Junkfood Science: Taking advantage of parents' fears

July 25, 2007

Taking advantage of parents' fears

Two terribly sad stories of loss are worthy of note. Another child has died after being given chelation therapy. His parents, desperately seeking for ways to help their autistic son, had been led to believe that he had “high” mercury levels and that chelation could help him. As Fox News reported:

Parents Sue Doctor Over Death of 5-Year-Old Autistic Son After a Chemical Treatment

...Mawra and Rufai Nadama, of Plymouth, England, accused Dr. Roy Kerry of causing their son, Abubakar Tariq Nadama, to die of cardiac arrest at Kerry's office immediately after the boy received chelation therapy on Aug. 23, 2005.

Chelation removes heavy metals from the body and is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration only for acute heavy-metal poisoning that has been confirmed by blood tests. Some people who believe autism is caused by a mercury-containing preservative once used in vaccines say chelation may also help autistic children....

The Department of State, Pennsylvania's physician licensing agency, filed six disciplinary charges in September against Kerry, including unprofessional conduct and breaching the standard of care. Those charges were still pending and could result in fines or his license being suspended or revoked....

Some doctors have used chelation to treat autism, believing mercury or other heavy metals cause the condition's symptoms. However, medical evidence does not support that belief, and the drug is not approved for that use, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

In February 2005, a 2-year-old girl with lead poisoning was treated with three chelating agents and died at a hospital hours later from what an autopsy concluded was cardiac arrest due to depleted levels of calcium.

Parents of autistic children are especially targeted by alternative practitioners eager to capitalize on mercury and chemical fears to sell bogus testing, detoxification treatments, supplements and chelation. A recent post for worried parents reviewed the science — which has remained consistently strong — finding no link between mercury in childhood vaccines or mercury levels in autistic children, and no efficacy for chelation in treating autism. For more than forty years, people seeking cures for just about everything have been misled by claims surrounding chelation, but according to Dr. Saul Green, Ph.D., there is no scientific evidence to support it.

Dr. Saul Green, a retired biochemist and cancer researcher from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, was devoted to investigating questionable medical practices and cancer treatments. Debunking chelation therapy was a topic he wrote about extensively, driven by the senseless loss of innocent children and adults to chelation quackery. Dr. Green’s comprehensive review of the science on chelation written on Quackwatch was ranked #1 by Google for more than five years, said Dr. Stephen Barrett, M.D., of Quackwatch and the National Council Against Health Fraud.

Today’s issue of Consumer Health Digest reports that Dr. Saul Green has died, at the age of 82. His passing is a great loss. His writings on alternative modalities remain archived on his blog. Please make time to visit while his blog is still available. Hopefully his expertise will continue to help others not be taken in by “nonexistent toxic states” and cures that aren’t.

Bookmark and Share