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Question 2: Does heavy metal chelation therapy improve the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder
  1. Niamh C Lagan1,
  2. Joanne Balfe2
  1. 1 Department of Neurodisability and Developmental Paediatrics, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 Discipline of Paediatrics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Niamh C Lagan, Department of Neurodisability and DevelopmentalPaediatrics, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin Ireland; lagann{at}

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Clinical scenario

A mother of a 7-year-old boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) attends the developmental clinic. She is very concerned as her child has significant behavioural problems associated with autism. She has done some research into alternative therapies. She asks for your opinion on chelating therapy.

Structured question

In children with ASD (patient) does pharmacological chelation therapy (intervention) improve behaviour (outcome)?

Search strategy and outcome

Secondary sources: The Cochrane Library was searched in January 2018 with terms ASD and Chelation. One systemic review was retrieved.1 This review only included data from one trial.

Primary sources: MEDLINE was searched via the PubMed interface using the following terms: ((ASD) OR (Autism) OR (Aspergers) OR (Pervasive Developmental Disorder)) AND ((Chelation therapy) OR (DMSA) OR (Lipoic Acid)).

Forty-nine articles were retrieved. Abstract and titles were reviewed for suitability. Forty-five did not make the inclusion criteria. One randomised control trial …

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  • Contributors NCL drafted, reviewed and revised the manuscript. JB reviewed the initial manuscript and subsequent drafts.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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