Quackery Exposed: Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) for Autism





What is IVIG?

Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) is intravenous immunoglobulin is and approved treatment for various immune deficiencies. IVIG is a purified form of blood plasma of a healthy human donor. It is normally delivered in a slow intravenous drip via an intravenous catheter. Each donation is from the combined plasma 3,000 to 10,000 blood donors. It is purified to contain more than 90% antibodies. IVIG preparations are carefully screened during purification to detect and eliminate viral infections that could be transmitted through infusion. It is, however, impossible to eliminate all possible viral infections from IVIG. 

The exact mechanism of action of IVIG is unknown by which IVIG benefits autoimmune disease. It is likely that there are multiple mechanisms of actions that may be specific per condition. 

Conditions it Treats

  • Kawaski disease
  • immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP)
  • pemphigus vulgaris
  • various autoimmune neurologic conditions
  • dermatomyositis
  • some forms of vasculitis

Side Effects:

  • Possibility of a transmitted disease
  • headache
  • chills
  • fever
  • muscle pain
  • chest discomfort
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • blood clots
  • kidney injury
  • skin reactions

IVIG for Autism

It is believed by the people who think IVIG will cure autism that autism has a underling biomedical etiology in autistic children  and needs further investigation. They believe that genetic disorders related to epigenetic and transposon activity may lead to multiple system disease in children. One of these associations is the high incidence of immunological abnormalities and autoimmune disease in autistic children. 

Related to this belief, there were two studies conducted. 

Study 1

The first one was conducted in 2006 in Long Island, NY.  It was an open clinical trial where IVIG was administered to 10 children aged 3-12 at a dose of 400 mg per kg for four week intervals for 6 months. Prior to this study these children were subjected to gluten free/ casein free diets, ABA, speech and occupational therapy. They were not showing satisfactory improvement, according to their parents.  There were evaluations from the IV infusion nurse, physician, parents, behavioral and speech therapists that showed improvement in the participants. 

In this study the parents completed the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC)  2-4 weeks before their children received their first dose. They completed it 1 week after each treatment. This is how the people conducting the study based their findings on. A parent checklist is not a method of obtaining empirical data. This is not a scientific study where scientific data is collected. 

Study 2

This study is conducted under the belief that identification of brain targeted antibodies in autistic children raises the possibility of autoimmune encephalopathy and that there is an overlap between autism and PANDAS and PANS by Richard Frye, a MAPS doctor,  and some of his associates. They were testing the effectiveness of IVIG for AIG in autistic children. 31 children received IVIG from the study. The ABC and Social Responsiveness (RSR) scale were completed before and during the treatment.  

This study also depended on parents completing checklists instead of compiling empirical data. They did do laboratory testing to makes sure the blood had normal levels but they measured success with the parent checklists. Parent checklists are anecdotal evidence at best and is not measurable in a scientific study. This study was published in Translational Psychiatry, a pseudoscience journal. It is owned by Nature.com


IVIG is not approved for autism. There is no evidence it "treats" autism. These quacks need to stop experimenting on kids. 

Sources:
https://www.rheumaderm-society.org/ivig/
https://thestaracademy.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Boris-and-Goldblatt-IVIG-Autism.pdf
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6086890/

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