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Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism

My Journey as a Vaccine Scientist, Pediatrician, and Autism Dad
Lu par : P.J. Ochlan
Durée : 6 h et 54 min
5 out of 5 stars (1 notation)

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Description

In 1994, Peter Hotez's 19-month-old daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases affecting the world's poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their inescapable narrative around childhood vaccines and autism. The alleged link between the two was first espoused in a fraudulent scientific paper, long since retracted, but the story shows no signs of letting up. As a result, we've seen deadly and disabling outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases around the country, and Texas, where Hotez lives, is at particular risk.

In Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism, Hotez draws on his experiences as a pediatrician, vaccine scientist, and father of an autistic child. Outlining the arguments on both sides of the debate, he examines the science that refutes the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories alleging a cover-up by the CDC, and critiques the scientific community's failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public, all while sharing his very personal story of raising a now-adult daughter with autism.

©2018 Johns Hopkins University Press (P)2018 Tantor

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  • jake m.
  • 05/12/2018

Not what I was looking for

Dr. Peter Hotez does a great job telling a story about his journey raising a child with Autism. He also goes into a very detailed summary of his impressive academic credentials and history of developing vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. I would say a significant portion of this book is about his experiences raising a child with autism, which was very inspiring. However, I was hoping the book contained more insight into the topics of CDC credibility, conflicts of interest in the field of medicine, and lack of vaccine safety studies of the entire schedule.

He gives a lot of good resources for people who are interested in the overall structure of the vaccine program. Numerous studies done on the MMR vaccine and thimerosal are analyzed. The history of immunology and the success stories of the early vaccines such as polio and small pox are discussed. This book re-affirmed my opinion that vaccines are necessary in preventing deaths caused by infectious diseases.

The description says this book “debunks the current conspiracy theories alleging a cover-up by the CDC.” The alleged fraud was a group of CDC researchers deciding to exclude data showing statistically significant evidence which suggested an association between autism and the MMR vaccine in young African American males. After listening to the book several times, I couldn’t find much discussion defending or clarifying the actions of the researchers at the CDC (Thompson, DeStefano, Bhasin, Teargin-Allsopp, Boyle). Given that he is a vaccine scientist and autism parent, I was expecting him to have a lot to say about this. He did reference an op-ed he wrote in the New York Times titled, “How the Anti-Vaxxers Are Winning” which he says, “attempts to debunk the Vaxxed movie.” The Vaxxed movie was about the alleged cover-up by the CDC. In the article, he makes arguments that vaccines cannot cause autism but again says nothing specific about the actual research fraud allegations towards the CDC.

Although I agree that vaccines do not cause autism, the complete avoidance of discussing the fraud admission from the CDC is extremely suspicious, especially coming from a vaccine scientist. It is really concerning to see the apparent inability throughout the entire medical field to address this fraud as a significant cause for concern. Thompson released a statement saying, “I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics.” Congressman Bill Posey spoke about this admission of fraud on the House floor. I’d like to know which part of this is misinformation or a conspiracy theory. I’m still looking for an explanation as to why these CDC researchers (and the CDC as a whole) deserve to maintain their credibility after this incident. Debunking the vaccine-autism relationship is entirely different from debunking an admission of research fraud by the CDC. I’m still very lost on what to make of all of this.

He does cover the infamous Wakefield paper in detail, which is to be expected. It was interesting to hear him thoroughly discuss the alleged fraud committed by Wakefield in 1998 but seemed to avoid discussing the more recent allegations of fraud committed by the CDC in 2004. These incidents were interestingly both concerning the relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism.

Overall, he did not provide much insight into the concerns that I personally have, although I understand the book was intended to only cover the autism topic. Towards the end, he writes about the importance of confronting the anti-vaccine arguments in order to maintain high vaccination rates. I hope he is inspired to write another book which does just that.

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  • Leslie RP
  • 19/03/2019

Awesome, well thought out and expressed to be understood by a lay person

Very much enjoyed this book, the background of his experience of a parent of a child with autism, which mirrors a lot of my experience. The frustrations, hopes, and suspicion that some is different about my child from a very young age. Presenting the the facts of various studies matter of factly is hopefully going to help settle this argument of the cause of autism.

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Image de profile pour ithaclies
  • ithaclies
  • 19/03/2019

A valuable and informative book

I wish the author spent a little less time assuring the reader of his expertise in micro-biology and viruses, but considering the formidable anti-vaccine entities he contends with, it is understandable. I was hoping the majority of the book was more of an in-depth dive into how ASD was detectable while children are still in the womb, but it only spent a short time on that subject. That study in and of itself is a kind of silver bullet to the whole "vaccines cause autism" argument and the author sort of missed his chance to capitalize on that by not making that study the foundation of the book. This is a fight for the hearts and minds of parents, and he tied one hand behind his back.

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  • Binks & Jazzy
  • 11/04/2019

A must read for Pediatricians.

A well written review of the anti-vaccine movement and why it's harming the world. Helpful to anyone in a position to influence parents to vaccinate their children. Also, the heartfelt story of the family blessed with an autistic child.

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