In a rebuke to parents across the country who have expressed concern that the mercury used as a preservative in vaccines is connected to autism, the National Institute of Mental Health has called off a study aimed at evaluating an alternative medicine treatment .
The National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, said in a statement on Wednesday that it has canceled a study aimed at assessing the effectiveness of a treatment called chelation.
Chelation is a type of therapy in which an …amino acid, called EDTA, is added to the blood. It was developed during World War I and has been used to treat poisoning by various heavy metals including, lead, mercury and arsenic.
The controversy surrounding the mercury-autism connection has been raging for over a decade which caused removal of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal from vaccines in 2001. Many across the country though, believe that this connection has not been thoroughly refuted
Chelation is commonly used in alternative medicine to treat heart disease and autism. Healing-Arts.org recommends a course of treatment for autism that includes both dietary changes and chelation therapy. For advocates of exploring all possible options, as well as, parents and patients, dismissing the impact of chelation therapy is causing concern about the cancellation of this study.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The chelation study would have used a drug called DMSA, a form of which is sold as succimer or Chemet. A study, published in 2006, found that the drug did improve cognitive function in rodents with lead poisoning; but the study also found that the drug caused cognitive problems in rodents that hadn’t been exposed to lead.
Connecting the dots, the study was cancelled because it was based on the theory that the lead content in the mercury-based preservative, thimerosal may be a cause of autism.
Reject the theory and there’s no reason to study a treatment.
I have a number of friends with children on the autism spectrum, many of them in Western medicine professions and, they like I wonder if we are, perhaps being too hasty in dismissing the connection out of hand. The NIH contends that the money to be spent on the study would be better used testing other potential therapies for autism and related disorders.
What do you think?
Photo Credit: Zaldyimg at Flickr Under Creative Commons License
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