A Touch of Alyricism

Dedicated to the equally fascinating topics of autistic advocacy and the 'sisterly sophistries' of radical gender feminism. Other topics may occasionally crop up. Contactable at alyric@gmail.com


Polemicist since Grade 8

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Are Journals that gullible?

Letter to the powers that be at Hormone Research. See http://neurodiversity.com/weblog/article/104/update-a-republished-article for why.

17 July 2006

Dr Franco Chiarelli
Secretary General
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology

Dear Dr Chiarelli

I would like to draw your attention to an article e-published by your organisation’s journal Hormone Research on 5 July 2006, titled A Clinical and Laboratory Evaluation of Methionine Cycle-Transsulfuration and Androgen Pathway Markers in Children with Autistic Disorders, by Dr Mark Geier and Mr David Geier. There are a number of anomalies in this publication, which contravene the guidelines set by your organisation for responsible publication.

Firstly and perhaps critically, the study is overseen by a review board with neither the expertise nor the objectivity to assure the well-being of the study’s participants or the integrity of the study results. The Institutional Review Board of their Institute for Chronic Illnesses (IRB) is composed of people with either a committed financial stake in the outcome (Dr and Mr Geier), a family member (Anne Geier), business partner of Dr Geier (Dr Young) or the parent of a participant in the study (Lisa Sykes). The supposed expertise in biochemistry is vested in Mr David Geier, who has completed two postgraduate biochemistry subjects at George Washington University. There is no expertise present in the IRB on endocrinology. Somewhat curiously, the IRB oversight appears to be retroactive. The IRB was registered in March 2006, the research described in the article was conducted between November 2004 and November 2005. There is no statement from this IRB concerning the long-term effects of chemical castration (Lupron) on a group of children, both boys and girls, now numbering over 50, who are undergoing the Geier’s ‘Lupron Protocol’ despite the lack of peer reviewed scientific support for what is at present, merely a hypothesis. No doubt, the article in Hormone Research will be produced as evidence of scientific rigour.

Secondly, the journal article states that neither Dr Mark nor Mr David Geier has a conflict of interest in the results of this study. Surely the editors were aware that Dr and Mr Geier have applied for a patent of the ‘Lupron Protocol’, which would constitute the ultimate in conflicts of interest.

Thirdly, the actual biochemical rationale behind the Lupron Protocol has some elements that are dubious in the extreme. The concept of a testosterone sheet, which traps mercury underlies the Protocol. However, testosterone has only ever been demonstrated to take this form if treated with hot benzene in the laboratory. Dr and Mr Geier discuss this and other concepts here. Part 2 of their presentation refers specifically to testosterone sheets. There is no mention made that this is, thus far, a physiological impossibility.

Fourthly, the study was apparently conducted in a suburban home, residence of Dr Mark Geier. The Institute for Chronic Illnesses (convenor of the IRB) and the offices of The Genetic Centers of America (study organisation), are all located here at Dr Geier’s home address.

Finally, the work of Dr and Mr Geier has not held up to either scientific or ethical scrutiny in the past. I refer you to the outcome of a recent legal case, where the testimony and research integrity of the Geier’s was found to be less than satisfactory. The Institute of Medicine, the premier medical organisation in the US, has also criticised their work in the IOM 2004 Report, Vaccines and Autism.

I understand the necessity of freedom to pursue an idea and I have no wish to stifle scientific endeavour. However, when the endeavour lacks any real basis in science and appears to be mere scaffolding in order to erect a façade of scientific respectability in pursuit of legitimising a lucrative protocol, I question why a peer reviewed journal such as Hormone Research would lend its name to the enterprise. The journal has nothing to gain but a tarnished reputation. The future clients of the Geier’s Lupron Protocol have potentially, a lot more to lose.

I urge you to read the extremely thorough critique of this new direction in autism treatment and its authors, by Ms Kathleen Seidel of http://www.neurodiversity.com/.

Yours sincerely


Blogger Kathleen Seidel said...

Great letter to the HR editor. Thanks for linking to me.

I especially liked the passage, "...the endeavour lacks any real basis in science and appears to be mere scaffolding in order to erect a façade of scientific respectability in pursuit of legitimising a lucrative protocol..."

One minor correction: As I understand it, it's David Geier who took those two biochemistry courses at GWU. His father earned a PhD in genetics at GWU back in 1973, and an MD five years after that.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Alyric said...


Thanks! I did give myself strict instructions not to get these two mixed up:) Ah well.

4:48 PM  

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