Consumer Health Digest #09-48

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 26, 2009

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Investigative report blasts autism quackery. In a two-part series, the Chicago Tribune has laid bare how misguided practitioners are administering treatments that are unsubstantiated, expensive, and dangerous. The first part dissects and debunks claims made for intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), hyperbaric oxygen, chelation, phenylbutyrate, and various supplement programs. [Tsouderos T, Callahan P. Autism treatments: Risky alternative therapies have little basis in science. Chicago Tribune, Nov 22, 2009] The second part describes how proponents claim that certain studies support what they do, but the authors of these studies state that they are being misinterpreted. [Tsouderos T, Callahan P. Autism treatment: Science hijacked to support alternative therapies. Chicago Tribune, Nov 23, 2009] The articles were published despite legal threats from several of the parties they criticized.

"Toxic mold" guru charged with relying on "junk science." The Texas Medical Board has reprimanded Andrew W. Campbell, M.D. for mismanaging nine patients and filed new charges of mismanaging seven more. In both cases, the board charged Campbell with relying on "junk science," ordering inappropriate tests, making improper diagnoses of "toxic mold" problems, and improperly billing insurance companies. The first case, which took many years to investigate, litigate, and resolve, culminated in November 2009 with an order suspending his medical license for eight months, to be followed by five years of probation during which another physician must monitor his practice. The order also required him to take continuing education course and pay an administrative penalty of $64,000 plus $8,396.50 for transcription costs. The new charges, which were filed in 2008 and originally involved four patients, were amended in 2009 to add three more.

"Toxic metal" guru charged with exploiting patients. Rashid A, Buttar, D.O., who diagnoses nearly every patient he sees with heavy metal toxicity, is facing two complaints that accuse him of exploiting a total of eight patients. One complaint accuses him of charging cancer patients exorbitant fees for worthless tests and treatments. The other complaint accuses him of mistreating four patients whom he falsely diagnosed with mercury toxicity. Buttar operates the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research in central North Carolina. He is also chairman of the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology (ABCMT) and president of the North Carolina Integrative Medical Society (NCIMS). The ABMCT, which is not recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties, "certifies" chelation therapists. The NCIMS was formed in 2003 with the hope of protecting "integrative" doctors from disciplinary action by the state medical board.

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This page was revised on November 26, 2009.