chelation therapy as a "cure" for autism, we eventually had to knock
her off the FOI To Do List. On Monday, we rucked over a Wired Magazine article claiming that Playboy's
insidious plan is to turn us all into robotophiliacs. On Tuesday, Jenny McCarthy was nominated for admittance to the Festival of Idiots due to the use of her celebrity status to promote false claims about vaccines causing autism as well as potentially unsafe and worthless chelation therapy for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). On Wednesday, we
decided that we might as well declare this "Playmate Week" and knock Jenny off the FoI To Do List (cause you know it was going to have to happen eventually).
In 2005, her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or autism, for short. Since then, Jenny has been a spokesperson for Talk About Curing Autism and a board member of Generation Rescue, organizations that promote unscientific theories of ASD etiology and therapies. She has also written books and toured talk shows peddling her nonsense. What follows in an imagined, FoI admittance interview* with Jenny.
RUGBYOLOGIST: Jenny, what do you believe causes autism?
JENNY MCCARTHY: Wow! Well, it differs forRUGBYOLOGIST: Are you aware that it is fungi not funguses?
a lot of people. But -- or opinions. But I believe that's -- it's an
infection and/or toxins and/or funguses on top of vaccines that push
children into this neurological downslide which we call autism.
MCCARTHY: That's a good question. I mean I don't know.RUGBYOLOGIST: What evidence to supports your claims about ASD?
MCCARTHY: I went online, researched, I typed in Google and then autism. And what came up is autism is reversible and treatable.RUGBYOLOGIST: Do you have any scientific evidence?
MCCARTHY: Well, I believe that parents' anecdotal information isRUGBYOLOGIST: Do you have any clue about the actual definition of science or the scientific method?
science-based information. And when the entire world is screaming the
same thing -- doctor, I came home. He had a fever. He stopped speaking
and then he became autistic. I can't -- I can see if it was just one
parent saying this. But when so many -- and I speak to thousands of
moms every weekend and they're all standing up and saying the same
thing. It's time to start listening to that. That is science-based
information. Parents' anecdotal is science-based information.
MCCARTHY: That's a good question. I mean I don't know.RUGBYOLOGIST: Do you recommend that parents vaccinate their children against otherwise common and deadly childhood illnesses? The kind of illnesses that have been virtually eradicated in developed countries with high vaccination compliance?
MCCARTHY: And I don't know what to tell them, because I am surely not going to tell anyone to vaccinate. But if I had another child, there's no way in hell.RUGBYOLOGIST: You honestly believe that your son's ASD was caused by a combination of diet, fungal infection, and the MMR vaccine? That mercury poisoning from the MMR vaccine triggered his ASD?
MCCARTHY: That's right.RUGBYOLOGIST: Are you aware that your son's MMR vaccine contained no thiomersal, the ethylmercury containing preservative?
MCCARTHY: Are you saying there's no mercury in the vaccines right now?RUGBYOLOGIST: Yes. Are you aware that ethylmercury does not accumulate in the human body? That it is methylmercury that accumulates?
MCCARTHY: That's a good question. I mean I don't know.RUGBYOLOGIST: Why then did you have your son treated by chelation therapy for heavy metal poisoning?
MCCARTHY: Too many shots too soon.RUGBYOLOGST: Because chelation therapy is not approved for treatment of ASD, many parents rely on alternative practitioners. Were you aware that a 5 year-old boy with ASD died in 2005 from a hypocalcemia induced cardiac arrest during an incompetently administerd chelation therapy, despite there being no evidence or theoretical support for the use of chelation therapy to treat ASD?
MCCARTHY: In a heart beat. In a heart beat I'll take it. You know howRUGBYOLOGIST: You also treated your son for fungal infection?
many parents would?
MCCARTHY: A lot of these kids have Candida, which is yeast --RUGBYOLOGIST: Did you know that 80% of people carry Candida albicans, but most people do not have ASD? Or that pathogenic infections are only common immunocompromised patients? Or that pathogenic Candida infections have high mortality rates?
overgrowth of yeast. By giving them anti-fungals, like Diflucan. After
I cleaned out [My son]'s Candida -- and I'm going to say this very clearly
-- he became typical. He started speaking completely. His social
development was back on. He's now in a typical school.
MCCARTHY: That's a good question. I mean I don't know.RUGBYOLOGIST: How else have your treated your son's ASD?
MCCARTHY: [My son] started on a gluten-free, casein-free diet, which is pretty closeRUGBYOLOGIST: Wait, you are claiming that three different therapies - chelation, anti-fungals, and diet - cured your son's ASD. Which one was it?
to a wheat-free and dairy-free. And in two weeks he doubled his
language and his eye contact came back on.
MCCARTHY: That's a good question. I mean I don't know.RUGBYOLOGIST: Are you aware that some people think your son has Landau-Keffler syndrome, which can be misdiagnosed as ASD, and changes the expected progression of your son's development?
MCCARTHY: That's a good question. I mean I don't know.RUGBYOLOGIST: Did you know that vaccine compliance rates have been falling since your appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live in 2007 and 2008? Did you know that those decreases have been directly connected to Measles outbreaks in the UK, Australia, and Switzerland, as well as the deaths of a 12 year-old and a 7 month-old?
MCCARTHY: Give me Mumps and Measles.RUGBYOLOGIST: Even though there is no scientific evidence for a vaccine-ASD connection, you would prefer to risk your child's health with measles and mumps? You would also prefer to risk the health of everyone else's children due to loss of herd immunity?
MCCARTHY: In a heart beat. In a heart beat I'll take it. You know howRUGBYOLOGIST: Although I can't speak for the board, Ms. McCarthy, based on your disregard for scientific evidence, willingness to endanger the public health of children, eagerness to expose your own son to unnecessary medical procedures, and use of the bully pulpit of celebrity to spread misinformation about ASD and vaccines, let me be the first to say, "Welcome to the Festival of Idiots."
many parents would?
*All Jenny McCarthy quotes derived (Fair Use and Satire) from CNN.com transcripts for Larry King Live interviews on 26 September 2007 and 2 April 2008.