The Safety and Efficacy of
Chelation Therapy in Autism
Statement by Bernard Rimland, Ph.D., Director, Autism Research Institute regarding
death on August 23, 2005 of 5 year-old Tariq Nadama Of Pittsburgh, who was given
intravenous EDTA chelation
I have received many media calls regarding the above, very unfortunate matter.
Although the autopsy conducted immediately after Tariq's death was inconclusive,
the medical community and the press quickly leaped to the (incorrect) conclusion that
Tariq's death was due to chelation therapy. A later formal report by Mary Jean Brown
of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that Tariq's death was
not caused by properly administered chelation, but was instead a result of a drug error.
He had mistakenly been given a 'look-alike' drug, Disodium EDTA, instead of Calcium
Here is some additional information about chelation:
1. Chelation is not used to treat autism, but rather to treat heavy metal overload
(lead, mercury, cadmium, etc), which is a major cause of autism and retardation.
2. Tens of thousands of children and hundreds of thousands of adults have been
treated safely with chelation therapy for many decades.
3. The child's mother, Marwa Nadama, said that her son showed such remarkable
improvement after the first few chelation treatments that if she had a choice, she would choose chelation again.
4. Conventional physicians, who have been critical of chelation, routinely use
drugs such as Risperdal and Clonidine in treating autism. Death is a known side-effect of such drugs (read the labels!). Such deaths get no media attention. In 2005 the Food and Drug Administration reviewed the research literature on Risperdal in autistic individuals. They decided not to approve Risperdal because of the number of deaths associated with it. Despite this deadly "side-effect" of Risperdal, it continues to be the most frequently prescribed drug for autistic individuals.
5. Most autistic children who are chelated are chelated orally or transdermally
(by gel, through the skin), as suggested in our Defeat Autism Now! document available at our websitewww.autism.com.
6. Thousands of parents of autistic children, treated safely with chelation, report,
like Tariq Nadama's mother, that their children have shown remarkable improvement after chelation was initiated. Formal data collection is just getting underway, but the initial data, on several hundred children is very encouraging:
7. Since 1967 The Autism Research Institute has collected "Parent Ratings of
Behavioral Effects of Biomedical Interventions." To date, over 24,500 parent responses have been collected. Chelation is a recent addition to our list of interventions. So far, of the first 470 parents who reported on the efficacy of chelation, 75% report "good" results, which is by far the highest "good" percentage reported for any of the 88 biomedical interventions (including 53 drugs) the parents have rated. See: www.autismwebsite.com/ari/treatment/form34q.htm.
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