The seekers: Why parents try fringe therapies for autism

Sounds like science:

The tricky thing about unproven treatments is that they sound scientific.

Take, for example, single-photon emission computed tomography, or SPECT. For around $3,500, Amen Clinics — brain health centers named for founder and doctor Daniel G. Amen — will scan a child’s brain to deliver an autism diagnosis and create targeted treatments. “We use brain SPECT scans plus clinical data to make diagnoses,” says Amen, adding that the clinics have scanned more than 1,000 people with autism.

Autism experts interviewed for this story say these scans are far from — and may never be — ready for use to diagnose autism. Some say it’s pretty much hocus-pocus. “These extremely expensive ‘evaluations,’ which are almost never covered by insurance, are best described as a scam perpetrated on families who are being preyed upon by false hopes,” says Columbia’s Veenstra-VanderWeele. Brain scans can’t reveal autism, because researchers

... read more at: