Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of an autism diagnosis is the uncertainty over the cause and the lack of a guaranteed cure. As a result there are many theories regarding the cause and one theory that seems to have taken hold is autism may be the result of heavy metal poisoning or the body's inability to process eliminate heavy metals effectively. This theory has lead to many debates about the effective of Chelation and autism symptom improvements.
Because of the belief that excess heavy metals in the body may contribute to autism symptoms, a process called Chelation, which removes excess toxic metals from the body, has gained in popularity.
Chelation is carried out using a series of drugs that aim to cleanse the body of excess metals in the hope that this will lead to an improvement in symptoms and in some cases, reverse the effects of autism. This process has it's detractors who argue that it is a flawed theory that does not work, and even worse, that there can be many harmful side effects when carried out.
In 2005 a child near Pittsburgh, PA died at age five as a result of an injection of EDTA (ethylenediamminetetraacetate), as part of the Chelation process. The official cause of death was cardiac arrest after this drug was administered. The doctor involved was charged with involuntary manslaughter earlier this year. This has raised some red flags to those wondering if Chelation is safe and effective.
Chelation is not a recognized treatment for autistic children and adults. Though the US Food and Drug Administration have approved Chelation for heavy metal poisonings, it has not been officially approved as a treatment for autism. This therapy option supports the belief that mercury is the reason for autism.
On the flip side of the coin, there are many who say that Chelation has been effective in reducing their children's autism symptoms and they remain convinced that heavy metal poisoning is the root cause of autism in their child.
Though Chelation can be carried out intravenously, as was the case with the child who died, most practitioners chose to use oral doses or a cream that can be rubbed into the skin. 2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (SMSA) and is taken orally and is the drug of choice in America for heavy metal poisoning offering the best safety and effectiveness record.
The drugs used in the process wrap around the excess metals in the body and they are then excreted. Due to their sulfurous nature the urine generally has an unpleasant smell. There are also some potential side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and skin rashes. There is also the risk of liver or bone marrow damage from prolonged treatment so careful monitoring is required.
This is a procedure that works well for heavy metal poisoning, but until it is not yet been studied and approved as a treatment to tackle autism. If you are interested in knowing more about Chelation and autism speak to your doctor for a referral to a medical professional experienced in this procedure.