Being a new parent, I must say, you’re saturated with all kinds of information, from feeding a newborn, to health care. There is a ton of information that you need to sift through. Two weeks ago, my wife and I took our son to his two-week appointment, and we began quizzing the doctor about vaccinations. I definitely understand there are a lot of different opinions on whether to vaccinate or not. But my wife and I want to be as educated on the issue as possible. The doctor was very kind in answering all our questions, and she said they get this question everyday. The doctor recommended that we take a look at a book by Paul Offit called Autism’s False Prophets. I managed to locate a copy at our local library, and I figured now is as good of a time as any to read this book, before I tackled any other book.
Here’s a quick synopsis from the jacket cover:
A London researcher was the first to assert that the combination of 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.
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.
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 activities.
I’m looking forward to educating myself on this issue, especially since I want what’s best for my newborn son.