Thursday, October 3, 2019

Quackery Exposed: Chelation Therapy

Chelation therapy involves administration of agents to remove heavy metals from the blood. These metals are mercury, lead, aluminum and arsenic. It is usually done by intravenous infusions, but not all the time.

It is a valid therapy for lead poisoning or any condition similar. It is not approved for the treatment of autism but many parents do seek out this treatment to try to help their children.  They believe these that these are the toxins that cause children to be autistic. It has been scientifically disproved repeatedly.

The concept of chelation therapy comes from the belief that autism is caused by mercury exposure from vaccines. This is an unproven treatment and it is extremely dangerous. So dangerous, the clinical trials in 2008 of the treatment were canceled by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) due to "more than minimal risk." It showed in lab rats, it caused brain damage. "The Board deterimined that there was no clear evidence for direct benefit to children who would participate in the chelation trial and that the study presents more than a minimal risk."

Of course, TACA was in favor of the trial. Rebecca Estepp from TACA said,"Our phones have been ringing off the hook since this got announced. . . We are dumbfounded and saddened that this study of a promising autism treatment will not happen. The government pulled the rug out from under us with no explanation."

They did explain. It is not safe.  Estepp claims that she knows thousands of children who improved "symptoms" after chelation therapy. "Do we have to have thousands more before they take us seriously? When does anecdotal evidence get so large that they have to listen to us?"

TACA obviously is not looking at the danger. The ends does not justify the means.

TACA does push this therapy on their website. They continue to push their conspiracy theory:

"Although many mainstream “authorities” will only suggest chelation therapy as an active treatment if a heavy metal level is extremely high in the blood (which is the only way that they determine “toxicity”) and will often just look to minimize the exposure by identifying the source, many more progressive physicians recognize that the longer these toxins are in the body, the more damage that they will cause. Bottom line: There is no safe amount of mercury or lead in the body, and all efforts should be made to both minimize exposure and to remove these toxins as fast as possible."

"An interesting observation made by physicians who work with children undergoing chelation is that there is no single chelating agent or route of administration that is superior. One patient may show the most excretion with DMPS, while the next person will excrete more with DMSA or CaNa2EDTA. And one person may excrete more metal using oral chelation, and another may excrete more using suppositories, even when using the same agent and the same dose. Often a series of challenges is performed with different agents and routes, and the one that is chosen for ongoing detoxification therapy is the one that brings the most metal excretion with the least (if any) side effects."

No single chelation agent that is effective. There is an experiment being done on these children. In the early stages in the clinical trial, rats were suffering from brain damage due to these agents. They are not listening to themselves talk. What they are advocating for is extremely dangerous. Do they hate autistic people that much? 

There has been one death in 2005. There was a five year old boy who was treated with it and died following treatment. It was administered by Dr. Roy Kerry. He was charged with the death of Abubakar Tariq Nadama. He was administered chelation in the doctor's office. He voluntarily surrendered his licence in 2008. The charges were dropped, but the state medical board suspended his license for six months, with two and a half years probation.

 There was a lawsuit drawn up by another father against the doctors that administered the chelation therapy.This was a seven year old.  This therapy was without scientific benefit. The father's name was James Coman and he brought Dr. Daniel Rossignol to court over the treatment of his son. According to the father,"Its fraud, pure and simple, and they made a lot of money off my family and they're making a lot of money off other families."

Dr Usman and Rossigol were part of a group called Defeat Autism Now, which was part of the Autism Research Institute. They advocate for biomedical treatments which can be very dangerous.

According to the lawsuit, there was also over 30 different vitamin supplements in addition to the intravenous chelation therapy. It was done 37 times.

The father states,"I wasn't fully aware of the extent of the treatments, and when i researched the treatments online, I found that there was a very strong consensus that the treatments are not valid for autism. My son does not have heavy metal poisoning. I am not a doctor, so I do not know any of the details, but as far as I can tell and from what the doctors have told me, this is not a valid treatment for autism."

Dr. Wax, a toxicologist from Texas, says that many labs use chelation improperly. "Chelation can be dangerous if its not used in the right circumstances. Since there's no scientific justification for it . . . my group really frowns upon the use of chelation in this setting."


sources:
https://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/news/20080918/chelation-study-autism-called-off#1

https://tacanow.org/family-resources/chelation-and-autism/

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/TheLaw/doctors-sued-autism-chelation-therapy/story?id=10045951




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