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Chicago Native Pushes Autism 'Cure' That Doctors Say Is Toxic

By Jim Bochnowski in News on May 19, 2015 7:20PM

Chicago native Kerri River has set off a firestorm as she comes back to the city to speak about the benefits of what she calls a "miracle drug" that she claims can cure autism.

The drug was invented by Jim Humble, the founder of the "Genesis II Church of Health and Healing," who calls the chlorine dioxide solution a "Miracle Mineral Solution," or MMS. He claims it can cure a host of diseases, including HIV, malaria, hepatitis and autism. He also claims that he is a billion-year-old man from the Andromeda galaxy in some of his videos, but that is neither here nor there.

His church's website is a real trip, by the way. Like any good religious institution, the website has a very clear disclaimer that warns, "The reader accepts 100 percent responsibility for any and all use made of any information herein," which really makes me believe in those miracle healing powers.

The main focus of the church seems to be a massive marketing campaign for MMS, and the website more or less solely consists of poorly edited videos rebutting attacks by "scientists" about the actual healing property of his miracle cure.

So what sort of attacks do Chicago's resident medical buzzkills have against this drug? As Dr. Karl Scheidt, director of the Center for Molecular Innovation and Drug Discovery at Northwestern University, told NBC5: "It's an industrial chemical. I would say it would be incredibly dangerous for anyone to ingest this, much less a child."

Of course, this is nothing new. Autism is not a "curable" disease in the traditional sense of the word, although there are approved medications to treat symptoms of autism. But that has not stopped all kinds of pseudo-scientists from trotting out drugs to take advantage of struggling parents hoping for a cure.

Last year, during national autism month, the FDA issued a warning for consumers to be on the lookout for "miracle" cures" and to report them to the agency right away for possible legal action. In fact, the FDA specifically singled out MMS, saying that many consumers who took the drug experienced "nausea, severe vomiting and life-threatening low blood pressure" after taking the drug.

But that hasn't stopped Rivera from peddling the hell out of the drug. Although she says she has distanced herself from Humble (even though his name appears on the front of her book), she claims to have sold tens of thousands of copies of a book extolling the virtue of MMS.

She is currently scheduled to speak at the Autism One conference at the Loews Chicago O'Hare hotel on Saturday, which bills itself as a "nonprofit, parent-driven organization that provides education and supports advocacy efforts for children and families touched by an autism diagnosis." She will give a speech that will provide "a brief explanation of the protocol that has helped 163 children (as of January 2015) lose a diagnosis of autism." Already, a Facebook event has popped up with about two dozen people pledging to go to the event to protest Rivera, and a petition to stop her from speaking has over 1,000 signatories.