Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dr. Buttar has a new protocol

A couple of months ago, there was a minor dust-up here regarding an unfortunate autistic boy who died while undergoing chelation therapy in an altie clinic near Pittsburgh. In my article, I pointed out that the vast majority of the clinical evidence indicates that mercury in vaccines does not cause autism; that there is no convincing (or even suggestive) scientific or clinical evidence that chelation therapy does anything to improve the symptoms of autism; and that giving IV EDTA was dangerous.

A certain commenter infested the comments section of these two posts with impassioned defenses of a certain chelationist by the name of Dr. Rashid Buttar, a man who uses a "transdermal" form of chelation therapy to "treat" autism, posting long (and lame) justifications for why Dr. Buttar can't seem to be bothered to do some very basic tests to demonstrate that his transdermal DMPS (TD-DMPS) actually gets absorbed through the skin into the blood, much less chelates any mercury (as he claims it does), much less "cures" autism. There was a lot of dancing around by this commenter relaying responses from Dr. Buttar when I and others pointed out that, if the DMPS is not absorbed through the skin, then it couldn't possibly chelate anything and further pointed out that, if it doesn't chelate mercury, then, by Dr. Buttar's own belief that chelating mercury can "cure" autism, TD-DMPS couldn't possibly work! At that point, Dr. Buttar changed his tact to claiming he had "empiric" evidence that TD-DMPS helped autistics and emphasizing that DMPS was safer, both in IV form and his "transdermal" form, at one point saying:
It is a "SAFETY" issue I'm talking about....I don't care to prove a damn thing to those people that you have been dueling it out with. The NIH has said our treatment and DMPS specifically is DANGEROUS....so I will take DMPS intravenously to show that it is NOT dangerous. That's why I want the media....to show the world how safe DMPS is. And if it's safe to take intravenously, then it's OBVIOUSLY safer to take it transdermally.
Of course it's "safer" to take it transdermally, given that it's almost certainly not absorbed transdermally. (At least, Dr. Buttar has not produced any evidence that it is.) Earlier, Buttar's defenders had spouted even lamer justifications:
It is well known that whatever is placed on your skin is absorbed. If you swim in a chlorinated pool, the skin will absorb a certain amount chlorine, right? You are concerned that there is no measure for how much DMPS is entering the skin. I say who cares if they have not yet done randomized, double-blind, placebo studies to determine how much DMPS is entering into the bloodstream through the skin? That costs money and why do a big expensive study on a substance that is already approved by the FDA? What they do know is that heavy metals are being removed without any other explanation as to why, other than TD-DMPS.
Buttar did admit to using IV chelation sometimes, but one of his main selling points for his TD-DMPS that makes it attractive to the parents is that it is supposedly "safer." (Again, in my opinion, the very reason it is "safer" is because it is not absorbed and therefore chelates nothing.) Dr. Buttar also seemed to be arguing that IV DMPS was safer compared to IV EDTA. Apparently, however, Dr. Buttar is changing his tune (and his favored treatment) about EDTA. Thanks to a tip from a reader, I've been directed to a link suggesting that Dr. Buttar is now "treating" autism using a new regimen that includes IV EDTA (the chelator that killed Tariq), ozone, and minerals to remove "persistent organics" and asking other parents what they thought of it:
Dr Buttar's office has asked us (after being on TD DMPS for about 11 mos) to come on IV EDTA/ozone protocol over a two month period every two weeks. TD DMPS and TD EDTA will continue on a Mon, Wed, Fri schedule after the IV's

Every 2 weeks our son will get IV EDTA and ozone (which will be infused in his blood and given via IV) and on the second day he will get minerals. The reason given for ozone is to reduce persistent organics in his system. There is no test being recommended to determine if the child will be a good candidate for ozone. Apparently, some children are seeing good results and Dr Buttar is trying this treatment on older children (greater than 7). Dr Buttar's office has provided some research on ozone done by a MD researcher in NY whom we spoke with. The immediate reaction of this researcher was that there has not been any study with children while ozone therapy is safe and has been used on millions of people in Europe. The researcher was not aware of Dr Buttar or his protocol on children and said that one needs to establish first if ozone therapy is needed.
Oooh boy. "Trying his treatment on older children"? Where to start? To the credit of some of the mothers on the list, they weren't totally buying into this, with one even saying that she "would not want to be first in line" and another saying:
I think IVs of EDTA (or any other chelation agent) are a BAD idea. I wonder what possible rationale he has for this, since I think it is such a bad idea. Besides being the most dangerous form of chelation, IVs are also really expensive, in case they need another strike against them.
Indeed. Once again, I emphasize that there is no evidence that chelating mercury or anything else improves the symptoms of autism. Unfortunately, this same mother was rather credulous about the ozone therapy, suggesting that the first mother instead should purchase her own ozone setup. Then, in a followup, I also became aware of another discussion of new "protocol" on a different discussion group. In this discussion, one mother stated that, for children over 7, Dr. Buttar was recommending an IV drip of DMPS and glutathione, followed by ozone, minerals, and some sort of "pesticide remover" or "environmental detoxifier." Moreover, as the discussion unwound, it was stated that Dr. Buttar charges $2,000 a session plus a charge for supplements, with a total of four visits being required, leading to a complaint by another that "only the rich" can afford his therapy. Another person was unhappy that Dr. Buttar was not planning on making his new protocol public and lamented that he was charging $17,000 to other doctors to take a 7 day course in administering this new protocol. I don't know how accurate this characterization of Buttar's new protocol is or his pricing structure is (it may be a second- or third-hand account), but, if true, it sounds like some serious quackery to me. The reports I've been able to glean from the discussion thus far are conflicting about whether Dr. Buttar now uses IV EDTA or DMPS, but they all appear to agree that he is now using IV chelation of some kind with glutathione, minerals, ozone, and some sort of "environmental detoxifier."

You know, sometimes I think I'm in the wrong business.

One thing that struck me about this new protocol is how much it resembled another form of autism quackery that I wrote about a while ago. Indeed, it appears to be an unholy union of a different form of "oxygenation" therapy other than hyperbaric oxygen "therapy" for autism I used EneMan to poke fun at earlier this month and that favorite dubious therapy of the mercury/autism activists, chelation therapy. Unfortunately, the intravenous injection of ozone hasn't been shown to be effective for any condition that I can find. Ozone therapy may be somewhat useful, as hyperbaric oxygen therapy is useful, in treating chronic wounds, but not much else. Even so, it is not generally used as a treatment for chronic wounds. That doesn't stop a lot of quacks from touting it as a treatment for everything from cancer to AIDS. Here is what happens when ozone is administered intravenously:
When ozone is introduced into blood, it reacts with water in red cells producing hydrogen peroxide. This aqueous decomposition of ozone also produces bactericidal and membrane-damaging free radicals [21]. Ozone used for treatment [24] is prepared by creating an electric spark in a chamber of pure oxygen. The final mixture contains between 0.l and 5.0% ozone, concentrations that are equivalent to from l.0 ppm to 50 ppm ozone in pure oxygen.

Ozone generated this way has a half life of 45 minutes at room temperature, and under ideal conditions of sterility, dryness, and cleanliness, it must be prepared on site each time it is used. A two-hour exposure to 1200 ppm ozone is needed to kill microorganisms on open surfaces and in water [25]. Concentrations of ozone recommended are: for topical treatment of superficial wounds, 70 to 100 ppm; for slow-healing ulcers, between 40 and 70 ppm; and when oxygenating effects are needed to treat diseases associated with hypoxia, from l to 40 ppm [26].
One has to wonder how "ideal" or "sterile" Dr. Buttar's conditions are or why one would want to let loose so many free radicals to damage one's blood cells. In any event, ozone is a highly reactive, oxidative gas with many industrial applications, with OSHA recommended guidelines for safe exposure of less than 0.10 ppm. There is no evidence that it is any good for treating cancer, HIV, or autism. (A PubMed search failed to turn up a single reference that suggested ozone might be good to treat autism.) Indeed, at least as of 1999, ozone was not FDA-approved for the treatment of any condition, and the FDA has even arrested and prosecuted people for selling ozone generators and making claims that it can treat medical conditions:
Proponents of medical ozone generators believe ozone can kill viruses and bacteria in the body. While ozone is used as a germicide in the cleaning of manufacturing equipment, FDA is not aware of any scientific data that supports the safety or effectiveness of ozone generators for treating medical conditions. In fact, the agency believes that at the levels needed to work effectively as a germicide, ozone could be detrimental to human health.

"These devices keep popping up," says Bob Gatling, a biomedical engineer and director of the program operations staff in FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. "We always tell their makers": 'Show us some data,' but no one ever pursues it."
The bottom line is that, as is the case for chelation therapy, there is no scientific evidence that IV ozone, either alone or with chelation therapy, does anything therapeutic for autism. It is rather interesting, however, that, with his inclusion of ozone to rid the body of "persistent organics" and the addition of some new "environmental detoxifier," Dr. Buttar is apparently now broadening his approach to more than just mercury. Perhaps he is starting to realize that the mercury mania that has come to the fore this year is without basis and that he needs to expand to eliminating the vague "toxins" alties are so fond of blaming for various diseases. (Certainly he has never presented any scientifically valid "empiric evidence" that his transdermal therapy does anything other than make his patient's skin greasy, anyway.) Given that he seems to be offering this new "protocol" to older children, many of whom have already been on his TD-DMPS, I can't help but speculate that perhaps, just perhaps, TD-DMPS is not all Buttar claims it is, leading him to come up with a "second line" treatment.

Given that my source of information thus far consists of online discussions, I would love more substantive confirmation. I would also love to ask Dr. Buttar or his defenders these questions:
  1. Is Dr. Buttar indeed using IV chelation therapy, ozone, and and "environmental detoxifier" as a new protocol to "treat" autism, as is being discussed in these groups?
  2. If the answer to #1 is yes, does this mean that perhaps his transdermal chelation wasn't as effective as he has claimed it was in the past?
  3. If the answer to #1 is yes, which chelator is Dr. Buttar using, IV DMPS or EDTA? If EDTA, why, given that Dr. Buttar has in the past pointed out that DMPS is much safer than EDTA?
  4. If the answer to #1 is yes, what is the scientific basis for this new "therapy"? What clinical trial evidence does he have that it does anything to improve the symptoms of autism?
  5. If the answer to #1 is yes, what is the scientific rationale for the addition of ozone? What is the evidence (preclinical and clinical) that ozone has any value in treating autism?
  6. If the answer to #1 is yes, what, exactly, is this "environmental detoxifier" these parents say that Dr. Buttar is now including? (Some sort of "magic mixture," perhaps?) What "toxins," specifically, is this "detoxifier" removing and what is the evidence indicating (1) that these toxins have anything to do with autism and (2) that this "detoxifier" actually removes them?
  7. If the answer to #1 is yes, why isn't there anything on Dr. Buttar's website about this new protocol or anywhere else that I can find other than on these discussion groups?
  8. If the answer to #1 is no, why are these parents posting to various groups fairly detailed accounts stating that Dr. Buttar is now recommending IV chelation therapy, minerals, ozone, and an "environmental detoxifier" to treat their autistic children? Is it all just a misunderstanding?
Inquiring minds want to know!

If these reports are indeed true, it sounds as though Dr. Buttar may be going down the pathway of Dr. Stephen B. Edelson. I have to wonder if some of Dr. Buttar's most vociferous defenders will continue to defend him. At the very least, they should put his feet to the fire and make him answer some questions.

16 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 11/22/2005 8:47 AM, Blogger Kev said...

I'm amazed but not surprised if that makes sense.

Amazed that anyone would be so foolhardy to pursue any IV chealtion treatment after what happened to Tariq - much less IV EDTA itself.

However, I'm not surprised at all that Rashid Buttar is the one to try this. Its perfectly obvious that TD DMPS has no 'legs' and since the blogosphere pressure to submit it for review, he's obviously sweating about his income stream drying up.

I really, really hope this isn't true. I hope its a misunderstanding and I hope that even some of the more pro-Buttar element of the people you and I disagree with can look at this rationally and realise how incredibly dangerous it is.

However,it sounds like (from your DeepThroat) that he's already trying it out. So we are reduced once more to hoping that no one is killed. That didn't work out so well last time.

 

At 11/22/2005 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are very good analytical proceedures for mercury, surely one would test to see if it is present in any amount in the body. I sort of remember that some mercury derivatives, are given to incease the urine flow, there must be some tolerance for the metal.

 

At 11/22/2005 10:04 AM, Blogger clone3g said...

JB Handley was Buttar's biggest supporters and no doubt helped to sell thousands of bottles of TD-DMPS as the one and only cure for autism. Funny that JB doesn't seem to be putting all of his eggs in one lotion these days either. I wonder why that is? Now it's vitamin nose sprays, and valtrex, and ABA-lite, and RNA drops, and lord only knows what else.

As JB is fond of pointing out, it's all there in print and someone will enjoy a big "I told you so!" Will that day quietly pass if JB refuses to acknowledge Buttar's TD-DMPS doesn't cure autism?

 

At 11/22/2005 10:33 AM, Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

let's see if third time's a charm...

Jeebus. I hope this is just a scary misinterpretation but probably not.

I'm reminded of a movie review I saw where some country doctor in Japan thought every one of his patients had hepititus and he treated them accordingly - to the detriment of his patients. (maybe someone here pointed me to it?) But the Japanese doctor was simply insane - he wasn't robbing people blind while not helping them. There was no Cajun Samurai.

Someone barked about Buttar being an Army doc some time ago. I hope he's not still in the Reserves b/c the soldiers deserve better.

Maybe Buttar is a Zep fan.

 

At 11/22/2005 10:34 AM, Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

clone3g said, "JB doesn't seem to be putting all of his eggs in one lotion these days either"

It's way too early to be laughing this hard.

 

At 11/22/2005 10:50 AM, Blogger clone3g said...

ICBM conference
Have to get these two tapes:

Tape 5- Evaluation of Patients & Patient Selection for EDTA Therapy
in Vascular & Degenerative Diseases - Raschid Buttar, DO

Tape 7 Pitfalls, Office Management, Paperwork & Legalities -
Rashid Buttar, DO

 

At 11/22/2005 11:13 AM, Anonymous HCN said...

Okay, I like Clone's typo (?)... I read "ICBM" as InterContinental Ballistic Missile.

I'm not really sure what ICM or ICLM is, ohter than the tape company.

 

At 11/22/2005 11:50 AM, Blogger JP said...

I normally don't go to this card, but let me sum it up for you nicely:

Dr. Buttar is an idiot who doesn't know what he's doing.

Seriously, ozone? Environmental detoxifiers? EDTA? I guess what happened is that parents (at least a few) are figuring out that his smelly cream is nothing more than, well, smelly cream. So he's taking the Jeff Bradstreet approach and coming up with a "holistic and comprehensive" approach to autism treatment. Which is code for "throw a whole bunch of stuff at the wall, charge a fortune, and if a child just happens to improve by chance give the credit to whatever they were doing at the time."

Serious proponents of the thimerosal-autism theory would be best served to distance themselves from this guy.

 

At 11/22/2005 2:22 PM, Blogger clone3g said...

HCN said: Okay, I like Clone's typo

Oh dear. How could I be so careless. I must have assumed that once a person has testified before congress they are automatically invited to the SALT talks.

 

At 11/22/2005 5:29 PM, Blogger Prometheus said...

Now wait just a minute! Haven't the autism-mercury folks been babbling on about how the mercury was doing its damage through oxidation?

Didn't one of their pet researchers (i.e. Jill James)publish a paper on how one of the "metabolic biomarkers" of autism was "increased oxidative stress"? (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15585776&query_hl=2)

Not that I necessarily buy any of it, but doesn't it seem just a bit inconsistent to pump a highly oxidative chemical into autistic children and then claim that their condition was due to "oxidative stress"? Seems like injecting ozone would constitute an "oxidative stress".

I still giggle a bit when I think of the phrase "putting all of his eggs in one lotion". Clearly, Buttar is trying to "broaden his income stream", as I once heard a financial wonk describe it.

Not that this was a real issue, but this latest gaffe pretty much puts an end to any claims Dr. Buttar might have of being a "toxicologist". Unless he means it inthe sense of causing toxicity.

The IV EDTA death of Tariq was clearly malpractice - if (and I hope that it's "if" and not "when") Dr. Buttar kills someone with this ozone "therapy", that will be murder.


Prometheus

 

At 11/22/2005 5:36 PM, Blogger bonni said...

There are very good analytical proceedures for mercury, surely one would test to see if it is present in any amount in the body.

Of course there are. But those who get mixed up with this kind of quakery get their kids tested via means and "private" laboratories that return results that support the quackery. They're told that "mainstream" labs don't test properly, or know what to look for.

And they fall for it.

 

At 11/22/2005 6:13 PM, Blogger Orac said...

But, Prometheus, that's what the IV glutathione is for! Don't you get it? You inject them with glutathione in preparation for the oxidative stress of the ozone. But wait a minute. Why bother with the oxidative stress of the ozone? The two could cancel each other out.

Never mind.

 

At 12/17/2005 4:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a few facts you missed. Dr Buttar is one of only 186 Board Certified Toxicologists in this country. He has recovered many mercury poisoned children....mercury they received in their childhood vaccines. These vaccines were FDA approved. Most children in this country received 165 mcgs of mercury their first year of life. Mercury is a known neuro toxin. Dr Buttar was quick to respond about the boy who died. He explained that it was totally unsafe to ever do an IV push....which is what that boy was given. Dr Buttar and many other MD's in this country who are working hard to recover a generation of mercury poisoned children are using IV drips with a drug that is FDA approved and has been in use for over 50 years. I am curious what your credentials are when it comes to toxins and chelation?
Susan

 

At 1/06/2006 10:43 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

"Dr Buttar is one of only 186 Board Certified Toxicologists in this country"....

Uh, not really. Not by any real medical board. The "toxicology" board that certifies him is a fringe group that is dedicated to getting more people chelated, usually for heart conditions --- they only recently diversified into convincing desperate parents to "chelate" their children.

Unfortunately with deadly consequences... which you would have noticed if you consistently read this blog.

Buttar is "certified" by this group: http://www.abct.info/ ... The REAL toxicologists are here:
http://www.acmt.net/main/

The latter has a directory at http://www.acmt.net/directory/ where you can look up their members (with all the criteria set at "all" you get 244 hits). Rashid Buttar was NOT among them.

Another interesting group is this:
http://www.toxicology.org/ ... They do not allow access to their directory, but they have a LONG list of people willing to talk to the media:
http://www.toxicology.org/ai/news/newsmedia.asp ... Buttar (who likes to talk to congressmen) was not on that list.

By the way, there is also an American College of Toxicology. Their journal deals with lots of animal studies. Here is their page where I found the other two organizations:
http://www.actox.org/general/links.htm

 

At 1/23/2006 9:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Parents and Doctors trying new procedures to help their children. What is wrong with these people?? Why dont they just follow what mainstream medicine is telling them ... try some ABA, pray to whatever being you may or may not believe in (wait, i do need to see the double blind test on prayer before I can recommend that too), and pick out a good institution to put your son into for the rest of his life.

Rather than bash some doctor's for trying knew things, why not bash the medical establishment for not funding more of these "studies" to find the dam cure??

From the limitted studies I have seen,
o kids with Autism usually have less mercury in the hair (which could mean that they dont shed it as easily and have a build up in their system??)
o symptoms of Mercury poisoning on autism tend to line up
o lab results from autistic kids on chelation treatment seem to show them shedding toxic chemicals, in greater quantities than normal control groups

I dont support anyone making profits out of this, but I also see profit-ers greatest opportunity in filling a void ... in this case, a void caused by lack of serious study. Why hasn't the government funded research looking at Autistic Kids and their mercury levels??
I think there are more villians out there then maybe just the doctors ....
But i guess we should follow your lead, screw trying something new, I mean, that $17K could pay for 4 months in an insitution for these kids ....lets see, that only leaves another 68 years or so per child to fund.

IF YOU WANT TO GET MAD, TAKE ON THE FACT THAT THEIR ARE NOT ENOUGH RESOURCES BEING SPENT TO HELP THESE KIDS.

 

At 1/23/2006 11:15 PM, Anonymous HCN said...

Actually, Anonymous, those studies don't really say what you think they say.

But anyway... it is well known that the EDTA chelation being promoted by Buttar (which is the subject of this comment) is very dangerous. It has never been shown to work for much, and if you followed the links I put in you will see that Buttar is not a real toxicologist --- but just a shyster going after the money of desperate cancer patients, parents of autistic kids and anyone else he can bamboozle.

If you wish to participate in the science, and actually get paid for it some cases... then check out the comment I made in a much more recent comment:
Research Studies in Autism

... note that many are seeking participants. Good luck.

 

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