Facts from the courtroom
July 8, 2022

Dr. John Gaitanis warns against using bone lead tests as evidence: “no better than a coin flip”

On July 6, Dr. John Gaitanis, MD testified in court. Dr. Gaitanis is the Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Tufts Children’s Hospital. He is a highly credentialed, practicing physician. Dr. Gaitanis is a graduate of Brown Medical School, he completed his fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center – a world-class teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School – and has 23 peer-reviewed publications and over 30 published chapters and abstracts within highly prestigious medical journals, including JAMA, the Journal of Child Neurology and Annals of Neurology. 

Dr. Gaitanis has extensive experience working with and treating children with brain injuries. He has an acute understanding of the signs, symptoms, and causes of brain injury in children, including the ways in which exposure to lead can injure the brain in childhood. 

After a careful review of all of the plaintiffs’ medical records, as well as the findings of Drs. Krishnan and Bithoney, Dr. Gaitanis concluded that there is no evidence of brain injury in any of the four plaintiffs. Additionally, Dr. Gaitanis disputed Aaron Specht’s reliance on bone lead scans using a pXRF device, which he said has no clinical significance and is no better than a coin flip. 

Here’s what you need to know.

There is no evidence of any medically significant lead exposure in any of the plaintiffs.  

  • Dr. Gaitanis testified that blood lead is the only accepted standard for measuring lead exposure in the medical community and that blood lead can stay elevated for months or years after exposure, particularly when there is chronic exposure.
  • All four plaintiffs had blood lead levels well under the CDC’s reference value at the time of their alleged exposure.
  • Even taking into consideration that the CDC updated its reference value for lead in 2021, the plaintiffs blood levels are all still below the threshold. 

The pXRF bone scan device that was used on the plaintiffs is not reliable in a clinical setting and carries no clinical significance. 

  • Dr. Gaitanis testified that the pXRF bone scan device developed and used by Aaron Specht “does not exist within any capacity within clinical medicine.”
  • Dr. Gaitanis stated that there is no hospital, clinic, or pediatric hospital in the country that uses the pXRF. 
  • Dr. Gaitanis affirmed that the non-portable, kXRF device is the “gold standard” in measuring bone lead and that kXRF measurements carry a strong correlation with blood lead levels—further validating the reliance on blood lead within the medical community. 
  • On the contrary, Dr. Gaitanis testified that pXRF measurements do not show a strong correlation with blood lead, calling the use of the device “no better than a coin flip or a roll of the dice.” 

All four children have healthy brains and can be expected to meet their full potentials in life.

  • Dr. Gaitanis that all the clinical and qualitative evidence suggests that the plaintiffs all have perfectly healthy brains and that there is no evidence of cognitive impairment. 
  • Dr. Gaitanis explained that all four plaintiffs demonstrate age-appropriate academic performance, none have individualized plans in school, and no treating physician has diagnosed any plaintiff with a learning disability, cognitive impairment, ADHD, or mood disorder. 
  • Dr. Gaitanis based his assessment on the medical and school records of each of the plaintiffs and found that there is no evidence of an acquired brain injury in any of them.