The Sun's Shadow

Stumbling to find a light switch in the dark

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.


July 10, 2008 - Posted by | Medicine, Science |


  1. […] Is Chelation a Cure?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 …Thethyme's –|||Should We Study Chelation for Autism?The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) supports doing a study on the effects of oral chelation therapy in autism. The proposal is highly controversial, is drawing criticism from many scientists, but has popular support among …Science-Based Medicine –|||Chelation study to be ‘released’?On one hand, it would put to rest once and for all the issue of whether chelation benefits autistic children (except it won’t. When it finds chelation does nothing it will simply be attacked as crap by the anti-vaccine/autism groups). …Left Brain/Right Brain –|||Lead chelation treatment for autism?Parents push for chelation study. "Pressured by desperate parents, government researchers are pushing to test an unproven treatment on autistic children, a move some scientists see as an unethical experiment in voodoo medicine," wrote …Julie's Health Club –|||Chelation and autism in TimeSeveral times the writer highlights the lack of evidence for chelation as beneficial to autistic people. There is a quote from a believer mum, who reckons chelation helped her five year old son settle at school, followed up with; …The Voyage –|||Newsweek Article Highlights Chelation StudyChelation therapy, as discussed in this article, is a series of intravenous infusions containing disodium EDTA and various other substances. It is sometimes done by swallowing EDTA or other agents in pill form. …Mutterings Of A Mindless Mommy –|||AP: Feds may test chelation therapy against autism. Some say huh?The Tracker does not believe things have so changed – since he was a regular on the medical beat – that this rule of thumb needs adjustment: If a doc says he or she plans chelation therapy for anything but acute heavy metal toxicity, …Knight Science Journalism Tracker –|||NIMH Supports Testing Chelation on Autistic ChildrenIn today's news I learned that the head of the National Institutite of Mental Health supports testing chelation on autistic kids. That's right. America's top mental health guy thinks it's a good idea to test an unproven, crackpot, …Skepticat's Litter Box –|||Parents push for federal study of chelation to treat autismThe process, called chelation, is used to treat lead poisoning. Studies of adults have shown it to be ineffective unless there are high levels of metals in the blood. Any study in children would have to exclude those with high levels of …Media dis&dat –|||Medical ethics, children, and chelation therapy for autism …Handley's all in a lather because the Associate Press published a story yesterday about a proposed NIH-sponsored clinical trial of chelation therapy for autism entitled Fringe autism treatment could get federal study. …ScienceBlogs : Combined Feed – project runway season 1 […]

    Pingback by chelation | Start a new day | July 10, 2008 | Reply

  2. Chelation may help some with mitochondrial disease. Fathering babies in ones 20s to very early 30s will prevent non-familial autism if the family is without autoimmune disorders. Around 25 is the best time to become parents for the sake of the health of the child.

    Comment by Les Feldman | July 10, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the post

    Comment by Exenianisse | August 2, 2008 | Reply

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