Autism is a often claimed by Chiropractic practitioners as something they can treat through spinal manipulations; and while there is no robust evidence for this, nothing stops them from trying to make up conclusions about research papers.
Case in point is below, where an Autism Research who presented a hypothesis caught wind of a Chiropractor using his research to validate his Chiropractic Treatments.
I’m famous. Well, sort of. Earlier this week, one of my colleagues sent me a link to a YouTube video in which chiropractic doctor David Sullivan discusses one of my papers on autism and how it influences his “evidence based practice”.
Our paper was called “The temporal binding deficit hypothesis of autism” and came out in the journal Development and Psychopathology nine years ago (now there’s a scary thought). In it we suggested that autism might be caused, at least in part, by a reduced interaction between different brain regions.
We didn’t show anything; there was no evidence, no data; we had an idea and ran with it. As it happens, there have since been a number of studies suggesting that autistic brains on the whole are less well-connected than your average brain.
Different studies find that different neural pathways are disconnected. Some studies even suggest heightened connectivity. And while there’s lots of evidence for abnormal brain oscillations, look more closely and the actual pattern of abnormality isn’t very consistent. Another big problem is that evidence for abnormal brain connectivity has been found for umpteen other disorders that are quite different to autism. And there’s a fairly compelling counter-argument that anomalous brain connections might be a consequence of autism rather than its cause.
Last time I checked, autism wasn’t considered to be a form of back problem. Sullivan doesn’t provide any evidence that chiropractic is a suitable treatment. He doesn’t explain how it might be beneficial, even in theory. More to the point, he doesn’t elaborate on how the insights gained from our paper are at all relevant to his practice.