Given that Jeff Bradstreet recently died, under what seems to be tragic circumstances, we were unsure whether it was proper to post this already semi-prepared entry. We decided to go ahead – after all, Bradstreet’s claims still carry some weight in certain parts of the antivaxx communities, and ought to be exposed in the name of public good.
James Jeffrey Bradstreet was an (alternative) autism researcher and former Christian preacher who also ran the International Child Development Resource Center in Melbourne, Florida. Bradstreet did possess a medical degree an seems to have done some real research, though apparently he never quite understood that thing about proper protocols for hypothesis testing and the importance of using, you know, evidence to back up claims – he was, after all, currently also an adjunct professor of child development and neuroscience at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. That’s not an institution where claims are evaluated according to their foundations in evidence or reality.
His research on autism accordingly sought to blame vaccines. The fact that the hypothesis is as falsified as any scientific hypothesis can be apparently didn’t deter him. He didn’t even take the hint when his results were published in the legendary pseudo-journal Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (which is, needless to say, not indexed by PubMed). His research did not impress the Institute of Medicine.
Not deterred by falsification, Bradstreet went on to treat at least one autistic child with chelation therapy for an extended period of time – despite obvious lack of efficacy, obvious adverse effects, and the fact that the treatment was unwarranted even by Bradstreet’s own standards (tests showed that the kid’s mercury levels were normal). In addition to chelation, Bradstreet also promoted the use of intravenous immunoglobulin as an autism treatment (a treatment popularized in particular perhaps by Dan Rossignol, another autism crackpot), Gc-MAF (with which he claimed to have treated 600 children with), and stem cell therapy (“case reports have built an argument for supporting the reversibility of autism using immunological interventions” – in other words: despite a complete lack of actual evidence).
On the grounds that he possessed genuine credentials, Bradstreet was involved in the autism omnibus trial – both in treating several of the patients and as an expert witness (he has also testified before Congress in connection with some of Dan Burton’s many anti-vaccine efforts). The courts were not impressed with Bradstreet’s diagnoses and treatment regimes, but we doubt that ever deterred him. At least he continued to participate at the annual quackfest Autism One.
Diagnosis: One of the central characters in the anti-vaccine movement. After all, Bradstreet had credentials. That he rather obviously failed to understand much of the stuff he was supposed to learn in obtaining those credentials is apparently of little importance to his fans.