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Pressured by desperate parents, government researchers are pushing to test an unproven treatment on autistic children, a move some scientists see as an unethical experiment in voodoo medicine.
The treatment removes heavy metals from the body and is based on the fringe theory that mercury in vaccines triggers autism — a theory never proved and rejected by mainstream science. Mercury hasn't been in childhood vaccines since 2001, except for certain flu shots.
"I don't really know why we have to do this in helpless children," said Ellen Silbergeld of Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, who was invited to comment on the study to a review board of the national institute.
Mercury hasn't been in childhood vaccines since 2001, except for certain flu shots.
Before he started chelation at age 5, Charlie suffered tantrums. When she took him to school, she had to peel him off her body and walk away. But three weeks after he began chelation, his behavior changed, she said.
Conventional treatments are limited to behavioral therapy and a few medications, such as the schizophrenia drug Risperdal, approved to treat irritability.
You should also be cautious about reassuring people about its removal from vaccines. The push to remove thimerosal was purely voluntary, and no vaccines were recalled, which means they are still being administered in many offices because they do not expire until late this year. Furthermore, a recent random study of vaccines from four companies (two of which were billed as mercury free) showed mercury still existed in all shots tested.