Since Sam Wessels was diagnosed with autism at age 2, doctors have offered his mother a litany of drugs for the boy from Prozac and Ritalin to Metadate CD and Strattera, commonly used to treat ADHD. Other "alternative" medicine pitches have included special diets and even nicotine.
"This is the best you can do?" Sam's mother Lin Wessels wondered. Wessels, like many parents, has waded through a lot of legitimate ? but much more illegitimate ? research on therapies in the struggle with autism, which affects 1 in 110 children and has no cure. She eventually came to embrace a drug, Lupron, prescribed by a Maryland doctor who now faces disciplinary action related to his autism treatments. Beginning Friday, an administrative law judge will hear an appeal from her doctor, Mark Geier, MD, whose license was suspended in April by the Maryland Board of Physicians for putting autistic children at risk. The panel charged Geier, who runs a chain of clinics, with misrepresenting his credentials and misdiagnosing too many autistic children with "precocious," or early, puberty and prescribing Lupron.