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Friday, April 25, 2014

FDA Panel Would Ban Aversive Devices

John M. Grohol writes at PsychCentral:
America is one of the few countries where you can provide an electrical shock to a child and still call it “therapy.” Aversive therapy, to be specific.
It is a treatment so out of the mainstream of modern treatment that it is used by only one treatment center in the entire United States, the Judge Rotenberg Center in Massachusetts. It is an inhumane treatment used with little research evidence to support its long-term use or value.
And finally, after its use for decades, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Neurological Devices Panel on Thursday recommended their ban.
We’ve previously discussed the abuse and misuse of these devices, officially called Graduated Electronic Decelerators (GEDs). One former patients was able to make a simple phone call and impersonate a staffer, resulting in the shock of two other patients 100 times. This horrific incident resulted in Rotenberg’s founder, Matthew Israel, to step down. Then videos were released of the form of “treatment” Rotenberg regularly employs — shocking children into compliance.
The entire world looks upon the U.S.’s allowance of these devices to be used as a form of “treatment” on developmentally disabled children and teens in disgust.
After a hearing on Thursday reviewing all of the data and scant scientific evidence that exists for use of these devices, the Neurological Devices Panel of the FDA finally agreed. They recommended to the FDA that the use of the devices be banned in the U.S. While the FDA doesn’t have to follow the panel’s recommendations, they usually do.
Here is the report.