Should we really have called this off ?

Posted on Oct 27, 2008 in Heavy Metals

Today’s debate focuses on the governments decision to call of a study on a new treatment for autism.

An article in Medscape reports that The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) recently cancelled a study on a controversial alternative treatment for autism called chelation. Chelation, put simply, involves removing heavy metals from the blood usually by intravenous infusion.

NIMH’s rationale was that one of the treatments was linked to brain damage in rats and because there was no clear benefit to children the risks were deemed to be greater than the benefits.

Chelation therapy has been approved for 50 years to treat lead poisoning but has never been approved to treat autism.

This decision has many parents disappointed especially those that believe that their child’s autism was caused by mercury exposure due to vaccines. In fact one mother of an autistic child stated that she knew many children who’s symptoms have disappeared after the treatment.

On the flip side there has been one death reported with this controversial treatment although in this case an agent that is not widely used in children was involved.

NIMH argues that they would like to use their funds to study more conventional treatments to autism.

One of the authors said that these alternative therapies are so popular because there’s aren’t very many options offered by conventional medicine.

The author goes on to say that often very young children with symptoms of autism get better on their own so it is natural for parent’s who have pursued alternative treatments for their children to attribute the success to the treatment.