Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Jenny McCarthy on Autism and Vaccines

Time has an interesting interview with Jenny McCarthy about her position on Autism and Vaccines. She is an author of a number of books chronicling her experience with her son who Evan who has been diagnosed with autism.

The interview is conducted by Time Science Editor Jeffrey Kluger. Two of the most interesting questions asked are:

  • Q:"Your book points out that autism rates between 1983 and 2008 have climbed in lockstep with vaccination rates, yet childhood obesity, diabetes and even cell-phone use have soared since then, too. Why do you find causation in one and not the others?"
  • A:"I'm not saying it's only the vaccines. But children are given so many shots from the moment they're born. They get multiple injections all at once, and if they fall behind, doctors put them on a catch-up schedule. Babies get the hepatitis B vaccine immediately after they're born and the only way for a newborn to contract that disease is if the mother is a carrier. Why not just screen the mother? Evan was handed to me pre-vaccinated with a Band-Aid on his foot."

  • Q: "Many scientists believe we're simply diagnosing autism differently now — both overdiagnosing it in kids who don't have it and spotting it better in kids who do. That makes it look like the condition is on the rise when it's not."
  • A:"All you have to do is find a schoolteacher or principal and ask them that question. They would say they've never seen so much ADHD, autism, OCD as in the past. I think we're overdiagnosing it by maybe 1%. Now you look around and there are five shadows — kids with disabilities — in every class."
I love the question about why vaccines are blamed and other causes are not, its a question not only for her but other scientists and activists alike. As for the second question, I find it interesting because alot is made of the growth (or explosion) of autism nationally. I've wondered whether it's because it is because of the expansion of the diagnostic criteria, better identification and misidentification. I would say it's likely a combination of the three.

The most disturbing piece of the article, she refers to kids with disabilities as "Shadows". I can understand how she might say they feel or are treated as shadows, but labeling them as such changes the tone.

Overall, not the depth of interview I would have liked to see, but interesting.

Jenny McCarthy on Autism and Vaccines

Time "Secrets of Autism"

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