Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure Hardcover – Sep 18 2008
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Every child has a right to be vaccinated against deadly diseases. We started Every Child By Two to protect children from diseases. It didn't occur to me that I would also have to protect them from misinformation about life-saving vaccines. Paul A. Offit's book sets the facts straight.(Rosalynn Carter, former first lady, cofounder of Every Child By Two)
Autism's False Prophets is a compelling story of heartbroken parents, understandably desperate for an explanation of autism, being taken in by false hopes unsupported by genuine science. This book goes to the heart of a question that affects every aspect of American culture and political life. Are public policies to be determined by evidence and reason or by emotions that, however intense they may be, have nothing to do with reality?(Susan Jacoby, author of The Age of American Unreason)
A definitive analysis of a dangerous and unnecessary controversy that has put the lives of children at risk. Paul A. Offit shows how bad science can take hold of the public consciousness and lead to personal decisions that endanger the health of small children. Every parent who has doubts about the wisdom of vaccinating their kids should read this book.(Peter C. Doherty, Ph.D., St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and Nobel Laureate in Medicine for fundamental contributions in Immunology)
In his latest book Paul A. Offit unfolds the story of autism, infectious diseases, and immunization that has captivated our attention for the last decade. His lively account explores the intersection of science, special interests, and personal courage. It is provocative reading for anyone whose life has been touched by the challenge of autism spectrum disorders.(Susan K. Klein, MD, Ph.D., Case Western Reserve Hospital, and Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Case Medical Center)
[A] thoughtful and readable study.(Library Journal (starred review))
Enlightening, highly readable and... timely.(Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. Salon.com)
Arguably the most courageous and most knowledgeable scientist about vaccines in the United States.(Robert Goldberg New York Post)
[Dr. Offit] has done a huge public service by exposing the tragic and dangerous place the anti-vaccine hysteria has taken us.(Huntly Collins Philadelphia Inquirer)
An invaluable chronicle that relates some of the many ways in which the vulnerabilities of anxious parents have been exploited.(Linda Seebach Wall Street Journal)
A good read and an important piece of work.(Lisa Jo Rudy About.com)
More than a book about a disease, it is an ode to uncorrupted science and a cautionary tale that data alone is never enough.(SEED magazine)
[Offit] provides important insight into the fatal flaws of the key arguments of vaccine alarmists.(Buffalo News)
A very good read.(Dom Giordano The Bulletin)
A sobering indictment.(Isabelle Rapin, M.D. Neurology Today)
A fascinating read... Eloquently and clearly written.(Stan L. Block, MD Infectious Diseases in Children)
A very helpful book for both medical personnel and parents.(The New England Journal of Medicine)
The book is a fantastic read. I recommend it to all physicians and their patients and families.(Brian Alverson, MD Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine)
This is a powerful book which should be read by all professionals working in the area ofmedicine.(Michael Fitzgerald Social History of Medicine)
Paul A. Offit is one of the most respected scientists and clinicians in a field of vital importance to public health.(Patricia M. Rodier BioScience)
[This] book doesn't just show that the anti-vaccine activists are wrong; it attempts to explain why, in our culture, they tend to win.(Jason Fagone Philadelphia Magazine)
Detailed but easily readable... should be required reading for any parents who are considering denying vaccination to their children.(Communication: The Magazine of the National Autistic Society)
Arguably the most detailed and thorough history available of the current anti-vaccine movement.(Roy Richard Grinker Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders)
[A] must-read... it will keep pediatricians and pediatric neurologists awake over the nightmarish possibilities of pseudoscience in the 21st century.(Roger A. Brumback, M.D. Journal of Child Neurology)
The vast range of professionals who may be enriched, professionally, by the book's contents extends to: psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, neuroscientists, speech pathologists, pediatricians, primary care physicians, geneticists, virologists, immunologists, vaccine experts, nurses, infectious disease experts, internists, gastroenterologists, epidemiologists, public health professionals, special education teachers, bioethicists, biochemists, biologists, biostatisticians, endocrinologists, pharmacists, pharmacologists, pharmaceutical industry professionals, health policy makers, journalists, politicians, and trial lawyers.(Leo Uzych Metapsychology)
Seeking to help readers realize the truth about Autism, Autism's False Prophets is a much need read, not to be missed.(Midwest Book Review)
No one has been more vocal-or courageous-than Paul A. Offit in exposing the false and dangerous claims of the growing antivaccine movement. Offit's latest book lays waste to the supposed link between autism and vaccination while showing how easily Americans have been bamboozled into compromising the health of their own children. Autism's False Prophets is a must read for parents seeking to fully understand the risks and rewards of vaccination in our modern world.(David Oshinsky, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History for Polio: An American Story) See all Product Description
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Despite what others have said, the book didn't read like a "smear-fest." The closest it comes to that is the use of the word "quackery" in one place. What Dr. Offit has done is provide a well-referenced historical account of the activities of a sub-group of the autism community in the last decade.
If you are someone who tries to keep reasonably up to date with the political going-ons of the autism world, you might be thinking, "I won't learn much from this book." But you'd be wrong. There are many interesting tidbits of information you probably haven't heard of before; such as David Kirby's interaction with Curtis Allen of the CDC (page 151). There's also a lengthy discussion of the meetings and thinking that led to the decision to remove thimerosal from pediatric vaccines.
Perhaps there is some information the book is missing. For example, you won't find a discussion of Dan Olmsted's negligence in his Amish reporting. More could've been said of JB Handley's bullying tactics and his failed prophecies ("autistic children will be cured within 2 years"). There's no mention of John Best, a fringe but prominent member of the anti-vax movement.
This is understandable, though. A book is insufficient to air all the dirty laundry of the anti-vaxers. You'd need a whole encyclopedia for that.
That's right...because there is an angry mob on her side, the consensus of scientists that attended real schools and obtained real master and doctorate degrees in things like epidemiology and medicine, is wrong.
Dr. Offit faces a very challenging opponent and he did it with an exceptionally calm and rationale analysis of vaccines, why they are safe and more importantly, why the quacks and anti-vaxxers are wrong. And he did it in a style that is very readable by the lay person.
When Dr. Offit starts laying out damning facts against the anti-vaxxers, you will be left agape. For example, Dr. Wakefield took $800,000 from a plaintiff's attorney and used it to fund his studies and never disclosed where the funding came from, he never obtained informed consent and when he ran his studies past IRBs, they were anything but medically qualified. Just astounding. Of course, the results of his studies have never been duplicated and any physiological basis for his hypothesis has been debunked.
Yet, there are people who flock to Dr. Wakefield and give him lots of money for unproven and dubious-at-best treatments and cures. Very, very sad.
Dr. Offit also discusses how science is perceived in society. A lot of people simply don't "believe in" science and how science is done. Dr. Offit analyzes this later in the book and it is hardly comforting. (An excellent book about this phenomenon is Carl Sagan's Science as a Candle in the Dark.)
Probably the scariest part of the book is when groups like Generation Rescue hire public relations firms. Whilst I'm all for spirited debate, these groups will misrepresent any fact, omit crucial details and pander with the most vile and loathsome tactics.
Definitely a highly recommended book. Scary and depressing because science and vaccines have taken such a bad rap. But hopeful because there are folks out there like Dr. Offit, Orac and others that are willing to stand up for rational, evidence-based medicine.
While I feel for Jenny McCarthy and her struggles with autism, her incessant denial of huge amounts of science and evidence is causing thousands of parents to forego vaccinating their children. She is endangering our children and some will die from childhood disease that were once almost completely eradicated.
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