Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for July 9th, 2008

Congress to Constitution: Drop Dead

Posted by Charles II on July 9, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words (Chris Kutruff, t/o):

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Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Bad News, Good News

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 9, 2008

On the one hand, it’s sucky that a reputable public health organization is so spineless that it’s considering doing a useless study on chelation therapy as a possible legitimate treatment protocol for autism. (And it’s really sucky that this is happening even as measles is making a comeback because of the anti-vaccination garbage spewed by Andrew Wakefield.)

On the other hand, the article was written by someone whose research wasn’t just pulling crap from the bazillions of anti-evidence-based garbage sites that crowd the first few pages of Google hits for searches on autism and mercury or vaccines:

Pressured by desperate parents, government researchers are pushing to test an unproven treatment on autistic children, a move some scientists see as an unethical experiment in voodoo medicine.

The treatment removes heavy metals from the body and is based on the fringe theory that mercury in vaccines triggers autism — a theory never proved and rejected by mainstream science. Mercury hasn’t been in childhood vaccines since 2001, except for certain flu shots.

But many parents of autistic children are believers, and the head of the National Institute of Mental Health supports testing it on children provided the tests are safe.

“So many moms have said, `It’s saved my kids,'” institute director Dr. Thomas Insel said.

[…]

One of the drugs used for chelation, DMSA, can cause side effects including rashes and low white blood cell count. And there is evidence chelation may redistribute metals in the body, perhaps even into the central nervous system.

[…]

Dr. Susan Swedo, who heads the federal institute’s in-house autism research and wants to study chelation, gained notoriety by theorizing that strep throat had caused some cases of obsessive compulsive disorder. The theory was never proved.

She proposed recruiting 120 autistic children ages 4 to 10 and giving half DMSA and the other half a dummy pill. The 12-week test would measure before-and-after blood mercury levels and autism symptoms.

The study outline says that failing to find a difference between the two groups would counteract “anecdotal reports and widespread belief” that chelation works.

But the study was put on hold for safety concerns after an animal study, published last year, linked DMSA to lasting brain problems in rats. It remains under review, Insel told the AP.

Orac over at Respectful Insolence has more on this. Even better, a commenter of his reports that studies have already been done showing that chelation therapy on children is likely to do more harm than good:

Thanks for this. You didn’t mention the series of studies that looked at children with real, moderately high, blood levels of lead (20 and 44 microg/dL). Those children were treated with DMSA chelation, and while their lead levels dropped faster than untreated children, their cognitive performance did not improve more than the placebo group. Indeed, there was some evidence that chelation could impair cognition. And as a consequence, it is no longer recommended that children with these moderate levels of lead in their blood be treated by chelation.

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/110/4/787

Of course, children with autism do not have high levels of mercury in their blood. So, the rationale for treatment is very skimpy indeed.

Sounds like Dr. Insel wasn’t aware of this study when he came out in favor of a new study on chelation therapy in children. His contact information is as follows:

Phone: 301-443-3673
Fax: 301-443-2578
Email Address: tinsel AT mail.nih.gov

You know what to do.

Posted in health care, health issues, science and medicine, WTF? | 3 Comments »

Helicopter Ben Set To Privatize Bank Oversight?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 9, 2008

Stranded Wind thinks so.

Just when it seemed that Bernanke might actually have most Americans’ interests at heart, he shows his true colors.

Posted in abuse of power, banking, big money, BushCo malfeasance, bust-outs, capitalism as cancer, economy, Republicans acting badly | Comments Off on Helicopter Ben Set To Privatize Bank Oversight?

 
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