Autism Research Institute

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The Autism Research Institute (ARI) is an organization that created a controversial program, Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!), in 1995.[1]

Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!)[edit]

DAN! advocated for alternative treatments for autism and maintained a registry of doctors that were trained by the program to perform them.[2] DAN! was one of the more prominent advocates for the now medically discredited belief that vaccines may be a cause of autism.[3] Its "highest rated" autism treatment was chelation therapy, which involves removing heavy metals from the body.[2] Its chelation treatment was not supported by mainstream doctors.[4] Doctors told the Chicago Tribune the treatments were dangerous and that misleading tests were used to show that those with autism had a high rate of heavy metals.[2] According to the Chicago Tribune, metals occur naturally in the body and very little is known about what a normal range is.[2] As of 2009, three-fourths of families with a child diagnosed with autism will try an alternative treatment like those that were prescribed by DAN!.[2]

ARI's director said in 2011 that the organization's views on autism treatments had changed.[1] The DAN! program and doctor registry was discontinued in January 2011,[5] which was followed by the disbanding of the DAN! conference in 2012.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b Rudy, Lisa Jo (November 4, 2011). "Biomedical treatments for autism from the Autism Research Institute". Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Tsouderos, Trine; Callahan, Patricia (November 22, 2009). "Risky alternative therapies for autism have little basis in science". The Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ Eyal, Gil; Hart, Brendan; Onculer, Emine; Oren, Neta et al. (2010). The Autism Matrix. Polity. pp. 237–238. ISBN 9780745643991. 
  4. ^ Brownstein, Joseph (March 9, 2010). "Father sues doctors over 'fraudulent' autism therapy". ABC News. 
  5. ^ Rudy, Lisa Jo (September 2, 2011), DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) Is No More, 
  6. ^ "Disbanding the ARI Conference". Autism Research Institute. 
  7. ^ Dominus, Susan (April 20, 2011). "The crash and burn of an autism guru". The New York Times. Retrieved May 11, 2014. He [ Andrew Wakefield ] no longer speaks at the popular Autism Research Institute conference 

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