Friday, August 26, 2005

Chelation and elective procedures

Posted by Craig Westover | 3:34 PM |  

Although I come down on the opposite side of the biomedical question than this site,, the author raises many good points and issues that shouldn't be ignored. For example, he comments --
Westover tries to equate elective surgery with biomedical treatments for autism, but fails to understand the key difference. With most elective surgeries, the benefits are proven through peer-reviewed studies. Parents have a knowledge base by which to make a risk-benefit analysis. With biomedical treatments for autism, you can't make the same value equation because the proof of success is anecdotal and sketchy. You're basically taking somebody's word for it.

Again, say what you want about vaccine manufacturers and public health agencies, disagree with their statistics or their assessment of the potential burden of vaccine-preventable diseases. But they're giving parents a risk-benefit analysis to work from, which is more than I can say for proponents of biomedical treatments. [Link added by CW]
He's partly correct. For most elective surgery there is a definable risk assessment and knowledge base to work from. I for one wish there were more such a base of knowledge for biomedical treatments for mercury issues. On that we agree.

But, the question is not all or nothing. In other words, I think it foolish, dangerous and irresponsible if not criminal to postualte some radical biomedical treatment with little scientific basis claiming that it "cures" autism. Isn't that the accusation made against the CDC -- that with limited knowledge of benefit (e.g. HEP B for newborn infants) or the toxicity effects of mercury on developing infants, the CDC increased the vaccination schedule and the mercury exposure of infant children?

The flip side is, it is just as foolish and irresponsibile if not criminal not to explore biomedical treatment on a case-by-case individual basis where both expectations and risks are limited and better understood.

Who makes that assessment? Ultimately it boils down to parent and physician. It's a false statement to say that there is no risk/benefit analysis to work from. But it is true, that relationship is not as fully defined as anyone would like. Again, that puts parents in the fightful position of having to make a major decision with limited knowledge. Here's how one parent put it in an email I received today --
Had the medical professionals tested my son when they realized the amount of mercury to which he was exposed, perhaps we would have a more accurate idea of whether or not he was harmed by this exposure. Had we discovered that he was, indeed, unable to excrete the mercury he was given, would we have taken the necessary steps to help his body remove this substance? If we had taken such steps, would he have a tumor in his brain today? Had I not taken a year to thoroughly evaluate treatment, would he..?

“So you see, Mr. Westover, we all . . . do the best we can with the information we have available. I have tried to apply logic and reason, as you have, to a situation that, by all accounts, seems to defy it. Has either of us done the "right" thing? I honestly don't know. What I do know, however, is that we have both tried to help children who need more help than they are currently receiving.