very beautiful – long lashes, big eyes, and symmetrical faces – perfect in appearance, (more commonly so where cancer is in their genetic history).
He is the son of Japanese American immigrants. Father speaks almost no English and did not contribute much verbally to the case taking. Father, restaurant owner and chef. Mother helps with business, former professional dancer, now an accountant. One older brother – M., age 8 who is well. Maternal grandmother provided and provides a great deal of care.
The mother says:
History of hitting (his own) head severely. We saw Dr. Eric Dolgin, D.O. for Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy who helped a great deal. R. ear is deaf at birth.
Conceived in America. Pregnancy was no problem. Did not know I was pregnant @ 3 to 4 weeks. Had a tooth removed under local anesthesia and took antibiotics (type unknown). Mother age 36 at delivery.
Epidural, and then delivery after doctor broke the water to induce labor. Labor was 3 hours. During pregnancy K. was much quieter than his brother. We saw immediately that he had a problem with his R. ear. R. ear was bigger than the L. ear.
After birth he stopped breathing for a short time. The doctors kept him overnight in the hospital because of this. Both boys had a bit of jaundice.
Mother had many (20) silver amalgams due to unavailability of good dental care in rural Japan where she grew up. Also did not receive good instructions on hygiene from parents. Now only one mercury amalgam is left, (others have been replaced with composite fillings).
Age 1 K. is seen smiling and waving in video tapes. Very early teething at 7 months. (carc) (Brother teethed later.) K. bit mother’s nipple to get attention. (violent).
Mother wanted to be a CPA, and got this job at K’s age of 7 months. Lots of work. She would give 3 shots of vaccines at a time because it was difficult to get away from work. She ate Doritos and Cheetos and a bad diet. (Corn chips and cheese doodles).
Mother was too busy to pay attention to any reaction after vaccines since maternal grandmother was the primary care giver at this time. No information available from MGM.
Stool was always watery since birth. Then he had yeast infections. Now the stools are good. At the beginning very watery stool and diaper filled with liquid, not smelly. Brownish yellow.
He would cry at night and kick until we changed his diet.
Sleep is much better with a gluten free/casein free diet that began last year.
His eye contact, responsiveness and attention are all better since we began the GFCF diet.
Now he takes many supplements, but it is difficult to get him to take them. Doctor wants to give 7 supplements a day. We can get 2 into him. He will take vitamins in pomegranate juice.
He climbs and is very athletic. Knows where his mother hides crackers, beef jerky, and juice.
He has hit his head quite a lot. Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy has been given with benefit.
He was less responsive by age 2. He began hitting and pulling hair this year. Also he bites. He knows pulling hair is more effective than biting. He needs help but is very violent. Mother has devised a way to hold him when he is in a rage so that he does not hurt her.
He does not like speech therapy and cries there.
Family Medical History:
Mother age 20’s Bladder infection. Mother used to be a modern dancer. Would sweat and then get a chill, then bladder infection would begin.
MGM forgetful, short-term memory poor. MGF deceased from liver cancer after drinking alcohol – whiskey, even though he was happy.
PGF died age 48 of heart attack. PGM died age, in the year 2000.
Mother’s brother is healthy at age 37. Father’s 3 brothers are healthy, but not close.
Obs: K. will lie back with his feet up in the air and play with toys – a soft anemone-like rubbery toy.
Began at an Early Start Program offered by school district at age 2.5. (This program offers speech and occupational therapy to help children who have delayed development.) He cried a lot and did not like it.
He is obsessed with leaves and likes to tear them. School has good resources and uses a “Floor Time” program. He is occasionally interested to interact with other children (but has very limited skills).
Obs: K. will “give me five” and glance at me if I ask him to.
Fear of going to the doctor’s office. Will cry. Used to be afraid of leaf blowers, bathroom fan, and the sound of video tape rewinding. Fear of new people.
Sensitivity to sounds is better since chelation, but still sensitive to sounds.
Likes smiling persons. Likes to be hugged. Likes to be upside down and standing on his head. Very good balance. He can stand on a horse that is walking. He swims like a sea otter and is very fast in the water.
Can speak a few words, but almost always must be prompted several times. Can understand Japanese and English.
He will calm down when Mozart is played. He will hit his head near midnight. No sweating or drooling. He did sweat on his head from age 2, a bit less since they removed wheat from his diet.
Food: beef, chicken, McDonald’s French fries, cereal, corn flakes.
Nursed 8 months. He quit shortly after beginning to teethe. Mother was working at the time. She still loves her job.
K. likes to be outside more than inside.
Sleeps on back on a pillow with hands above his head. Likes to sleep with brother. (This was really the only time that he showed any interest in brother. Nearly no interest or contact with brother outside of sleep-time at night.)
Will occasionally hump mother or therapist. (Masturbate). (common symptom).
Obs. K. Climbs over parents as they sit on a sofa in my office. K. Gives video tapes to parents to play for him which he does not watch. (No speech).
He takes methylcobalamine B12 injections twice a week.
History of fevers once a month for which mother would give Tylenol. K. has been doing better since OMT and treatment from DAN protocol. (DAN “Defeat Autism Now” protocol is a biomedical approach to treating Autistic individuals with vitamins, supplements, diet and pharmaceuticals).
Before he would not react to pain, but now he is reacting more normally.
History of remedies: This child had been given infrequent and hight doses of Tarentula and either Stramonium or Scorpion, (I can’t recall which) with no benefit in approximately a year of treatment.
Plan: A two part prescription:
1) Morbillinum 30C , one dose only for one day.
- gut damage in MMR injured individuals looks similar to that when the AIDS virus is present. Very syphilitic. Morbillinum individuals are miserable and cranky. (Shepherd writes beautifully about Morbillinum).
2) Beginning the next day, Cuprum metallicum 6C once daily. Seizure like paroxysms of pain resulting in violence to himself and others. Neonatal asphyxia. Vaccine injury.
What did the first homeopath miss? Likely he did not comprehend the significance of the rhythm of symptoms – paroxysms or spasms of violence. He may not have seen them as seizure-like events related to a brain injury. He may not have ranked the episode of asphyxia as being important. Certainly he did not adopt the strategy of giving low potencies daily in a case where daily life was filled with violence.
First follow up 10/24/05 by telephone with mother.
He is better than the first time we talked. We stopped the remedy at Yom Kippur and began again after. No violent reaction. He had rashes and itching with soft stools. The stool has tiny bits in it (different from before).
He is doing very well now, but he will wake after 2 or 3 hours. He cries “itai” (Japanese for “pain”), but he is less violent, although he can still be aggressive.
He had a yellow mucous discharge from both eyes on the morning of October 1st. (Keynote for Morbillinum – and in this case the discharge likely contained toxins from the vaccine and Tylenol in his brain).
Violence is reduced by 50%. His headaches at night are much reduced. Also the Osteopath noted an entirely positive qualitative change in his ability to treat K.
K. was not waking at night and crying and pulling hair or biting. It has been much easier. His ability to understand our speech is much better.
He is growing more. (He is absorbing more nutrients from his gut and therefore less malnourished.)
He still wants to go outside and is obsessed with leaves. Doesn’t want to stop watching videos or playing. Will get upset and scream when interrupted.
Cuprum is very useful for him.
Impression: Doing well. Plan: continue Cuprum met. 6C daily.
Follow up 11/21/05 by phone with mother.
He is better than last month. We gave Morbillinum 30C on the 25th of October and he had some tantrums for a week, but these were milder and shorter than in the past.
Now diarrhea is gone and it is easier for him to go to the bathroom.
The pains he feels in the R. side of his head are less severe and less frequent.
Now he is imitating us much more. (more social interest – usually the first thing to improve in such cases.)
He is not organized with homework, but he will now willingly sit at his desk instead of resisting it. (new). He needs a lot of pressure in his joints to pay attention (a common symptom in brain injury cases). He no longer resists or pulls hair, or throws things for the last 2 months.
His mood is good and he is smiling more. I stopped the chelation the last three months. I was giving DMPS transdermally. Still giving glutathione and methylcobalamine B12.
Fewer tantrums and crying. Likes roller coasters. Not screaming or pulling hair.
He can control his bladder now. Sensory and muscle control is developing. Can’t yet say “I have to go pee pee.”
Not banging his head these days.
Plan: continue Cuprum met 6C daily.
Follow up 12/27/05 by telephone with mother.
Not as good a month since his molars are coming in. He has been cranky with the pain. We gave Morbillinum on November 22nd because he was stubborn. He would not cooperate at home or school. He was better again a week after this single dose Morbillinum 30C.
After his molar erupted it got easier. Now he is doing very well – much less crying again. His father says it is much easier now. Now we can go to restaurants because his spontaneous noises are less, and he can sit at a table. Before it was like carrying a time bomb.
He has no headaches now. He can more easily repeat what he hears.
Mother is now pregnant again with 3rd child – in vitro. He doesn’t hit me or pull my hair anymore. He is not hitting himself as often.
Violence is 80% less than it was. Before it was every night. Now he is sometimes (merely) pretending to be threatening. He is not violent to his brother.
He is growing a lot taller. He is very fit and dong a lot of sports and gymnastics.
Plan: Cuprum met 12C once daily. Kreosotum 30C only if tooth pain is overwhelming.
Follow up 1/26/06 by telephone with mother.
He is much better with the higher dose of Cuprum.
Headaches moved to a place near a bump on his head and the pains seem to be moving toward the back of his head and neck.
He is now saying new words (spontaneously). He also is beginning to answer a bit in Japanese (primary language at home.)
Aggressiveness is 5% of what it was. He can stay still to study now for between 15 and 30 minutes.
Plan continue Cuprum met 12C daily.
Follow up 3/1/06 by telephone with mother.
Doing better. No headaches, no crying, unless he has wheat. Jaw pain is better in a just few minutes with an occasional Kreosotum 30C.
Still can play with leaves for hours. Loves horseback riding, gymnastics, swimming, trampoline, climbing. Appetite is much better.
Less obsessive than he was. Sleep is very good.
Plan: Continue Cuprum met 12C daily. Maintain GFCF diet very strictly.
(Gut inflammation is the last thing to be resolved in these cases and aggravating foods will delay general improvement).
Follow up early July 2006 – An in person visit in Los Angeles, the first time I have seen K. since our initial consultation in September 2005. His brother and mother attend.
K. is now very responsive to his family and teachers. He will make good eye contact. He has grown a great deal. Now K. is interested to play with his older brother and they have become quite close. (In September K. would not play or acknowledge brother. The only thing is that he wanted to sleep with his brother at night.)
Obs: Speech is delayed but much improved and social interest is firmly intact. K. continues to improve.
Plan: continue Cuprum met 12C daily.
K. is very well loved and thoughtfully cared for. Although father speaks nearly no English, his presence at our initial interview was an important positive sign in the prognosis of K. His mother presented with a very positive and sunny disposition, and she did not reveal the depth of her suffering and worry in our first visit. K. had been attacking her with little restraint due to paroxysms of violence for more than a year. Only some months later did she reveal that she had been at her wits’ end before bringing her son to homeopathy. She confessed that she had been contemplating killing her son and committing suicide herself because of his violence and lack of progress.
Note: It becomes important to accurately measure progress yourself rather than merely by report of an overly nice or polite parent in this circumstance where the parent is more well mannered and hopeful than frank.
When there is a history of violence, sudden or not, it is wise to use lower potencies and “nudge” the patient forward on a daily (or less often) basis. As well, dry doses were used because the primary care giver is elderly and unfamiliar with homeopathy. The last thing the family needed was to fuss with preparing LM potencies. Even the simple process of preparing LM’s can produce a great deal of anxiety in those new to homeopathy. They often are stewing “did we prepare the dose properly?”
What happened to this boy K.?
My perception is this is a case of poisoning.
The first clue is that K. was mostly well, apart from the deafness in the R. ear. The family history of cancer is significant – it is an indication of higher susceptibility particularly to MMR vaccine. (There are dozens of factors which increase the risk of autism – genetic history is a major issue and I am careful to gather as much information as possible about the pregnancy and extended family history in these types of cases. Different genetic inheritance yields children which are more susceptible to various types of vaccines. There are many ways for children to become autistic and there are many types and manifestations of autism according to the unfortunate combination of inherited and environmental factors).
It is very important to note that not all children will be negatively affected by vaccines, and not all autism is associated with vaccine injury, but vaccines are a factor in more than 80% of cases I see of true autism. Vaccines are an important, but usually a secondary factor in cases of Pervasive Developmental Delay.
The second clue is the fact that he stopped breathing shortly after birth. He must have been blue at least for a short time in an episode of neonatal asphyxia. (Maybe from Hep B jab?)
The third clue is the wet stools from birth. This indicates that there was already some inflammatory activity and lack of development in the gut – before any vaccines, except perhaps Hepatitis B vaccine which is routinely given shortly after birth in America. (I think this Hep. B is a major contributor to jaundice in newborns.) This digestive weakness shows that K. already had some susceptibility to vaccines and foods from birth. I speculate it was the antibiotics and other drugs that the mother received for the tooth extraction before she realized she was pregnant that contributed to this digestive problem in K.
The timeline is the fourth clue. Note that K. was observed as developing normally socially and with language to his first birthday. There is even video evidence of his normal ability and conduct. After MMR there was a slow, insidious onset of symptoms over approximately six months which resulted in loss of social interest, speech, and intolerance of foods. This is typical for MMR vaccine related autism.
The timeline here is quite typical. Several years ago the most common presentation would be of a child that was injured by MMR would have early normal development and then be affected by an MMR jab at 12 months. Most often a bit of fever or fussiness would come after the jab. Tylenol was almost always given (which always compounded the severity of the injury – don’t get me started about Tylenol….) By 18 months speech and social interest would be lost and gut problems would appear. Pediatricians would typically stall the parents – “he’s just a late talker,” etc. Diagnosis of autism or Pervasive Development Delay – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD – NOS) would come by age three or four depending on the severity of damage the child had sustained. (PDD - NOS would be a more common diagnosis where motor planning problems were more evident rather than where primarily speech and social deficits presented.)
These days the timeline is a bit different for children developing symptoms as a related to MMR injuries. Now for children where MMR is likely a factor, the onset generally comes later and the diagnosis comes earlier. What we see now is slightly atypical development to 15 to 18 months with loss of social interest and speech by 24 months. The prognosis for these children is better since their injury came later, is milder, and because diagnosis and treatment come earlier. The later onset and milder injury have likely arisen because thimerosal has recently been removed from MMR and many other but not all childhood vaccines. Thimerosal is one of many metals and chemicals commonly present in vaccines as stabilizers to extend shelf-life of the vial of vaccine. Thimerosal is more than 50% mercury by weight. The diagnosis comes earlier because Autism is a more popular diagnosis and pediatricians are very interested to make such a diagnosis even if the evidence is for PDD-NOS or some other problem. Is it clear that thimerosal is not the only problem, although it has been the focus of most of the Autism advocacy groups and most scientists and physicians.
The fifth major clue is: paroxysms of violence. K. was actually suffering from something like minor seizures which would come on suddenly and result in his attacking his mother and others.
We see that he would also strike his head. This is never a good sign and it frequently presents in cases of head or brain injury and autism. In this case K. suffered short, suddenly intense pains in the head which he responded to by pressing or striking his head very hard. (Hitting the head, or doing head stands.) So intense was his distress, without any other ability to express his suffering with language, he would strike, pinch, bite, kick and injure others, most commonly his mother.
Sometimes these children strike their heads against a wall or floor, or they use their fists or hands to strike their heads. The striking results from two things: one is that this is a proprioceptive response– similar to when you rub your knee after bumping or injuring it. Secondly, the children are trying to relieve a kind of “stuckness” in their cranium. (The brain will contract in the presence of a vaccine – think of how a slug shrivels when salted. This contraction is painful, and it slows recovery since blood and cerebrospinal fluid circulation to the brain is impaired). By beating their heads, the children are trying to free up their contracted brains.) Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy can often be very helpful to these children as it was to K. Homeopathy proved to be profoundly helpful for K. as well.
Cuprum will not be the last remedy K. will need, but he may benefit from it for the foreseeable future. The main clues about the next remedies will again be found in his family history of illness, his desire to swing, jump, swim and play outdoors. Also his fascination in tearing leaves is likely to help us find the next remedy.
My clinical experience in treating hundreds of autistic and other brain injured children has given me an opportunity to identify common features with autistic children, their history, and their prognosis.
In general the children:
- Are uncommonly beautiful, and have symmetrical faces, frequently with long lashes. May be quite hairy down the spine.
- Are usually small in stature, but with a large circumference head.
- Usually have at least one special talent or ability and also some definite areas of deficient functioning.
- Usually at least above average intelligence if not gifted.
- Have their entire physiology impacted – it’s not just social disinterest and speech delay.
- Benefit greatly from gluten free and casein free diets.
- Love to eat what aggravates them.
- Generally don’t absorb nutrients very well and this delays recovery; they are malnourished. It is therefore important to address this in treatment from the beginning. Most biomedical approaches focus on this. (DAN protocol, etc.)
- Frequently have problems eliminating – gut problems are usually present.
- Exhibit stimming behavior. Examples of stimming are repetitive arm or hand flapping, spinning, swinging.
- Feel better from deep pressure. (But simply giving zinc usually yields disappointing results).
- Find transitions very difficult, moving from one activity or location to another usually leads to an upset.
- Prefer to be outdoors rather than indoors. Circle time at school is not interesting.
- Love music and videos. Frequently they can sing before they can talk.
- Are echolalic at first when speech begins to return. Echolalia is a very common feature early on when speech begins to return. Echolalia is the name for the behavior where the child will repeat only what he has been prompted to say. It’s a good sign, although the parents are frequently upset and frustrated by it.
- Retain ability to receive language . Expressive language is more the problem.
- Recover social interest first and this drives their interest to speak.
This is bizarre and worrying and frightening and desperately sad for the child involved. Various unproven theories of autism causation are discussed; mercury from fillings and of course the ubiquitous baddy, vaccinations.
There is so much to take issue with.
The boy is said to be beautiful, and it's claimed that all autistic children are beautiful, especially 'where cancer is in their genetic history.' My son is beautiful, and that's my entirely biased opinion. My 2 non-autistic children are just as lovely. It's nonsense and distancing to write that autism is linked to 'uncommon beauty' as if they are somehow 'other' from ordinary humans. And where has he pulled the 'hairy back' theory from?
K is described as small due to 'digestive impairment secondary to gut injury.' How does he know? Has he read a report from a gastroenterologist regarding the boy, but failed to mention it? There is a reference to practinioner of 'Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy' and to a doctor of some kind who 'wants to give 7 supplements a day.' I don't think that this 'doctor' is a registered GP or paediatrician. I wonder if the boy has been seen by any proper doctors. Who diagnosed him? What about his right ear, has there been medical assessment of that?
There is much discussion K's stools and the other altie-obsession, yeast. The GF/CF diet has worked as well as it usually does in parent testimonials.
This line made me smile, 'He climbs and is very athletic. Knows where his mother hides crackers, beef jerky, and juice.'
That sounds familiar! Duncan seems to have some sort of sensors that can detect sugar no matter how well you think it's hidden. Perhaps I should get him some magic water too.
This line is not so sweet, 'Fear of going to the doctor’s office. Will cry.'
It's more chilling when you read a few lines later that 'Sensitivity to sounds is better since chelation'.
It's no surprise that K is afraid of doctors' offices. He has not had good experiences there. Duncan is worried about seeing the dentist ever since he had a tooth removed. He likes seeing doctors in the hospital we usually attend, as he knows he can play with cool toys there. These things are not hard to understand!
Another observation is that K 'will occasionally hump mother or therapist. (Masturbate). (common symptom)'
I wonder what he means by 'common symptom.' Does he mean common to autistics or common to boys? What's the relevance anyway?
Here is a list of the therapies poor K has been subjected to, before setting foot in Mr Melnychuk's consulting room;
- Osteopathic Manipulative Therapy, 'helped a great deal.'
- GFCF diet. 'His eye contact, responsiveness and attention are all better since we began the diet'
- Many supplements and 'vitamins in pomegranate juice'.
- Early Start Program offered by school district; speech and occupational therapy. 'School has good resources and uses a “Floor Time” program.'
- DAN protocol of vitamins, supplements, diet and pharmaceuticals. 'K. has been doing better since OMT and treatment from DAN protocol.'
- Homeopathic remedies: infrequent and high doses of Tarentula and either Stramonium or Scorpion with no benefit in approximately a year of treatment.
How, I wonder, was his pain dealt with? That isn't pursued.
We also are told that 'He is growing more. (He is absorbing more nutrients from his gut and therefore less malnourished.)'
Children usually do grow at 6 and 7 years of age, even without magic water helping them along.
In the next telephone consultation, pain is mentioned again; 'The pains he feels in the R. side of his head are less severe and less frequent.'
There is another reference to chelation, and a few more things from the smorgasbord of non-evidence based autism interventions; glutathione and methylcobalamine B12.
In the final assessment, K. is said to have improved in many areas, he has grown, he studies more, is less aggressive, plays with his brother, speaks and understands more language. The quantification of these improvement is truly bizarre. Where do these numbers come from? ('Violence is reduced by 50%...Aggressiveness is 5% of what it was.')
It's interesting what happens to a 6 year old child in almost a year! Even if some of the therapies the boy has been subjected to have had an effect, it's impossible to tell what has helped since there are just so many.
The most disturbing thing about the whole case report however, is Melnychuk's reaction to K's mother telling him that she had contemplated murdering her son then killing herself. He writes,
'Note: It becomes important to accurately measure progress yourself rather than merely by report of an overly nice or polite parent in this circumstance where the parent is more well mannered and hopeful than frank.'
He does not recommend that she sees a doctor herself for counselling or therapy. He seems to accept this revelation as acceptable.
The rest of his 'perceptions' are full of inaccuracies, mistakes and invention.
Why does he think a family history of cancer is important? What has that got to do with MMR? He reckons, 'vaccines are a factor in more than 80% of cases I see of true autism.' How does he know this? He says, 'The later onset and milder injury have likely arisen because thimerosal has recently been removed from MMR and many other but not all childhood vaccines.' Wrong! MMR vaccines have never contained thimerosal.
He talks about the pain K. suffered from; 'So intense was his distress, without any other ability to express his suffering with language, he would strike, pinch, bite, kick and injure others, most commonly his mother.'
What investigations were made to discover the source of this pain and to treat it properly?
I have read some downright nonsense since I started looking at autism quackery. This statement deserves an award for the most ridiculous claim ever; 'the children are trying to relieve a kind of “stuckness” in their cranium. (The brain will contract in the presence of a vaccine – think of how a slug shrivels when salted.'
Give that man his prize quick!
He ends with 17 observations from his 'clinical experience in treating hundreds of autistic and other brain injured children.' Some of them may be true for specific children, but mostly, he just made them up!
I am focusing on this because I am disgusted that homeopaths think they have any right to 'treat' autism. As I said when I commented on Gimpy's blog, I had thought that homeopathy was fairly harmless, merely silly magic water sold to the worried well for self-limiting conditions. I had thought that while it was important to try to let people know that there is no evidence of its effectiveness, the fact that there is zero active ingredient in these pills/liquids means there would be no real harm done. However then I read about the homeopaths advising their magic water for malaria prevention, or to be used in clinics in Africa to treat real serious illness, or that homeopaths advise against vaccines for babies, and now this!! They have managed to delude themselves into thinking that their bottles of water and sugar pills, every one of which is identical when you remove the labels, can cure rashes, fevers, fatigue and now they reckon they can tackle more serious illnesses and even developmental delay. This is dangerous. It has to be recognised and dealt with. Thank you Gimpy for bringing this to light.
Joseph left a comment on an earlier post about homeopathy and autism. It turns out that there's a book recommended as essential, by those promoting homeopathy as a treatment for autism. I think we'll manage without it.