I have a certain amount of sympathy for any parent dealing with a sick kid. I also don’t think people should “suffer in silence”. If, for instance, your child is injured in an auto accident caused by a drunk driver, speaking out publicly is a public service.

If, however, you are a fuckwit with no relevant education, and are famous only for being famous, leave the bully pulpit to others. Case in point, Jenny McCarthy. Many of us have been following McCarthy’s descent into woo-filled madness as she has dealt with her son’s growth and development. As a brief primer: Son diagnosed as autistic, McCarthy buys into anti-vaccination movement, re-invents word “indigo”, subjects child to bizarre dietary regimen, proclaims him cured, doesn’t shut up about it.

OK, now that you’re caught up, the “not shutting up” continues, and this time CNN is giving her all the bandwidth she needs to show off her stupidity.

I’m not a journalist, and as such, I don’t really have an obligation to, you know, the truth. Still, I’m a physician, and I have a reputation (of sorts) to maintain, so I do my best. I would think that CNN would have journalistic standards somewhat higher than your humble blogger.

Not so much.

McCarthy seems upset that the rest of the world isn’t knocking down her door to spread the word of her son’s “cure”.

We believe what helped Evan recover was starting a gluten-free, casein-free diet, vitamin supplementation, detox of metals, and anti-fungals for yeast overgrowth that plagued his intestines…

Lot’s of kids believe in Santa with the same level of evidence, but that doesn’t make him real. Where is the evidence?

Evan is now 5 years old and what might surprise a lot of you is that we’ve never been contacted by a single member of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, or any other health authority to evaluate and understand how Evan recovered from autism. When Evan meets doctors and neurologists, to this day they tell us he was misdiagnosed — that he never had autism to begin with. It’s as if they are wired to believe that children can’t recover from autism.

So where’s the cavalry? Where are all the doctors beating down our door to take a closer look at Evan?

Grandiosity aside, none of the named agencies is tasked with investigating every nut-job celebrity’s claim of miracles. Neither are individual doctors. If the feds had to jump every time some wacko claimed they had a miracle cure, we’d have to establish some sort of agency to investigate the medical paranormal, and that would be silly.

What? We have one? You mean the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine? Oh.

Well, Jenny, I guess the big conspiracy keeping you from getting the word out is breaking down. I mean, you’re writing on CNN.com, you’ve been on Larry King, what more do you want? To be taken seriously by scientists? Well, then, you’ll have to step away from the Kool Aid and pick up a book. Oops…she’d rather read websites run by quacks and cranks, and regurgitate their pap like a blonde automaton. For example:

We believe autism is an environmental illness. Vaccines are not the only environmental trigger, but we do think they play a major role. If we are going to solve this problem and finally start to reverse the rate of autism, we need to consider changing the vaccine schedule, reducing the number of shots given and removing certain ingredients that could be toxic to some children.

I don’t know who this nebulous “we” is, but it certainly isn’t any respected authority on child development, autism, or vaccination.

You know who I like? Sanjay Gupta. Sure, sometimes he gets things wrong, but he seems to have a little bit of integrity, and he’s certainly not stupid. Most of the time he seems to have read and understood the relevant literature. Well, he is a doctor, and his degree isn’t from Google U. Jenny, you’re out of your league and being played by a bunch of psychopaths. Step away from the camera. Go live and be well with your son.

Comments

  1. #1 Orac
    April 4, 2008

    I’ve blogged extensively about McCarthy’s idiocy. I just couldn’t stand the concentrated stupid that was her CNN/Larry King Live appearance. However, you may be enjoy these two posts:

    Post-holiday “The stupid, it burns,” part 1: Jenny McCarthy
    Cries the antivaccinationist: Why are we injecting TOXINS into our babies?

  2. #2 Will TS
    April 4, 2008

    Empirical evidence and rationality vs. the former playmate. In American culture, it seems that a naked women carries a lot more weight than science. Infuriating, isn’t it?

  3. #3 Jeb, FCD
    April 4, 2008

    Yes, it’s nice to get not-so-mainstream diseases in the public eye, but this CNN autism blitz was entirely sickening.

    Is it “sweeps” time or something? Talk about “All Woo, All the Time.”

    Fuckwits.

  4. #4 Aerik
    April 5, 2008

    It’s not really sweeps time. But it is apparently autism awareness month, which was unfortunately started by idiots like jenny.

  5. #5 Liz D.
    April 5, 2008

    Maybe it is because it because I am old and all, but I wish you could dispense with the f***bomb.

    Otherwise, I agree with you 1000%. That’s not a typo.

    Can we please leave the “what causes autism” story to people who know how to tease out the answers, and get on with “what can we do to help kiddos with autism live the fullest life they are capable of?”

  6. #6 About Three-Fitty
    April 5, 2008

    If no one ever gave her airtime, you never would have heard a peep about her blather, and by now you might have forgotten her name.

    The media actively encourage this happy horseshit. They are the culprits here. Journalism of the classic kind ended when Ed Murrow retired, and it hasn’t been seen since, not in this country.

  7. #7 Paul
    April 5, 2008

    So basically, her son has celiac and a casein allergy and eliminating those two things made him better. So he was misdiagnosed, more than likely by McCarthy and not her pediatricians. No miracle cure. On the bright side at least he now has a diet that will allow him to thrive.

  8. #8 Michael
    April 5, 2008

    PalMD,

    Let me say first of all that I am not part of the mercury/autism crowd, but this post of yours really bothered me.

    You claim to have sympathy for parents of autistic children, but I don’t see it in your post. I have no doubt that Jenny McCarthy is not as brilliant as you are, but calling her an “idiot” and a “fuckwit” isn’t really a scientific rebuttal.

    Maybe if the scientific establishment spent more time finding the cause(s) of autism and less time attacking concerned parents then we could put this issue to rest once and for all.

    There’s a big difference between tobacco companies denying that ciggies cause cancer and concerned parents speaking out about autism. They may be wrong, but they are genuinely concerned for the welfare of their children.

  9. #9 PalMD
    April 5, 2008

    The so-called “scientific establishment” is working hard on autism. Idiots like McCarthy distract hard working clinicians and scientists from their work. The sow distrust, they suck up money, and they sue those who don’t agree with them (see related story).

    She is not just some harmless mom…she is the new mouthpiece for the movement that is keeping people distracted from the real problem and real solutions.

  10. #10 Lindsay
    April 5, 2008

    Jenny McCarthy gets on my nerves, too. (The whole “indigo” thing is absolutely ridiculous.)
    I think the most annoying and offensive part of Jenny McCarthy views, is the parts she leaves OUT.
    She can talk until she’s blue in the face about how she changed her son’s diet, eliminated metals from his body (chelation is so safe, right???) spent a fortune on vitamins and special treatments, all to get him to mythical “cure” that seems to elude the rest of us.
    She never puts much emphasis on the, presumpably, hours and hours of one-on-one speech and language therapy, floor time, etc. that he is, undoubtably getting. This is the only thing that anyone has been able to show actually has any effect on autism. She never talks about how much it costs.
    This is something she can, easily, provide, because she is wealthy and famous; something the average parent of a child with autism, can’t afford. Schools don’t have the resources for 40 hours of speech and floor therapy, and private insurance isn’t required to pay for it. Normal families like ours (we have a 5-year-old autistic daughter) just have take what we can get from our public school — and it isn’t much.
    I would have a LOT more respect for Jenny McCarthy, is she would spend more of her time using her celebrity to address the more pressing issue of how most children, will never reach their full potential, because they will never get the therapy they need to get there.
    Jenny McCarthy isn’t interested in being an advocate for the thousands and thousands of families struggling with these issues in the real world.
    She’s staying as far away from us as she can.
    Lindsay-

  11. #11 Orac
    April 6, 2008

    You claim to have sympathy for parents of autistic children, but I don’t see it in your post. I have no doubt that Jenny McCarthy is not as brilliant as you are, but calling her an “idiot” and a “fuckwit” isn’t really a scientific rebuttal.

    Then look at my posts on Jenny McCarthy’s idiocy, which point out what a twit she is and include science.

    The bottom line is that PalMD was too easy on McCarthy, who is arrogant enough to think that her “University of Google” knowledge qualifies her to pontificate on the cause of autism.

  12. #12 Mike Dory
    April 6, 2008

    But it’s not just this “fuckwit with no relevant education, that’s famous only for being famous”, who is spouting such uninformed drivel from the bully pulpit, there are others out there who make the same allegations.

    Are you equally condemning of this public figure:

    (From ABC’s Political Punch Blog
    ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper)

    John McCain Enters the Autism Wars

    February 29, 2008 7:11 PM

    At a town hall meeting Friday in Texas, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., declared that “thereís strong evidence” that thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative that was once in many childhood vaccines, is responsible for the increased diagnoses of autism in the U.S. — a position in stark contrast with the view of the medical establishment.

    McCain was responding to a question from the mother of a boy with autism, who asked about a recent story that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program had issued a judgment in favor of an unnamed child whose family claimed regressive encephalopathy and symptoms of autism were caused by thimerosal.

    “Weíve been waiting for years for kind of a responsible answer to this question, and are hoping that you can help us out there,” the woman said.

    McCain said, per ABC News’ Bret Hovell, that “Itís indisputable that (autism) is on the rise amongst children, the question is whatís causing it. And we go back and forth and thereís strong evidence that indicates that itís got to do with a preservative in vaccines.”

    McCain said thereís “divided scientific opinion” on the matter, with “many on the other side that are credible scientists that are saying thatís not the cause of it.”

    What say ye of these idiotic fuckwitticisms?

  13. #13 madam ovary
    April 6, 2008

    Michael, if you’d like to learn more about autism research now being done here is a good site- http://www.translatingautism.com. The owner is a research scientist who reports on a wide variety of autism research and breaks it down for those who don’t have the training to understand it on their own. He posts several times a week and answers questions about the studies he reports on.

  14. #14 Egaeus
    April 6, 2008

    Wait, I have celiac disease, and I’m not autistic. I’m a bit…socially unaware, but eliminating wheat from my diet has done nothing for my personality. Maybe I should eliminate dairy from my diet and see if I’m gregarious all of a sudden. Somehow, I don’t think that’s going to do it….

  15. #15 Anonymous
    April 7, 2008

    All research requires a “before” with which to compare the “after”. What does she want, researchers who also have the ability to travel through time and monitor her son’s progress?

  16. #16 Joseph
    April 13, 2008

    It’s patently obvious McCarthy is not versed in the science of autism. Her son was diagnosed at age 2. It is well known that age-2 diagnoses are not as stable as later diagnoses of ASD. One recent study found that 19% of children diagnosed at age 2 lost their label by age 7. That’s why there’s no need to see her son. This is not that uncommon.

    Also, it’s not at all clear that Evan is no longer autistic and no one seems to have any idea to what extent he was autistic in the past. All we know is that she claimed he was a crystal child.

  17. #17 Natalie
    April 16, 2008

    I have a child who was diagnosed with Asperger’s (High Functioning Autism) when he was young. He did not ever babble as a baby, he did not walk until he was almost 2, he would jump, flap his hands, have facial ticks, and rarely make eye contact. When he went to school he would walk the parameter of the playground at recess with his head down. After his developmental pediatrician (yes a real certified Western Medicine doctor) diagnosed him at age 9, she suggested we try dietary intervention before using drugs, we gave it a go. He is now 16 in all mainstream classes, with a 4.0 GPA, was released from his IEP (individualized education plan) last year and is currently planning to attend Prom with his friends. I don’t care what anyone claims, I only know what helped my son.

  18. #18 Renaa Slaton
    June 16, 2008

    PALMD,
    How sad you hateful people are… my son changed within 48 hours of removing gluten from his diet. It was the most incredible thing I have ever witnessed. He has not been diagnosed or labeled with anything simply because I did not want him to be labeled so in regards to Autism I am not sure.

    And for PALMD, a supposedly educated man to use words that that in my opinion show his level of maturity is just disdainful. Grow up!

    We have seen many well know physicians around the country and what surprised me the most is how little they focus on nutrition and how much they focus on drugs. Bottom line to riducle someon because of their past is both shallow and ignorant… I am assuming if we judged you are your past you would be ready for sainthood, especially with that lovely vocabulary of yours.

    The verbal attacks on this woman just show how far the human race has to advance before we will truly no what humanity means.

    so very sad…

  19. #19 Moldau
    September 27, 2008

    I was unaware that Jenny McCarthy’s son was “cured.” In every photo I see of him, he looks like a child with PDD.

  20. #20 Moldau
    September 27, 2008

    I just used Jenny’s search engine of choice and saw some newer photos. Evan certainly looks more typical in these. I believe it was the ABS that helped him, but she would prefer to believe in a conspiracy theory instead.

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