Kirby tries to cover his posterior

OK, I surrender.

I tried not to write anything during this last weekend of my vacation, but then I became aware of David Kirby's CYA response to the tragic death of a boy during chelation therapy for his autism last week:
But even as the grieving immigrant mother makes funeral arrangements for her beloved boy, opponents of the theory that drew the family to America (the theory that mercury triggers autism, and removing it through chelation may improve symptoms) are holding his death up as proof that the idea is bogus. They claim that the use of chelation to treat autism is foolishly dangerous, and should be shut down at once.

Some people have come perilously close to exploiting this tragedy to further their own political or personal agendas. Some blame the boy’s death on his mother, who has been labeled as reckless and “desperate.” Others blame the Pennsylvania doctor -- and any autism doctor willing to try chelation (the use of certain chemicals to remove heavy metals from the body) – for the tragedy. Some fault me, for writing a book that dared to include the topic of chelation and autism within its pages.
Kirby's probably feeling the heat over this death, as well he should. The popularity of his book, Evidence of Harm, and its favorable treatment of the claim (I refuse to dignify it by calling it a "theory" given that scientific theories require a lot of evidence to support them) that mercury from childhood vaccines causes autism, very likely have played a role in the recent popularization of this bogus "treatment" for autism. As for "exploiting this tragedy to further their own political agendas," Kirby is being rather selective in his criticism. The mercury/autism activists routinely feature autistic children labeled "mercury poisoned" at political rallies to further their agenda. (One could even argue that Kirby's own attempt to spin this tragedy to deflect criticism of chelation is "exploiting this tragedy to further his own political agenda.") In any case, when a boy dies during a dubious treatment that almost certainly doesn't work, of course the incident should be used as an argument to criticize the treatment, no matter how "daring" it was of Kirby to have mentioned it in his book.

Kirby continues:
First of all, only an autopsy will reveal the actual cause of death, and I think it is prudent to wait before jumping to any conclusions about the general safety of chelation and autism. That said, the boy did die while undergoing the procedure, and it’s possible the controversial treatment is what killed him.
Give me a freakin' break! It's way more than "possible" that the chelation treatment killed the boy. It's highly likely. Otherwise healthy five year olds don't just drop dead of cardiac arrest for no apparent reason, particularly while sitting in a doctor's office. It happens, but it's extremely rare. For this boy to have just happened to have droppped dead of a cardiac arrest while he was receiving a therapy that can lower serum calcium and magnesium levels to levels low enough to cause cardiac arrest is one a hell of a coincidence. Unfortunately, the autopsy results may never conclusively show that chelation killed the boy. Electrolyte abnormalities leading to sudden cardiac arrest (the most likely cause of death in this case) can be hard to pin down in an autopsy. If the autopsy fails to find conclusive evidence for this cause of death, it will allow the chelation advocates wiggle room to claim "reasonable doubt" over whether their pet treatment killed the boy.

Worse, Kirby is now trying to blame the scientific community for Abubakar's death, rather than where the blame should be placed if chelation killed him, at the hands of the doctor who administered the chelation for a condition for which it is not indicated and those who support this quackery. (At least he properly asks the question why this doctor was using intravenous EDTA, rather than other, safer methods.)

He goes on:
Just think, if the government had listened to the very IOM report it commissioned back in 2001, we might know a lot more about chelation and autism than we know today. If clinical trials had gotten underway then, we would know with certainty whether chelation could heal, or kill.
Please. We already know whether chelation can kill. We've known it since the 1940's and 1950's. Deaths have been rare since the 1960's, true, mainly due to better cardiac monitoring and more care with infusions, but kidney failure, cardiac complications, and electrolyte deficiencies have not. The correct question is whether chelation can "heal" autism at an acceptable risk-benefit ratio, not the false dichotomy of whether it can "heal or kill." One has to wonder why Kirby chose to quote the 2001 IOM report and its tepid recommendation that chelation therapy should be studied, rather than the more recent 2004 report. Could it be that the evidence developed in the interim that failed to show a link between mercury exposure and autism led the IOM not even to consider chelation as a viable therapy anymore? (I'll have to go back to the 2004 report to check on this.) After all, if mercury is not the etiologic cause of autism, then there's no reason to think that chelation therapy would do any good for it and therefore no reason to waste resources studying it. Even if mercury is involved in the pathogenesis of autism, it's unlikely that chelation treatments given months or years later would do any good, but in that case at least there would be a reason to consider studying it.

Finally, Kirby says:
If hard scientific proof had been uncovered that chelation was 100-percent worthless in the treatment of autism, no parent or doctor would still be pursuing the therapy today. If evidence had surfaced in clinical trials that children could be harmed or even killed by chelation, no one would be using it today. The doctor in Pennsylvania would have halted chelation therapy long ago, and this poor grieving family would never have crossed the ocean from the UK in pursuit of its false promise.
How reasonable-sounding. How charmingly naïve. (I also have to wonder if Kirby is aware that it's pretty rare for a clinical study to provide 100% evidence of any conclusion. Medicine deals with probabilities, and those probabilities only very rarely turn out to be 100%.) Kirby clearly doesn't have much experience with "alternative medicine." Studies don't matter to alties, and that goes triple for conditions for which conventional medicine does not yet have highly effective treatments. Study after study showed that Laetrile didn't help advanced (or even early stage) cancer back in the 1970's and early 1980's. Altie practitioners still use it, and patients still seek it. Recent studies have shown that homeopathy does no better than placebo for a variety of conditions, but do you think that homeopaths will stop using it or people stop seeking it? Studies have come out showing that echinicea doesn't help common colds, but I wouldn't sell my stock in companies selling the herb if I were you. Study after study have shown that chelation therapy does no better than placebo for coronary and peripheral vascular disease. It's still being used, and NCCAM has even funded a large study to see if it works, not because of the science so much but because of its popularity. If the NCCAM study fails to show a benefit for chelation over placebo, you can bet that alties will dismiss the study and that chelation will continue to be used for heart disease. If a study ever conclusively shows that chelation does no good for autism, you can further bet that it won't be believed by the mercury/autism advocates and that chelation will continue. None of this means that we physicians and scientists shouldn't do the studies, of course. That's how science progresses and ineffective treatments are slowly weeded out of our medical armamentarium. However, Kirby's faith that such studies can cause such a rapid halt to the use of dubious treatments is almost touching in its naïveté.

This comment by Kirby, however, is not so touching or naïve:
But what if the opposite were true? What if the “rigorous science” recommended by the IOM had yielded proof that chelation can indeed help some kids -- provided that it’s done with the safest agents, at the safest doses, and through the safest routes of administration (not to mention in combination with other therapies)?

Either way, if America had done its scientific homework, as recommended by its top science professors, Abubakar might still be alive today.
In essence, what Kirby seems to be trying to do here is to deflect the blame for Abubakar's death from chelationists to the scientific community that hasn't studied chelation therapy for autism. Does he even know how clinical studies work? Even if a large randomized, double-blind study had been organized immediately after the 2001 IOM report, four years would probably not be long enough to write the proposal, get it funded, get it approved by the various IRBs necessary at the multiple centers it would have to be done at, accrue enough patients to have enough statistical power to detect the outcomes studied, and have adequate followup to make hard conclusions, and it certainly wouldn't have been long enough to document long-term outcomes of therapy! Preliminary results would probably be available now, maybe even more final short term results, but that would be about it. Also, remember that one negative study would likely not be sufficient to convince doctors (much less activists) who believe that chelation is of benefit in autism (although I'm sure one positive study would be more than enough, even though initial positive studies are wrong 1/3 of the time). It would take more than one study to convince. I would also make the prediction that such a randomized, placebo-controlled study would have an accrual problem. Many parents interested in chelation would likely not want to agree to be randomized to the placebo group. Getting them to sign up might be a hard sell. Such a problem would make a gold standard randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study even more difficult to do and take longer.

Sadly, it appears that Kirby is more interested in spinning this tragedy to decrease criticism of him and the mercury/autism hypothesis that he's become so enamored of than in critically looking at the claims that underlie the use of this dubious "therapy" for autism.

ADDENDUM: Peter Bowditch weighs in on the death of Abubakar Tariq Nadama. Stand back. He's really pissed off.

ADDENDUM #2: More information here and here.

ADDENDUM #3: On January 5, 2006, the coroner announced the results of the autopsy, concluding that it was indeed EDTA chelation that killed Tariq.


  1. The strange thing is that this child was from the UK. That is where MMR was the big bad vaccine. Thimerosal is not a big deal there.

    Why would the kid be dragged across the Atlantic for this? What would be the consequenses if it turned out that the mom did it because she read Kirby's book?

    By the way, they are being very slow to publish comments to Kirby's "Huff and Puff". Perhaps there is a reason they posted it on Friday (gives them the weekend to filter through the barage he may be expecting).

  2. I don't think he ever reads what is posted there.
    I won't try to reason with him any more, his loyalty is bought and paid for. He's not going to budge from his idiot stance.

  3. You're probably right, which is why I posted this to my blog, rather than trying to post to the comments section of his article. On the other hand, he did respond to Citizen Cain's critique of his use of the California data.

  4. If Kirby posted a response here and stuck around for the repy he'd be in over his head so quickly - he'd be a sniffling wreck in no time.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I can't stop thinking about that boy and his mother and family and thank you for your informed response. I've written about it at my blog and am I trying to make sense of tragedy, parental desperation, hope. kc

  7. I didn't know whether to laugh or vomit when I read David Kirby's lame rationalizations.

    Can he honestly believe (or think that we will believe) that a "government study" that showed chelation to be ineffective for the treatment of autism would be seen as anything other than a "cover-up" or a "conspiracy" by the autism-mercury movement?

    The autism-mercury movement is trying to get the public to believe two (actually, more than two - but let's start with these two) contradictory ideas:

    [1] Studies done by "the government" or by researchers with ties to vaccine manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, "the government" or "mainstream medicine" are biased, corrupted and a "cover-up" of the autism-mercury connection. Unless, of course, one of them happens to support the connection, even briefly or tangentially.

    [2] The autism-mercury movement wants "the government" to study the autism-mercury connection and the efficacy of chelation for the treatment of autism.

    Am I the only one who sees an inherent contradiction here?

    The only way the autism-mercury movement will accept any study is if it supports their hypothesis. That's their definition of "a good study".

    If a study found that mercury doesn't cause autism and/or chelation doesn't treat autism, that would be just another part of the "government/Big Pharma" conspiracy to hide the "truth" about autism and mercury. We know this because that's what they've said about the last four studies that failed to show a connection.

    So, are we supposed to do more and more studies until - by random chance - one of them supports the autism-mercury hypothesis? At this point, the autism-mercury hypothesis is losing zero to four in the study department. Will they finally throw in the towel when they're at zero and ten?

    I doubt it.


  8. So I sent comments to his commentary on late Friday evening... now there are 5 comments, all dated after mine, but NOT mine.

    Was it because I pointed out several studies of kids who were chelated for lead but did NOT have much neurological improvement (kind of points to the fact that chelation for mercury would by a logical leam NOT cure any neurological damage).

    Or was it because I pointed out the website (from Prometheus' web blog) of where money for research in complementary treatments was available?

    Or that I asked why Rashid Buttar did not subject his cream to scientific scrutiny?

  9. Firstly, Peter Bowditch has co-opted my term...Cheatlation, which I coined becuase it cheats the parents of hope, cheats the parents (or insurance company) of money, and cheats others of a real opportunity to get real help. However, being that it is Peter, I do not mind.

    Prometheus posted an excellent commentary about how AltThinkers function mentally (for want of a better term). Sadly, no matter how much proof that is heaped between their ears, if that proof refutes a Firmly Held Belief, they will go to great lengths to refute it. It is the lush spawning ground of conspiracy theories.

    Lastly, Orac's comments regarding finding the actual cause of death are right on. In electrolyte imbalance cases, it is extremely difficult for the medical examiner to establish COD. Perhaps Orac can arrange for a guest pathologist to blog about this, as I am absolutely certain that the anti-vac liars will chortle to the ends of the earth if the finaly report of the medical examiner is still inconclusive. The Yurko affair comes to mind.

    And, I am glad to see Orac back from vacation. While he was hob-nobbing with Derek, I was at a charity baseball game with Chris Noth..who is back in L&O (Criminal intent), hits and fields great. Also helped raised nice bucks for a burn center.

  10. TheProbe where did you use "cheatlation"? Though I suspect I saw it on Usenet... and with the power of there is proof positive that was used there in November of 2003.

    Peter Bowditch has stolen stuff from me too. Okay, some of it I sent to him.

    Nice to see you here.

  11. Dr Buttar calls Orac a "brick wall", as in, "talking to a brick wall".

    The good news is that Buttar gives his telephone number.

    Buttar is more like the slime that oozes from a decaying snail than butter, but then I despise the man.

    Buttar could publish his "data" online and he could have shown it all at th "Autism 1" conference, which is what the parents were expecting him to do, instead he whined endlessly about how parents won't listen to him and won't take their kids to see him until they have done other chelation...thus delaying his access to their wallets. He could publish his findings on his own website. But he's slime.

    For some reason Erik Nanstiel hasn't included Buttar's latest interview on his website The site does have Mady Hornig there though and she says she doesn't know if there has been an increase in the rate of autism, and also points out that stress can cause harm to the immune system, or make it work poorly. She gives it as an example of a "trigger" that isn't necessarily mercury. She sort of seems to be pleading with the camera person to be reasonable, with lots of strangely placed flashes of toothy smiles.

    She also implies that her study says something about autism and thimerosal, which it obviously doesn't. Duh. See Autism Diva's "Rain Mouse" and Prometheus' Dr. Hornig's autistic mice.

    Back to Buttar. All he needs to do is take a couple of blood tests on himself or another adult to see how much DMPS is getting inside if you rub it on the outside. I think NONE of it gets inside, as shown by parents who admit that their children's urine doesn't change odor when DMPS is applied topically. So if no one bothers to do a blood test they can all delude themselves so nicely, and Buttar keeps raking in the dough.

    Dr. Rimland said Buttar is using a transedermal "gel". I think maybe he's thinking of the slime that oozes out of Buttar's pores. But I could be wrong about that.

    Maybe Pat Sullivan jr and sr need to watch Buttar make a fool of himself on television.

    Not that anything could change their minds... they are trying to sell a book and have a business based on chelation or selling vitamins - something alt med.

  12. Well, we can see how the cover-up is going to be formed...Dr. Kerry will be accused of malpractice for giving the chemical too fast. The cheatlators will whine that the procedure is safe, if done according to their protocol.

    What is needed is much better documentation of other chelation caused deaths.

  13. Altunarail said "Maybe Pat Sullivan jr and sr need to watch Buttar make a fool of himself on television."

    From Mr. Sullivan's comments on this blog you can see classic signs of a "true believer", and actually one who is not very bright.

    Thank you for the link to the video. It is nice to put a face on both Dr. Laidler and "dr" Buttar (he seems to come off as a bit slimy).

  14. "Dr. Rimland said Buttar is using a transedermal 'gel.' I think maybe he's thinking of the slime that oozes out of Buttar's pores. But I could be wrong about that."

    Now that's funny....

    I don't bother with Pat Sullivan much anymore. He's clearly a true believer, both in the mercury/autism claim and in "intelligent design" creationism. Nothing I say is going to convince him, and he just recycles the same dubious arguments I've heard ad nauseum. Perhaps that's why he gave up hanging out here much anymore.

    As for Dr. Buttar, he's definitely not worth bothering with in a serious way until he actually shows some scientifically valid and convincing data that the chelation agent in his cream can actually get through the skin and reach pharmacologically active doses in the bloodstream, preferably in a peer-reviewed journal, but at this point I'd even temporarily waive that usual requirement of a "real" scientist. (Of course, that would still leave the task of coming up with data showing that his cream actually can do anything to help the symptoms of autism, but, face it, you have to walk before you can run.) Until Dr. Buttar can provide that preliminary data, he's nothing more than a joke, scientifically speaking.

  15. I've addressed most of joe's points before. joe can see my unfortunately copious output on this topic by starting here, and looking at the 16 posts referenced within. And that's not even everything I've written on this topic, just most of what I've written.

    I and others (such as Prometheus, Autism Diva, Skeptico, etc.) have also addressed the uselessness of the VSD for accurately identifying the rates and types of complications of vaccines, given that they are self-reported and not verified.

    I have every sympathy for parents of autistic children, which is one reason why I really hate to see them preyed upon and offered false hope by quacks and utilized as political fodder by paranoid conspiracy-mongering political opportunists like RFK, Jr. joe may not understand or believe me when I say this, but I find quacks who sell desperate parents like joe on false hope and useless remedies to be despicable.

  16. Sorry joe... lots of blather, accusations and no evidence.

    No dice.

  17. Orac, considering that you and your buddies called Buttar's "magic cream" totally invalid because of the lack of clinical, peer-reviewed, double-blind studies the last time my Dad was here, I find it AMAZING to read your description of how this process actually works!

    You said,

    "I also have to wonder if Kirby is aware that it's pretty rare for a clinical study to provide 100% evidence of any conclusion. Medicine deals with probabilities, and those probabilities only very rarely turn out to be 100%."


    "Does he even know how clinical studies work? Even if a large randomized, double-blind study had been organized immediately after the 2001 IOM report, four years would probably not be long enough to write the proposal, get it funded, get it approved by the various IRBs necessary at the multiple centers it would have to be done at, accrue enough patients to have enough statistical power to detect the outcomes studied, and have adequate followup to make hard conclusions, and it certainly wouldn't have been long enough to document long-term outcomes of therapy!"


    "I would also make the prediction that such a randomized, placebo-controlled study would have an accrual problem. Many parents interested in chelation would likely not want to agree to be randomized to the placebo group. Getting them to sign up might be a hard sell. Such a problem would make a gold standard randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study even more difficult to do and take longer."

    According to Dr. Buttar's timeline from his testimony to Congress in May 2004, he began treating his own son Abie Buttar on Abie's third birthday, January 5, 2002 with a "rudimentary version of the current TD-DMPS". By the time Abie was 4, twelve months after treatment began, "his attention span and focus was sufficiently advanced to the point of being accepted as the youngest child into martial arts academy..."

    In January of 2003, he started a clinical study with 31 patients, based on Abie being cured from the symptoms of mercury poisoning. (I don't know if anyone here would care to read it, but I found Dr. Buttar's testimony to be riveting.)

    Now to my question, if it takes four years plus to get anything like this done, which has numerous inherent challenges (ie. getting parents to sign up for the placebo group) and even then, "...initial positive studies are wrong 1/3 of the time.", it seems intellectually dishonest to take Dr. Buttar to task the way you did for his lack of peer-reviewed research. Even if he could pull the whole thing off in 4 years from his own son's cure, the paper wouldn't be out until at least 2007.

    Orac, it would be so easy for you (or your buddies) to marginalize me as another dumb altie with his head in the sand etc., but if you did that and ignored the content of my argument, you would be discredited big time by a punk kid with a Bachelor of Science in...wait for it...Marketing! ;-)

    Lastly, in your most recent comment to Joe, you said, "joe may not understand or believe me when I say this, but I find quacks who sell desperate parents like joe on false hope and useless remedies to be despicable." Now Orac, you may not understand or believe ME when I say this, but I too "find quacks who sell desperate parents like joe on false hope and useless remedies to be despicable!!"

    Quite frankly, the "dietary supplement" industry (for lack of a better term) that my new company has recently entered into is rife with junk products, crappy companies that bottle products in unclean environments, and keep their inventory in their garage. It is also rampant with marketing lies and overstatements, most of which come from MLM affiliates who mark up the cost of their product 8 to 12 times in order to support the "downline". Yeah, this stuff sickens me too!!!

    But that does NOT invalidate the simple premise of trying to give the body the vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc. that is required to heal and detoxify.

    Honestly though, I look forward to your response and I hope we can have a logical discourse.

    - Patrick Sullivan Jr.

  18. Prometheus, your "two contradictory ideas" theory is almost true. Except what I believe most parents are REALLY saying is that they just want the government to do their job without bias.

    I believe that BECAUSE certain studies (especially the epidemiological studies) have NOT shown a mercury-autism connection, there were 16,970 parents (73% of the 23,000 from this survey who reported that mercury detoxification helped more than any drug, supplement, or special diet) smelled something rotten in Denmark. Basically, they started digging because the results didn't match their own expected outcome.

    Where your theory is correct is that any study that does NOT show a mercury-autism connection will be evaluated endlessly and refuted endlessly because it does not align to their own personal experience. And seriously, could you look into the eyes of a parent who "rescued" their child after taking a chance on a "risky" therapy called chelation (key-LAY-shun) to remove mercury and other heavy metals? Studies that refute the connection will NEVER convince these parents.

    Especially when the Generation Rescue folks, who have nothing to lose or gain personally to my knowledge, put out something like this statement about Tariq's death with the supporting statement, "The scientific evidence supporting a link between autism and mercury is overwhelming."

    This makes me believe that "the autism-mercury hypothesis is losing zero to four in the study department" is a misinformed statement, though I know you will attempt to refute each of the studies.

    Which turns your own argument against you, right?

    - Patrick Sullivan Jr.

  19. Altunarail, thanks for the link to the television story about Dr. Buttar. I had not seen that before (and I'll comment on it in a bit), nor have I ever met Dr. Buttar in person. But as noted on my Dad's blog Dr. Buttar certainly does not seem to me like the wacko, jerk-off, asshole that you all would like him to be. If that is one of my incorrect "Firmly Held Beliefs," then I'll just have to be wrong.

    Though could not the same EXACT argument be applied to all of you for continuing to believe that Dr. Buttar is Satan's slimy minion?

    So unless I'm missing something, any further arguments based on "Firmly Held Beliefs" should be considered moot.

    Bob Dylan said, "'re gonna have to serve somebody..." I guess you're gonna have to believe somebody as well. Quite frankly, I'd rather put my belief/faith/hope in Dr. Buttar's "magic snake oil" than Orac, HCN, Altunarail, THE Probe, JM O'Donnell, Autism Diva, Skeptico, etc.

    (Speaking of quotes, did anyone ever say, "A mind is a difficult thing to change" ?? Because it sure is! :)

    Back to the TV report about Dr. Buttar. Off the top of my head, from a punk kid with a B.S. in Marketing, and with "one arm tied behind my brain" (LOL...I know you guys are going to go apeshit over that one!), here are the holes I saw in that story:

    1) "The 6NEWS Investigators found experts who said the so-called "cure" is more hype than hope."

    Right off the bat, you can tell this story has a bias. Ok, well at least we know that. Thanks for being up front and "candid" about your feelings 6NEWS investigators.

    2) "'They were selling hope,' said Laidler. 'For parents who are desperate, hope is a very addictive drug.'"

    Well, isn't that why anyone buys anything? Not because they need it, but because they want it and they hope it will make them feel better?

    (For more on why people really buy, point your browser to Seth Godin and Laura Ries.)

    3) "Laidler is an Oregon M.D. and has two sons who were diagnosed with autism. 'Most of his improvement came after we stopped everything,' Laidler said."

    Stopped "everything?" Hmmm...Obviously it is implying that he stopped TD-DMPS and "improved," but that is too much ambiguity for me to call it anything close to conclusive.

    4) "'Those folks have never even shown that it's even absorbed through the skin,' Laidler said.

    In a rebuttal to that comment Buttar said, 'No, we haven't done that. Why would I waste my time proving something that I already know is working innately?'

    'So these parents, these desperate parents are buying expensive skin lotion,' said Laidler."

    They put DMPS in skin lotion??? I didn't know that!!

    (Btw, THI$ is some expen$ive $kin lotion!)

    Now, I will readily admit that I flinched when I saw this reply from Dr. Buttar on video because I too would love to see an absorbability test or whatever it's called. But I'm not willing to throw out the baby with the bath water given that this "skin lotion" brought his own boy back to him (along with ~30 of his other patients).

    5) "And he's [Laidler] not the only one questioning the effectiveness of chelation. 6NEWS showed Buttar's presentation to Jim Bodfish, a PHD and autism researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. When asked if the treatment worked, Bodfish said, 'At this point we have no evidence that chelation is a significant treatment.'"

    Oh really? Dr. Bodfish, what about the 16,790 parents (73% of 23,000) from this survey who reported that mercury detoxification helped more than any drug, supplement, or special diet?

    What about Dr. Buttar's own son?

    Since Dr. Laidler got to talk about his son who "improved" after "stopping everything", how come Dr. Buttar didn't get to talk about his son, who is cured and is now doing long division in his head and learning prayers in 2 languages? The 6NEWS reporter could have easily asked that question during the interview and it would have been EXTREMELY relevant. So much for journalistic integrity! On we go... (And sorry if I am boring to you. ;-)

    6) "'When there's no known cause, that's this vacuum that opens up this black hole that allows snake oil salesmen to move in,' said Bodfish."

    My goodness why does everyone keep calling this snake oil?!?!

    However, you gotta love Dr. Buttar's reply: "'If this is snake oil and what they're doing is medicine, then I choose to practice snake oil. And I have no embarrassment with it,' said Buttar." Either Dr. Buttar is off his rocker, or he REALLY BELIEVES IN THIS STUFF. It's gotta be one or the other guys.

    7) "Dr. Joe Stegman has seen hundreds of patients for autism in his Kannapolis practice, but when it comes to mercury he said, 'I have yet to have one (patient) have any detectable (mercury) in their blood.'"

    SERIOUSLY? As if Dr. Stegman never heard of a Doctor's Data DMPS Provocation test. (The link goes to my Dad's DMPS test in 2002 from page 106 his book). And Dr. Stegman has never heard anyone talk about how mercury does NOT roam freely in the blood, but rather goes into the organs?

    Does this guy even wash his hands between patients?

    Orac, tell me you at least know about DMPS Provocation testing and how mercury doesn't just float around in the body. I mean, give me (and the scientists that I'm pulling this from) at least an ounce of credit!

    8) "So ask him [Dr. Stegman] about chelation as cure. 'I wish it were. I wish we knew what caused autism. But I think it's a lie. I think it's a sham,' Stegman said.

    'If this was a sham then I'll tell you what. This is the best sham that has ever been put on. I think you'd have to agree with that,' replied Buttar."

    And Dr. Buttar would be one HELL of a liar!

    9) "Buttar said one bottle of drops costs more than $150 and will last more than a month. He said parents should commit to using the drops for at least two years."

    Ah yes, there it is. ***MONEY!*** The most evil thing in the world. Nay, the root of all evil! If someone is trying to make money on something, git em!

    (To be accurate, the Bible teaches it is the LOVE of money that is a root of all kinds of evil. But I'm pretty sure you guys aren't big fans of bible quotations, so I'll cut it out now.)

    But let's look at it for a second. $150/month over two years is $3600. In comparison to other products that may or may not have shown clinical efficacy, is $3600/per autistic child, spread over 2 years, a good or bad price? I can't be one to judge since I have no children and no idea of the range of treatment costs, but I think that puts some perspective on this image of "Dr. Buttar, the greedy bastard."

    (I was hoping to list just 9 things for Buckley F. Williams at The Nose On Your Face, but alas...let this final remark go, I could not.)

    10) "The drug contained in the drops has not been approved by the FDA for use in the United States."

    Because everyone knows that unless a company has spent hundreds of millions of dollars proving the benefit and safety to the FDA, it's just not safe. (Vioxx anyone?)

    Now as far as I can tell, that statement is false because DMPS is approved by the FDA for use by compounding pharmacies, according to Docket No. 98N-01821. AND YES, I realize that this is a preliminary draft from 1998, but I did two searches on and gave up on the idea of sifting through FDA memos. Sue me!

    Altunarail, you also said about me and my Dad, "Not that anything could change their minds... they are trying to sell a book and have a business based on chelation or selling vitamins - something alt med." We've addressed the "Firmly Held Beliefs" issue already.

    But allow me to point you to the part towards the end of my Dad's post in caps with bold letters that says, "DISCLOSURE"...

    We've already said up front that we've got nothing to hide!

    Orac, I apologize for my diskspace consumption and lighting another fire on your blog that is sure to elicit numerous replies. Blog moderation on vacation must be a huge PITA! ;-)

    Thanks for the vine. Out!

    - Patrick Sullivan Jr.

  20. Well said, Patrick.

    I am tired of people that high five each other, pat each other on the back, and then jerk each other off after refuting statements about a treatment that they have ABSOLUTELY NO EXPERIENCE WITH THEMSELVES.

    If chelation does not work, then something miraculous has happened to my son after only a few days of it. He stopped talking a week after a flu shot. His speech and OT therapists told me that he has progressed faster than any other child that they have worked with. One of them has been working with these kids since 1988. The difference is that none of their other kids are being chelated. It has now only been 2 1/2 months, and he went from not talking and no eye contact at the beginning of this process to having conversations with excellent eye contact. That is just one example. That is unheard of with other theralies. He also turns around when you call his name on the first try without screaming it two dozen times at the top my lungs as I used to have to do, and only then there would be a 50% chance I could get his attention.

    BTW, I noticed that nobody mentioned the 14 kids that die every year on Ritalin. Or the number of kids that die a year on chemo. I will take the "snake oil" over the Ritalin any day.

    As far as Kirby and many of these doctors go that support chelation? I really doubt that a lot of them are getting "rich" off of this (No more than other doctors of authors), and if they are, good for them. They put their careers on the line for something that they have researched and seen dramatic results with (as I am seeing now with my son). In fact they are constantly being ridiculed by doctors and some of you clowns, who I might add once again have probably never seen chelation in action.

    As far as I am concerned, One child has died in the last 50 years from chelation. If I am wrong about this, post some stories about ALL of the others, because I could not find them. If this is helping my son, then I am going to continue to do it. When people who have no hands on experience with this try and shut this treatment down, they are only doing a disservice to these other children that are young enough to be recovered.

    What I do not understand about you, Orac, is WTF is the big deal, and why do you care anyway? Let these people practice their "snake oil" treatments in peace, and until there is evidence that does not work, let it go. Ohio State and Arizona State are researching this now. It will be interesting to see the results. I know what they are going to be, I see it every day.


  21. You know, I hate to say this, but the fact that "Orac" doesn't feel the need to share his real name with the public puts a shadow of doubt on anything he says. (Yeah, the same goes for you AutismDiva, prometheus, and all the rest of you nameless people!)

    It seems that the Sullivans have nothing to hide. Patrick Jr. signs his posts with his full name. Dr. Buttar, David Kirby and others are in the public eye, not hiding behind some alternate ego.

    Any claims you make are automatically suspect because you are witholding your identity.

    I am Mom to a 6 year old boy with autism. My name is Jana Marshall. I have nothing to hide. What are you afraid of?

  22. Anonymity is a hallmark of the web. You're going to have to deal with that or stick to your usual groups and lists. You're on his site. My suggestion is to deal with him intellecutally or leave. I don't agree with everything he says (like I think Chicago sucks) but is it worth a diatribe on his style or the fact that I don't know his name?

    Oh, and Joe, being a parent of a spectrum child myself I can say for certain that communication is important. If you want these guys to take you seriously I'd suggest working on the whole subject/verb and spelling thing. Also, what is being criticized here is a technique and some people who are making money off of it. If you're going to internalize all criticism that is, at most, tangentially associated with you, you're in for a long, tortured existence.

  23. How exactly do we know that Buttar's TD-DMPS is not really glyceran with a bit of something in it to make it stink?

    "Try it yourself"... Well, I know well enough that homeopathy is a bunch of nothing, so I am saved from trying it (especially when there is plenty of literature to show it is only a placebo).

    Give us substantial proof that there is:

    1) Actual active ingredients in Buttar's cream.

    2) That the active ingredient actually gets absorbed into the body.

    3) That it actually chelates something.

    4) That it actually changes the neurological function of the child.

    5) That the results have been independently replicated.

    (since actual chelation of lead in kids with real lead poisoning does NOT reverse the damage, I would say #4 would be hard to prove)

  24. Pat Sullivan Buttar would not have to wait 4 yrs to get some scientific momentum behind his cream if he did a mouse model expt. I'm sure he'd have several labs happily provide him the mice. It won't happen. He's got nothing to gain and everything to lose - if he's only interested in maintaining his salary. Just the opposite is true in academics - do the expt and tell the world via peer-reviewed journals, or go find another way to make money.

  25. Autism Diva is afraid to let many people know who she is, Jana Marshall.

    She is taking a stand against people who include Dr. Carley whose boyfriend Peter Kajawa was or is shown on her website threateningly holding a rifle designed

    GOT IT?

    Autism Diva has an autism spectrum child.

    Not that anyone cares about that since she isn't willing to exploit all the details of that child's life for any reason. No, if Autism Diva would give all kinds of tragic and heroic details about her child's struggles she could SELL whatever she wanted!!!!

    That's exploitation.

    (Autism Diva is screaming if you haven't noticed, because she lost her temper in reading all the crap here about the thieving Buttar and anonymity from stupid people who don't know what they are talking about, and it's a good thing she doesn't believe in using profanity because now would be the time to use it)

    Beyond that - Autism Diva's identity was outed by David Kirby at the Autism 1 convention this year, so lots of people, maybe thousands by now, know who she is and where she lives.

    GOT THAT???

    Autism Diva is disgusted with the Sullivans who are obviously blinded by the fact that they are in love with Buttar the slimeball and they are suckers besides.

    Slimeballs like Buttar have to be cuddly, notice how he paused and use the term, "my friend" at least twice in one email,"my friend"?

    If you have FACTS and inside information, as Autism Diva does, that show that someone is ripping people off and getting rich off of their fear and potentially harming handicapped children, you get MAD. Supporters of chelation for autism all ought to be very happy Autism Diva doesn't believe in using violence, because she's that angry about what she knows about it.

    If Autism Diva could grab you by your rotten little BS collar JUNIOR and shake you right now, JUNIOR "my friend" she would!!!

    Buttar only has to produce a couple of lab tests showing that his TD DMPS can pass through skin, but he hasn't done it!!!

    Junior, you didn't know he was selling lotion. Autism Diva is sorry, but you look like a total moron! Generation Rescue is run by an investment broker idiot, who is probably deeply invested financially in Buttar's cream.

    He is surely deeply emotionally invested in Buttar's slimy dream cream.

    Mark these words. Buttar is going to end up in jail if he doesn't high-tail it to Afghanistan or Bermuda or some place that won't extradite Americans.

    He's running a huge and very obvious con. And you are helping him.

    No one even knows if his son was really autistic!

    He calls himself a toxicologist when he is NOT!
    What more do you want? More lies from Buttar to make you feel better?

    Autistic kids get better without chelation! All the time!!! Even Lovaas claimed he totally cured 40% of his kids with ABA alone! That has to tell you something! Autistic kids do mature and do "get better"! without chelation.

    And the lab results are bogus. Stop being sucked into these lies or more children will die or be maimed, and certainly more people will be ripped off by the con men.

    If you don't know anything about autism that is true then don't presume to talk about it like you know what it is.

  26. Pat, Pat, Pat, so like your dad.

    There's nothing "intellectually dishonest" at all. What Kirby was demanding was a large definitive study. That would take a long time, and, even if negative, you can bet that alties wouldn't believe it and it would have to be replicated. (It often takes longer to demonstrate a treatment to have no effect.) Buttar could at the very least show that his cream does what he says it does by simply applying it to some volunteers at the doses used to treat autism, and then take blood samples at different time points to measure his chelation agent, to prove that it is actually absorbed through the skin and reaches pharmacologically active levels in the blood. That's just the first step, and it wouldn't take very long or require very many volunteers. Or, as suggested by someone else, he could use an animal model to work out the pharmacokinetics. But he can't even produce that data. Even if mercury does cause sutism (a claim I do not accept, but that Buttar does), if his concoction can't even pass through the skin and reach the bloodstream in pharmacologically active levels, there is no point in going any further. It won't work, even under the mercury/autism crowd's own premise.

    After that, he could do a small randomized pilot study, to see if there's even a suggestion of an effect that's worth pursuing. That wouldn't take all that long either. It would be the big definitive study that would take a long time. NCCAM has lots of money for this sort of study (unlike, unfortunately, several of the other Institutes at the NIH these days).

    When I see some data like that, then maybe I'll take Buttar somewhat seriously. I might then even consider his treatment to have risen to the level of "experimental" rather than quackery. But not before.

  27. Jana,

    The explanation you crave for my anonymity is here. Besides, I'm not all that "anonymous." Lots of fellow bloggers and readers know who I am. If you can convince me that you aren't a nutcase who will try to harass me through my Department Chair and Division Chief (as one other nutcase has done), I may even tell you as well--by e-mail, of course. You will find that the vast majority of physicians with blogs use pseudonyms, if you explore the medical blogosphere.

  28. And more reasons here:

    and some reasoning here:

    Also, I have an extremely commone name. A google search on (WITH quotes around the first and last) brings up almost 15000 hits.

  29. On the second try my comments to the Kirby bum covering was posted.

    The responses to my comment are less than stellar.

    Some guy referenced a twenty-nine year old chelation study on ADULTS in an industrial setting, with no indication of neurological improvement (just tummy problems and anemia). How lame is that?

    I started getting angry at the chelation crusaders well over two years ago when they first made a constant appearence on a NON-autistic disability listserv. Right now I am willing put blame on every one of them for the killing of a five year old boy. This includes Haley (who is now going to check out Olmsted's gold salts: ), Bradstreet, Buttar, Kirby, Handley, Edelson, Cutler, Rimland... and any other one who cries "It is mercury poisoning... time to chelate!". Like dumping more chemicals into a kid would help a specific neurological wiring. They are all guilty of homicide due to religious adherence to a very stupid idea.

  30. Mr. Sullivan wrote "Altunarail, thanks for the link to the television story about Dr. Buttar. I had not seen that before (and I'll comment on it in a bit),...(major snip)...
    What about Dr. Buttar's own son?"

    If you have issues with that particular television news story, bring it up with the television station and the reporter.

    Personally, I have seen no evidence that Rashid Buttar even has had a child with autism, much less has "cured" him. It would have been up to Mr. Buttar to present the child as evidence.

    Also, as previously noted... Mr. Buttar would not even have to drag his own child out. All he has to do is:

    1) Show that there are actual active ingrdients in the drops.

    2) Show that the drops do get absorbed into the skin (see Orac's comments above).

    3) Show that the drops actually do some form of chelation (see Orac's comments).

    4) Have it all verified by an independent non-biased set of observers (like some folks at Duke University or Univ. of North Carolina, either one of those is sure to have a couple of labs and some folks who can do the proper tests).

    Until then, all the websites, testimonials, advertizements, press releases and unveriabble statements are just a bunch of hot air.

  31. "You know, I hate to say this, but the fact that "Orac" doesn't feel the need to share his real name with the public puts a shadow of doubt on anything he says."

    I know Orac's real name, as does probably many other people commenting here. However, that's hardly relevant, as he is not arguing anything based on his authority. He is arguing based on studies and science, and he provides references to the relevant studies.
    His medical background makes it easier for him to understand certain things, and enables him to explain them to us in a better way. Much like my Danish background makes it easier for me to comment on Danish liability laws. However, neither Orac's medical background or me being Danish has anything to do with the actual points made in the posts and comments here.

  32. Autism Diva, all you seem to want to offer is witty banter in third person filled with unverifiable conjecture. Is that really helping anyone?

    For an example of "content", jump ahead to my next comment.

    - Patrick Sullivan Jr.

  33. Orac, you said, "Pat, Pat, Pat, so like your dad."

    Guilty as charged -- and proud of it! I'm proud of my dad. I'm proud of the fact that he is a hard-working, humorous, generous, honest, God-fearing man. Being able to launch Jigsaw Health with him has been one of the most challenging and rewarding things of my life.

    My Dad was born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois. The high school he went to, Assumption Catholic High School, is now the Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center (state prison). (Of course, he jokes that all the kids thought it was a prison back then and the only thing that really changed in 1994 was the name! ;-)

    My Dad worked his ass off to become successful. When he started ACT! in 1986, his only goal was to make enough money to feed his wife, son and three daughters. And if you read his book -- send me an email and I'll send you a FREE copy Orac -- you'll find out that that while trying to feed his family and build a company, he was silently struggling with recurrent bouts of insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, diarrhea, etc. all of which he has concluded stemmed from poor diet and overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics which impaired digestion (leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome) AND the 8 grams of mercury in his mouth from his 14 "silver fillings." He had those removed in 1987 and experienced significant improvements right away. But subsequent provocation tests have continued to show high levels of mercury since then. Therefore, he has been trying to find an effective detoxifier/chelator ever since. In his own experience, TD-DMPS has been the most effective by far!

    Why the heck am I writing all that? For sympathy? For praise? For self-promotion? Absolutely not!

    To show my/our true colors? Absolutely!

    And most of you can't even show your real names. HCN, you think "Pat Sullivan" is an common name? Come on guys, we're not in an AOL chatroom circa 1994. (Btw, Hello from "bluerolo42" to anyone who remembers me.) The blogosphere today REQUIRES disclosure or you risk the loss of credibility. As far as I'm concerned, Orac's explanation for his anonymity should only apply to him, unless everyone else in here is a doctor...

    So Orac, whether or not your comparison of me to my Dad is meant to be an insult, I wear it as a badge of honor!

    Now, Orac I halfway accept your claim of "There's nothing "intellectually dishonest" at all." That's because I thought you had a valid question. And after hearing it on an endless loop I started to think, "Yeah Dr. Buttar! Why not just do a stupid blood test and prove whether or not TD-DMPS gets through the skin?"

    So I exchanged several emails back and forth with Dr. Buttar late Tuesday night and into early Wednesday morning. Having no scientific background myself (other than my Bachelor of Science in Marketing), he had to explain himself a couple of times for me to finally "get it."

    But I can assure you in all honesty, with my real name and reputation on the line, knowing I had to come back here and face the music regardless of his answer, I was going to make SURE he explained it to me until I absolutely understood him and his position.

    I was not going to follow him blindly. His explanation absolutely had to make sense and appeal to my own logic. I refuse to be the mouthpiece for a liar or a con man! If I concluded, or even suspected, after our email exchange that he was lying, I would have come right back here and fessed up to it.

    So here is our email conversation. I gave my word to Dr. Buttar that he could read my transcription before I posted it. He sent me a reply email saying "go for it" on 8/31/05 at 11:31pm EST.

    Patrick Jr. (8/30/05 11:40pm EST): ...I think there may be a flaw in your "thimerosal challenge" if you choose to use DMPS in TD and IV for chelating out the thimerosal. One of the biggest, most common complaints from your critics is that there is no proof that DMPS is even being absorbed. If you use IV DMPS alongside TD-DMPS, you'll leave them a hole big enough to drive a truck through.

    Dr. Buttar (8/31/05 1:06am EST): For acute mercury toxicity, TD-DMPS is not sufficient...for chronic mercury toxicity where mercury absorbed into the the tissues, is the best. I will be taking a bolus of thimerosal.....I will take the bolus antidote. I don't care about the critics or what they say. We don't know how aspirin works but the entire world uses it anyway! A neurosurgeon friend, and father of a child I am treating, will be writing about this issue anyway...

    My purpose is not to prove that TD-DMPS is getting through the skin Patrick. I don't care if it is a placebo, which obviously it isn't....and our lancet paper
    [based upon the results of my own empirical observation] will show that the more you use the TD-DMPS, the more mercury is coming out. My purpose [for the thimerosal challenge] is different...I want to show that thimerosal is dangerous, and I will take DMPS intravenously to show how safe it is.

    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 I will take DMPS intravenously to show that it is NOT dangerous. That's why I want the show the world how safe DMPS is. And if it's safe to take intravenously, then it's OBVIOUSLY safer to take it transdermally.

    Patrick Jr. (8/31/05 1:49am EST): Dr. Buttar, please forgive me, but I didn't realize that showing the safety of DMPS was your true motivation. Frankly, I thought this was already well established? Isn't it readily used overseas?

    And yes, chelation therapy for mercury is coming under fire because of Tariq's death, but I believe that to be a knee-jerk reaction. The data of tens of thousands of parents who have already safely used chelation therapies (like what GenerationRescue reports) will eventually change that mindset.

    I assumed your motivation would be to prove that TD-DMPS ("expensive hand lotion" as your critics like to call it!) actually WORKS and to absolutely prove once and for all that it is in fact absorbed into the bloodstream. Otherwise, how could you have cured your son? How could my Dad's last TD-DMPS provocation test show elevated levels of heavy metals? etc. etc. etc.

    Honestly, unless DMPS is NOT recognized as a powerful heavy metal chelator (which would be shocking news to me!), I'm confused why you would personally risk death to prove its efficacy in IV form for acute exposure. I believe that a (simple?) test proving that DMPS and GSH do in fact enter the bloodstream transdermally would be BIG TIME ammo for you! It probably won't shut up the Orac's of the world, but it will certainly help to convince parents on the fence who are worried about it's efficacy. Let time and the numbers take care of proving it's safety.

    Of course, the upcoming Lancet article will surely make for great ammo as well.

    Dr. Buttar, my apologies in advance for asking you to explain this to me and for challenging you on this. Please know that I do it with only the best of intentions!

    Dr. Buttar (8/31/05 2:32am EST): Patrick,

    First, there is no need to apologize to me. Your intent is clear. This letter that the neurosurgeon friend of mine will write talks about the effectiveness issue from a conventional medicine side of the house.

    You see, first, you would have to actually have to have some type of test developed to actually detect the DMPS in it's altered form as it is absorbed. That takes money, effort and time. As my friend says, why do it? Let someone who wants to establish biokenetics and half life do that. It is not necessary to do this from a clinical efficacy standpoint. It would be nice to know how it works, but it is irrelevant. It works based on empirical evidence.

    So it's absorption is not an issue for me or for anyone who is a true scientist because the empirical evidence is abundant. Only a pseduo scientist is going to get caught up with levels in serum, which it may not even show, since DMPS is highly neurophillic and may be possibly taken up by the nerves or distributed through the lymphatics...I don't know and I frankly don't care since it has no relevance to the clinical side of the house. But you see how absurd it is to simply assume it has to get into the serum? It most likely does, but it may not. The point is, it gets in and it works....and it works better than anything else out there.

    Patrick Jr. (8/31/05 3:11am EST): Ok, it IS clear to me now! You have me convinced, and fired up about it actually!


    PS - I'm glad my true intention is coming through clearly. I know you are busy and that I am taking up much of your time, but I believe it is time well invested.

    PATRICK JR. (8/31/05 12:04pm EST)...I emailed him again before I received a reply back: Dr. Buttar, I had an epiphany this morning and I think I finally get it!! It all boils down to EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE -- your son and 20+ others have been cured from the symptoms of autism following the TD-DMPS protocol. It just works! We don't know *exactly* how it works, and we don't really care because the reward FAR exceeds any alleged risk of DMPS.

    Arguing absorption rates, etc. is complete folly b/c no matter what, no one can explain this empirical evidence away!!

    I feel a little moronic that I've had to go around in circles with you only to come back to what I now remember was the most convincing aspect of your testimony to Congress when I first read it 10 months ago -- the stuff just works!


    And that is the best way to finish this post. Our entire argument really all comes down to one, and one thing only -- EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. You can certainly try to pretend it doesn't exist, but not a single one of you can explain away the fact that chelation therapy has worked to abate and cure the symptoms of autism. And you never will.

    - Patrick Sullivan Jr.

  34. Game, set, match, but the winner isn't Dr. Buttar.

    Let's see. Lots and lots of verbiage, but no evidence that Dr. Buttar's cream actually gets absorbed through the skin, chelates mercury, or improves autism symptoms. In other words, a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing--as usual.

    You can pull the Galileo gambit with Dr. Buttar all you want, but Dr. Buttar's no Galileo.

    And his rationalizations for not doing the blood and urine tests are LAME in the extreme. He claims he doesn't have to prove it gets in the serum, but he's claiming his treatment works by chelating mercury? That's bullshit, pure and simple (pardon my French). If he's claiming he's chelating mercury, then he has to prove that he's actually chelating mercury.

    When this is pointed out to him, he then waves his hands and says we don't have to "prove" that it gets into the blood and chelates mercury because we have "empirical" evidence that it works. Only we don't have "empirical evidence that it works," just testimonials and Dr. Buttar's word.

    You've obviously missed the point of my post. My post describes the deficiencies of such evidence and why it's so easy to delude oneself into thinking a treatment "works" with little or no evidence, and Dr. Buttar is example #1 of this. We have no randomized controlled studies. Given that the mechanism of Dr. Buttar's concoction is very implausible, it's very highly unlikely that it "works" at alleviating the symptoms of autism.

  35. How could you know if I was Al "Tuna" Rail or not? It doesn't matter if I'm a 12 year old girl from Hackensack, right? I can't write letters to the New York Times without a confirmable identity, but here the facts stand or fall on their own. Even a little girl could whip Buttar in a contest of logic, obviously.

    Autism specifically allows for regressions and then development up to something like normality.

    This kind of developmental lurching is a hallmark of autism. It is a "developmental disorder". Meaning that DEVELOPMENT is affected, not that once autism is diagnosed all development stops.

    If you knew that,Pat Jr., you wouldn't be having pseudo revelations wherein "it all comes clear" to you. Give us a break.

    Buttar is a slimy little fellow with a side show barker's charm, not that charming really, just slick.
    He knows how to mess with people's minds, as we all just witnessed.

    He has stumbled upon a disorder that is perfect for placebos by proxy IF you have the cooperation of sleezy mail order labs to back you up. Your father probably used a mail order lab for his results, as does the founder of Generation Rescue, a Buttar victicm obviously.

    Handleys' son may have had a developmental delay, the kids who have "developmental delay" outnumber those with autism in the federal IDEA numbers, but generally, they leave that category by age 9, since they catch up. See? Developmental delay, not developmental dead end. Autism is usually confirmed after age 3, though it can be spotted quite early, it's usually missed until about 18 mos - 6 years, then in order to really get the dx you have to have had real signs of autism that people could see before age 3 (even if they get dxd at age 4 and up)

    Common ignorance about the difficulty in diagnosing autism allows for creeps like Buttar to "rescue" children who aren't truly autistic.

    As I said earlier, truly autistic kids can develop, you can read Dr. Kanner's follow up on his original 11 kids with autism and see how some of them came out quite "functional", meaning they got jobs. It's well known that even "classically" autistic kids can grow up and get married, have jobs and so forth WITHOUT CHELATION.

    I think this is Occam's razor time. I don't know rhetoric and logic terms well, but seems to me that if I can explain something with a commonly known explanation "the earth travels around the sun in an orbit", then it doesn't make sense for me to wake one day with a EUREKA moment wherein I realize that the sun is pulled across the sky by a chariot pulled by a winged horse.

    Again, the labs showing high mercury urine levels are dead wrong, at least part of the time, this is known.
    Thanks Dr Laidler

    Kids with autism have been shown to have little or no mercury in their hair, meaning they aren't loaded with mercury, despite the convoluted reasoning that *no mercury in hair* and *mercury in hair* of autistic children BOTH mean that they are poisoned with mercury and indicate that it's time to chelate.

    Chemically there is no reason to believe that DMPS ever could go through skin, if it does only a little could get through. The way to check is with a blood test for DMPS levels. Buttar said he was going to do that in his only statement on the "research" he has done on td
    He said he didn't know the half life in the blood then, so he can't know how often to dose the child, now can he?

    This stuff might be dangerous to children, if it wasn't just expensive hand lotion racting as a placebo.

    He says that the NIH said that DMPS is dangerous. Where did they say that? I don't know anyone who is saying it is intrinsically dangerous, it's just that we don't know if IV DMPS is dangerous to be used long term on children because it messes with the mineral levels in their blood.

    Summing up,
    Autism can be "cured" without chelation,
    the labs are suspect,
    autistic kids might have no mercury in them at all, they might be clearing the mercury from thimerosal just fine,
    there's no reason to believe that DMPS CAN go through skin - even Buttar is indicating he knows that is true,
    Buttar is lame, uses obvious psychological ploys to manipulate people and he uses other known quack medicine like the "ondamed device" to rip people off,
    last week he charged $800 an hour just to see kids in a conference venue in Texas, this week he isn't saying what he's charging in his advertisement flier.

    Besides that we don't know if his son was ever autistic. We know he's selling the stuff he's defending. He misrepresents his credentials, people say he's a "toxicologist" but he hasn't had training in true toxicology, he was an emergency room doc who decided to treat the worried well. His first endeavors outside of emergency medicine seem to be in cosmetic treatments. He did injections in women to relieve them of the deadly CELLULITE on their thighs and tummies. Then, I think, he went into promising eternal youth to aging baby boomers with human growth hormone, then he went into treating cancer with coffee enemas and ozone treatments and lots of vitamins sold from his office.

    I don't suppose he has any case studies there, either. Buttar is going to end up in big trouble. He's ripping people off, but doing so with a big smile so they don't know it, yet.

    I can't possibly profit by saying any of this. I'm not marketing anything.
    a pdf of Buttar's protocol containing more doubletalk.

  36. Pat Jr wrote that Autism Diva's post was content free.

    "Buttar only has to produce a couple of lab tests showing that his TD DMPS can pass through skin, but he hasn't done it!!!"

    That's content Pat Jr. You just seem to want to ignore it. Also, just knowing the molecular structure of dmps would tell a scientist that it isn't likely to pass through skin at all or not to a significant extent, you know, not everything just goes through skin. Thank goodness!

    Buttar still is prevaricating through his teeth about not needing to do any real tests or real research showing that his stuff can chelate through the skin or if chelation can do anything to autism. In general what we know about autism is that it is not like mercury poisoning, no matter how many times you hear otherwise.

    The brains of autistic people show that they were wired that way from long before birth. The wiring is set in place, you can't change it that much, and certainly not with chelation. Besides that there's plenty of evidence to show that the numbers of autistic children has been stable for 40 years or more. The old timers in autism treatment and research (Isabel Rapin and Darold Treffert for two) haven't seen a huge change in the numbers of autistic kids coming through their doors or in the kinds of kids they see. It's just that more people know what autism is now. There are a massive amount of older autism spectrum people who are carrying a label of schizophrenia - partly because before 1970 or thereabouts, "childhood schizophrenia" was used interchangeably with "autism". The word autistic was first applied to schizophrenics, by the way, some time before it came to be used by Kanner and Asperger.
    Autistic adults also carry other dxs but it's known that many are labelled schizophrenic. Then there's "mental retardation"... Those who have a normal IQ are sometimes not in the mental health system, as they are passing for normal in some situations and with some effort.

    If you don't know about the ways autism spectrum adults present don't try to say that there is no "hidden hoard" of adults with autism spectrum disorders.

  37. I shall attempt brevity!

    * JP, your argument is wrong. The rest is conjecture. (ie. "I've heard estimates where biomedical treatments can cost up to $100,000 per year, and I'd bet not a whole lot of that is covered by insurance.") Your license to blogpost should be revoked for arguing that as your point.

    * Disclosure Anonymous, you said, "Since PS Jr seems so keen on full disclosure, it behooves him to post the correct and proper contact information for Rashid Buttar, D.O."

    Rashid A. Buttar, DO, FAAPM, FACAM, FAAIM

    Medical Director, Advanced Concepts in Medicine
    The Center for Advanced Medicine
    20721 Torrence Chapel Road, # 101-103
    Cornelius, NC 28031
    704-895-WELL (9355)

    That exact information has been posted numerous times now. Google is free. Use it.

    You also said, "Please post his cell phone number or a "hotline" number so he may be easily reached, or YOU lose YOUR "credibility", Patrick."

    Give out his cell number or email? How naive do you think I am?

    If you're really serious, call his office or write him a letter. I *highly* doubt that my credibility would be at stake in the eyes of Orac's readers -- even the ones that despise me -- for failing to meet your demands M. Anonymous...

    * Dianne, thanks for the education about Aspirin. Quite honestly, it went right over my head though. I mean, I tried to read it but I don't know half those words. And why should I, I'm got my degree in marketing!

    But by NO means did it help explain away empirical evidence.

    PS - "Painkillers cause fatal stomach bleeding"

    TO: Orac
    SENT: 5 minutes after I posted this
    SUBJECT: Haha!

    There goes that idiot altie citing just ONE medical study.

    Btw, will you be at the polo grounds this weekend?



    * Anonymous with question about mercury amalgams, HCN is right. This is not the forum for discussion about mercury amalgams, but only because Orac is the LAST PERSON in the world you should be talking to. Start with instead.

    Or go visit Pat Sullivan Blog since he writes about "silver fillings" on a regular basis.

    * HCN, Kristi is spot on -- do you really need to make fun of Anon for talking about a movie? Anon had a good point since autism is mercury poisoning.

    And everyone here already knows how you feel on that issue, so please spare us your reply composed of something as stupid as everything else you have written so far. You are adding nothing!

    If you wish to debate, the only thing OPEN for debate right now empirical evidence.

    Except for the fact it is actually CLOSED for debate. Source: Every one of my dozen bloviating posts to the Rude/Insolent Blog. (hey, I'm getting sick of writing all this down over and over again!)

    * Kev, while I don't agree with your positions, I genuinely appreciate your attempt to keep things cordial (most of the time ;-) here and on Pat Sullivan Blog. You're a fine bloke. God love the British. (And God help us with comment formatting! ;-)

    * Alfalfamoo, see comment to Dianne RE: aspirin.

    And Dr. Coles does exist.

    (Btw, the handle selection on this blog is awesome. Everyone on Orac's "team" gives me the visual picture of a bunch of anti-anti-mercury super-heroes! LOL ;-)

    So why do I like Dr. Buttar? Fair question. I like him because he is a maverick and he doesn't give a F*** what any of you caped anti-crusaders think.

    That takes character. That takes backbone.

    I'm proud to defend him because as you can so painfully see through my THOUSANDS of words (wasted?) on Orac's blog, I have made the man explain himself to me so that I would "get it!"

    * JP, Because of your last paragraph to Kristi, where for the first time in the history of this blog, a point was conceded by someone other than me (ie. "good for parents who are finding that chelation works"), I re-invoke your blogpost license. ;-)

    * i2bpacific, you said, "with my $200 an ounce hand lotion that isn't proven to do a thing.

    AGAIN, read EVERYTHING I've written here about EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. No one but Orac has even attempted to touch this. And Orac failed miserably by trying to argue the same points about absorbability et al. which I had already TAKEN from him.

    The only logical position you are left with is, "let's see the kids."

    You want some parents to drive some of their cured kids over to your house?????

    You want the 6NEWS Investigators to film it?

    Then post your address. Setup a hotline so they can schedule visits.

    You guys are just jerks!

    Lastly, I ask that the "jury of readers" compare your non-scientifically based analysis of "homecooked labs from Doctor's Data" versus the fact that on paper, in living color, when the test shows metals coming out, symptoms abate.


    i2bpacific, you label these parents as ignorant rather quickly. A look in the mirror might be called for.

    You say, "...he says thousands of children are being chelated. (snip) Pat, wanna ask him?"

    I already have.

    I got the answer at 9/1/05 9:01am EST. For brevity sake (which is a joke at this point), here is the paraphrase of 4 rounds of emails:

    Patrick Jr.: Dr. Buttar, for supporting the "empirical evidence" argument, it would be really helpful to know how many patients have had symptoms improve or disappear under your protocol (both you and the other docs practicing).

    Dr. Buttar: I have treated over 180 myself....and a number of doctors have over a 100 patients each. I would estimate the number up to at least a 1000 or more that have been treated.

    Answering how many have had symptoms improve is more difficult given that the process usually takes 18 months to slowly and safely chelate out metals and continually replenish minerals....but I think it would be VERY safe to say that most have had significant improvement, to the point that SOME parents have stated if they see no further improvements, they would be satisfied with the result attained thus far.

    What is significant? Well, if you have a child that's 8 years old in diapers, and becomes potty trained in 4 months after starting TD-DMPS, I consider that HIGHLY significant.

    Percentage response would be like giving you windage....I have no idea but I would certainly say it should be greater than 50% improvement to date if averaged among all of them.


    It should be noted that Dr. Buttar's testimony to Congress was on May 4, 2004 -- 485 days ago from today. 485 days is roughly 16 months.

    Still want to continue bloviating about lack of clinical studies and ignoring the empirical proof?

    ***TO ALL ORAC-ITES***
    I'm exhausted from writing long posts and making astoundingly good arguments on the Insolent blog, only to come back to see that 99% of my arguments are totally ignored by you. Instead, you use google to see if Dr. Coles really does teach at UCLA. (Thanks to Kevin Greenlee, who doesn't even like Dr. Buttar, we learn that Dr. Coles does in fact work at UCLA.)

    Orac, you are proving to your 994 average daily readers that you really cannot debate the facts that I am bringing to the table. And we have seen that none of you can. That may sound haughty, but it really has NOTHING to do with me: an empirical fact is non-debatable, period.



    Yet you still will refuse, as if I had been "talking to walls" this whole time.

    And you'll all continue to scream at Buttar, "SHOW ME THE MONEY,!! No, crap, me both you greedy bastard!!"

    And speaking of movies, I feel like I'm having an "Old School" moment with the collective bunch of you embodied in the character of James Carville during which he tries to think of a rebuttal to Will Ferrell's argument during the collegiate debate.

    Carville: "Umm...well...we have nothing left to say...That answer was perfect."

    Cue: Roar of crowd!

    Orac, you said, "Game, set, match, but the winner isn't Dr. Buttar."

    This match is between you and me "pal." WE are the ones who are volleying.

    My "racquet" is Dr. Buttar. Yours is HCN. (Or Autism Diva, or whoever.)

    You should remember that the players themselves don't ever judge the match.

    Could Orac is the metaphorical Andy Rodick?

    I must admit that it has been tiring, but fun as hell to have been the "Cinderella story," coming out of nowhere, upsetting the #1 seed on his home court.

    Cue: Roar of Crowd!

    - Patrick Sullivan Jr., Giant Killer

  38. So much for brevity. ;-)

    Btw, I won't be back to comment on this post -- I don't need to.

  39. Ah yes, declare victory and leave. Why am I not surprised. That's lame, even by your standards. (Oh, and the problems with aspirin causing bleeding are well known. If you actually read the scientific papers about it, you would know that any long term use of aspirin for chemoprevention is a risk-benefit analysis to determine if the benefits in terms of cancer and heart disease balance out with the risk of GI bleeding.)

    And my "match" was with Dr. Buttar, not you, given that you were just regurgitating your e-mail exchange with Dr. Buttar anyway. You keep crowing about "empirical evidence." That's exactly what I'm asking for and not getting from you! Where is the "empiric evidence" that Buttar's cream results in any improvement in autism? Where is the "empiric" evidence that it gets through the skin and chelates mercury, as Buttar claims?

    Neither you nor he has presented any. Just testimonials. And I've already demonstrated why testimonials do not constitute reliable evidence, particularly in a condition like autism, where waxing and waning of the condition routinely occurs.

  40. "Generation Rescue is run by an investment broker idiot, who is probably deeply invested financially in Buttar's cream."

    That really hurts my feelings!!

    I'm not an investment broker!!

    Oh, and I certainly have no financial interest in Buttar's cream.

    If you don't think DMPS goes through your skin, put 300 drops on sometime. Send me an email and I'll send you a bottle, as long as you promise to honestly post how it makes you feel:

    Orac, you are a pretty eloquent guy. Are you autistic? If so, I'd be proud to have my son grow up and be that eloquent.

    Someone wrote on here that my son is probably just delayed and will probably snap out of it. . .

    He is snapping out of it, after 11 months of chelation.

    Love to all,

    JB Handley

  41. Mr Handley!

    No one but you talks about this supposed "feeling" one gets from Buttar's placebo lotion, from what I have seen on various chelation discussion boards.

    Does the stuff have an unnamed psychoactive drug in it?

    I guess I could go on Autism-Mercury to ask the adults there who are using it if they "feel anything". Surely some of the parents are getting it on their hand when they are putting it on their kids. One would think that the "feeling" of having DMPS on the outside of a person would be a common topic of discussion among the chelating parents.

    We could ask Pat Sullivan Sr. what he "feels" and compare that to what you feel to see if it's the same.

    I would think you would feel brave and competent like you are ready to save the world.

    Maybe it's a feeling of nausea because of how stinky the stuff is.

    Which brings up a question.

    Buttar said to congress that his formula is "micro-encapsulated".

    Is that true?

    Seems like the other folks aren't using microencapsulated tddmps, the compounding pharmacies are just mixing up DMPS in a lotion base , without any other ingredients and people are reporting good results.

    Do you suppose Buttar could sell it for cheaper if it was just DMPS and not "microencapsulated"? I hope you send some to a doctor, like Orac, who can look at it under a microscope to see those micro-capsules.


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