Lyme disease has no demonstrable link to autism. But Anjum “Anju” Usman, a doctor in Illinois, has some bizarre beliefs about autism. She was on the physician advisory board of the now-defunct Lyme-Induced Autism Foundation (LIAF).
In 2007, Usman coauthored, along with former ILADS president and fellow LIAF physician advisory board Robert Bransfield, a paper called “The association between tick-borne infections, Lyme borreliosis and autism spectrum disorders.” The paper was published in Medical Hypotheses, a journal notorious for promoting pseudoscience and quackery. Medical Hypotheses did not require peer review of submitted content until 2010, when policies were changed in response to uproar over publications promoting AIDS denialism.
Usman’s disturbing treatment of autistic children was described in reporting by the Chicago Tribune (see links below). The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation of the State of Illinois (IDFPR) eventually charged Usman in relation to her treatment of two autistic children, AC and RS.
Physician and surgeon license (036-083420) placed on indefinite probation for a minimum of one year and fined $10,000 for failure to disclose her financial interest in, treatment she recommended (hyperbaric chamber oxygen therapy), and for the compounding of medications that she prescribed to patients; failure to keep adequate medical records; and failure to obtain informed consent on certain treatments, including chelation therapy.
In 2016, Usman received a Public Reprimand from the Medical Board of California in relation to the 2014 disciplinary action.
In 2017, Usman was again disciplined and “fined $500 for failure to disclose formal complaints that had been violated by the Department.”
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Bransfield RC, Wulfman JS, Harvey WT, Usman AI. The association between tick-borne infections, Lyme borreliosis and autism spectrum disorders. Med Hypotheses. 2008;70(5):967-74.