Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure

Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure

A London researcher was the first to assert that the combination measles-mumps-rubella vaccine known as MMR caused autism in children. Following this "discovery," a handful of parents declared that a mercury-containing preservative in several vaccines was responsible for the disease. If mercury caused autism, they reasoned, eliminating it from a child's system should treat the disorder. Consequently, a number of untested alternative therapies arose, and, most tragically, in one such treatment, a doctor injected a five-year-old autistic boy with a chemical in an effort to cleanse him of mercury, which stopped his heart instead.

Children with autism have been placed on stringent diets, subjected to high-temperature saunas, bathed in magnetic clay, asked to swallow digestive enzymes and activated charcoal, and injected with various combinations of vitamins, minerals, and acids. Instead of helping, these therapies can hurt those who are most vulnerable, and particularly in the case of autism, they undermine childhood vaccination programs that have saved millions of lives. An overwhelming body of scientific evidence clearly shows that childhood vaccines are safe and does not cause autism. Yet widespread fear of vaccines on the part of parents persists.

In this book, Paul A. Offit, a national expert on vaccines, challenges the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public and exposes the opportunism of the lawyers, journalists, celebrities, and politicians who support them. Offit recounts the history of autism research and the exploitation of this tragic condition by advocates and zealots. He considers the manipulation of science in the popular media and the courtroom, and he explores why society is susceptible to the bad science and risky therapies put forward by many antivaccination activists.

Title:Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9780231146364
Format Type:

    Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure Reviews

  • Rebecca

    While this book is specifically about the story of the vaccine-autism scare of the 1990s and 2000s, it also does a good job of addressing the public's perception of science and medicine in general. Th...

  • Rachel

    I'm a pediatric RN, and I give immunizations every day at work. In addition, I'm the mother of two young children. So the issues of vaccines and autism is always on my radar. I read this book looking ...

  • Sarah

    This is a close-to-home topic for me. I’ve spent many years working within the autistic community and I have an incredible appreciation for these kids (and adults!). It’s a devastating fact that c...

  • Joni

    I have to say, even after working with autistic children this book opened my eyes. I have a couple of quotes from the book that really stand out. "Fombonne reasoned that there wasn't an epidemic of au...

  • Mwalkes

    I admit to reading this book with a bias. But my bias pales in light of this author's bias. Some contentions in this book are just that; the implied preface is, "I am a doctor, what I say is right. No...

  • Callie

    Excellent read for anyone remotely interested in the autism/vaccine debate. Informative account of the progression of the research and why the controversy still has momentum, even though there really ...

  • Megan

    Despite the fact that those researchers who initially perpetuated the myth of the link between MMR and autism had been found to be frauds, misinformation still continues to prevalent in the media/soci...

  • Rae

    Damned statistics. For every study that shows there could be a link between vaccines and autism, there is one that appears to show no link. The truth (and cause of autism) is out there somewhere. I wi...

  • Garland

    Who should read this book?Parents. People with an interest in autism. People with an interest in public health. Politicians. Lawyers and students. Health professionals and students. Basically, everyon...

  • Lara

    I look forward to reading something that confronts Jenny McCarthy, DAN, and Generation Rescue head on. Having tried the GFCF diet, considered chelation, and basically turned our lives upside down for ...