Chelation: Discarded By Most Parents

4 Sep

In a recent study entitled:

Internet survey of treatments used by parents of children with autism.

Vanessa A. Green, Keenan A. Pituch, Jonathan Itchon,Aram Choi, Mark O’Reilly, Jeff Sigafoos of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas looked at what treatments those parents (worldwide) who used interventions with their autistic kids actually used. They had 552 usable returns. One of the most fascinating bits of the study was the fact that they asked parents to indicate next to each of the 111 treatments listed what they used _now_ and what they’d used in the _past_.

The most popular treatment, coming in at number 1 for 70% of parents currently using it and 23.2% who used it in the past was Speech Therapy. Next was Visual Schedules, Sensory Integration, ABA and Social Stories. In each of these treatments the percentage using it now was higher than the percentage who used to use it and stopped for some reason.

Most interesting to me was the position of Chelation. Chelation was the 33rd most popular treatment garnering 7.4% of the vote for parents currently using it (its less popular than Homeopathy). Fascinatingly though, the percentage of parents who used to use it and who went on to abandon it came in _higher_ than that at 7.8%.

Detoxification came in bottom as the least popular treatment for the main groupings of treatment (as oppose to individual treatments) and also came bottom for all 3 main ‘severity’ groupings for autism (AS, Mild and Severe)

The authors say:

Comparison of past and current use (Table 2) suggests that many treatments were implemented for a period of time, but then abandoned. We do not know how long such treatments were used nor why they were discontinued.

I can hazard a guess. Recently Erik Nanstiel of AutismMedia (a pro-Chelation propaganda site) told me that Chelation typically lasts for 18 months to 2 years. I surmise that given that more people used to use chelation than use it now, it was tried for this period and found to be ineffective and abandoned in favour of more useful treatments.

It cannot, however, be due to recovery. This survey was taken by parents who’s kids were still considered autistic and who were all still trying differing treatments. If the Chelation had worked, these parents would have no need of any more treatments.

Also of interest was the authors finding that:

The mean number of current treatments being used by parents was seven, which was similar to the mean number of treatments used in the past (n = 8).

So it seems that Chelation is rarely used in isolation. Given that, it seems highly unlikely to account for unmitigated success reported by some parents.

17 Responses to “Chelation: Discarded By Most Parents”

  1. Sotek September 5, 2005 at 06:31 #

    Not incredibly surprising, that …

  2. I2bpacific September 5, 2005 at 09:28 #

    Thanks, Kev.

    The mercury parents will march on Washington again and claim to represent the parents of autistic children….

    Not exactly. They are just a very loud and financially backed minority.

  3. bonni September 5, 2005 at 09:28 #

    One thing I’ve noticed about the net is that very small and fringe groups can exert a very big presence sometimes. I suspect this is because of the internet’s ability to give everyone the ability to voice their views, and the fact that people holding mainstream or ordinary views are not that likely to want to make an entire website to support or explain their mainstream views or to recruit others to their views.

  4. Erik Nanstiel September 5, 2005 at 15:03 #

    Kevin, you mention that is a “pro chelation propaganda site.” That’s misleading. I personally am pro-chelation… but the website itself is more of a showcase for what a variety of doctors and researchers have to profess. Many of them are for chelation, yes…but some are not.

    Donna Gates and Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride discuss in their interview about diets rich in fermented foods (for healthy gut flora) that they are against chelation. They want the gut to be healed with food… after which the gut can help do its job to naturally detoxify the body.

    We do not stifle or discourage contrasting opinions among the researchers, doctors and clinicians we interview. If they are taking biomedical approaches toward treatment, and see results with their patients… we’ll put them on the site. The puzzle’s not yet complete.

    Chelation alone is not a cure. It is one of the first steps, according to many we’ve interviewed. That is not propaganda, nor does that classify as spreading propaganda.

  5. Kev September 5, 2005 at 16:13 #

    When you out up your first video from Jim Laidler detaling the health issues associated with Chelation then I’ll ammend my post.

  6. clone3g September 5, 2005 at 23:13 #

    Maybe the Chelati are more of a secret cult who have infiltrated autism research organizations and the news media. We know they have gotten to Roling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, maybe that explains the Rolling Stones thimerosal article.

  7. Erik Nanstiel September 6, 2005 at 03:34 #

    Clone3g, that’s hilarious… you should realize, however, that the Rolling Stones and Rolling Stone magazine… are separate and unrelated!

    But I guess you found us out… Yes, we’re the “Chelati,” which actually is an offspring of the Illuminati that recruits high ranking members of freemasonry to further its plans for a one-world government and new world order. The Chelati branch, of course, was designed to take advantage of the neurologically-impaired by selling expensive treatments…not only for PROFIT, but to chemically control a growing segment of the population to further our secret agenda!

    Or… we’ve found something truly helpful to treat our kids and we like to talk about it with other groups! You decide!


  8. Wade Rankin September 6, 2005 at 06:02 #

    Of the people I have talked to who discarded chelation (which admittedly is not a particularly large sample), very few stuck with it for longer than a few months. Despite being told it would be a long process, many seemed to feel they should have seen progress faster. Another problem is that almost none of the ex-chelators with whom I have spoken used a complete biomedical approach. Without a GFCF diet and supplements, chelation will probably not have a very big impact. As Eric said, it is just one piece of the puzzle.

    I must admit, I’m tickled by the term “chelati” and I might start using it myself.

  9. hollywoodjaded September 6, 2005 at 06:33 #

    LOL, I was there in the 70s when word around town was that Keith was allegedly getting chelation treatments (the original and “european” version in Switzerland or was it Sweden?) in order (allegedly .. again) to maintain his relationship with Sister Morphine and remain alive.

    Those treatments, if he ever even received them, are different from what has been discussed among the US aut-merc crowd. So, if in fact , Keith did do it, he did so long well before it was ever used for children with asd.

    Also, something tells me that everyone knows that Keith and Jann are with separate and unrelated entities ; ]

  10. bonni September 6, 2005 at 07:53 #

    Maybe the Chelati are more of a secret cult who have infiltrated autism research organizations and the news media.

    LOL! The Chelati, indeed… Maybe it’s just because I read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons not long ago, but somehow that just seems so very appropriate…

    Or… we’ve found something truly helpful to treat our kids and we like to talk about it with other groups! You decide!

    I already have.

  11. Erik Nanstiel September 6, 2005 at 13:15 #

    “Hey Erik, what do you think? Are the Spectri anti-semitic? Seems like you said they were.”

    I never said that, nor believed it. I did make a comment on EOH in response to another person’s accusation. I said, to paraphrase, that it’s important to realize that not all the ND crowd can be made out to be anti-semitic because of one idiot among their ranks making anti-semitic remarks.

    And as for Blaxill getting “cold feet” on chelation… I don’t think so. I think he blames thimerosal as much as the rest of us. But the disorder is multi-faceted (despite Buttar’s statements to the contrary), complicating treatment. Just because we found a major piece of the puzzle doesn’t mean we should stop researching the disorder. I still see some value in looking at the genetics… not that genetics can cause an epidemic, but that understanding all predispositions can lead toward more effective treatments as our understanding of Autism’s biology increases.

    As for Buttar’s making money off his work…well, why the hell not? Trans-Dermal DMPS is still too new and too limited in production to lower the price yet. It costs a lot to produce. Other pharmacies are beginning to learn how to stabilize DMPS in trans-dermal form…and as they do, you’ll see more competitive pricing…and an end to accusations that Buttar is profiteering with snake oil.

  12. clone3g September 6, 2005 at 13:49 #

    Erik said: “you should realize, however, that the Rolling Stones and Rolling Stone magazine… are separate and unrelated!”

    Are they? Well, thanks so much for illuminating me. I must be gathering moss sitting atop of this hill.

    Like a cult, all of the members are quick to repeat carefully rehearsed verse in response to questions from the non-believers. Oh, it can’t be genes! How can you have a genetic epidemic? Oh but we think it is a genetic susceptibility to thimerosal?

    We know the genes that were engineered to render Hornig’s SJL mice mercury sensitive, are they also mutated in ASD children? I doubt it. Does Jill James stand by the initial reports of methylation pathway polymorphism? I don’t think so. Better check back with your grand exalted leader and tell us more about the genetic defect that is common to the majority of children with autism. No one expects you to respond quickly and actually think for yourself so take your time.

  13. clone3g September 6, 2005 at 16:43 #

    The sign of the Chelati: [URL][/URL] More demonic than angelic. More appropriate for Satani —– [I]mercury is the root of all evil.[/I]

    But the Illuminati in Dan Brown’s novel used science to oppose religion. I realize that it’s a work of fiction, much like David Kirby’s novel, but the Chelati are a religious cult and have little use for science.

  14. hollywoodjaded September 6, 2005 at 18:40 #

    >> Yes, but everyone KNOWS that Keith Richards is autistic.

  15. hollywoodjaded September 6, 2005 at 19:17 #


    “Yes, but everyone KNOWS that Keith Richards is autisitic”

    ALL the more reason for that paregoric study I’ve always wanted to do.

  16. bonni September 7, 2005 at 04:27 #

    But the Illuminati in Dan Brown’s novel used science to oppose religion. I realize that it’s a work of fiction, much like David Kirby’s novel, but the Chelati are a religious cult and have little use for science.

    Yes, but the novel has this theme of miracles and belief vs. proof and all that.

    It is perversely inverted, though….

  17. clone3g September 7, 2005 at 17:35 #

    True that bonni
    (with apologies for my HTML ineptitude)

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