Is Chelation a Cure?
The words people choose to use are sometimes if not often very telling. Controlled studies are to be done on the use of Chelation Therapy as an autism treatment, now there is some controversy over this, as chelation is a treatment for heavy metal poisoning, which has not been linked as a cause for autism except in the mind of the anti-vaccination crowd.
I support this research for the reason that parents are desperate to do something with their autistic child that some parentsif not many will likely engage in chelation therapy. We should study it to be better inform these parents, however there are people who think the risks in conducting a study are too great.
Others say it would be unethical, even if it proves chelation doesn’t work.
Federal research agencies must “bring reason to science” without “catering to a public misperception,” said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and author of an upcoming book on autism research. “Science has been trumped by politics in some ways.”
We demand evidence to base claims and treatment on and we must be held to the same standard when we discount a treatment. Yes, I grant the unstated major premise for this is heavy metal causes autism and the medical community sees chelation as something that should not be used unless you have heavy metal poisoning and there is no link to this and autism, but that will not stop parents from trying this to with their children. Many parents have already bought in to the the idea that vaccines have caused their child’s autism. Parents have become mistrusting of the medical community and are willing to try anything. This study needs to be done to help combat the problem of anecdotal evidence and confirmation bias where parents only hear the positive reports or see the improvements they are looking for. We need to do this study to determine any efficacy chelation therapy has on an autistic child even if it is none, but certainly there will be side effect and what those side effects both short and long term.
That brings me to how I find the choice of words telling… no one to my knowledge is claiming chelation is curing autism, they will say things like it “saved” my child… but it didn’t cure them, I find this telling in that if it didn’t cure them it means their autism symptoms were somewhat relieved and some parents even claim to a great degree but their child is still autistic, so how much did they actually improve and how much is this just parents seeing what they want to see.
I support this research, I don’t have high hopes that this will be shown effective but that is exactly why we need evidence based treatment because we need to be certain and have the evidence to show parents that this is effective or not and what the risks are, even when the premise for this treatment is as faulty or unfounded as it is here… people by our nature want to believe in miracles they want the anecdotal evidence to be true. We have a responsibility through evidence based medicine to provide those answers and the details that support it the conclusion of the research.
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