The climate in North America concerning vaccines is quickly becoming a rather hostile one due to the masses of "Green Vaccine" supporters out there using pseudoscience, and often, blatent lies, to have vaccines banned. They believe that vaccines contain things like mercury and - yes, Ive actually heard this one - pieces of aborted babies, and claim that this is the cause of a slew of childhood ailments; in particular, they claim that vaccines are directly causing rising rates of autism. Anyone with a rational, critical thinking mind will realize that the "Green Vaccine" movement is a bunch of nonsense....but things may have just got a bit worse.
The leading funder of autism research in the US has just approved a proposal to run a tiral on the use of chelating agents to treat children with autism. Chelating agents are chemicals which are able to sequester metal ions, like magnesium, copper or zinc: they bind to metal and make them easier to excrete. They are used as a treatment for heavy-metal poisoning and often as a component in New Age "detoxifying" schemes. Unfortunately, they can be incredibly dangerous to ingest. Your body needs metal ions for alot of critical enzymes to work. DNA polymerases, the class of enzymes responsible for replicating your DNA, require magnesium to work. It is for this reason we use such agents in molecular biolgy: when we want a reaction to stop, we add a chelating agent like EDTA to keep the enzymes from working any further. Ingesting chelating agents runs the risk of preventing such enzymes from working and can be deadly.
The logic behind the idea is this: mercury in vaccines causes autism in children, so we give them chelating agents to bind up all the mercury and they should get better. Besides the fact that mercury in vaccines causing autism has been repeatedly scientifically discredited, this is a really bad idea. Chelatig agents have been shown before to have little medical benefit outside of heavy-metal poising. One study with rats has shown that chelating agents can lead to cognitive problems. If that weren't bad enough, three years ago, a 5 year old autistic child in Pennsylvania died after having been given a chelating agent injection. And even if autism was caused by high levels of mercury (it isn't, and has never been documented), using chelating agents would be a poor treatment since the cellular damage caused by mercury is permanent, unrepairable damage.
Funding this is a waste of tax-payer money since it's testing a treatment for something that has never been shown to be an actual symptom of mercury toxicity. Such a clinical trial is only pandering to the Green Vaccine people. Of course the director of NIMH, the institution carrying out the trial, denies this, saying the study "came up in the first place because we were getting reports that this was a therapy in broad use and there were very substantial questions about both its efficacy and its safety”.
The trial still has to be approved by an ethics board since it involves children and poses a greater than minimal risk to their health. Hopefully the trial will be denied, but the fact that it was approved for funding speaks volumes about the political clout the Green Vaccine movement has. They need to be hit with some science, and hit hard. Too bad the inpact would be softened by their willful ignorance of the facts.