Generation Rescue: taking another small step away from the brink?

14 Jul

Generation Rescue has over the years been one of the more vocal promoters of the vaccines-cause-autism notion. Like any organization, they have changed over the years and their website reflects that. Their website started out with the title “Autism Mercury Chelation” and a very simple (and wrong) statement:

Generation Rescue believes that childhood neurological disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, speech delay, sensory integration disorder, and many other developmental delays are all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.

Of course, later during the early years of Jenny McCarthy, when Generation Rescue became “Jenny McCarthy’s autism organization. By this point, GR had a prominent link on the main page to “vaccines”. This included a page with Generation Rescue recommended vaccine schedules. Their “favorite” being a schedule that offered no protection against many diseases, including measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diptheria and tetanus.

They had a page of “science”, including statements claiming that Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 paper linked MMR to autism (a position Mr. Wakefield has tried to distance himself from in the past few years):

“This study demonstrates that the MMR vaccine triggered autistic behaviors and inflammatory bowel disease in autistic children.”

They had a science advisory board, which included S. Jill James, Ph.D., Richard Deth, Ph.D., Woody R. McGinnis, M.D. and Jerry Kartzinel, M.D.. Not exactly heavy hitters, but at least a couple of people who actually publish in journals.

Times have changed again. The website is revamped. And vaccines seem to be much less prominent. For example, in the current version of the Generation Rescue website, I can’t find “recommended” vaccine schedules (they refer people to Dr. Bob Sears). A search for Wakefield shows he is only mentioned once “Studies by researchers: Horvath, Wakefield, Levy, and Kushak highlight a myriad of gut problems present in children with autism, including abnormal stool (diarrhea, constipation), intestinal inflammation, and reduced enzyme function”. The science advisory board is down to one person (Jerry Kartzinel) and an unnamed “cohesive group of professionals committed to healing and preventing autism”.

Sure, it’s still not a place I would recommend to anyone, especially a parent who just found out their kid is autistic. But just a few short years ago the trajectory was increasing with the vaccine discussion, not decreasing.

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7 Responses to “Generation Rescue: taking another small step away from the brink?”

  1. LAB July 15, 2011 at 01:22 #

    Yet the Autism Society of America is still wacko: http://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/treatment-options/summary-of-biomedical.html

  2. Teresa DeMars, author of ASD and Me July 16, 2011 at 01:21 #

    AS a parent who has had to manuver through all the different treatment options out there, I always tried to look for things where the two oposing viewpoints agreed upon. Examples would include: ABA therapy, vitamin C, Zinc, fish oil supplements. While the mainstream medical community would not say these treatments would cure autism, they certainly wouldn’t harm a child and are good for one’s overall health. It has been so frustrating to see such a great divide between the two sides. I hope, as your blog post may indicate, that they will start to come closer together. I wish the two sides could just sit down and come up with a top ten list of supplements/therapies that could benefit a child’s over all health. Better health translates into a happier and hopefully, more focused child.

  3. Neuroskeptic July 16, 2011 at 08:56 #

    This is one small step for Jenny… one… giant leap for mankind…

    Or maybe not.

  4. Rachael July 16, 2011 at 17:00 #

    The SSRI/Autism study was actually “very complementary” to vaccine cause theories of autism because one of the actions of SSRI’s is that they cause an immune system response. SSRI’s boost the immune system according to new research. They enhance the activity of natural killer cells; key elements of the immune system. Evidence suggests they could help the body defend itself against infections such as the Aids virus HIV and even cancer. So, just like vaccines, which are designed to cause an immune response; while SSRI drugs may restore a healthy immune function in people who are depressed and prone to infections (poor-functioning immune systems), it is also possible that they might bolster immunity to the point that they trigger autoimmune diseases (allergies, asthma and autism) in those with a genetic predisposition to develop these conditions, even in a developing fetus. Anything that has the ability to raise the immune system reaction, has the potential to trigger an autoimmune illness, including autism in those that are genetically vulnerable.

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