- Paperback: 464 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; 1 edition (January 3, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1439158657
- ISBN-13: 978-1439158654
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #188,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy Paperback – January 3, 2012
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It might be possible to view Mnookin’s book as the final nail in the coffin for the contemporary antivaccine movement, given its recent scientific and legal setbacks. But Mnookin’s own conclusions would likely deny this; as several reviewers approvingly observed, The Panic Virus is just as much about how today’s society deals with information overload as it is about how it confronts disease. Many reviews echoed Mnookin’s condemnation of the American media for allowing false antivaccine findings to flower. Yet they also praised him for avoiding heavy-handedness and unnecessary jargon, even if the book breaks little new ground in the vaccine debate. Critics strongly recommended the book to anyone interested in medicine and public health, as well as to parents who may fear that booster shot. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Over the last three decades, the incidence of autism spectrum disorder, better known simply as autism, has risen dramatically in the U.S., from approximately 1 in 1,000 children to 1 in 110, arousing widespread concern among parents and psychiatrists alike. A few of the many potential possible culprits scientists have targeted are faulty genes and thimerosal, a mercury-laced preservative in vaccines. Former Newsweek senior journalist Mnookin focuses his masterful investigative skills primarily on the latter, highly controversial possibility, illustrating how the current, misguided anti-vaccine movement can be blamed almost equally on panic-driven parents, sensation-hungry media, and PR-challenged health authorities. In making his case, Mnookin covers a wide swathe of medical history, from polio outbreaks to the scare tactics of fringe British researcher Andrew Wakefield, who first forged the dubious vaccine-autism link. While Mnookin dismantles this link convincingly, his argument that multivaccine cocktails have been proven safe is ultimately less persuasive. Still, he’s an able, engaging wordsmith, and this cautionary tale about misinformed medical alarmism is thoroughly compelling. --Carl Hays --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Panic Virus focuses primarily on the debate over vaccines, thimerosal, and autism, but it doesn't end there. Mnookin doesn't gloss over mistakes that were made by the CDC and other government bodies in overseeing the safety of multiple vaccines. Even as someone who has a lot of respect for the contributions of vaccines to public health, I was taken aback by some of the points he made regarding the lack of rigorous safety studies in some areas related to vaccines.
However, he also presents the science that has demonstrated as conclusively as possible that vaccines do not cause autism. Those looking for the ultimate proof of a negative will not find it here, because it cannot be done using science, as Mnookin points out. He also covers some of the psychological reasons for why people are so willing to believe in junk science, and discusses Andrew Wakefield's chicanery in detail. Finally, he gives a voice to families whose children have been harmed by the anti-vaccination movement.
In fairness, one or two of the more esoteric points about the science are a tiny bit off the mark. But this should not distract the reader from the brick wall of scientific evidence presented regarding the lack of an association between vaccines and autism. I am surprised that this book has not gotten more media coverage given the topic. It's well-researched, well-written, and about as fair as can be given the heated subject. It's simply appalling that the science of this controversial story does not get the press that the more sensational anti-vaccinators have received. Read it with an open mind.
I immediately knew how strongly the author felt concerning anti-vaccinators and the fake scientists who were spreading junk and bad science about the vaccines. The Title of the book, and some of the information concerning the book, did make it obvious what the book was going to be about, but the author was almost rabid in his opinions. I totally understood his impatience with these people who have ears, 'but do not hear' as the scriptures say. Normally, I try to avoid books that enter into a discussion that seems one-sided, but I wanted to read a book on this topic that provided all the necessary research, that Mr. Mnookin did. The amount of research that he included in this book from all areas involved in this current health crisis was phenomenal. I appreciated that he did all of the research and provided where that information came from. I'm planning on looking into some of the research farther.
I get so frustrated sometimes with people who choose not to get their children vaccinated. I understand the worry that parents go through concerning autism. I had three children, and I got them all vaccinated because I didn't want them to go through what I did due to these diseases. I have 6 grandchildren, and I also have a nephew that is high-functioning Asperger's. But the doctors who started this, Wakefield and others, were not doing correct experimental and objective science. They went into their 'studies' already decided on their hypothesis, and you just don't do that. I worked in labs on Alzheimer's and HIV for 6 years. You do not decide what you are going to find in your work prior to doing the experiments. You certainly do not allow money to influence your findings, and this is what these doctors did. Wakefield and company should be ashamed of themselves, because of their greed, children throughout the world continue to die needlessly.
Mnookin did express compassion for the parents of those children suffering from autism. I feel for them too. My sister's son is great, we love him a lot, and he's smart and a good kid. But his parents struggled all of his childhood to get him adequate medical care, and social learning. And we all worry about him. So I can't imagine what other parents are going through with children who are much worse off than my nephew. I understand the need parents have to find someone or something to blame for this autism crisis. But too many of them are being blind to the truth, and some of them are putting their children at increased risk of invasive medical care just to somehow prove their point. You do not put a child through a medical procedure such as drawing spinal fluid needlessly. I've been through that...it's extremely painful, and you only do it as an adult if you are trying to rule out something like cancer. I certainly would never put a child through it if you can avoid it.
I'm Deaf due to rubella. We've gotten so far away from these diseases, that current parents have no idea what kind of damage they caused. I also have numerous autoimmune diseases from undergoing exposure to these viruses 'naturally'. I read inn Mnookin's book that parents and some doctors say natural exposure to measles, mumps and rubella is better than the vaccines. Are they nuts? I want to tell these people to talk to me and other rubella babies that have been through so much due to natural exposure to these diseases. Believe me, if they listened to me they wouldn't be in such a hurry to expose their kids!
This is a necessary addition to the writings on the state of vaccination in the world. Hopefully, more people will read it and do the right thing by their children. Their kids will thank them for it.
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