Physicians are trained to seek specific evidence to support medical interventions, but often that evidence is incomplete or inconsistent, particularly with regard to some of the developmental disorders.

“These are chronic disorders where we don’t fully understand the underlying cause, so there are a lot of theories about causes and treatments developed from these theories, which some people present as fact and not as theory in process,” said Susan E. Levy, M.D., FAAP, section chief of the division of child development and rehabilitation of Children’s Seashore House, Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia.

Dr. Levy and Susan Hyman, M.D., FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital at Strong, have been researching the scientific basis for less-than-proven interventions — both mainstream and alternative — for developmental disorders. They’ve jointly presented several seminars on this topic, in which they review and debate the evidence for current...

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