A Touch of Alyricism

Dedicated to the equally fascinating topics of autistic advocacy and the 'sisterly sophistries' of radical gender feminism. Other topics may occasionally crop up. Contactable at alyric@gmail.com


Polemicist since Grade 8

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review: Jenny McCarthy's Mother Warriors

Courtesy of the local library, I now have temporary copy of Jenny McCarthy’s “Mother Warriors”. I have also read Paul Offit’s “Autism’s False Prophets’, which is quite a different book and of a quality several orders of magnitude above this attempt at down home intimacy on behalf of McCarthy.

I thought I’d review this book to answer one question. Based on the contents, would it influence the reader to look favourably at the Petitioners case at the Autism Omnibus Proceedings (AOP)? After all, that vaccines cause autism is the central thesis of this book and the AOP.

Perhaps unusually, the review should start with the introduction by Dr Jay Gordon, paediatrician and Evan McCarthy’s physician. In the same earthy tones that characterise the bulk of this book, Dr Gordon makes a series of quite remarkable statements. No doubt they are meant to be provocative, which serves many purposes, obscuring the absurdity of the actual statement being one of them. There is a deliberate lack of editing in this book, I think, again to keep that provocative edge as a substitute for a more robust foundation.

1. Introduction, Dr Jay Gordon.

If there are “A” to “D” list celebrities in Hollywood, I think it likely that there are parallel hierarchies among the professions serving them. Dr Gordon is unlikely to be among the first tier of paediatricians, judging from the Introduction. He makes the following assertions:

1. “The AAP and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are filled with doctors who not only don’t believe the ideas in this book but actively ridicule them and spend a lot of money trying to disprove the causes and treatments so well presented when Jenny McCarthy and others in the cure-autism community speak and write”.

OK, so mainstream science has not adopted the vaccines cause autism thesis. And his point would be? Why should they, when the evidence from a great many sources, says there is no link. Note that the AAP wouldn’t have spent money on this since they aren’t a research body and the body who would be spending the money, The National Institutes of Health isn’t even mentioned. Did he write this in a hurry? The ‘actively ridiculing’ is a nice touch, gets the sympathy going but again, not something that the mainstream really does at all. There is no need.

2. “Vaccines can cause autism”

It’s a nice stand alone sentence there on the page, suitably dramatic and completely meaningless.

3. “The official position of the American Academy of Pediatrics may be the same as my personal position, but they are far too involved with the pharmaceutical industry to actually do anything but pay lip service to an open discussion.”

So the reason for the lack of belief among the mainstream or at least the AAP is that they’re all Pharma Shills. Does he really believe that crude overgeneralisation? I would think not, it’s simply there to bolster the true believers in the vaccines cause autism who would be quite lost without this central plank in their anti-vaccination platform.

4. “Yes, most vaccines have less mercury, but wait until the evidence against aluminum in vaccines becomes common knowledge. The body of research regarding aluminum’s harm to human cells already contains hundreds of articles. The most damning conclusions were recently published by Dr Robert Sears, a very well known and well respected pediatrician and the son and partner of Dr William Sears, long regarded as “America’s Pediatrician”.

Aluminum is the new thimerosal apparently. To bolster the drama of this ‘toxin’ we have Dr Robert Sears with all the second hand glory bestowed on him by his illustrious father. He’s going to need a lot of that glory for his ‘published’ work concludes basically that people on dialysis and very premature babies can develop aluminum toxicity. As for ‘published’, this is not the stuff of peer review, since it’s from his own book. You can find it on whale-to though.

The central point and one that is rather carefully avoided by Gordon and others promoting the toxin gambit is that the dose in the vaccine is absolutely minuscule compared to what is already there in the infant because of what the infant is exposed to in the ordinary course of living, especially if your infant drinks water. There are some comprehensive references to this topic. Orac of the Science Blogs, gives an overview here. The Children’s Hospital Philadelphia gives an overview here and a physician blogger weighs in here. The latter is important because she refers to peer reviewed research which came to the following conclusion regarding aluminium and vaccines:

“The authors calculate that when a similar adjuvant dose is given to an adult human, this will result in a rise of 0.04ng/ml over a baseline normal value of 5ng/ml - which would be completely undetectable but for the extremely sensitive methods of detection used for the 26Al isotope. If we’re talking about a ~3kg baby (about the same weight as the rabbits), the 6% rise in blood aluminum values would translate into a rise of 0.3ng/ml (i.e, the babies would have 5.3ng/ml aluminum levels instead of 5.0). Not exactly something to write home about, especially when you consider that the same dose of aluminum in the rabbit given it intravenously, saw a whopping 2000% rise in its blood aluminum concentration (an increase of 600ng/ml). (Edited to add: Even if the rise is in absolute terms, i.e 2ng/ml per vaccine, no baby would reach anything resembling toxic blood levels even if several vaccines were administered simultaneously).”

It’s that sort of thing that Gordon goes out of his way not to mention and for a representative of the medical profession, that’ s misleading enough to qualify as reprehensible though perhaps congruent with a “D” list pediatrician status.

Chapter 1: Opening The Can of Worms.

Overview: Jenny’s traumatic appearance on Oprah describing in seven minutes’s Evan’s first brush with convulsions, his subsequent cardiac arrest with the second and his initial diagnosis of epilepsy followed by the diagnosis of autism. She told the neurologist:

“My son is trapped inside this label call autism and I’m gonna get him out”. But, she’s really there on Oprah to be the ‘voice of those amazing women; who’ve been silenced by their doctors, and called stupid and ignorant. Jenny is ready with the truth and here it is:

“We vaccinated our baby and SOMETHING happened. SOMETHING happened. Why won’t anyone believe us?”

That’s followed by these two memorable lines:

When Oprah read a statement from the CDC stating that the science showed no link between vaccines and autism, Jenny replies:

““Who needs science when I’m witnessing it everyday in my own home? I watched it happen.” I replied with all the love I could muster in my heart. “Evan is my science.”“

Somehow this is unlikely to convince the AOP.

Chapter 2: Imagine

Overview: Something of a non sequitur but Jenny comes up with a child having fallen and hurt himself on the stairs as visible damage that is analogous to having developed autism following vaccination. There’s this line.

“The doctor just keeps shaking his head and denies that stairs could ever harm a child.”

This analogy doesn’t work at all well. I doubt it would convince anyone of an autism vaccine link, including the AOP.

The rest is also a plug for Jenny being the first to get the truth out about vaccines and autism and kudos to Oprah for making it happen. I would think there would be a number who might dispute this version of events.

Chapter 3: I’m not Crazy

Overview - interview on 20/20 for her book Louder than Words. Jenny relates that she spoke extensively about vaccines but that didn’t make it to air, only her talk about ‘the diet’ and recovery. On the way to the airport, a woman thanks her profusely for her autism work, which she thinks makes a nice demographic change from ‘nice boobs’. The tone becomes distinctively evangelical with this line, which is something of a theme for the entire book:

“I believe in manifestations, and I believe that the collective energy of all the women who had been waiting for someone to speak for them had manifested me as the one to do it.”

Chapter4: Diane Sawyer Rocks.

Overview: her interview on Good Morning America for the book Louder than Words. Her theme here is as follows:

“ As we talked about how the medical community doesn’t understand that children with autism are actually physically sick and how pediatricians across the country have no idea how to fix them, I started to realise that this was something I needed to pursue a little harder in the press”

“As I was talking to Diane, I decided I had to go kick some ass in the pediatrician world as soon as I left the show.”

Apparently pediatricians don’t necessarily buy into the leaky gut, inflammation, yeast overgrowth and constipation as being unique to ASD kids, so now it’s a war - Jenny versus the pediatricians.

So far there is nothing the AOP would find of interest.

Chapter 5: Stan the Man

Overview: Jenny is joined on her press tour by Stan Kurtz, Warrior Dad who has succeeded in recovering his son. The aim with Stan’s help is to have someone from the AAP attend a DAN conference to meet the DAN doctors and scientists who can teach the AAP a thing or two. As Jenny puts it to the AAP :

“The problem is that one in ninety-four boys has autism and most of them have chronic illnesses such as leaky gut, candida, constipation, metals toxicity, viral infections, PANDAS, bad bacteria and measles stuck in the gut, inflammation of the brain, and almost every pediatrician in this country does not know how to treat these kids or even know these symptoms are associated with autism because the American Academy of Pediatrics does not have anything in their medical journal or whatever it is that teaches doctors how to treat the children”.

I solemnly swear that this is a direct quote from page 33 of the book. Only a U of Goo graduate could produce this and proof if any is further required that this book did not suffer overly from editorial overview.

Chapter 6: Nothing Can Stop Me, Not Even Barbara Walters

Overview: Interview with Barbara Walters on “The View” and trouble in paradise when Barbara is informed by a helpful someone from ABC before the show that Jenny’s treatment can’t work. Summoned to Barbara Walter’s dressing room before the show, Jenny relates that with rage and fury Barbara screamed:

“ No that’s not what I said MOST doctors do NOT agree with anything you’re saying. Isn’t that true?”

And that’s what Barbara wanted her to admit on the show. But, Jenny, “scared, shocked and hurt” by this viciousness, knows she can’t back down because “so many mothers were counting
on me. I was really sacred. [possibly a typo]”

In the interview, she sticks to her chakras and gets around the problem by agreeing that autism can’t be cured but you can get recovery just like you could if you’d been run over by a bus!

Chapter 7: Home Sweet Home

As the title says - back home to Evan and probably the most sensible line in the book:

“ If the child could speak, he or she would say, Just because I stopped talking, Mom, doesn’t mean you should stop. Keep talking to me. I like hearing your voice.”“

Chapter 8: The Magnitude of Pain

A chapter for communal outpourings of shared pain and the venue is the TACA picnic, followed by readings from the fan mail. She concludes with:

“ People need to realise that it’s not just genetics. Genetics go from one generation to the next. This is an epidemic that has taken over on such a massive scale that it pains me to no end that they think it’s one gene that’s causing this.”

One gene Jenny? Where has that ever been stated?

What follows is the Jenny theory of susceptibility:

“If a child is born with an infection that no one can see and we vaccinate them while their immune system cannot sufficiently fight the toxins or viruses being injected, that child is going to get into trouble.”

And so much for modern perinatal medicine that there could be so many unknowable infections among the newborn serious enough to interfere with vaccination.

Chapter 9: Speaking of the Devil

The opening line:

“The AAP agreed to come to the DAN ! Conference! Hooray! Then again maybe not.”

They did send someone “with a big smile and sweet eyes” but she turned out to be unsatisfactory.

“In a nutshell she was telling us that if it’s not in their medical journal or their new tool kit they give to pediatricians, then nothing can be done. She told us to write a note to the AAP explaining our findings and she apologized that she couldn’t stay for the rest of the conference.”

How shabby of them, says Jenny for not sitting down with the leading experts on healing autism.
Oddly enough, from this and previous chapters, given what Jenny has revealed about her knowledge of pediatric training and practice, having a pediatrician like Dr Jay Gordon is beginning to make a kind of sense.

The AAP pediatrician :

“went on to tell us to say in the letter that these conditions are comorbid with autism, not that these conditions cause autism......I sat there puzzled because once I had fixed Evan’s comorbid conditions, the autism healed. So she was asking us to cleverly disguise what we believe by saying that these conditions have nothing to do with the cause of autism. Essentially she asked us to lie. These comorbid conditions clearly stem from vaccines and God forbid we say that comorbid conditions cause autism, because that would be a direct link to vaccines.”

This is an unusually clear statement of belief from Jenny, even though it’s weakened somewhat by having the pediatrician dictate what DAN practitioners might want to write in their very own letter to the AAP, which I think we can discount as not particularly credible. A lot of Jenny statements fall into this class.

Chapter !0: At This Moment in Time, The American Academy of Pediatrics Sucks.

This one and a half page chapter informs the reader that nothing came of the AAP involvement in the DAN conference and serves as the introduction to Part 2 of the book - the mother warrior stories Jenny has selected on the grounds that if the AAP and CDC aren’t listening, then listen to the mothers.

Part 2: Strength in Numbers

The mother warrior vignettes have certain commonalities. The mothers are sincere in that they firmly believe that they are doing the right thing by their children. Unfortunately they occasionally resort to the absurd to bolster that belief particularly in very odd portrayals of the medical profession’s beliefs and practices. Equally interesting is the use of medical authority, particularly of family members to legitimise various statements. More often than not the outcome is not enhanced legitimacy but one family member looking extremely foolish. Many of the vignettes appear to be unreliable accounts simply because the author could not be either rational or consistent in what she wrote. Some editing, even of a folksy book like this one, would have been a very good idea.

I think that this section of the book is best reviewed overall to assess what the various authors deem to be recovery from autism, since this would contribute to Petitioner’s arguments before the AOP.

Chapter 11: Michelle Woods: Mother Warrior to Kevin.

Michelle attributes Kevin’s problems to the following:

“Kevin had so much good development in the beginning and then he lost so much of it. He got really sick really fast and as soon as he started getting sick with all of his autoimmune stuff, that’s when he lost his developmental milestones.”

Alas, she goes on to write the following, neither of which are credible:

“Here’s a kid who was talking when he was just a few months old”.

This statement also does not fit at all well with her assertion that Kevin’s regression started at six months, which leaves no time at all for even really early talking.

“He had eczema all over his body, he started to bleed internally. He was anemic and the pediatrician said maybe it was too much milk.”

Right there I think you could reasonably assume that what this person claims might have at most a tenuous link with reality. This is such an insult to the training, the intelligence, the ethics even of pediatricians. Incidentally, bleeding associated with lymphoid nodular hyperplasia is extremely rare, though that is where Kevin’s bleeding is coming from according to Michelle.

Treatment for Kevin of the biomedical variety started with Dr Krigsman and the GFCF diet, which didn’t work for Kevin, followed by Dr James Neubrander and methyl B12 injections, which Michelle regards as miraculous. Miraculous seems to be an accurate descriptor. Within 24 hours of the first shot Kevin is behaving as follows:

“ He’s not pushing anybody, he’s not screaming, he’s sitting down, he’s doing his work. He’s happy, he’s laughing, he’s making jokes.”

One would think that B12 functions as a drug for mood disorders rather than the vitamin that it really is. Drugs for mood disorders, however, typically take weeks to have an effect. Further treatments added were hyperbaric oxygen and 6 mercaptopurine. Note that Kevin also follows a behavioural program (variety not specified).

Michelle relates that Kevin was enrolled in a mainstream kindergarten at age 5 without an autism diagnosis and with only problems with speech.

Chapter 12: Canaries in the Coal Mine

A favourite among the biomedical interventionists is the analogy between canaries and their sensitivity to toxins such as carbon monoxide in coal mines and autistic children and their perceived enhanced susceptibility to environmental toxins. Jenny summarises the concept and the attitude:
“These children are trying so hard to show us how to live in a cleaner world. I believe these kids are here for a reason: to teach us to eat better, clean up the air, and get rid of toxins because they can’t survive.”

Chapter 13: Amazing Maisie

Problems for Maisie began with her MMR and varicella vaccines given shortly after her first birthday. She started losing words. At the next check-up Melanie questioned the advisability of more shots, which was brushed off and Maisie got the next round. Soon after this she started hand flapping and other repetitive behaviours.

Her treatment consisted of the GFCF, diet vitamin supplements and “many, many hours of behavioral therapy”. Other treatments are not specified. There is some inconsistency in Melanie’s account.

“The first week on the GFCF diet, Maisie started talking” Is followed a paragraph later by; “ Maisie was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at age 2. Five months later, we had started her on the GFCF diet. She had learned more than fifty words by then”

Maisie was declared ‘undiagnosed’ at age four except for some residual speech problems, later resolved through an extra year of speech therapy.

Chapter 14: Lisa Ackerman: Mother Warrior to Jeff

Jeff’s problems began with the MMR and varicella shots when he was on antibiotics for his sixth ear infection. He gradually lost his words and developed toe walking, a fascination for spinning objects, rashes, diarrhea, an insensitivity to cold and pain but an intolerance for loose threads or labels in his clothes.

Treatment began with the GFCF diet. Lisa relates that Jeff would only eat Burger King nuggets, so she got the special boxes and bags from Burger King, substituted the GFCF version and Jeff went along with it. Lisa makes a rather interesting comment on how she views the fit of biomed among other therapies:

“ABA made a huge difference in helping Jeff. But he had so many health issues that we had to keep pounding dirt with biomedical treatments while also trusting ABA to do its thing.”

They also began chelation therapy, eventually with glutathione and hyperbaric oxygen. Other devices they used were an augmentative speech device and a FM auditory trainer hearing aid, which helped tremendously with Jeff’s super sensitive hearing. He later required medication for colitis and oesophageal reflux. L carnitine and valtrex were also added to the treatment regime.

Jeff is not recovered, but is in mainstream classes with an aide. Lisa Ackerman is the founder of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA).

Chapter 15 Siblings

Lisa’s chapter reminded Jenny that siblings rarely get talked about even though they often bear the brunt of parental focus elsewhere, having to eat their favourite foods out of sight of those on diets or may feel too embarassed to have their friends over at particular ages. Jenny’s advice is to:

“ Nurture them, respect them and listen to them”.

This does not at all mean that having autistic siblings is a bad thing as Kev points out at

Chapter 16: What a ‘Trip’

Jenny relates how in the absence of defining physical characteristics to give a hint, autistic behaviours can look like bad behaviour and bad parenting. She encounters an entire airport waiting room glowing with disapproval over a ten year old flapping, screaming and running in circles despite the mother’s best efforts to distract him.

Having admonished her waiting room neighbour she then goes online to see if there’s anything inspirational about raising a special needs child. She finds “Welcome to Holland” a well known piece by Emily Perl Kingsley. The narrative analogy to raising a disabled child is planning a trip to Italy and arriving in Holland instead. If, however, you mourn the loss of Italy continuously, you will miss the beauty of Holland which wasn’t what you expected but has its own charms.

Chapter 17: Becky Behnan: Mother Warrior to Jack - You’re never too old.

As the subtitle suggests, Becky is the mother of a thirty year old autistic son. Back in 1979 there were few resources for autism and few doctor who could recognise it. Becky managed to find the forerunner of DAN, one Dr William Phi lpott through a referral from Bernie Rimland. Dr Philpott was working on curing schizophrenia, but childhood schizophrenia was an equally common name for autism back then. The methods were quite unorthodox - ozone therapy, amino acids treatment for candida and removal of wheat from the diet, but not unlike the modern DAN protocol. Becky relates that she went tp see Lovaas at UCLA:

“Lovaas had gone on to tell me that my marriage was going to fail, and that it was going to ruin my other son and the best thing I could do for the whole family was to put Jack in an institution.”

The threat of the institution was constant. Jack also got a primitive kind of behaviour therapy, which consisted of hold downs, the first of which lasted 8 hours designed to have him pay attention to the therapist.

Jack is reasonably independent today but too naive Becky thinks to live alone.

Chapter 18: My Autism Whisperer

This is Jim Carrey’s moving tribute to the beauty of their relationship and the beauty of Jenny’s heart as revealed by her struggles to overcome Evan’s autism. Doubtless this is one of the book’s selling points.

Chapter 19: Katie Wright: Mother Warrior to Christian

Katie Wright is the daughter of Bob and Suzanne Wright the founders of Autism Speaks (AS). Unlike AS, Katie firmly believes that Christian’s autism was caused by vaccines. She is on the board of NAA and Safe Minds, two rabidly anti-vaccination organisations. She seems to be an intellectual feather duster judging by her opening lines:

“ We tried everything: traditional therapies, ABA, speech, OT, everything. We even tried the heavy pharmaceuticals and we were warned over and over again, not to do the diet, that it was very dangerous.”

Now, what exactly could possibly be dangerous about an exclusion diet? The heavy duty pharmaceuticals don’t rate the skull and crossbones, but a paltry diet does? The absurdity is breathtaking. She follows it up however by trying it anyway - on a child that apparently eats only yoghurt and succeeds in two days. If that narrative doesn’t hang well for you, there is always the following:

“I felt horrible because I had wasted so much time traveling all over the country trying antianxiety and anticonvulsant drugs on my child when I should have tried just changing his diet.”

I get the gist of what she actually means here but it is not clear.

Things improve for Christian when Katie discovers the Specific Carbohydrate Diet through the referral of a Generation Rescue angel whom she contacts at three in the morning. Apart from chelation there is no specific mention of any other DAN therapy and the rest of the chapter is devoted to the perfidy of AS and their scientists in particular.

AS does not rubber stamp the biomedial agenda and Katie laments that:

“ My parents, unfortunately, can’t control who’s on the board. They don’t have the power to bring in scientists who believe in the gut-brain connection so the board at Autism Speaks would be balanced. It’s in the contract that the scientists have the power. It’s been very frustrating. I have urged a number of biomedical doctors to submit grants, and they were all rejected. Arrgh! And the reason they were rejected was apparently they didn’t meet the criteria. I knew they were bullshitting me. This was political. They didn’t want to fund this stuff.”

There is no indication whether or not Christian is recovered. I suspect not as he is referred to as “severely affected by autism.”

Chapter 20; The Power of Believing

This id a very short chapter admonishing the faithful that you have to believe that you can heal your child, you have to believe that biomedical treatments will work and that there is no room for second guessing.

Chapter 21: Samantha Gray: Warrior Mother to Zack.

Samantha’s story is poignant in that one month after her son was diagnosed with autism, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Typical of this brave lady, she went out to buy as many flash cards as she could find so that she could do something with Zach through the trials of chemotherapy. However, she like the many before her has some problems with keeping the data straight. We are told that Zach’s problems started at eighteen months with increased tantrums and projectile vomiting, which Samantha thinks might be due to the Vitamin D milk Zach is on. She makes special note that her internist husband does not want to stop the milk because it’s good for Zach. Now, this is strange coming from an internist. We have an 18 month old on Vitamin D, which is a fat soluble vitamin and this is good? Fat soluble vitamins are potentially extremely toxic and considering that Samantha also tells us Zach drinks a gallon of milk the dose seems to be uncontrolled and potentially high, for an 18 month old.

As is usual for the authors of this book, when confronted with abnormal stools of very abnormal quantity and projectile vomiting, the pediatrician elects to do nothing. But we do not hear of her physician husband pursuing this either, so something in this narrative is decidedly off.

Zach’s treatment starts shortly after Samantha discovers Dr Andrew Wakefield. As she puts it:

“I printed out Dr Wakefield’s research and I was excited because it had real doctor material in it.”

Somehow, she managed to miss the bit where the research is retracted by the Lancet and dubbed a hoax by the scientific community.

Initially, Zach was treated with the GFCG diet, enzymes, colostrum and vitamins and treatment continued with chelation among other things under the guidance of a DAN doctor. Zach is considered recovered and attends mainstream pre school. Samantha has not received any complaints from his teacher.

Chapter 22 God Help Us

Apparently we need the help because Dr David Tayloe joined Jenny on Larry King Live and in the commercial break told Jenny that many parents don’t bring their kids in for wellness visits so the pediatrician has no choice but to play catch up with their vaccines, much to Jenny’s consternation that sick children are being vaccinated. But then what would he know? He’s only President of the AAP.

Chapter 23: Stan Kurtz: Warrior Dad of Ethan

If you thought the range of altie treatments was extensive to date, prepare to be amazed. Stan Kurtz has done his homework.

Ethan appeared to present as the typical autistic toddler - oblivious to others and that’s what sent him for a diagnosis. Stan doesn’t mention vaccines specifically as preceding the diagnosis. He also had “candida, 21 food hypersensitivities, low Krebs cycle and energy functioning, possible mitochondrial problems, eight metabolic abnormalities, high levels of uranium in his hair, low excretion of mercury, high levels of copper, and low levels of zinc. Physically he had sensory issues, low awareness of pain, low muscle tone, severe ankle pronation, dark puffy eyes, red cheeks, distended belly, pale and dry skin, pronounced right-sided muscle weakness, sensitivity to light, little eye contact, obsessive and perseverative behaviors, and what appeared to be mini seizures.”

To combat that he started the GFCF diet followed by the Specific Carbohydrate Diet to combat high levels of chlostridia. His supplements included Vitamin C, cod liver oil, zinc, L carnitine, CoQ10, B5, DMG, Super Nu-thera, an amino acid complex, probiotics and Epsom salts baths. He was also on antifungals for the candida. Then they started valtrex for the virus infection Stan assumed that Ethan had. Apparently Stan's method of finding which treatments are required is to ask the experts at DAN conferences, which is where Stan found that autistic children were being treated for viral problems with valtrex. By way of justification Stan relates that there have been two cases of late onset autism at ages 14 and 31 following herpes simplex encephalopathies. Stan goes on to document the herxheimer reaction Ethan has to the valtrex lasting 21 days whereupon it seems that the reaction as well as most of the autism symptoms subsided. Ethan is now in mainstream school without an aide. He continues yhe diet, supplements and hyperbaric oxygen as well as OT for fine muscle coordination problems.

Chapter 24: Committing

As the name implies this short chapter is about committing to the biomedical treatment regimes through Jenny’s sister JoJo who has many of the same issues.

Chapter 25 Branson’s Miracle

Brnason’s “slide into hell” began three months after his vaccines given the day after his first birthday. Why there is so frequently a three month delay no one explains. At fifteen months he lost his ability to point, imitate, his speech. His sense of balance, eye contact and his pain receptors. He had diarrhea for six months and scratched himself until he bled. But Coral imagined herself in a field in Scotland in the same mindframe as Mel Gibson in Braveheart and vowed to fight this “invisible dragon”. In Coral’s words:

“My son has gastrointestinal issues, leaky gut (where the yeast has eaten holes through the entire length of his intestines), massive heavy metals poisoning, systemic yeast, fungus, eczema, high oxalates, severe food allergies and a virus and bacteria problem.”

For that Brnason takes between forty and eighty supplements a day, a strict GFCG diet, cold laser treatment, applied Kinesiology and has his head reset weekly with Cranialsacral Therapy. After two years Brnason is no longer considered autistic.

Chapter 26: Barbara Walters is Not so Scary After All

Jenny relates that as the guest on Larry King Live, Barbara tells of the resentment she had growing up with a mentally retarded sister who she suspects was autistic. Jenny realises that talking of recovering autistic children may have been personally very painful and perfectly explains the hostility Jenny encountered.

Chapter 27: Gina Tembenis: Mother Warrior to Elias

This is a sad story. Elias developed a severe seizure disorder after his vaccinations at four months, which progressed and ultimately killed him at far too young an age. This resonates with Jenny’s history of Ethan going into cardiac arrest also following a seizure.

Chapter 28 Guardian Angel

This is devoted to a particularly bad seizure episode Evan has triggered by the memory of Elias. The trauma on all parties is just huge. I may have no time and less respect for this D list wannabe celeb but in this I take my hat off to her.

Chapter 29 Collective Awakening

This is the final call to arms chapter, which lays out the McCarthy line:

• Our children are our science.
• Government agencies and paramedical organisations become corrupt eventually, it’s inevitable.
• Medicines are deemed safe then pulled off the market.
• Are we to believe that all 36 vaccines are safe and have no side effects, that one size fits all or that all children are born with a perfect immune system?
• It’s time to ditch the vaccine schedule and GREEN the vaccines.

Chapter 30 A Mother Warrior Is.....

“A mother who hears there is no hope for her child and instead of retreating and mourning, breaks down walls. Weaves her way through obstacles, follows her intuition even when people tell her she is crazy. She is a mother who believes in hope.”


This book is science by assertion. There is no external support anywhere for any statement made. As such it wouldn’t be of use in the AOP. The anecdotes fail to impress. Recovery seems to happen, but there always seems to be a residual something there. This may be a case of diagnosed at two and no longer fit the criteria two years later. Two is a very young age to be diagnosed and four or even five is too young an age to declare them undiagnosed. All of the children are on behavioral programs though sometimes the reference is indirect. I think when Stan Kurtz refers to 900 hours of therapy the inference is more logically behavioral than biomed.. Interestingly two warriors regard biomed as the necessary precursor to ABA - referring to it as making the child “available for learning”. If the child has lots of physical problems, that is not unreasonable, though I and others would dispute the manner of resolving the physical, especially in the case of Valtrex. It seems the more damage a therapy can do, the more likely that adverse side effects are attributed to some kind of herxheimer effect. This is nothing more than child abuse of a particularly nasty sort. The anecdotes may not be all that reliable given the difficulty various authors had with keeping their stories straight. In which case these would not help the AOP.

This is a very poorly written book which is unedited and it shows. Caveat lector.