Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jenny McCarthy Speech Review

She acted just like the Jenny you remember from the 90's, except a little more mature. She was very funny and really brought a sense of relief to the people in the room. (BTW, she is talking to me while we are taking the picture. It kind of looks like she doesn't like me very much. Funny!)

Jenny spoke to a packed room this weekend at the Autism One Conference in Chicago. I popped a squat on the floor and stared out at the hundreds, probably thousands, of people in the auditorium. I was lucky to be able to see her. There were many, many people who spilled out into the lobby and barely heard her talk.

You have probably heard by now, Jenny has a little boy, Evan, who has autism. She has been very vocal about the struggles she and thousands of other parents are going through. And she has really made a big effort to get the other side of the autism story in the media. She says she has made "Big Pharma" mad. She started her speech by saying, "I am not anti-vaccines. I am anti-toxin." She thinks the vaccine schedule needs to be changed. I know there are lot of physicians who disagree, but whether you agree with her opinion or not, I admire how she is fighting for her son.

Jenny is very passionate about helping her son recover. When I told her I was with the media, she said, "Biomedical treatments. That's what I want you to cover." She says her son has dramatically improved after she started the Gluten-Free Casein-Free diet. It sounds like a nightmare to implement with no wheat, no milk and a lot of other "No's." However, Jenny explained why she believes it works for her son. She says her son doesn't excrete toxins like other people do. She says it's like her son gets a "high" off certain foods. She says so many moms have told her they can't stop giving their kids milk because they loooooovvveee milk. Jenny says that's because the milk is making them stoned. Of course they love it. She said she is so strict about her son's diet, when Evan is in high school his friends will rebel and go drink and he's be like, "No, lets go eat donuts!" I don't know if a medical person would explain autism the way she does, but she made it very easy to understand!

I was invited to the conference to be part of the journalism panel. It was great to hear why other journalists have gotten involved in autism research. And it was very interesting to hear their responses to questions from the audience. This is a picture of David Warner, the Vice President of the Autism Society of Mclean County. He and his wife went to the conference and even saved me some room on the floor so I could hear Jenny.

During the media session, of course, there was a lot of complaining about what the media does and does not cover, but I think overall it was a good session. I would be happy to do it again. I think it is good for parents to hear from someone who cares about kids with autism, but does not have an autistic child. It's an important perspective to keep in mind. After all, if autism hasn't impacted your life yet, it soon will. So my advice is to stay informed. These kids will be graduating from high school soon. Then what? We think there's a health care crisis now, just wait. Even if you aren't passionate about helping these kids, like I am, you should still care about this topic. It's huge.

Here are the other people on the panel:

Mark Blaxill - Age of Autism

Julie Deardorff - Chicago Tribune

Rex Huppke - Chicago Tribune

Dan Olmsted - Age of Autism

Ashley Reynolds - KOMU / Missouri School of Journalism

Kim Stagliano - Age of Autism

I will post more this week about what I learned!

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Maria said...

"I am not anti-vaccines. I am anti-toxin."

Amen sister.

Matt said...


I greatly appreciate people who take the time to try to learn more about autism and educate the public. I thank you for your efforts.

I would suggest that you check out the website for the organization that Ms. McCarthy represents. Check out their 'favorite' vaccine schedule


Note that with this vaccine schedule, no one would be covered for measles, mumps or rubella.

The evidence from previous measles outbreaks is that 0.3% of the people die from it, even in the U.S. Mumps can cause permanent harm. Rubella is one of the known environmental causes of autism: if a mother catches rubella while pregnant, the child has a high chance of having very severe autism. That's for the children who survive.

Consider their second 'alternative' schedule. This one suggests 'turning back the clock' to 1983. They ask the question, "if it worked then, why not now". It didn't work as well then. For example, they didn't have the MMR booster shot, and this led to a very large outbreak of measles in the early 1990's.

Recently, a group in New Mexico was going to have a free vaccine clinic coinciding with a screening of "Horton Hears a Who". Ms. McCarthy and her boyfriend (who was in the cartoon) put pressure on the theater owner and had the vaccine clinic cancelled.

Shortly therafter, we had the largest measles outbreak in about 7 years. This was caused by people 'importing' the measles during travel, but what if that town had been hit? What if one re more children had gotten sick there? Would her organization accept any responsiblity?

Please take a look. Those are not the actions we need to be associated with autism advocacy.

They look like a reasonable organization, but their advice on vaccines (and other issues) is often quite scary.

concerned heart said...

One cause of autism that I have studied is older (past 32) paternal age. By 33 some men are rapidly accumulating gene mutations in sperm precursor cells. The genes governing the development of the brain are particularly vulnerable to mutations. http://autism-prevention.blogspot.com/

Orac said...

""I am not anti-vaccines. I am anti-toxin."

Amen sister."

Whenever someone claims they are "not antivaccine" but rather "anti-toxin," they're almost invariably parroting an antivaccinationist speaking point designed to hide an antivaccine agenda. See:



Maria said...

Or in my case, I carry it over in to my every day life beyond vaccines and work very hard to eliminate as many toxins from our lives. Is it possible to remove everything? No. Does that mean I try to though? Pretty much.

Anonymous said...

I know a lot of people think there is a link between mercury contaminated vaccinations and autism. Environmental exposure would seem to me to be a more likely source of exposure. China burns a lot of coal and the prevailing wind patterns send the vaporized byproducts i.e. mercury in the general direction of the Western United States. In the Eastern, Midwestern, and Northern states there are billions of tonnes of NOx produced from coal-fired generating facilities. Has anyone studied the prevalence of acid rain/mercury contamination, prevailing wind zone maps and the frequency rate of autism in children??????

Mercury is a byproduct of coal-fired electricity generating facilities. The vaporized mercury is returned to earth from the atmosphere and deposited nearly everywhere within the prevailing wind pattern zone of deposition. 1/70th of a teaspoon of mercury can contaminate a large lake. State agencies already warn about the intake of fish from the lakes with high levels of mercury contamination.

I'm not an environmental scientist, neuro-bioligist, nor any other professional stakeholder nor qualified person and I make no claims as to the validity of this information. I am paraphrasing from information that I have read that is widely available on the internet and from other sources.

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