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Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

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Saturday, 9 December 2017

I have written to the Society of Homeopaths about their members who are promoting CEASE therapy

Last updated: 12 September 2018, changelog is at the end

Below is a redacted version of the email I sent on 9 November 2017 to the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) about some of their registered members. These homeopaths are referencing a treatment whose name alone implies that it can treat autism - CEASE stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression. Some of them are making other claims about autism (and other conditions) too.

I am not sure what the SoH can do as it would seem a bit strange for them to ask people to stop using the name of the treatment (but I think it should be renamed), but I hope at least that they'll ask their members not to make other claims about autism at least.

After writing to the SoH I set up a tracker on each of the relevant pages (using https://www.changedetection.com/) which reports back to me if a page has been changed. So far only one page has been in any way amended.

The Society of Homeopaths' Register of homeopaths is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). Accreditation makes no consideration of the fact that homeopathy doesn't really work - yes it is quite an odd situation. The PSA is "just there to make sure that, if someone's practicing in one of these fields, they're meeting the standards that the body representing that field demands" - I suspect the homeopaths below are not doing that and they're overclaiming how they can help people with autism.

While there are some efforts ongoing to get this inexplicable accreditation rescinded my main interest is just in getting misleading health claims removed.

Please don't go looking up the homeopaths' details from the info below and hassling them. It's not really about individual homeopaths but about problems across the entire sector. There are plenty of people making similar claims, these are just some test cases.

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Hello

A number of your members seem to be implying on their websites that they are able to eliminate autism.

The use of the term 'CEASE', or worse, writing it out in full ("Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression") implies that autism can be 'stopped' or 'eliminated' by following the treatment protocol. This would seem to go against #41 and #47 of your 2015 code of ethics "...No promise of cure, either implicit or explicit, should be made of any named disease...". Also concerning is that some of these websites refer unhelpfully to mistaken anxieties about vaccination and autism. They also make claims about other named health conditions.

I hope that you will consider asking the following people to stop making these implied claims, particularly those about eliminating autism, and look forward to your reply.

Thank you
Jo

1. Homeopath One (homepage)

  • "I am a professionally trained classical Homoeopath and registered member of The Society of Homoeopaths." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
  • "CEASE THERAPY means COMPLETE ELIMINATION OF AUTISTIC SPECTRUM EXPRESSION." - claim remains in June 2018, July 2018
  • "The Second Component is ISOTHERAPY which is the homeopathic version of the specific obstacle to cure..." - claim remains in June 2018, July 2018
  • In the section "What can homeopathy be used for?" a shopping list of conditions is given, the most serious of which include asthma, psoriasis and bronchitis - surely these should be under the care of a GP? No mention is made on that page about seeking medical advice. 
    - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
December update: no change has been made
June 2018 update: still no change has been made - still SoH member, still claiming to eliminate autism
July 2018 update: as for June
    Homeopath Two (About Me page and another page on CEASE therapy)
    • "I am registered with The Society of Homeopaths, which is the largest organisation registering professional homeopaths in Europe. I practise in accordance with The Society’s Code of Ethics and Practice..." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
    • "I am one of the few specially trained and qualified homeopaths to offer CEASE Therapy (Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression) which is a very effective and safe way to treat conditions arising in Autistic spectrum. It combines homeopathy and nutritional supplements alongside a gentle, structured detoxification.  This protocol has been not only been successful in treating people on the Autistic Spectrum but also people suffering from a variety of other chronic conditions. For more information about CEASE click [redacted]." - text no longer has "Complete Elimination..." written out in full in June 2018 // As of July 2018 the new text now reads "I am a qualified CEASE practitioner and as such an specially trained and experienced in the use of protocols devised by the late Dr. Tinus Smits.  It was originally desiged to help children medically diagnosed with Autism but has been found to have a much wider use in practice".
      Linked above is [Homeopath 2]'s page about CEASE therapy [redacted link], there are some potentially problematic claims there too [this page was removed on or before June 2018]
      • "The treatment of Autism, Autistic Spectrum Diseases and other Modern Diseases with Homeopathy"
      • "The CEASE approach to treating autism…."
      • "[Tinus Smits - inventor of CEASE]...successfully treated over 300 autistic children, many of whom totally recovered from autism [emphasis added - what is this meant to imply if not that CEASE can help people 'recover from' autism?]. All of those treated saw improvements in their symptoms and consequently their quality of life and that of their families."
      • "The CEASE Therapy consists of systematic detoxification and elimination of causative factors that contribute to the illness, which can include vaccinations, medications, environmental toxins." - unhelpfully implying that autism might be linked with vaccinations
      • "Follow this link to Tinus Smit’s website to read about some of his successful cases: [Official CEASE Therapy website page on successful cases redacted]" - again it is difficult to see how anything other than a cure is implied by this web address and its framing in the text on this website
      December update: no change has been made
      June 2018 update: CEASE page has been removed, wording about it changed on About Me - still SoH member, amended claims about treating autism, now treating 'conditions arising IN autis[m]'. Removed text referring to CEASE in full. 
      July 2018 update: changes to the text in 'About Me', no return of removed page

      Homeopath Three (homepage)
      • "I am registered with the Society of Homeopaths..." - text was removed by Dec 2017
      • "I am also a qualified CEASE therapist. CEASE stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression and it is a step by step detox program using homeopathic remedies and supplements to remove the autistic qualities. You can read more about it here: [Official CEASE Therapy website redacted]" - other than writing out the term CEASE in full to imply the treatment can 'remove the autistic qualities' this website simply links to a separate website which is much more able to make claims than UK marketers are usually permitted. The linked website repeats the misinformation about links between vaccines and autism.
        - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
      December update: the reference to their registration with the Society of Homeopaths has been removed.
      June 2018 update: no change since December. Apparently no longer an SoH member (or still a member but no longer announcing that fact), still claiming to 'remove the autistic qualities' with CEASE. 
      July 2018 update: I have received confirmation from the Society of Homeopaths that this homeopath is no longer registered with them. Their misleading text remains.
        Homeopath Four (Qualifications page)
        • "...I am a fully insured member of the society of homeopaths, working to their strict code of ethics and best practice levels." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
        • "I am also qualified as a CEASE therapist. Cease stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression and therapy is an effective a way of treating autism through elimination of causative toxic exposures such as vaccines and regular medication." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018, Sep 2018 (how hard would it be to not imply that CEASE can treat autism?)
        Another page on this site [redacted link] says
        • "I BELIEVE HOMEOPATHY TO BE THE MOST POWERFUL AND BALANCING FORM OF MEDICINE AVAILABLE. IT GETS TO THE ROOT OF AN ILLNESS TO ENABLE A LASTING CURE." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
        • Below that is a section on "conditions that patients have consulted" the homeopath for which include a number of serious ones such as psoriasis, herpes, thyroid problems and endometriosis. - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
        December update: no change has been made
        June 2018 update: no change. Still an SoH member, still claiming to 'treat' autism, and linking it to vaccination.
        July 2018 update: as June 2018.
          Homeopath Five
          • "I am registered with the Society of Homeopaths..." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
          • "I am a certified "Cease Therapist" treating children with Autism and Autism Spectrum problems." - text remains in June 2018, July 2018
          December update: no change has been made
          June 2018 update: no change. Still an SoH member, still claiming to treat children with autism.
          July 2018 update: as June 2018.

          changelog



          Edit: 5 Jan 2018 - while looking up the tweet sent to me by UKHomeopathyReg (see comment below post) I spotted that s/he had just published another post today about the SoH which is pretty interesting: Antipathy Towards the Advertising Standards Authority #3

          Regarding the post above, I'm not sure what to do next - hardly any no text has changed seven two months on, people who are members of the SoH are still making these claims about autism.


          Edit: 28 Feb 2018 - the Professional Standards Authority, who accredit the Society of Homepaths' register has taken some rather positive action on this matter.

          Edit 2 June 2018 - the Society of Homeopaths (SoH) has now published its position statement on its members marketing and use of CEASE therapy. The news item implies that CEASE is a powerful detoxing tool (oh dear) but the actual statement says that members should not claim to treat autism and it looks like they're not allowed to write out the full name of the treatment either. I've also re-checked the website of each homeopath below again and provided an update.

          Edit 15 July 2018 - I did another sweep / check before writing back to the SoH. I've also created a new Wikipedia page on CEASE therapy.




          1 comment:

          1. UKHomeopathyReg has replied to me on Twitter indicating that s/he has also raised this with the SoH but not heard back (I did have an acknowledgement). They also highlight that there could be safeguarding issues - children with autism are vulnerable and the homeopaths treating them may not be DRB-checked (something their society could do for them). I'm assuming that their insurance covers their 'treatment' of people with autism but have no idea if it does, original tweet here https://twitter.com/UKHomeopathyReg/status/939871489721077760

            ReplyDelete

          Comment policy: I enthusiastically welcome corrections and I entertain polite disagreement ;) Because of the nature of this blog it attracts a LOT - 5 a day at the moment - of spam comments (I write about spam practices,misleading marketing and unevidenced quackery) and so I'm more likely to post a pasted version of your comment, removing any hyperlinks.

          Comments written in ALL CAPS LOCK will be deleted and I won't publish any pro-homeopathy comments, that ship has sailed I'm afraid (it's nonsense).