Once again, the link between child’s exposure to mercury and autism is reinforced.

U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, pressured by parents of children with autism, is advocating testing chelation therapy as a treatment for this neurological disorder, the Associated Press reported.

NIMH director Dr. Thomas Insel told Associated Press that he supports the therapy on autistic children.

“So many moms have said, ‘It’s saved my kids,'” he said. [Source:]

Chelation therapy aims to detoxify the body and cleanse it from heavy metals. Its use in children with autism is based on the unproven notion that mercury in vaccines is responsible for cases of the disorder, the AP reported.

The drugs for chelation therapy are relatively easy to get, some being marketed as dietary supplements, the AP reported. However, one of the drugs used in the process, called DMSA, can have adverse effects including low white blood cell count and rashes. Research also has shown that the chelation process may move metals from elsewhere in the body to the central nervous system, the AP reported.

Since the 1930s, mercury compound, thimerosal, has been widely used as a preservative in many vaccines, to help prevent potentially life threatening contamination with harmful microbes. In the US, FDA presses vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal from vaccines.

With the exception of certain flu shots, mercury hasn’t been used in pediatric vaccines since 2001. Thimerosal has been removed from or reduced to trace amounts in all vaccines routinely recommended for children 6 years of age and younger. [Source: FDA]

However, many vaccines approved for use in infants, children and pregnant women legitimately contain “trace amounts” of mercury.  “Vaccines with trace amounts of thimerosal contain 1 microgram or less of mercury per dose,” FDA says.

Several cases of acute mercury poisoning from thimerosal-containing products were found in the medical literature with total doses of thimerosal ranging from approximately 3 mg/kg.

Thimerosal, which is approximately 50% mercury by weight, may be more toxic to infants than to adults since young babies may lack the ability to eliminate mercury.

Maternal exposure to high levels of methylmercury resulted in infants exhibiting severe neurologic injury including a condition resembling cerebral palsy, while their mothers showed little or no symptoms. Sensory and motor neurologic dysfunction and developmental delays were observed among some children who were exposed in utero to lower levels of methylmercury. [Source: FDA]

Autism is a brain development disorder that impairs child’s social interaction and communication. Causes of autism are still unknown although scientists suspect it may have genetic nature and may be caused by mother’s exposure to teratogens, including radiation therapy, cytomegalovirus, herpes virus, rubella virus (German measles), syphilis, toxoplasmosis, as well as many drugs and environmental chemicals. Autism usually starts before a child is three years old. There is no proven cure to autism.

My daughter just had her MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) jab three weeks ago. As much as I am concerned about her exposure to mercury, I would rather not take chances and play games with infectuous diseases. England is having a measles endemic these days because many moms are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Measles can have serious complications, including pneumonia and swelling of the brain. So far, the rates of measles in the UK are much higher than rates of autism. For each action there’s a reaction, as one of my readers said.