Sunday, February 28, 2010

Anti-vaxxer, starlet, kook

The leading light of the anti-vaxxer movement is apparently having second thoughts. (Or should I say first thoughts?)

Jenny McCarthy, shown here with her idiot boyfriend Jim Carrey, has for years been the leading spokesnut of the anti-vaccine movement. Aside from blaming the MMR vaccine for her son's autism she has been willing to try just about every possible remedy for his condition. Every remedy, that is, that is based on superstition, anti-intellectualism, or sheer gullibility.

McCarthy began to try almost every treatment that turned up on Google. Evan went through conventional, intensive Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy as well as a host of alternative approaches, including a gluten-free and casein-free (GFCF) diet, hyperbaric oxygen chambers, chelation, aromatherapies, electromagnetics, spoons rubbed on his body, multivitamin therapy, B-12 shots and a range of prescription drugs. McCarthy says she made a deal with God. "Help me fix my boy," she prayed, "and I'll teach the world how I did it."

Well, guess what? Her kid's all better now. No symptoms of autism. No antisocial behavior. No problems with speaking, or interacting people. No autism.

To what can we attribute this miraculous cure? Well, maybe Jenny's god, or maybe one of those quack cures she went for, or maybe, just maybe, he never had autism in the first place. As the study described in Time online demonstrates, the son's symptoms were always more consistent with an unusual neurological disorder than with autism, particularly the fact that they started with seizures, which you don't see with autism.

Was her son ever really autistic? Evan's symptoms — heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control — are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage. Or, as other pediatricians have suggested, perhaps the miracle I have beheld is the quotidian miracle of childhood development: a delayed 2-year-old catching up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall.

So what is Jenny McCarthy saying now? "I'm sorry, and I apologize to everyone whose kid got measles because someone listened to me and didn't let their kid get vaccinated"?

Not exactly.

And she is also reversing her initial position that the MMR shots caused Evan’s autism. Jenny now says she wants vaccinations better researched — rather than getting rid of them altogether, as she previously promoted. And though her son may never have had autism, Jenny insists, “I’ll continue to be the voice” of the disorder.

I've got another suggestion. If you are interested in autism, any other medical condition, or the effects of vaccines, listen to the scientists, not to the ex-Playboy models.

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Blogger Stevem said...

She is a very attractive woman - isn't that reason enough to listen to her?

March 04, 2010 3:58 PM  
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June 17, 2015 2:02 AM  

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