banner
Health Team

Some use experimental treatment for autism

Posted August 15, 2008

Parents of children with autism are calling on researchers to test an unproven and controversial new treatment option.

Andrea Conte is the mother of 8-year-old triplets – Louis, Sam and Thomas. For Sam and Thomas, who have been diagnosed with autism, even small tasks can be difficult.
“The struggle is so hard every day,” Conte said.

However, Conte said that lately, it's been getting easier with the help of alternative therapies, including an unproven treatment called chelation. The children are given a drug that binds to metals in their blood and flushes them out.

“Some of the metals coming out of their body, especially the lead, were just off the charts,” Conte said.

Chelation has long been used to treat lead poisoning, but now some are applying it to autism on the basis of a theory that metals, including mercury from vaccines, contribute to the condition.

“Verbal skills are the first that we see (and) improvements in eye contact, cooperation,” pediatrician Dr. Giuseppina Feingold said.

The strongest dose of chelation is administered through intravenous therapy, but it can also be given orally or through a cream.

Chelation is a relatively new treatment and is very controversial. Insurance does not cover it.

Dr. Barry Kosofsky, a New York neurologist, believes potential side effects like rashes and blood complications are not worth the risk.

“These desperate parents will take money that they often don't have to spend on such therapies, which are experimental at best and likely not to work,” Kosofsky said.

Still, Conte insists she has seen real improvement and that is better than nothing.

12 Comments

This story is closed for comments. Comments on WRAL.com news stories are accepted and moderated between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Oldest First
View all
  • slp Aug 19, 11:25 a.m.

    Thanks Smitty for those websites. I agree!

  • CestLaVie Aug 19, 9:15 a.m.

    When you've been around awhile in life, like I have, you see many "miracle cures" come & go. Some are great; some not. But you also see people seeking ways to alleviate problems through more natural means than the use of drugs. I believe overall, the pharma industry has done good things for the human race. But, there certainly have been lots of mistakes along the way too, & when those are not admitted to, in the name of money & greed, then one goes to Plan B & C & D & ...
    Today, there seems to be more people going to new plans as big pharma is to be less & less trusted. I don't blame these parents a bit, to seek answers on their own, dangerous or not.

    In fact, I would suggest that PEOPLE in this country look at a lot of what is being perpetrated on them by big meat, poultry, dairy AND pharma industries. Big brother IS NOT watching out for you-he's only watching out for these industries' profits. Do some reading & research instead of blindly accepting their "advice" in ads.

  • tchr313 Aug 19, 7:18 a.m.

    Piratepeople---I agree.
    I wanted to spit nails at a salesman for some type of "miracle patches" that informed me that my autistic son had been poisoned by the vaccines I had given him and his patches would rid his body of the toxins.
    I completely disagree that vaccines are the primary cause of autism. It is seemingly prevalent today only because the definition of autism has broadened. 20 years ago my son would be not be labled autistic, but just have some social/communication delays.

  • smitty Aug 18, 6:22 p.m.

    More information on this quackery: http://www.chelationwatch.org/

  • piratepeople Aug 18, 4:40 p.m.

    this is a farce-autism isn't caused by any outside source. It is a neurological developmental disorder. Why are these kids being subjected to such garbage-you can't cure autism!

  • smitty Aug 18, 3:04 p.m.

    Here's a great essay to read by an MD who used to be an advocate for this type of treatment in children, but is now very much against it. http://www.autism-watch.org/about/bio2.shtml

  • smitty Aug 18, 2:55 p.m.

    Yes, give your kids snake oil chelation treatment that has been proven to be dangerous and ineffective, and potentially deadly.

  • The Hammer Aug 18, 1:22 p.m.

    Right on purplerado. They poisoned our kids and have been running ever since. They just walked away.
    There's a special place in Hades for you people.

  • purplerado Aug 18, 9:38 a.m.

    The "science experiment" was injecting children's brains with doses of mercury and aluminum in the vaccines that clearly weren't safe. The so-called "experimental" (only because Big Pharma isn't profiting from it- they'd like to see these kids doped up on their Prozac) treatments are logical approaches to reversing the damage. Chelation has been used safely for decades.But who's going to put up the money to study it?

  • NCPictures Aug 15, 9:31 p.m.

    Amen Mommy! I hear ya!

More...