The helpers who need help.
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Rashid Buttar, D.O.
One of the cardinal signs of quackery is a strong tendency to give every patient the same diagnosis and to offer the same dubious "therapy" to fix that diagnosis. --Orac
Rashid Buttar is an osteopath who believes that the cause of all chronic disease is "toxicity." This doesn't mean he thinks poisons or infections are the cause of all disease, however, because he thinks there are "energetic toxicities," "psychological/emotional toxicities," and "spiritual toxicities."* He applies his belief in "toxicities" at a place called the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research in Huntersville, North Carolina.*
On November 20, 2007, the North Carolina Medical Board charged Buttar with providing therapies to several cancer patients "that were unproven and wholly ineffective. The therapies consisted primarily of intravenous administration of a variety of substances, none of which has any known value for the treatment of cancer. The substances included EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid), chromium, certain vitamins, and hydrogen peroxide." (Have a look at what Buttar prescribed for one of his cancer patients.) The Board charged that Buttar’s treatment of these patients was unprofessional, unethical, ineffective, and exploitive; it sought to "annul, suspend, revoke, or limit his license to practice medicine." The Board restricted his practice so that he could no longer treat children or cancer patients, but he was allowed to continue his "toxicity" treatments.
Before he got into the business of offering unproven cancer therapies, Buttar was selling an unproven autism cure called TD-DPMS (Trans Dermal DPMS), a chelation cream known affectionately as Buttar's Butter. Buttar claims he cured his son's autism with TD-DPMS, a product he never tested because he knows "innately" that it works.
In addition to offering unproven cures for autism and cancer, Buttar also claims he can reverse the aging process.
Buttar and several others formed the North Carolina Integrative Medical Society to promote their brand of medicine. He also established the Advanced Medical Education & Services Physician Association (AMESPA), through which he offers a five-day course for $20,000. "By attending the AMESPA physician training program, doctors will gain exclusive eligibility to become a Centers for Advanced Medicine Physician Association (CAMPA) doctor." In other words, you can learn which unproven treatments Buttar is currently promoting and offer them yourself with an official looking seal of approval.
Rashid Buttar, D.O.
Visiting Scientist, North Carolina State University, [his specialty was listed as "food science"] Dr. Buttar received his undergraduate degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a double major in Biology and Theology and then attended medical school at the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa. He trained in General Surgery and Emergency Medicine and then served as Brigade Surgeon for the 2nd Infantry Division, Republic of South Korea and later, as the Chief, Department of Emergency Medicine at Moncrief Army Community Hospital at Ft. Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina while serving in the US Army.
Dr. Buttar is board certified in Preventive Medicine and Chelation Therapy [not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialities], is board eligible in Emergency Medicine [note that he's "eligible," not certified] and has achieved Fellowship status in three separate medical organizations (Fellow of the American College for Advancement in Medicine, Fellow of the American Academy of Preventive Medicine, and Fellow of the American Academy of Integrative Medicine) [none of these is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialities] .
Dr. Buttar practices in Charlotte, NC, where he is the medical director of Advanced Concepts in Medicine, a clinic [he created] specializing in treating cancer, heart disease, and other chronic conditions in patients refractory to conventional treatments. He also serves as Director of Clinical Research and Development for V-SAB Medical Laboratories [which seems to be a lab that manufactures his chelation cream], where he is extensively involved in research with polypeptide sequencing and identification technologies as well as innovative methodologies for drug-delivery mechanisms. Dr. Buttar has lectured worldwide on these subjects at medical congresses, symposia, and to lay audiences. He also continues to teach actively as faculty for mainstream medical courses, such as Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) courses for physicians through the American College of Surgeons as well as teaching Pediatric Advanced Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support courses to other physicians, nurses, and emergency response personnel. [He sounds like a swell guy, but none of these activities have anything to do with treating autism, cancer, or reversing the aging process.]
In short, Buttar's resume is a bit bloated.
His latest claim to fame has come from his alleged cure of Desiree Jennings.
Desiree Jennings is a 28-year-old cheerleader who has become the poster child for the anti-vaccination movement based on her claim that a flu shot caused her dystonia (a neurological disorder). Her symptoms appeared ten days after she got the shot. Most media stories made it clear that there must be some connection between the young woman's health problems and the flu shot. The reporters didn't have to come right out and say that the shot caused her problems. That was clearly implied by having the report at all. Reporters aren't paid to encourage viewers to think, however. So, we should not expect them to investigate other possible causes of the young woman's problems. They won't report that 9 days before her illness, she drank 20 shots of tequila. [For those of you who can't figure it out for yourselves, I'm making this stuff up about the nine days of Christmas for illustration purposes.] Eight days before her illness, someone spiked her drink with ecstasy. Seven days before her illness, she ate a hamburger at McDonalds. Six days before her illness, she spent time in a toxic building where the DMV is located. Five days before her illness, she fell out of bed. Four days before her illness, she drank some bottled water that a friend gave her. Three days before her illness she watched a whole movie in fast forward mode. Two days before her illness, she took a neuroleptic for facial pain. And the day before she got ill, she rode a roller coaster for three hours. Why didn't the reporters note these things? Why didn't they go back eleven days and beyond to see if there might not be something else they might causally connect to the illness? Because the flu shot is the current bogeyman. Next year it could be ground beef. In any case, the odds are near zero that this woman's health problems are indicative of dystonia as reported, according to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, or that the flu vaccine had anything to do with her (most likely) psychogenic disorder. For the full scoop on this story, which may be the worst reporting ever, see Orac and Steven Novella.
Jennings claims that she was healthy until about ten days after she received the seasonal flu vaccine. She then developed a severe respiratory illness that required hospitalization. Shortly after that she had difficulty speaking and walking, with involuntary muscle contractions and contortions. Her symptoms are relieved by walking backward or by running.
There is no known way that the flu (which is what probably hospitalized her) or a flu vaccine could cause dystonia, and there is not a single case in the medical literature of such a thing ever happening. Still, there is always a first time, I suppose. But getting bogged down in that discussion is a red herring because it is very unlikely that Jennings suffers from dystonia. Several doctors, including neurologists, and the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation have viewed the video and believe that her symptoms are not consistent with dystonia ("or any organic movement disorder"*), but are consistent with a psychogenic disorder. The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation issued the following statement:
Because of the concern of individuals with dystonia as to whether or not to get a flu shot because of this reported case, we have sought the opinion of dystonia experts on this case. Based on the footage that has been shared with the public, it is their unanimous consensus that this case does not appear to be dystonia.*
Jennings is sure the flu shot caused her symptoms, but she is not the best authority on the subject of what caused her body to begin functioning in the weird and disabling way it now functions. Dr. Buttar claims that doctors at Johns Hopkins and at Fairfax linked her symptoms with the flu shot.
Buttar is highly respected by the folks at Generation Rescue, the anti-vaccination outfit led by Jenny McCarthy. The Generation Rescue folks hooked Desiree up with Dr. Buttar who not only backed up her belief that the vaccine caused her dystonia, but also provided the cure. Stephen Novella noted:
Despicably, Generation Rescue (GR) and the anti-vaccine movement were quick to jump on this case and exploit it for their own propaganda. They immediately portrayed themselves as “experts” – apparently able to make and treat such neurological diagnoses. However, after push back from the dystonia community, GR took down their web page they had put up to support Jennings. But then after a few days they had apparently made the calculation that, despite the fact that this was likely not a case of genuine dystonia or vaccine injury, the propaganda value was too treat to ignore, and they could just attack the physicians who felt obliged to properly analyze this case.*
Meanwhile, Buttar declared that Jennings has been misdiagnosed and suffers from "Acute, Viral Post Immunization Encephalopathy and Mercury Toxicity with secondary respiratory and neurological deficits." However, everybody who comes into Buttar's clinic is diagnosed with toxicity and his specialty is getting rid of toxicities. (During the Medical Board hearings mentioned above, Dr. Art McCulloch asked Buttar's nurse practitioner, Jane Garcia, "Doesn't it strike you as a little strange that every patient that comes through your door has heavy metal toxicity?")
Buttar has a history of blaming mercury (or other "toxins") in vaccines for autism and a host of other ailments despite mountains of evidence that there is no such connection. Buttar, in short, is not the kind of dispassionate expert anyone should turn to in their time of need. But he is good at propaganda and promoting himself:
update: Jennings now claims the vaccine caused her accent to change!
See also Antivaxxer Plague, Andrew Wakefield, the anti-vaccination movement, autism & thimerosal, Russell Blaylock, chelation, Hulda Clark, detoxification therapies, Barbara Loe Fisher, Jay Gordon, Leonard Horowitz, Rauni Kilde, supplements, and Defending Falsehoods.
Rashid Buttar Charged with Exploiting Cancer Patients by Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Rashid Buttar Charged with Falsely Diagnosing Mercury Toxicity by Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Be Wary of "Board Certification" in Clinical Metal Toxicology by Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Well That Didn’t Take Long – Another Dystonia Case Follow Up - Stephen Novella
Dubious Mercury Testing by Robert Baratz, M.D., D.D.S., Ph.D.
new Buttar now promotes the OligoScan, a questionable medical device, in his search for toxic metals to chelate. The device scans the skin and uses spectrophotometry to detect trace amounts of metals. Assuming the device reads correctly, how would you know that the metals came from within the body rather than from some external source?[/new]
Rashid Buttar Reprimanded (sort of)
Buttar agrees to obey all laws and all rules and regulations involving medical practice in the state of North Carolina, but while he was waiting to be reprimanded he and his alternative pals got the North Carolina legislature to pass a "health care freedom law." He can "can continue offering unconventional treatments as long as he asks patients to sign a form acknowledging his practice is outside the mainstream." Dr. Steven Novella has more on these "health care freedom laws," which are get-out-of-jail free cards for those who practice outside the guidelines of science-based medicine.