Controversial autism treatment may be studied

A study proposed by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health supports a study examining the effects of a controversial autism treatment that some consider dangerous to children. The treatment, called chelation, is usually used to treat lead poisoning; it involves the use of medication to remove heavy metals from the body. Parents of autistic children have reported that the treatment is effective, but it has never been studied; they feel that the Food and Drug Administration's process for approving such treatments progresses too slowly. Although there is no evidence to support the use of chelation in autism treatment, there have been studies showing that the treatment may redistribute minerals in the body, possibly even in the central nervous system. As a result, many physicians consider experiments involving chelation to be too dangerous to attempt on children. Chelation is based on the notion that autism is caused by mercury in vaccines, although there has been no mercury in vaccines since 2001. recently reported on a study that found differences in eye movement between 9 month-olds at high risk for autism and those who were not; the researchers suggested that their findings challenge the theory that autism is caused by vaccines.

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