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Risky Autism Treatment Based on Unscientific Test Results

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network

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Chelation is perhaps the best know “alternative” therapy for Autism. Defeat Autism Now, an influential Autism advocacy group, calls the treatment “one of the most beneficial treatments for autism and related disorders.” Parents eagerly trade Chelation success stories on websites and chat rooms dedicated to the disorder. Chelation, as a treatment for autism and related disorders, has developed in response to the unproven supposition that Autism is tied to the accumulation of heavy metals, especially mercury, in the body. Treatment can vary considerably in its execution; forms include skin cream, pills, and even intravenous delivery of powerful medications designed to combat severe metal poisoning.

But skeptics argue that the test for heavy metals is itself faulty, as it is preceded by the delivery of a Chelating drug that causes the body to excrete heavy metals that naturally exist in the body. They argue that the Chelating drug actually increases the amount of trace metals found in the body, which are then “revealed” by the subsequent urine test. They further charge that the lab sends back results charted against a “normal” result that was obtained from someone who was never given the chelating drug.

Dr. Carl R. Baum, director of the Center for Children’s Environmental Toxicology at Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital says that that is not a scientifically valid way to run a test. The American College of Medical Toxicology has become alarmed by the widespread use of this test and has warned parents and physicians that the test is widely misunderstood. They charge that proponents of the therapy rely on anecdotal evidence and have never run a well-designed study on the practice. Further, Chelation therapy in itself can be very dangerous, leaching necessary metals from the body and possibly causing cognitive and emotional impairment.

Read more about the controversy at Chelation based on faulty premise.