Defeat Autism Now!

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Defeat Autism Now! (DAN!) was a controversial program created by the Autism Research Institute (ARI) in 1995.[1] It 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, 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 no longer speaks at the popular Autism Research Institute conference"