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Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/autism-treatment/AN01488
- With Mayo Clinic emeritus consultant
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.read biographyclose window
Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.Jay Hoecker, M.D.
Dr. Jay Hoecker, an emeritus member of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, brings valuable expertise to health information content on primary care pediatrics. He has a particular interest in infectious diseases of children.
He's a Fort Worth, Texas, native, certified as a pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He was trained at Washington University's St. Louis Children's Hospital, and in infectious diseases at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has been with Mayo Clinic since 1989.
"The World Wide Web is revolutionizing the availability and distribution of information, including health information about children and families," Dr. Hoecker says. "The evolution of the Web has included greater safety, privacy and accuracy over time, making the quality and access to children's health information immediate, practical and useful. I am happy to be a part of this service to patients from a trusted name in medicine, to use and foster all the good the Web has to offer children and their families."
Risk factors (1)
- Paternal age: How does it affect a baby?
Treatments and drugs (2)
- Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help?
- Autism treatment: Can special diets help?
Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help?
Is chelation therapy an effective autism treatment?
from Jay L. Hoecker, M.D.
Chelation therapy is not an effective autism treatment, and it may be dangerous.
Some doctors and parents have considered chelation therapy as a potential autism treatment. Proponents believe that autism is caused by mercury exposure, such as from childhood vaccines. Chelation therapy supposedly removes mercury from the body, which chelation supporters say cures autism — but there's no evidence of a link between mercury exposure and autism. In addition, chelation therapy can be associated with serious side effects, including potentially deadly liver and kidney damage.
There's no cure for autism. As a result, many unproven alternative therapies are often suggested. However, these alternative therapies are usually found to be ineffective and sometimes harmful.
Consult your family doctor if you're considering an alternative autism treatment. He or she can help you identify the treatments that are most likely to be effective, as well as local resources that may provide support.Next question
Autism treatment: Can special diets help?
- Chelation treatment for children with autism. Association for Science in Autism Treatment. http://www.asatonline.org/helpdesk/articles/chelation.htm. Accessed Sept. 20, 2010.
- Stokstad E. Stalled trial for autism highlights dilemma of alternative treatments. Science. 2008;321:326.
- Sinha Y, et al. Chelation therapy and autism. British Medical Journal. 2006;333:756.
- Baxter A, et al. Pediatric fatality secondary to EDTA chelation therapy. Clinical Toxicology. 2008;46:1083.
- Editors of the Lancet. Retraction — Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet. 2010;374:445.