The Autism Science Foundation Interviews Seth Mnookin


One quarter of American parents believe that vaccines cause autism in children. Despite overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, many parents have taken the medical advice of celebrity activist Jenny McCarthy and disgraced researcher Andrew Wakefield. Why do so many parents continue to ignore the recommendations of their pediatricians, the NIH and the CDC, the people and institutions responsible for keeping children safe? The answers lie in The Panic Virus, where author Seth Mnookin masterfully untangles facts from fiction in the autism-vaccine debate. Mnookin’s objectivity— he has no previous connections to autism, pharmaceuticals, or the science of medicine— allows his voice to resonate over this increasingly vitriolic and heart-breaking medical controversy. The Panic Virus explains how and why the anti-vaccine movement grew to prominence, exposes the misaligned incentives of several anti-vaccine figures, and denounces the culpable journalists who failed to report the truth. The Panic Virus is not just another book about autism: it descends into a world of contradiction, lies and media manipulation, from which readers emerge entertained, informed and firmly on the side of science.

Highlighted Quotes:

“We are increasingly seeing the consequences of reporting news stories that reflect ideas that are not well researched or reputable.”

“You have the same anti-science going on here as with creationism. Creationists say ‘well this is what I believe, I don’t care what your data says, this is what I believe’. Ultimately this is what people who don’t believe in vaccines also say.”

“I think one of the tragedies of all of this is that on the most fundamental level, the goals of the ASF and the goals of Autism One are the same, which is to find ways to help families dealing with autism.”

“I know one of the things at the ASF is very focused on, and I believe rightly so, is the ways in which the focus on vaccines has meant that funding has not been able to go towards other possible environmental triggers, as well as other intervention efforts research to support ways to help adults with autism, and I couldn’t agree with that more.”

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