Skeptic News: Chelation Does More Harm Than Good For Autistic Kids

From: Science 2.0

Chelation, the controversial treatment for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is not only ineffective but may be harmful, according to a study conducted by Baylor University researchers.

Chelation attempts to eliminate metals such as mercury from the body. In one example mentioned in the research, “a 5-year-old with ASD died from cardiac arrest caused by hypocalcemia while receiving intravenous chelation.” And, a 2008 clinical study of chelation treatment for autism was suspended due to potential safety risks associated with chelation.

The authors reviewed the research findings of five published studies on chelation. In the studies, 82 participants ages 3 to 14 received chelation treatment ranging from one to seven months. Of the five studies, four showed mixed results—some positive and negative outcomes for each of the study participants—and one study showed all positive results. But after closer review, they found “methodological weaknesses” in the studies.

“The chemical substances used in chelation treatment have a myriad of potentially serious side effects such as fever, vomiting, hypertension, hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias and hypocalcemia, which can cause cardiac arrest,” said Tonya N. Davis, Ph.D., assistant professor of educational psychology in Baylor’s School of Education and co-author of the study. “Chelation therapy represents the ‘cart before the horse’ scenario where the hypothesis supporting the use of chelation was not validated prior to using it as a form of treatment. Evidence does not support the hypothesis that ASD symptoms are associated with specific levels of metals in the body.”

Ultimately, Davis found that the research studies did not support the use of chelation as alternative medicine proponents like Joseph Mercola have claimed and were “insufficient, which is the lowest level of certainty.”

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One Response to Skeptic News: Chelation Does More Harm Than Good For Autistic Kids

  1. Autism is a tragic failure of brain development. Chelation is a violent interference with the body’s basic biochemistry. I can understand the readiness of parents of autistic children to believe that the condition has an identifiable cause, implying a credible intervention, but with the exception of some kinds of gross heavy metal poisoning I see no way in which chelation therapy could do anything but harm.

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