Upcoming autism/science related reading material

13 Jun

There are three soon-to-be-published books that are coming out that all discuss similar subjects. I’ve proof-read one of them and am very much looking forward to the other two being published.

The first one is Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion (UK) (and also US) by Michael Fitzpatrick, a GP and father to an autistic son himself.

Here’s the synopsis:

Autism: disease, disorder or difference? What causes autism – genes or environment? Can biomedical treatments cure autism, and are they safe? An increased public awareness of autism has resulted in a rising trend of diagnoses, creating the impression of an ‘epidemic’. Many parents of children newly diagnosed with autism have been impressed by plausible theories blaming vaccines and other environmental causes. Many have also been captivated by claims that ‘biomedical’ treatments – including special diets and supplements, detoxification and medications – can achieve dramatic results.In “Defeating Autism”, Michael Fitzpatrick, a family doctor and father of a son with autism, questions the scientific basis of environmental explanations of autism and exposes the incoherence of unorthodox ‘biomedical’ theories and therapies. This book reveals that these therapies are far from pioneering interventions and they remain unsubstantiated by scientific authorities. Campaigns promising to ‘defeat or cure autism now’ have attracted much support among parents struggling with their difficult children.

But the crusade against autism risks dehumanising and stigmatising those who are identified as autistic and their families. This compelling book is essential reading for students and professionals working in the field of autism, as well as academics concerned with the public understanding of science and the treatment of scientific and medical controversies in the media.

Its available on pre-order now, due for publication in October this year.

I’m pretty sure this will be a very good book. Mike and I have swapped emails on numerous occasions and I have benefited from his medical expertise in writing some of my blog posts. I’ve also read and enjoyed his earlier published works on MMR .

The second one I’m really looking forward to is Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (UK) (and also US). Here’s the synopsis for this one:

A researcher in London 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 alternative therapies arose, and in one such treatment, a doctor injected a five-year-old autistic boy with a chemical that bound to mercury, only to stop his heart instead.

Children with autism 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 often hurt those who are most vulnerable, and particularly in the case of autism, they undermine childhood vaccination programs that have saved millions of lives. In this book, Paul A. Offit, a national expert on vaccines, challenges the modern-day false prophets who have so egregiously misled the public& mdash;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 tha manipulation of science by the media and the courtroom, and he explores why society is susceptible to the junk science and dangerous therapies put forward by anti-vaccination activists.

I’ve talked to people who have proof-read this and they say it is very, very good and definitely going to raise a few eyebrows when its published (September this year).

Like with Mike, I have swapped courteous emails with Paul Offit and his science has helped inform several of my blog posts. I’ve also read the truly excellent ‘Vaccinated’, Offit’s biography of Maurice Hilleman.

Lastly, we can turn to the upcoming book I have proof read.

Do Vaccines Cause That?! A Guide for Evaluating Vaccine Safety Concerns (US) is one of the most clearly written and accessible books I’ve read regarding what vaccines do and don’t do.

It doesn’t just discuss autism, it also touches on Asthma (something else pertinent to my family) and Diabetes. Step by step it walks the reader through a jargon-free and yet non-patronising look at both the good science and bad misinformation put out about vaccines.

Although I have an electronic copy of this I can assure you I’ll also be buying a paper copy and I’ll be recommending it to my local GP and autism support group. I think its going to become an absolutely indispensable guide once its published (later this month).

There’s also a sample chapter available for free on the accompnying website. I can’t recommend this highly enough.

5 Responses to “Upcoming autism/science related reading material”

  1. kristina June 13, 2008 at 10:08 #

    I’ve been working my way through Do Vaccines Cause That? and it’s a clear and level-headed guide that addresses a lot of the misconceptions about vaccines directly. Very much want to read the other books!

  2. Les Feldman June 13, 2008 at 16:20 #

    Non- famililal autism is many different disorders, many caused by various gene mutations, maybe some caused by vaccines in a percentage of susceptible babies but mostly caused by older men (33+) having babies and women by who had older fathers having babies. There was a courageous article published on June 12th by a clinical geneticist and researcher in Australia you might be interested in:http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23849196-5000117,00.html

  3. alyric June 13, 2008 at 18:12 #

    “Non- famililal autism is many different disorders, many caused by various gene mutations, maybe some caused by vaccines in a percentage of susceptible babies”

    There is currently no plausible mechanism for how any vaccine could possibly affect the genome of the trillions of cell within an organism all at once.

    It’s about time the lunacy of ‘cure’ thinking is given a thorough exposure. The delusional thinking of the cure set, compounded by the emotional outpourings of the likes of Harold Doherty about the lack of compassion in not joining in this magical thinking were overdue for a good hiding.

  4. Marla June 13, 2008 at 19:43 #

    I will look forward to these books. I hope they are well written and more positive than most.

  5. Regan June 13, 2008 at 20:12 #

    Thank you for highlighting these books.
    I just pre-ordered Mike Fitzpatrick’s.

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