Autism's False Profits: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure (Hardcover)
Dr. Paul Offit's amazing new book about the history of the anti-vaccine movement and the international brigade of corrupt researchers, ambulance chasing lawyers, politicians and advocacy groups who helped manipulate the parents of those children who were autistic. The anti-vaccine movement has caused significant harm to public health efforts around the world. The publication of this book may signal the beginning of the end to their position. Time will tell whether or not this will stop their insanity and manipulation of science.
Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science
"Science," he says, "is the only way humankind has found of separating truth from fraud or mere foolishness; it's what we've learned about how not to fool ourselves."
With acerbic wit and humorous repartee, Robert L. Park, professor of physics at the University of Maryland, asks why we believe weird things even when no evidence supports our claims.
"Science," he writes, "is the only way of knowing--everything else is superstition. Everything in the universe is governed by the same natural laws; there is a physical cause behind every event."
A humanist and naturalist, Park asserts that science rejects appeal to authority in favor of empirical evidence. He attacks pseudoscience--from so-called "intelligent design" and young-Earth fundamentalism to New Age mysticism, homeopathic "remedies," and snake-oil "cures."
Welcome to the world of alternative medicine. Prince Charles is a staunch defender and millions of people swear by it; most UK doctors consider it to be little more than superstition and a waste of money. But how do you know which treatments really heal and which are potentially harmful? Now at last you can find out, thanks to the formidable partnership of Professor Edzard Ernst and Simon Singh. Edzard Ernst is the world's first professor of complementary medicine, based at Exeter University, where he has spent over a decade analysing meticulously the evidence for and against alternative therapies.He is supported in his findings by Simon Singh, the well-known and highly respected science writer of several international bestsellers. Together they have written the definitive book on the subject. It is honest, impartial but hard-hitting, and provides a thorough examination and judgement of more than thirty of the most popular treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, aromatherapy, reflexology, chiropractic and herbal medicine.
In "Trick or Treatment?" the ultimate verdict on alternative medicine is delivered for the first time with clarity, scientific rigour and absolute authority.
Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All
by Rose Shapiro
Suckers reveals how alternative medicine can jeopardize the health of those it claims to treat, leaches resources from treatments of proven efficacy and is largely unaccountable and unregulated. In short, it is an industry that preys on human vulnerability and makes fools of us all.
Millions of people worldwide swear by such therapies as acupuncture, herbal cures, and homeopathic remedies. Indeed, complementary and alternative medicine is embraced by a broad spectrum of society, from ordinary people, to scientists and physicians, to celebrities such as Prince Charles and Oprah Winfrey.
In the tradition of Michael Shermer's Why People Believe Weird Things and Robert Parks's Voodoo Science, Barker Bausell provides an engaging look at the scientific evidence for complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and at the logical, psychological, and physiological pitfalls that lead otherwise intelligent people--including researchers, physicians, and therapists--to endorse these cures.
The book's ultimate goal is to reveal not whether these therapies work--as Bausell explains, most do work, although weakly and temporarily--but whether they work for the reasons their proponents believe. Indeed, as Bausell reveals, it is the placebo effect that accounts for most of the positive results.
He explores this remarkable phenomenon--the biological and chemical evidence for the placebo effect, how it works in the body, and why research on any therapy that does not factor in the placebo effect will inevitably produce false results. By contrast, as Bausell shows in an impressive survey of research from high-quality scientific journals and systematic reviews, studies employing credible placebo controls do not indicate positive effects for CAM therapies over and above those attributable to random chance.
Here is not only an entertaining critique of the strangely zealous world of CAM belief and practice, but it also a first-rate introduction to how to correctly interpret scientific research of any sort. Readers will come away with a solid understanding of good vs. bad research practice and a healthy skepticism of claims about the latest miracle cure, be it St. John's Wort for depression or acupuncture for chronic pain.
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A major blow to all anti-vaccine activists and their lawyers hit like a case of anthrax on January 8, 2008. A 7 year review of autism cases before and after thiomerosal was removed from pediatric vaccines in California actually shows that autism rates INCREASED after the mercury containing preservative was removed. The article has a superb bibliography with many trustworthy references.
The Blackwell court’s excluded Dr. Mark Geier, Dr. Stephen Siebert, Dr. Elizabeth Mumper, Prof. Richard Deth, and Prof. Boyd Haley.
Science Based Medicine Blog - January 2008 "Mercury in vaccines as a cause of autism and autism spectrum disorders (ASDs): A failed hypothesis" - by Dr. David Gorski
One of the most pernicious medical myths of recent years has been the claim, promulgated by a subgroup of parents of autistic children and facilitated by scientists of dubious repute, that somehow the mercury in the thimerosal. I say “almost” single-handedly, because, unfortunately, he had help. Relying on the dubious research of a variety of investigators, such as the father-and-son team of Dr. Mark Geier and David Geier, whose prodigious output of badly designed studies emanating from a lab in their home in suburban Maryland, done using a rubberstamp institutional review board stacked with friends and cronies to approve the studies, and published for the most part in non-peer-reviewed journals, activists loudly insisted that mercury in vaccines was the cause of most autism.
The scientific data, taken in totality, do not support a link between mercury in vaccines and autism. On January 8, 2008 another important study by Robert Schechter and Judith Grether was released published in the Archives of General Psychiatry entitled Continuing Increases in Autism Reported to California’s Developmental Services System: Mercury in Retrograde1, that utterly failed to support the hypothesis that mercury in vaccines is an etiological factor in autism. It is yet another nail in the coffin of the medical myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism.
Anti-Vaccination Fever: The Shot Hurt Around the World - by William John Hoyt, Jr. - Skeptical Inquirer - January 4, 2008
Sensationalist media, religious fanatics, and alternative medical practitioners fanned the fires created by questionable research to spawn worldwide epidemics of a disease that had almost been forgotten.
These court case are available in either mp3 or .pdf format.
Autism is Treatable Seminar - Biomedical treatments The Canadian Federation of University Women teamed up with the Autism Canada Foundation in this seminar.
"The objective of this one-day conference is to explain why and how biological issues may have an impact on the physical, behavioural and cognitive health of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Attendees will learn what biomedical treatments are available to them now and how to determine which ones might be best for their child.
The presentations are geared towards parents, agency and school personnel, medical professionals and others dedicated to improving the quality of life for those with ASD."
Anti-vaccine promoters - parents
Vaccine Truth - Wendy Callahan and her billboard in Florida - This is one of the most ridiculous sites that I have ever seen. You can link to two radio shows where she is interviewed, and download pictures of her billboard. I wonder why the State of Florida has not stepped in to stop this nonsense.
Medical literature reviews set the record straight
Thimerosal Exposure in Infants and Developmental Disorders: A Prospective Cohort Study in the United Kingdom Does Not Support a Causal Association
PEDIATRICS Vol. 114 No. 3 September 2004
Conclusions. We could find no convincing evidence that early exposure to thimerosal had any deleterious effect on neurologic or psychological outcome.
Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Critical Review of Published Original Data
PEDIATRICS Vol. 114 No. 3 September 2004
Conclusions. Studies do not demonstrate a link between thimerosal-containing vaccines and ASD, and the pharmacokinetics of ethylmercury make such an association less likely. Epidemiologic studies that support a link demonstrated significant design flaws that invalidate their conclusions. Evidence does not support a change in the standard of practice with regard to administration of thimerosal-containing vaccines in areas of the world where they are used.
MMR vaccine---worries are not justified
Arch Dis Child 2001;85:271-274 ( October )
There is no good scientific evidence to support a link between MMR vaccine and autism or inflammatory bowel disease; indeed there is mounting evidence that shows no link. There is considerable evidence of the effectiveness and safety of MMR vaccine. Using separate vaccines is an untried and untested policy and, as far as protecting children from infectious disease is concerned, a backward step.
While the final decision rests with the parents, the evidence of the safety and efficacy of MMR vaccine is so overwhelmingly conclusive that health professionals should have no hesitation in recommending its use.
Thimerosal and the Occurrence of Autism: Negative Ecological Evidence From Danish Population-Based Data
PEDIATRICS Vol. 112 No. 3 September 2003, pp. 604-606
Conclusions. The discontinuation of thimerosal-containing vaccines in Denmark in 1992 was followed by an increase in the incidence of autism. Our ecological data do not support a correlation between thimerosal-containing vaccines and the incidence of autism.
We focus on the chiropractic community and its struggle to rid itself of unscientific practitioners. Some of their brothers and sisters continue the assault on science by coming up here to Canada to brainwash their brethren. They make thousands of dollars daily at their seminars, through sales of their books, tapes, and computer programs. It's not illegal for them to do business in Canada as far as we know, but Ontario chiropractors are not allowed to even talk about immunizations with their patients. In Canada, the battle has been won in Ontario, but in other Provinces and in the U.S. and other countries around the world chiropractors are out of control.