Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Federal Study on Chelation?

I was surprised to read this today from AP:

Government researchers are pushing to test an unproven treatment on autistic children, a move some see as unethical. The treatment is chelation. It removes metals from the body and is based on the fringe theory that the mercury preservative once used in childhood vaccines triggers autism. That theory has been rejected by mainstream science.

Dr. Thomas Insel is the head of the National Institute of Mental Health. He supports testing chelation on children provided the tests are safe. He's heard from many parents who
believe it works. For now, the study is on hold because of safety concerns.

Christina Blakey, a mother from Oak Park, uses chelation and a special diet with her 8-year-old son. She applauds the government study. She says chelation has helped her son's autism symptoms. (Christina is one of the people who invited me to the Autism One Conference this summer!)

Here's a doctor who thinks chelation is a bad idea.

Here is a doctor who believes in chelation for some kids.

What do you think about this? What does it mean for kids with autism?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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3 comments:

dayoub said...

The debate presented in Jen's column included a position statement from Quackwatch PhD (not a medical physician) Saul Green, so the expertise is unknown. I was unable to find a single paper on PubMed from "Dr" Green. Since this is apparently an important litmus test that one local Pekin pediatrician adheres to, Dr Saul Green has no credibility, or at least unknown credibility. According to one website, Dr Saul has had a letter published in Good Housekeeping and published several "Online" papers.
Dr Green's partner and Quackwatch founder, Stephen Barrett has been in legal trouble for a variety of issues, is not a licensed physician and their website has been found to be a front to attack alternative therapies. HE has lost several court cases for a variety of illegal activities. Don't take my word for it:

http://www.worldchiropracticalliance.org/tcj/2001/sep/sep2001b.htm

http://www.drday.com/rumors/stephen_barrett_comments.htm

http://www.foundationforhealthchoice.com/barrett_release.htm

http://www.foundationforhealthchoice.com/victory_barett.html

The discussion of chelation therapy should be a serious one, and I do not mean to make light of it. Allowing an illegitimate organization like Quackwatch to enter the debate is counterproductive. I am not an expert on chelation, but for professionals unfamiliar with the therapy, i suggest a review of the extensive literature. This one of the safest forms of medical therapy.

A pubmed search using "chelation" indicates 7,406 papers. "EDTA chelation" -884 papers, DMSA chelation-108 papers, DMPS-54 papers, and many more agents.
Chelation is used TODAY for a variety of conditions, including metal toxicity (aluminum, lead, mercury), iron overload Thalassemia, etc), and other conditions. The safety of chelation is consistently demonstrated in several large series, the majority reporting minimal, or no side effects.

The widely publicized report of 3 chelation deaths from EDTA in autistics, as far as i know, as never been reported in a peer reviewed paper, so it is hard to make conclusions from these obviously rare reports. Importantly, the WRONG drug was given in each case, so a medical error was the cause of death, not a complication of the correct therapy. Medical errors are responsible for 7000 annual deaths, so lets not act as if these 3 are the only ones that exist! please.

I urge professionals not to blindly accept the comments of the AAP, CDC or FDA who all hold responsibility for allowing this epidemic of vaccine injury to continue unabated. The peer review literature offers a diverse database of many studies. Regards to autism and chelation, I suggest this paper from the Autism Research Institute:
http://www.autismwebsite.com/ARI/treatment/chelationsafety.htm
http://www.autism.com/ari/editorials/ed_chelationoverview.htm

and especially their consensus opinion paper on chelation:

http://www.autism.com/triggers/vaccine/mercurydetox.htm

d ayoub, md

Knight in Dragonland said...

I find it interesting when a radiologist claiming expertise in the fields of vaccinology and autism - two areas of study COMPLETELY out of his realm of expertise - then nitpicks about someone else's credentials.

I'm of two minds regarding this bit of news. First, I roll my eyes. Yes, I'm sure Dr. Ayoub's PubMed numbers are correct ... there are many studies published regarding chelation therapy. NONE of them, however, show that chelation therapy is effective for the treatment of autism.

The entire underlying theory that heavy metal toxicity contributes to autism has never been demonstrated. In fact, the preponderance of evidence points to the exact opposite conclusion. I have trouble supporting the idea of a chelation therapy study when the entire underlying theory is complete bunk.

However, another part of me believes that this will be a good thing. Let's do it. Let's do a randomized, double-blinded controlled trial with chelation therapy under carefully controlled and monitored conditions to insure safety. Let's prove that chelation therapy is complete voodoo, a waste of time and resources. Let's place yet another nail in the coffin of the theory that heavy metal toxicity is related to autism. Let's unmask these vile chelation quacks who are swindling the desperate parents of autistic children for their own selfish gain.

newsanchormom.com said...

How often does the federal government spend money on research it doesn't believe in? It seems like there's something wrong with that concept with the state of the economy. I wonder how much these types of studies cost? I am not saying I believe or don't believe in chelation therapy. I have no idea whether it works. The way the study was presented to the public just seems odd.

 
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