Friday, November 25, 2005

Nothing succeeds like excess...

A tip of the electronic hat to Orac for alerting us to the NEW! autism treatment protocol offered by Dr. Rashid Buttar. A parent on the Autism-Mercury Yahoo Group, described this NEW! protocol as follows:

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.

I would like to hear from other parents if they have researched this. We just don't want to do anything that is invasive.

Another big concern we have is the mineral supplementation is being recommended by Dr Buttar's office. The office looks at the essential urine mineral test (and not RBC) to determine the right dosage for the minerals.They prescribed copper which according to many doctors is a neurotoxin. We are just concerned about not giving adequate minerals. Can someone tell us the minerals on 1 day/1 day off protocol.


There is just so much wrong here that I was at first at a loss where (or if) to begin. In the end, it was the antics of one of Dr. Buttar's apologists that prompted me to speak out.

[1] IV EDTA:

Where do I begin with this one? EDTA, since about 1992, has been a secondary treatment for lead poisoning. It was supplanted by DMSA, which was vastly safer, more effective and easier to use. EDTA must be given intravenously (IV) to work, since it is not adequately absorbed when taken orally. Oh, and it also isn't likely to be absorbed throught the skin - it's a big, highly polar molecule.

For mercury, EDTA has always been a poor choice. Studies done in the 1980's showed that it was not very effective for mercury poisoning, although it was used as a treatment for a while because the only other choice - BAL (dimercaprol) - was even more toxic. Since the development of DMSA (and DMPS), EDTA has had no significant role in mercury poisoning.

Back to the Buttar Protocol. By combining DMPS and EDTA, you have two drugs that do the same thing, except that one (EDTA) is both less effective and more toxic than the other. So, the net effect is to significantly increase the risk of injury or death without reaping a corresponding increase in effectiveness.

Now, the probable fact is that Buttar's TD-DMPS isn't being absorbed, so the IV-EDTA will undoubtedly increase the amount of chelation going on. However, an even greater effect could be achieved by simply giving the DMPS orally (or intravenously). So, why go to an "invasive" treatment that is painful and dangerous when a less painful and less dangerous (and more effective) treatment is available? Beats me. I just can't see the point.

[2] Ozone:

Excuse me, but weren't people saying that autism was due to antioxidant depletion? Didn't I read where Jill James or someone was saying that it was the depletion of glutathione from mercury that caused autism in the first place? Maybe I misread that, because I can't think of too many compounds you could inject (!) into a person that are more oxidizing than ozone. I mean, sure, you could inject them with perchlorate or nitric acid, but ozone is about the strongest oxidizer you can inject and not kill 100% of your "patients".

This brings two contrasting approaches into stark juxtaposition. On the one hand, you have Dr. Buttar, who is trying to improve the "wellness" of his patients by injecting them with ozone and on the other hand you have government agencies - like the EPA - trying to reduce ozone in the air we breathe. Both claim to be doing it to improve health. Which one do we believe?

[3] Copper:

The potential toxicity of copper pales to insignificance after IV EDTA and ozone. Anyone who is healthy enough to survive the first two should sail through a modest overdosage of copper without turning a hair.


Now, I may be in the minority when I say that I think that Dr. Buttar is sincerely trying to help his patients. I have seen no data, no hint that he is other than a firm believer in his own therapies. However, being sincere and honest does not preclude being wrong!

For the benefit of the people reading this blog who are supporters of Dr. Buttar, let me reiterate:

I am not accusing Dr. Buttar of lying - of that, I have no evidence. What I am asserting is that he is wrong. There is a difference!

With that, let the flames begin!


Prometheus

8 Comments:

Blogger Bartholomew Cubbins said...

I'm sorry to do this but before you get any posts heavy on the feelings and light on the science I wouldn't mind taking a moment to share with the EDTA apologists and GR members some bits about what EDTA can and can't do.

A Hg atom will not accelerate the dissociation of an EDTA-Ca, EDTA-Pb, EDTA-Fe or EDTA-Mg complex. In order to accelerate a dissociation event and thus create a metal exchange, one would have to invoke catalysis and EDTA just isn't involved with metal interactions in that way.

The significance? A complex of EDTA-Ca floating around will not suddenly break apart because it encounters a Hg atom (or organic molecule variant). The behavior of the group (or ensemble) of the EDTA molecules in the body is governed by the kinetic constants. Each metal has a specific lifetime being complexed to EDTA - this time can vary from being quite short (Mg) to extremely long (Hg - presumably, good luck finding the references).

If one assumes (again this *lack* of knowledge should be keeping certain proponents up late at night - if they cared about anything but money) that the association rate constant of EDTA with any metal (how fast it binds) is similar and limited by diffusion then the real factor is the complex lifetime. Assuming a tremendously long complex lifetime with Hg, the binding reaction never achieves equilibrium. So the affinity does NOT matter.

So proponents, please spare us the "EDTA strips/forces/makes the unwanted metals from the body" posts. It killed the PA boy with the help of an idiot. Its job is to chelate divalents and calcium looks pretty juicy.

btw, chelating one's Mg will also result in bad things but given the longer EDTA complex lifetime of Ca over Mg, the Ca is the worry. Also of note, charge EDTA with Fe and enjoy the free radical generation. That complex is routinely used to cut the backbone of RNA to probe secondary structure. Yes, it effectively kills RNA. Jeebus, when will this end?

Sorry about being so longwinded Prometheus. I enjoy your blog.

26 November, 2005 17:11  
Blogger John said...

Great post, which I ranted on.

Why are you so temperate in your judgments though? Dr. Buttar is either delusional or evil. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground.

The more interesting question is what are the appropriate categories for the state and federal legislators who through action or inaction allow such parasites to thrive? Delusional, evil, or Libertarian (let the market cull the vulnerable) seem to be the main choices.

26 November, 2005 18:58  
Anonymous Miranda Reitz said...

I don't know Prometheus that well, but I think he is projecting his own niceness and decency onto Buttar. I'm going with the "Buttar is evil" crew on this one. :)

26 November, 2005 19:56  
Anonymous HCN said...

I (and a few more people) called him a quack on Kev's blog:
http://www.kevinleitch.co.uk/wp/?p=308#comment-4182

There seemed to be little reaction from some of the "autism is mercury" crowd to that. Just some namby-pamby hand waving that autistic kids were also victims of lead poisoning.

Which is very odd... since they accuse us (those who do not buy the "autism is mercury poisoning" line) to be harming autistic children ( http://adventuresinautism.blogspot.com/2005/11/orac-gets-punked.html ). Yet, they are more than willing to submit their children to the untested, non-repeatable protocols of the practictioners like Buttar, Bradstreet and McCandless. Giving their money to charlatans like Buttar... a man who has no reason to do what he does other than greed... see what TWO HUNDRED THOUGHSAND US DOLLARS does!:
http://cajuncowboy.com/Dr.Buttar.htm#stats

Some people live in a fantasy world that quacks like Buttar take advantage of. Unfortunately, it may mean another child will suffer irrepairable damage or death due to these "treatments".

26 November, 2005 21:35  
Blogger Michael said...

As per the other comments in this thread. There is a plethora of evidence that mercury is not the cause of autism (or any other heavy metal). The problem with this treatment regimem is that even if it is, it is completely illogical, not to mention, dangerous.

Quacks and fools go hand in hand but in this case, it is those unfortunately children who suffer.

Regards.

26 November, 2005 22:52  
Blogger Prometheus said...

Let me take a moment to clarify a point.

While I do believe (in the absence of data to the contrary) that Dr. Buttar thinks he is helping his patients, I also think that he is "milking" his patients (or their parents) for all that he can get. While this may be perfectly legal, it isn't very moral.

As hard as it is for me to accept that someone with a medical education could believe - let alone promote - the "therapies" that Dr. Buttar is selling, I have no data to the contrary.

In the absence of evidence of malice, I prefer to conditionally accept the alternate hypothesis of gullibility.

Of course, other people are perfectly free to interpret the data as they see fit.


Prometheus

27 November, 2005 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, is it malpractice, by definition to use IV ozone on kids for whatever reason? Is it time to notify the authorities? At some point, people who "believe" that something dangerous is good and they charge for it and put their patients in line for harm are supposed to lose their licenses? Aren't they?

27 November, 2005 19:58  
Blogger Prometheus said...

"Malpractice"is a legal term and can only be decided in court. "Standard of care", however, is more of a medical term - and injecting ozone into children (or adults) is not the "standard of care".

The problem with medical boards is that the "alties" have done an "end run" (I believe that is the proper term in American football?) around the medical standards by taking their "case" directly to the legislatures. Many states in the US have laws - "Medical Practice Acts" - that let "alt med" practitioners peddle their wares under the guise of "free access to health care" or other such rot.

Some states have "Medical Practice Acts" that allow an "alt med" practitioner to get off the hook if just one other doctor in the state agrees with them.

Because of laws like these - including laws that say the Medical Board can only act if a patient (or legal guardian) files a complaint - many Medical Boards expend little effort going after quacks.

With the laws stacked against them like that, it is nearly impossible for the state Medical Boards to effectively police such way out "therapies" as injecting ozone, hydrogen peroxide, or whatever.

Check your own local laws and see what they say - you might be surprised...or shocked. Sometimes, the only way a Medical Board can act is if a patient is killed - and often, even then they can't do much.

Contact your legislative official (MP, Senator, Representative) if you want to shut down the quacks - the Medical Boards usually have their hands tied.



Prometheus

29 November, 2005 05:38  

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