Thursday, September 18, 2008

Plans dropped to study chelation for autism

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A government agency has dropped plans for a study of a controversial treatment for autism that critics had called an unethical experiment on children.

The National Institute of Mental Health said in a statement Wednesday that the study of the treatment -- called chelation -- has been abandoned. The agency decided the money would be better used testing other potential therapies for autism and related disorders, the statement said.

The study had been on hold because of safety concerns after another study published last year linked a drug used in the treatment to lasting brain problems in rats.

Chelation (kee-LAY'-shun) removes heavy metals from the body and is used to treat lead poisoning. Its use as an autism treatment 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. Continue Reading >>

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