Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help?

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Autism treatment: Can chelation therapy help?

Question

Is chelation therapy an effective autism treatment?

No name given
Colorado

Answer

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.

Last Updated: 2010-12-09
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