Friday, October 31, 2008

Heal Spiel Halloween Edition: Chelation Therapist Taking Our Questions

Orac at "Respectul Insolence" of Scienceblogs writes about (ok, mainly mocks) Dr. Rashid Buttar, D.O., a physician at the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research, who "successfully cures" autism via chelation therapy. Chelators are normally used in the case of overdose of iron, arsenic, mercury, or other heavy metals. However, some "practioners" use it to "rid" the body of (unmeasured, but presumed) elevated mercury levels, among other thins, which (if we only wish it enough!), only exist due to a previous vaccination (given years prior). The pesky North Carolina Medical Board forbade Dr. Buttar from continuing to practice medicine on children, but the good doctor is kind enough to solicit our questions, so he can impart his profound knowledge upon the rest of us.

Dr. Orac is collecting questions from his readers. Some people wrote really boring stuff that was all actually relevant to science and evidence-based medicine and stuff. Examples include:
1. Name all papers showing that autistics have higher body burdens of heavy metals, after controlling for diet, pica and urbanicity.

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

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

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

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

Personally, I thought these questions were BOOORRRIIING, so I decided to ask Dr. Buttar a question regarding my personal health:

Dear Mr. Buttar,

I need some medical advice. I was very concerned about "heavy metal toxicity," and knew iron was a major culprit, so I decided on receiving chelation therapy. Unfortunately, that didn't get rid of every last bit of iron (my hemoglobin and hematocrit levels were still in normal range!), so now I've chosen to puncture my femoral, carotid, and cerebral arteries, and to let my blood flow out until a CBC finally comes back saying that my Fe, ferritin, and transferrin-saturation levels are zero. That's how I'll know that the poisonous metal will be gone for good!
However, while I'm waiting, I'm starting to feel kind of weak. Is this just my body battling those evil autism-causing metals? What should I do next? Perhaps I can chop off that extra lobe on my right lung, or shave off some of the left ventricle of my heart, just to make sure everything in my body is more "in balance" and "in harmony." Do you recommend these therapies? I'm eager to hear your response, because I really respect your amazing understanding of science and how the body works! Oh yeah, and I need a refill on that snakeoil.

Now a bonus quiz for the fans of Dr. Nick-whoops I mean Buttar:
He attended:
a) Mayo Clinic Correspondence School
b) Club Med School
c) Hollywood Upstairs Medical College
Time starts now.