The GFCF diet appears positively benign, however, beside some of the other biomed options on offer. Perhaps the most infamous is chelation therapy, promoted by those who say autism is caused by mercury from vaccines, or sometimes other heavy metals, such as lead from the environment. Chelation involves injecting a drug such as dimercaptosuccinic acid, or DMSA, which flushes heavy metals from the body - it is usually used only to treat heavy metal poisoning. Side effects can include temporary damage to the liver and bone marrow.
A parent wondering whether to try this drastic treatment may struggle to separate fact from fiction. Doctor's Data, a private lab based in St. Charles, Illinois, sells a test that parents can use to measure the levels of heavy metals in their child's urine. But an investigation by the medical website Quackwatch found that the Doctor's Data test gave results that were misleadingly high. Doctor's Data did not reply to a request from New Scientist for comment.
Read the full article.Another risky therapy is Lupron, a drug that lowers testosterone levels in men and oestrogen in women, and is sometimes used to delay puberty in children if it starts very early. The use of Lupron in autism is promoted by Mark Geier and David Geier, a father-and-son doctor team based in Rockville, Maryland, who say that the hormonal changes induced by the drug help protect the body against the toxic effects of mercury. Most doctors say there is no science to back up this claim, and that in older children the treatment may undesirably delay the onset of puberty.