Respectful Insolence

You remember Dr. Rashid Buttar, don’t you? He’s that blight on North Carolina’s medical establishment, known for his “transdermal chelation therapy” that he’s unable to demonstrate as being able to be absorbed through the skin, much less chelate anything (arguably a good thing, actually, because at least it probably doesn’t hurt anyone, as a real transdermal chelation agent might). He’s also known for some rather more–shall we say?–colorful “treatments” for autism (colorful as in “yellow”), not to mention IV ozone. He’s also in trouble with the North Carolina Medical Board for using equally dubious therapies for cancer patients, all the while promising he could cure them. Unfortunately, the only thing he could cure them of is having excess cash in their wallets, as he charged exorbitant fees for his “services.” He also charmingly likened the North Carolina Medical Board to a “rabid dog,” what I would call a rather unwise thing to do, given that that board would decide his fate.

Well, Dr. Buttar had his practice restricted to exclude children (to keep him from treating autism) and cancer patients. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have stopped him. Indeed, he’s out there still, and he wants to hear from you. In fact, he wants to know:

If you had 30 seconds to ask me one question about Autism or Heavy Metal Toxicity, what would your single most important question be?

(Warning: There’s a video that autoplays there; so you might want to turn the sound off if you’re in an environment where it might disturb others or embarrass you.)

I’m sure that you, my readers, can come up with some fantastic questions for Dr. Buttar to answer. In fact, so confident am I in your ability to ask really great, brief questions, that I’d love to see you send them to Dr. Buttar using the link above. Also, if it’s not too much trouble, share them with me and my readers below in the comments, so that we can appreciate your incisiveness and discuss the questions.

Feel free to tell Dr. Buttar Orac sent you…

Comments

  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    October 24, 2008

    “Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

    I have a feeling that one’s been used.

  2. #2 Joseph
    October 24, 2008

    Sure.

    1. Why isn’t Minamata Bay or, say, towns along the Amazon river, widely known for their autistic populations?

    2. Where are the case reports of children hospitalized for heavy metal poisoning who were initially thought to be autistic by mistake?

    3. Name all papers showing that autistics have higher body burdens of heavy metals, after controlling for diet, pica and urbanicity.

    4. How does a heavy metal poisoning causation model explain all the various neuroanatomical findings from studies of autistics?

    5. Severe heavy metal poisoning is invariably fatal if not treated. Why isn’t autism known as a condition that has a mortality rate?

    6. How does a heavy metal poisoning model explain the most widely replicated findings in regards to autistic strengths, e.g. better than normal performance in block design tasks?

  3. #3 David C. Brayton
    October 24, 2008

    In light of studies that show a genetic link to autism, do you still believe that mercury in vaccines is the only cause of autism?

    Also, in light of the fact that autism rates have not gone down since the removal of mercury from most vaccines, why do still think there is a link between mercury and autism?

    Would you treat an autistic child with chelation therapy without first establishing that a child has excess mercury in his system? What level do you consider excessive? What is the level/range of the average non-autistic child?

  4. #4 notmercury
    October 24, 2008

    You testified before congress that your son was autistic before you treated him with transdermal chelation of your own design. Are you able to provide evidence or documentation of his initial diagnosis and current scholastic placement?

  5. #5 Matthew
    October 24, 2008

    The link to leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk won’t work for me, but based on what you’ve written (and I’m probably way off base here):
    Do you think that autism is like the Green Lantern?

  6. #6 Alan Kellogg
    October 25, 2008

    Naw, I think I’ll ask a question of you instead.

    Orac, what do you see as the most likely course of action should a contagious human cancer appear? Like the ones found among dogs and tasmanian devils.

  7. #7 adina
    October 25, 2008

    Hi Mr. Buttar,

    I need some health advice. I was very concerned about “heavy metal toxicity,” and knew iron was a major culprit, so I decided on chelation therapy. Unfortunately, that didn’t get rid of every last bit of iron, so now I’ve decided to puncture my arteries in 50 places, to let my blood flow out, until a CBC finally comes back saying that my Fe, ferritin, and transferrin-saturation levels are zero. That’s when I know that poisonous metal will be gone for good! However, while I’m waiting, I’m starting to feel kind of weak. Is this just my body battling those evil autism-causing metals? What should I do next? Should I chop off that extra lobe on my right lung, or shave off some of my left ventricle, to make sure everything in my body is more “in balance” and “in harmony?”
    I’m eager to hear your response, because I really respect your amazing understanding of science and how the body works!

  8. #8 adina
    October 25, 2008

    Oops, forgot to mention. I need a refill on that snakeoil. Can you oblige?

  9. #9 Aubrey
    October 25, 2008

    Alan, you don’t need an oncologist to explain that. The devils only had a problem because their immune systems and genetics were so similar and the tend to bite one another.

    If a group of humans had this state of affairs and infectious cancer appeared, you simply seperate the affected and affectable individuals, which would already be done for you by their low concentration in society.

  10. #10 notmercury
    October 25, 2008

    Dr. Buttar, How do you feel about fruit fly research?

  11. #11 Dangerous Bacon
    October 25, 2008

    Don’t you think it would be a great ad strategy if your website suggested that every time patients go to some inferior doctor who practices evidence-based medicine, they exclaim to themselves:

    ‘I can’t believe it’s not Buttar!!’

  12. #12 C
    October 25, 2008

    Why, sir, would you subject children to this? What is *wrong* with you?

  13. #13 Kelly
    October 25, 2008

    Adina FTW!!!

  14. #14 SLC
    October 25, 2008

    I have only one question. Why hasn’t this nutcases’ medical license been yanked? It’s a discrace on the medical establishment of North Carolina that he is still practicing medicine there.

  15. #15 Ms. Clark
    October 25, 2008

    “How stupid do you think parents are?”

  16. #16 Prometheus
    October 25, 2008

    Let’s see – 30 seconds of the Great Buttar’s time works out to about $6.67, using his usual consulting fees. I can afford that.

    My question is simply this:

    Does it take a conscious effort to keep from seeing that your “theories” about autism are not only wrong (and ridiculously so) but are also harming the people you claim to be helping, or have you somehow managed to disable both your rational and ethical thought processes?

    Prometheus

  17. #17 anonimouse
    October 26, 2008

    Dr. Buttar,

    Did that cream you rubbed on J.B. Handley’s kid actually suck the autism out of him like you said it would?

  18. #18 Harry Eagar
    October 27, 2008

    Slightly off thread, but at the supermarket today I see a picture of Jenny McCarthy and her son on the cover of Self magazine with a headline about how she cured the boy.

    I fear for Orac’s arteries.

  19. #19 DT
    October 27, 2008

    Off topic response – Jenny seems to be everywhere with her story of a miracle cure for Evan, I see.
    http://www.usmagazine.com/news/jenny-mccarthy-my-son-is-no-longer-autistic#comment-831921

  20. #20 DT
    October 27, 2008

    I just noticed this disclaimer on Buttar’s web site:

    The therapies that patients will receive will compliment (my bold) the care they receive from their primary care physicians and will not replace those treatments.

    If only that were true……

  21. #21 Prometheus
    October 27, 2008

    DT,

    I’ve seen the same sort of disclaimers used by a lot of “alternative” practitioners. I suspect they don’t want the burden of providing “routine” medical care.

    They’ve found a lucrative and low-stress niche and don’t want to be bothered with calls in the middle of the night for diaper rash, fever or vomiting. A few of them even charge their patients by the minute to talk to them on the telephone.

    That should discourage those middle-of-the-night calls! It’s a wonder that most doctors don’t do that; apart from the ethical concerns, it seems like a great idea.

    I doubt that Dr. Buttar – or many of the “alternative” practitioners – really want their patients to think of them as their primary doctor. They talk about being “holistic” (i.e. taking care of the “whole person”) but don’t want to be stuck taking care of all of the “whole person’s” medical problems.

    Just the ones that pay well.

    Prometheus

  22. #22 The Perky Skeptic
    October 28, 2008

    Good point, Prometheus. The other day I needed a phone consultation with my son’s pediatrician, and I begged her to bill me for the phone call, since it was 15 minutes of her time when she could have been seeing a patient! But she said, “Oh, no. We don’t charge for phone calls.”

    Let’s compare–

    Real doctor: real medical advice over phone, no charge.

    “Holistic doctor”: potentially dangerous advice, for which you pay real money by the minute!

    Nice.

  23. #23 Silverloc
    October 28, 2008

    As DT wrote, this page says:

    The therapies that patients will receive will compliment (DT’s bold) the care they receive from their primary care physicians and will not replace those treatments.

    This is an amusing word-choice error – I don’t see any evidence that Dr. Buttar ever compliments (i.e. speaks well of) treatment received from primary care physicians, much less complements it (i.e. makes it complete). :)

  24. #24 Silverloc
    October 28, 2008

    D’oh – I screwed up the link. Should have said this page.