The flavor of the month is calcium

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every new month, parents of children with autism are presented a new treatment to try on their children. This month’s treatment is: Natural Calcium Supplements.

I have no issue with the theory that calcium is very important for the body in a variety of ways. In fact, a recent
report on the importance of calcium was published earlier this year. The issue in this case is with a) how this theory is being tested, and b) who is doing the testing.

The theory put forth by this group of proponents is that a daily recommended dose of
calcium from natural coral will improve a child with autism’s focus, sleep patterns, general improvement and decrease the amount of self-stimulatory behavior. These researchers have done a study on calcium for those of us who are skeptical. Unfortunately, this study has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal on nutrition, medicine or psychiatry; rather, the study has been published in an education journal whose target audience is action research for elementary and secondary school educators. This is akin to the Journal of Aromatherapy doing a study on bipolar disorder -- clearly out of their league.

There are a large number of flaws with this study; I will mention only two of them here. First, everyone knew which group the child was assigned to, and second, the results were partially based on parental reporting
(which should never be allowed). In fact, it was reported in the study that parents of the group that took the calcium supplements took the supplements themselves and reported feeling better as well.

Now that this month’s new treatment has been introduced, I can’t wait to see what November brings.