Tag Archive for 'chelation'

FDA warns seller of chelation product

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to the producer of a product that is sometimes used by people hoping to eliminate heavy metals from children’s bodies (e.g., chelate mercury from children with autism). In a letter addressed to Boyd D. Haley of CTI Science Inc., Teresa C. Thompson of the Cincinnati District Office of the FDA cited a host of problems in the classification and marketing of the product, OSR#1. Among these problems are the following:
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Excessive levels of calcium mark brains of individuals with Autism

Writing in Molecular Psychiatry, L. Palmieri of the Laboratory of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Department of Pharmaco-Biology, University of Bari (Bari, IT) and colleagues reported the results of a small-n study of levels of metabolic transporters in the brain tissue of individuals with and without Autism. They compared the contents of samples from the brains of individuals with Autism and individual without Autism (matched on the bases of sex, age, and time after death that the samples were obtained). They found aspartate-glutamate carrier activity was increased by excessive calcium levels in brains of the Autistic individuals.
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Baseless, risky therapies for Autism

Writing in the Chicago (IL, US) Tribune under the headline “Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science” Trine Tsouderos and Patricia Callahan reported about the background and myriad problems with many treatments used as therapy for children with Autism. They expose the lack of evidentiary support for therapies ranging from mega-doses of vitamins to chelation and show the relationships between practitioners of these therapies and a couple of organizations well-known among those who follow Autism.

The Tribune found children undergoing daylong infusions of a blood product that carries the risk of kidney failure and anaphylactic shock. Researchers in the field emphatically warn that the therapy should not be used to treat autism.

Children are repeatedly encased in pressurized oxygen chambers normally used after scuba diving accidents, at a cost of thousands of dollars. This unproven therapy is meant to reduce inflammation that experts say is little understood and may even be beneficial.

Children undergo rounds of chelation therapy to leach heavy metals from the body, though most toxicologists say the test commonly used to measure the metals is meaningless and the treatment potentially harmful.

Reporters Tsouderos and Callahan conducted interviews with an impressive array of advocates for the therapies (including representatives of Autism One, Autism Research Institute, and Defeat Autism Now) and doubters (mostly serious scientists). They combed through the weak and barely related research that many of the advocates use as well as the evidence showing limited or no benefits of the therapies.

All in all, these reporters deserve kudos for the unflinching thoroughness of their reporting. I encourage readers to read, reread, and disseminate the article. Here’s a link to “Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science.” Flash of the electrons to Liz Ditz, whose Twitter post about this article alerted me to it.

Chelation clinic closed

According to Mary Ann Roser of the Austin (TX, US) Statesman, a clinic that provided chelation therapy for Autism is apparently under investigation by federal authorities. Ms. Roser did not report the nature or cause of the investigation of the CARE Clinics.

CARE Clinics, an autism clinic on Bee Cave Road that was being investigated by insurance companies over insurance claims, was raided by the FBI and IRS agents today.

The clinic has been closed, perhaps permanently.

Agents are removing dozens of boxes of documents, but they declined to say what they are looking for. They directed inquiries to Special IRS Agent Mike Lemoine, who did not immediately return a call.

In an article in May of 2009, Ms. Roser reported that the clinic was having financial trouble.

The owner of an Austin-area clinic that treats children with autism — using techniques that are controversial in mainstream medicine — says investigations by three major insurers have left it with a pile of unpaid claims and a crisis: She’s had to lay off most of her staff and drastically reduce the clinic’s hours.

In addition, Kazuko Grace Curtin said the Texas Medical Board is investigating her medical director. She and the doctor — Jesus Caquias — say the investigation is a way of harassing them because they offer nontraditional care for autism patients.

Link to Ms. Roser’s post entitled “Autism clinic raided by federal authorities” and to the earlier article, “Insurance companies question autism clinic’s charges” Check the discussion following the blog post (the first link).

Chelation death charges dropped

Writing for the Associated Press, Dan Nephin reported that charges against Dr. A. T. Nadama related to the death during chelation therapy of a young boy with Autism have been dropped.
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Orac revisits chelation story

Over at Respectful Insolence Orac has a worth-a-read post about a law suit arising from the use of chelation as a therapy for Autism. Chelation, in this sense, is a process in which a compound that binds to metal atoms is injected into a person in hopes of extracting those metals from the person’s body. Some people who believe that mercury causes Autism advocate the use of chelation to remove mercury from individuals who have Autism. A couple of years ago I pointed to this case in an entry here at EBD Blog. There was an extended series of comments in which I described the evidence about chelation. Orac, who harbors an opinion of similar verticality as mine—which is to say very low—about chelating as therapy for Autism, comments on the suit brought against a doctor who treated a boy by chelation and during the therapy the boy died.
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