A Canadian man recently stowed $127,116 worth of stolen gold in his rectum, and he would have gotten away with it had he not attempted to sell his butt-gold online. Last week, Judge Peter Doody (really) ruled that Leston Lawrence, who had worked at the Royal Canadian Mint, would serve 30 months in jail and pay $145,900 for his crime. Unfortunately for Lawrence, his defense lawyers failed to make the case for medical rectal gold.
It’s hard to argue that what Lawrence did wasn’t wrong — after all, he totally screwed up his job of “purifying gold” by sticking it in his rear — but he could have made the case that the gold was in his rectum for legitimate medical reasons. Gold has been used medicinally since at least 2,500 B.C. In the 17th century, gold was used as a treatment for melancholy and fevers, and in the early 20th century it was used to treat tuberculosis. Those regimens turned out to be ineffective, but the hypothesis that gold could be used as a medicinal tool wasn’t a bad one.
Today, gold is a known therapy for different forms of arthritis and is considered a promising cancer treatment. Gold’s medical potential largely has to do with the fact that it’s non-toxic to the body — and this non-toxicity is also probably why Lawrence was able to look so chipper while he had 122 “pucks” of gold in his rectum.
Really, how can someone look so calm with almost a pound of gold in their butt?
But back to the power of gold: The precious metal is used to treat rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis because it slows down swelling, which lessens pain. It’s not a cure, but it does reduce the chance of joint deformity and disability. Doctors think gold interferes with the progression of swelling and joint pain, although more research is necessary to show exactly why two out of three patients experience benefits when gold is either taken as a pill capsule or injected into a muscle, like the buttock.
Meanwhile, gold as a form of cancer treatment has recently made considerable headway. In 2012, scientists began preclinical experiments testing gold nanoparticles as cancer drug carriers, and they proved to influence drug-cell interactions and enhance the therapeutic effects of the cancer drug. In February 2016, scientists announced that they were able to use gold atoms to “detect and kill cancer cells commonly left behind after tumor-removal surgery” in mice — and they believe that this therapy could be used to help humans in two years. It could turn into a revolutionary way to fight cancer — and the perfect treatment for people who love gold.