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Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines--The Truth Behind a Tragedy Paperback – July 13, 2011
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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“I'm so glad Andy Wakefield finally has the chance to tell his story. . . . For hundreds of thousands of parents around the world, myself included, Andy Wakefield is a symbol of strength and conviction that all parents of children with autism can use to fight for truth and the best lives possible for their kids.” (Jenny McCarthy, from her foreword)
“Dr. Wakefield sets the record straight. It was not he who showed callous disregard towards vulnerable, sick children with autism. It was the British medical establishment, the General Medical Council, the media and the pharmaceutical industry that threw the children under the bus to protect the vaccine program. This is a book for everyone who cares about our future.” (Mary Holland, Esq., co-founder, Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law and Advocacy)
“Andrew Wakefield has been subjected to extraordinary criticism and condemnation from professional colleagues and the wider community since he first questioned the safety of the MMR vaccine. In this book he answers his critics—powerfully and comprehensively—and sets the record straight. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to know the truth behind the MMR debate and the politics of vaccination policy.” (Dr. Richard Halvorsen, author of The Truth about Vaccines)
“As a mother of a boy who regressed into autism immediately following his MMR vaccination, I welcome this book unreservedly . . . Whatever your thoughts on the issue, if you read nothing else at all on the vaccine-autism debate, this has to be the most crucial book you read.” (Polly Tommey, editor of The Autism File)
“Meeting Dr. Andy Wakefield changed our lives and . . . we are forever grateful. His wise and measured advice about vaccinations helped us dodge a bullet . . . Our fourth son [had] multiple allergies and repeated infections . . . We now fully realize [he] would have been a victim of immune overload had we followed the regular vaccine schedule. . . . [He] is [now] bright and healthy . . . This book provides a terrifying insight into what has been happening behind the scenes as efforts redouble to silence Dr. Wakefield . . . It is a wake-up call to those who think [he] is anything other than a modern day hero fighting for all of our children.” (Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan, Troublemaker Studios, Austin, Texas)
About the Author
Andrew J. Wakefield, MB, BS, FRCS, is an academic gastroenterologist. He received his medical degree from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School (part of the University of London) in 1981, and pursued a career in gastrointestinal surgery with a particular interest in inflammatory bowel disease. He has published over 130 original scientific articles, book chapters, and invited scientific commentaries. He and his wife, Carmel, live in Austin, Texas.
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In his book Wakefield specifically states that he is not "anti-vaccine" but that safety must come first (page 5). After researching scientific papers on the use of the MMR vaccine, he also criticizes the lack of quality safety studies having been conducted for its use (pages 70, 73, and 226). Wakefield documents the actions of the then Dean of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine (Chapters Three and Six), the then editor of the journal The Lancet (Chapters Seven and Eight), and the writer of articles in The Sunday Times containing inaccuracies and false allegations (Chapter Twelve), all contributing to discrediting the Lancet report.
In Chapter Ten Wakefield points out the perils of medical specialists' operating within their own comfortable, but sometimes isolating, specialties of medical knowledge, leading to "...antagonism engendered by different perceptions of a condition, sometimes within the same medical specialty but more commonly between or among different medical disciplines" (page 143). Is autism a genetic disease, a psychiatric condition, or a gut-brain disorder? Wakefield argues for the latter gastrointestinal approach (page 44) (and it is revealing that now this approach is receiving much research attention). He also points out that studies of vaccine safety and of associations between certain viruses and autism have been published in the past (page 140; and Timeline, pages 250, 251, 254, 255, 256, 259, 262, and 263, under the Timeline heading of "Relevant scientific publications other than from Royal Free"). In his Timeline of events (pages 250 through 265), Wakefield documents much that is written in the book's text. The Timeline headings of: "Date," "Events at the Royal Free," "Events at the UK Department of Health," "Events at The Lancet," "Relevant scientific publications other than from Royal Free," "Evens in the national media," and "Events at the GMC" allow one to easily locate relevant facts.
Wakefield and James Moody caution, on page 245 of the book's Afterword, that given what happened to Wakefield, "Doctors just won't take the risk of a protracted investigation..." that later may be used against them or may cause them to lose their medical license. Rather, they "...will settle in to the same mediocrity of doling out medicine 'by the books.' " Reading this narrative of what happened to a doctor challenging medical orthodoxy when the latter is placed above patient safety, requires concentration and attention to detail, but the account is gripping. There exist many scientific studies on important medical topics, studies funded by various organizations and industries, and which doctors and their patients often don't have the background or the time to read and digest. Still, most patients must rely upon the accuracy and timelines of the learning curves of those whom they do choose to be their healthcare providers. Andrew Wakefield is a trained gastroenterologist who upped his medical learning curve by doing the necessary research, but in doing so he also, figuratively speaking, stepped over some traditional boundaries separating the bodies of knowledge of some medical specialties from one another. He also challenged some basic tenets of many immunologists, virologists, and other medical experts, as well as those of the vaccine industry, and he has paid a price. This book's text and the Timeline which accompanies it tell the story, and the Timeline also challenges those whose inaccuracies contributed to the loss of Wakefield's medical license. Perhaps those critics can suggest changes to the contents of Wakefield's Timeline with their own factual documentation, if they have any. If they can not or will not, then that fact alone supports the accuracy of Wakefield's account. For the sakes of patients and those other physicians willing to listen to their patients or their advocates and then wishing to advise them based upon the best medical knowledge available to them without fear of punishment and, perhaps, regardless of any harmful medical dogma, Andrew Wakefield's license to practice medicine should be reinstated, and soon.
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Interesting the number of negative unverified purchase reviews---one of the reasons that compelled me to purchase the book in addition to wanting...Read more