A drug given to a 5-year-old autistic boy who died
during a controversial autism treatment in Butler County should never be administered to children, according to a report released
Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report links three deaths to a drug that was created to purge heavy metals
from people's systems through a process called chelation. The drug bonds to the metals so they can be excreted. Though the
federal Food and Drug Administration has approved chelation therapy only for treating problems like lead poisoning, some doctors
have used it to treat autism, which they theorize is caused by toxins such as mercury.
The government and medical establishment, citing the lack of scientific evidence
linking autism to mercury or lead poisoning, reject the treatment for treating children and adults with autism.
Abubakar Nadama, 5, of Monroeville, died of a heart attack in August while receiving
chelation therapy intravenously in the office of Dr. Roy E. Kerry at the Advanced Integrated Medicine Center in Portersville.
The Butler County Coroner's Office said the treatment caused Nadama's death, but
the CDC report is the first federal acknowledgement of the dangers of using one type of chelation drug called disodium ethylene
diamine tetraacetic acid. This agent, under the brand name Endrate, attaches itself not only to heavy metals, but calcium
as well, said Mary Jean Brown, chief of the CDC's Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch and an author of the report.
Tiny calcium channels inside the body transmit the bioelectric impulses that make
muscles, including the heart, expand and contract. If something takes away that calcium, "it's like you took the wire out
of a lamp," Brown said.
"The only acceptable use (of chelation therapy) is to remove heavy
metals such as lead," said CDC spokeswoman Karen Hunter. ...