Question about the Abubakar Tariq Nadama case


If Nadama dies due to hypocalcemia during a chelation treatment for lead poisoning, why is there a headline called Boy dies during autism treatment, why is the discussion on this topic almost completely centered around autism?

bq. Authorities said Kerry’s office reported that the child was receiving an IV treatment for *lead poisoning* when he went into cardiac arrest. [emphasis mine]

The rest of the story is completely autism/chelation-related.

bq. The boy was being treated with EDTA, or ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid, which has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use only after blood tests confirm acute heavy-metal poisoning.

Ok, so, I infer from the story that the boy had lead poisoning, had the lead chelated through an approved therapy (aside from the apparent medical mistake of using disodium EDTA rather than calcium disodium EDTA), he died, and people are talking about how chelation is not approved for autism, and how parents are desperate, etc., etc. Not that these aren’t good and worthwhile discussions to have, but it seems really odd to me that the Nadama case is such a lightning rod for autism debate just because he received the same treatment that some autistics have. Unless I have my facts wrong.

Ok, “this article”:http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06018/639721.stm from the same paper claims the chelation was for autism. So, which was it for? Lead poisoning or autism?

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5 Responses

  1. FYI: This has been covered in considerable detail elsewhere; I’ll summarize it here.

    The chelation AGENT which was used is an indicated treatment for lead poisoning (or, more accurately, the chelation agent they should have been using, which contains calcium and is less likely to result in the type of fatality which occurred here) is an indicated treatment for lead poisoning.

    Here, it was not being used to remove lead from the bloodstream. The doctor in question is a proponent of two highly questionable and apparently false theories, namely the thimerosal-autism theory and the derivative chelation-agent-cure theory. He was giving the treatment to “cure” autism (though it doesn’t work anyway).

    That is why the various articles refer to it as and “autism treatment”.

  2. My question was a material fact one. Did the boy receive the treatment for autism (where I can understand the debate being about autism) or lead poisoning (so that the autism/chelation debate is really marginal to the case).

    Most accounts seem to indicate that Nadama was receiving the treatment for autism, except for the very first account I read, which indicated lead poisoning.

    At any rate, I don’t have anything to add to the debate, except to express sadness for the family.

  3. John,

    Many autistic children have tested high for lead toxicity, leading to the hypothesis (and forgive me for oversimplifying this) that their mercury-damaged immune systems are even more at risk for lead exposure than a typical child. In any event, very positive results (i.e., alleviation of some problematic symptoms of autism) have been reported after chelation for lead as well as mercury. It is generally believed that Abubakar Nadama was one such autistic child, and it now appears that the real problem was the doctor’s unexplained failure to use the correct form of EDTA.

  4. If Abubakar had shown a high lead level, he could have been treated for that in the UK. The reason his parents had to bring him to the US for treatment was so that they could get him chelated even though he didn’t really have any condition for which it was indicated.

  5. […] Wade Rankin tried to clear up the confusion when he commented on Random John’s blog: Many autistic children have tested high for lead toxicity, leading to the hypothesis (and forgive me for oversimplifying this) that their mercury-damaged immune systems are even more at risk for lead exposure than a typical child. In any event, very positive results (i.e., alleviation of some problematic symptoms of autism) have been reported after chelation for lead as well as mercury. It is generally believed that Abubakar Nadama was one such autistic child, and it now appears that the real problem was the doctor’s unexplained failure to use the correct form of EDTA. […]

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