The complementary and alternative medicine practice of prescribing chelators to children with autism is based on the premise that the chronic symptoms of autism can be ameliorated by reducing heavy metal body burden. However, there has not been definitive evidence, published to date, to support the assertion that children with autism are at increased risk of an excess chelatable body burden of heavy metals. The oral chelator meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA) can be used diagnostically to mobilize heavy metals from extravascular pools, enhancing the identification of individuals who have a chelatable body burden.
Seventeen children with autism and five typically developing children were enrolled in a pilot study to test for chelatable body burden of Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), and Mercury (Hg). Evaluation included a questionnaire regarding potential exposure to heavy metals, diet restrictions, a baseline 24-hour urine collection, and a DMSA-provoked urine collection. Urine collections were sent for As, Cd, Pb, and Hg quantification by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry. Unprovoked reference ranges were used in the interpretation of all collections.
Fifteen autistic children and four typically developing children completed the study. Three autistic subjects excreted one metal in greater quantity during the provoked excretion than baseline. Two of these were very close to the limit of detection. In the third case, the provoked excretion of mercury was between the upper limit of normal and lower limit of the potentially toxic reference range. Fish was removed from this child's diet for greater than one month, and the provoked excretion test repeated. The repeat excretion of mercury was within the normal range.
In the absence a proven novel mode of heavy metal toxicity, the proportion of autistic participants in this study whose DMSA provoked excretion results demonstrate an excess chelatable body burden of As, Cd, Pb, or Hg is zero. The confidence interval for this proportion is 0-22%.
"Some articles emphasized that rising levels of autism could be related to environmental exposure to toxins.64,65) DeSoto and Hitlan66) reviewed published research studies examining the relationship between toxic metal exposures and the risk of a subject being diagnosed with an ASD: 74% (43 of 58) of the studies showed a significant relationship between an ASD and toxic metal exposure. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In clinical practice, pharmacological treatment is mostly focused on behavioral symptoms in everyday life. Nevertheless, persistent effort continues to develop medication for causal treatment. Recent changes in diagnostic criteria from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR) to DSM-5 would affect not only diagnosing approaches, but also therapeutic approaches. Because previous pervasive developmental disorders have been integrated into a single entity, the autism spectrum disorder (ASD), we have to prepare for what medications are valuable for the ASD. In this article, we reviewed the following etiological treatment: acetylcholine and glutamate related medicine; amino acid medicine such as secretin, endogenous opioid, and oxytocin; complementary and alternative medicine such as chelating agents, vitamins, and omega-3; promising drugs related to the scope of pharmacogenetics currently under study.
Clinical Psychopharmacology and Neuroscience 04/2014; 12(1):19-30. DOI:10.9758/cpn.2014.12.1.19
"Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder which was first characterized by Kanner in the 1940s    . It is typified by stereotypic/repetitive behavior, deficits in communication and social reciprocity, abnormal movement patterns, and sensory dysfunction  . "
"Another study by the same group  reported increased urinary porphyrin levels related to heavy metal body-burden in a sample of ASD children. In contrast, a study by Soden and colleagues  found no evidence of increased levels of urinary mercury or any other heavy metals in ASD participants and controls following chelation. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urinary mercury concentrations are used in research exploring mercury exposure. Some theorists have proposed that autism is caused by mercury toxicity. We set out to test whether mercury concentrations in the urine of children with autism were significantly increased or decreased compared to controls or siblings.
Blinded cohort analyses were carried out on the urine of 56 children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) compared to their siblings (n = 42) and a control sample of children without ASD in mainstream (n = 121) and special schools (n = 34).
There were no statistically significant differences in creatinine levels, in uncorrected urinary mercury levels or in levels of mercury corrected for creatinine, whether or not the analysis is controlled for age, gender and amalgam fillings.
This study lends no support for the hypothesis of differences in urinary mercury excretion in children with autism compared to other groups. Some of the results, however, do suggest further research in the area may be warranted to replicate this in a larger group and with clear measurement of potential confounding factors.
PLoS ONE 02/2012; 7(2):e29547. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0029547 · 3.23 Impact Factor
Data provided are for informational purposes only. Although carefully collected, accuracy cannot be guaranteed. The impact factor represents a rough estimation of the journal's impact factor and does not reflect the actual current impact factor. Publisher conditions are provided by RoMEO. Differing provisions from the publisher's actual policy or licence agreement may be applicable.