Health Blog

Expert Advice on Autism from Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey

April 3, 2008

As an avid reader of CNN.com I was a little shocked to see an op-ed penned by Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey regarding autism. First of all, in my limited memory, I can’t remember CNN.com ever doing a “guest” op-ed. And secondly, why do I care what Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have to say about autism?

I thought that abuse of celebrity only applied to political and environmental issues but apparently now it has extended into science and health policy. It would at least be understandable if either of them had ever played a doctor on television (anyone remember the 70s ads “I’m not a doctor but I play one on television”?) but these two are best known for posing in Playboy magazine and playing a pet detective who pretends to talk with his butt cheeks (respectively). I don’t think I’d take acting lessons from this couple let alone seek medical advice.

Yet they felt it their duty to share with us that vaccines are responsible for autism even though at this point there’s virtually zero scientific evidence to support their claim. There is a recent court ruling, however, that has given ammunition to the bandwagon of parents who think that vaccines caused their kid’s problems. The only difference is that most of these parents aren’t celebrities in the position to abuse their…um… position.

And to the editors of CNN.com…what exactly were you thinking?

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15 Comments

Alan Dove says:

It’s not accurate to say there’s “virtually zero” scientific evidence for vaccines causing autism. In fact, we’d have to go deep into negative numbers to express what the data show.

Not only is there no evidence of a causal link, but researchers who’ve looked hard for one, and amassed mounds of public health data, have found absolutely no statistically significant correlation between vaccines and autism. Finding a correlation is mandatory before we even begin speculating about causes, but the anti-vaccine parents aren’t thinking logically.

Msrjorie Stevens says:

I was a television news anchor, reporter and producer for many years (during the 80’s ad 90’s) and the question of vaccinations and health issues came to me from a newly formed organization called “The Association for Vaccine Damaged Children”. I interviewed numerous mothers who had horror stories to tell, and also interviewed Barbara Loe Fisher who wrote the book “A Shot in the Dark”. So this is not a new revelation. The problemj has been growing for more than 20 years, but until a celebrity faces a personal experience, the media doesn’t sit up and take notice.
When I see Jenny MacCarthy speaking the same truths, I applaud her tenacity for fighting mainstream media who, in my own personal experience, are so pro “medical establishment” it is sickening. I was chastised by a pediatrician for even allowing Barbara Loe Fisher to be interviewed, and give her own personal story. I then found out from the Association for Vaccine Damaged Children that THE DOCTOR WHO SO VEHEMENTLY OBJECTED TO HER APPEARANCE was the pediatritian for the mother whose son had DIED after receiving his second vaccination!! This organization has done extensive research, but receives very little recognition, and yet the connection of vaccination induced trauma, seizures and death was unmistakeable. However, the medical establishment REFUSED to accept the medical facts. It was mind-blowing!!!
However, a spokesperson like Jenny MacCarthy is first and foremost a mom, and she has every right to speak about her own story and spread the word. I am so impressed with her and hope than millions of mothers and family members will support her Washington walk in June.
I also applaud CNN for NOT suppressing this information, and giving an opportunity for MORE discussion. KEEP IT UP!!!

Kelly says:

Autism typically appears in a child at a later age. And it’s been proven that children that have been given vaccines of certain kinds become autistic at a very young age. Making people aware of a possible danger is not a bad thing; it is every person’s right.

Marilyn says:

I am very upset about the obsession with “the facts” here. CNN should be applauded for taking an interest in such an bationwide epidemic. I am a mother with a two year old who was dignosed with autism spectrum disorder. Because of Jenny McCarthy and her big mouth, I took notice of my son’s developmental delays & got him evaluated at 18 months. That is MUCH earlier than most children get diagnosed. Because of a Playboy Bunny, I was able to get my son put into Early Intervention & he now makes eye contact, can feed himself, can interact with people and has a vocablary of 85 words, among many other accomplishments. In a matter of six months, my son has gone from being unable to say “Mama” to actually saying “I love you” without provocation. If you knew anything about sutism, you would know it can happen to ANYBODY. Autism cannot pick and choose which celebrity would be a more credible or moral spokesperson in YOUR opinion. So, why don’t you concentrate on the fact that because of people like Jenny McCarthy & Jim Carrey… autism finally has a voice and people are taking notice. Instead, of worrying about some boring scientist with a long list of credentials getting the credit. I believe CNN found Jenny a credible source because unlike a scientist, there is no better source of research than a mother of an autistic child.

judy says:

Get your facts straight!! There was never a court ruling. The Federal Government conceded that Hannah’s autism was caused by vaccines. The Federal Government did this. There is your proof!!

Maria says:

I cant beleive you would post write anything to do with jenny being in Playboy..
When you have a child with Autism you become an expert because you live,eat and breath autism..YOu research and search and read and drown yourself with information from experts in the medical field.
Your whole entire statement is idiotic to say the least.

shirochan says:

Keep in mind that she is not denouncing vaccines. She simply wishes to space them out. Her concern is that the trace amounts in vaccines can add up enough to do some damage. I have full respect for the methods used to come up with these vaccines. But perhaps the tolerance for certain ingredients should be revisited. That is not my area of expertise. I would like to know more about why each ingredient is there.

I don’t believe that she is blaming vaccines as the sole cause of the autism increase, although it probably looked like that at one point.

She brought up a very interesting point about the relationship between autism spectrum and gluten-free. While this might not be a panacea, it is something that should be more available, in case it really does help some children. Right now, there are very few restaurants and stores that cater to gluten-free. It would be very beneficial for everyone if that were to change. I welcome your comments.

Nicole says:

People are spoiled today!

The pain and agony of whooping cough and polio (for example) is horrible. Our country has prospered because of the medical advance of vaccination. Let’s be truly grateful not to have to experience these horrible HORRIBLE illnesses. I mean… people…do you understand what it is like to experience these horrific symptoms. I mean people can die from these illnesses.

People: IF YOU DON’Y VACCINATE YOU COULD EXPERIENCE PAIN AND AGONY OF WHOOPING COUGH FOR EXAMPLE!

I have heard Jim Carrey say that vaccines caused Jenny’s son autism….literally. How can he say this in the public arena responsibly? Isn’t he worried about his fans who think the world of him might actually make the decision not to vaccinate…at all! Let’s green the vaccines take the mercury or whatever out and spread out the dosages already.

I hope ALL people make responsible decisions instead of believing this misguided though beloved actor.

Politicians are actually trying to remove the requirements to be vaccinated. Have they googled lately? There is a hysteria about vaccines currently. People should listen to doctors not hysterical
celebrities.

Shaun says:

Can i just say i agree with Marilyn Jim Carrey helped open the eyes of everyone including CNN so what if it wasnt vaccines themselves who gave someone autism he’s doing something about autism and Nicole not all vaccines are good for you and some that are supposed to be can do more damage than they would of from what they prevent. and to who ever Eric Olsen your a dick for what you have to say about Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy so goto hell you prick and who are you to say that Vaccines have or dont have proof of causing autism you think you know more about autism than Jim and Jen unless you have your medical degree i will just tell you to STFU

Baxter says:

As a soon to be new parent. I look closely at everything that can affect my child. I believe Jenny has a voice, and a point. How can you ignore the stories of so many parents. There are only so many times you can just go with the flow. If more than a few people are getting together saying something is wrong. That’s an flag to listen. The world doesn’t grow by staying on the same path. It’s up to we, the people to voice our concerns and get the govt to research the topic and change procedures accordingly. The masses rule the country. And I do believe that nationwide research is coming soon as long as people like Jenny and Jim put a voice to this raising problem in the US. I will be giving my child immunizations. But spaced out, and at a more relaxed schedule. I don’t believe giving a newborn a shot the day after its born. This does mean no childcare for 2 years besides our house. But to be safe on the skeptic side is better than a lifelong candidacy of brain disorders. NO ONE HAS THE ANSWERS YET. But I think in 20 years we will look back on this as a valid point.

Of course diet has something to do with Autisim. All of life is affected by rest excersise and timing. Overload of anything or unaware facts about the human body like planning when to eat and drink what. Knowledge of when to fluid up when to digest the body has natural clocks like all babies are near the same weight. We all need to wait before combining certain foods… You might be allergic to dairy and believe me. I unloaded migranes for 8years by easing up on non organic meats and cheese and stopping the lack of citrus… YOu need that citrus if you can’t do dairy well. Put them together for proper consumption of the vitamins. Like minerals at night and vitamins in the day. All this was known in early settlers days of our country. No refrigeration no capability to contain cheese in humans indefinitely either. We are not machines and if you are the darker type no! Harder to chemically get the than the lighter shade people. Also swarthy means tall people or very diminutive. Time your meals an hour to digest before big fluid consumption and life will seem clearer I personally am allergic to caffine. Though its been written about its bad affects on Lupas and other diseases and good for alzhiemers so?

Michele Boston Beswick says:

First, I would like to applaud Jenny McCarthy’s determination to stand up for her five year old son. While I respect Jim Carrey’s loyalty to her, he has no autistic child and therefore, no voice. I am an “animal cop” and by no means a celebrity, but I do have a 17 yr. old son with autism. I knew something was wrong when he was almost two but I was written off by doctors as a “hysterical mother”. I persevered until Easter Seals evaluated him and confirmed my worst fears. I do not believe vaccines or my diet caused his autism and-to be honest-I don’t care what caused it. He has it and he will have it forever; there is no cure. I fought the school district for years to help me help him and-after he destroyed my house-they begrudgingly paid for him to attend a special school for six months which toned down his behavior until now. Now, when someone in the family argues over something, he interjects himself into it and totally melts down and loses his temper. On Saturday,his sister and I were arguing and he grabbed me,hurt me, screamed at me and refused to let go of me. On Sunday,his sister and I were arguing and he threw a heavy wooden chair that almost hit her. It killed me but I had to call the police. What I’m trying to say is that maybe we should stop trying to figure out what causes it and try to control our autistic children’s behavior and help them with their future. My son’s father is 79 and I am 57. What’s going to happen to my son when we’re gone? He has no friends,no social life and no future. Jenny, if you can help me with that instead of casting blame, please email me at GretMol1@aol.com. But I don’t think you will.

Dimmi says:

@ Michele Boston Beswick, of course she won’t email you. You’re commenting on this story 2 years later. And of course you won’t read this comment cause I’m replying 6 months later…….. Jenny is a great, loving and committed mum to her son. Don’t try and make her look like something she’s not!

elvis says:

MS. McCarthy who dropped out of college the first semester and was spreading her legs in Playboy soon after, is a medical expert?

She seems as reputable as Sarah Palin on economics.

Many Autism cases are just given to parents who refuse to believe their child has Intellectual Disabilities.

Now, the simple act of making friends can lead to a diagnosis of autism. Lacking in social graces? It’s not your fault. You’re autistic! Have trouble sitting still in class? It’s not your fault. You’re autistic! Can’t sit still and read a book? You guessed it, it’s not your fault. You’re autistic!

T Nails says:

My God what Kool Aid have you all drank? Read a scientific journal sometime. There is no scientific proof anywhere that links vaccines to autism. None. It does not exist. Please find it. Shame on #2 for using the excuse that the mainstream media has been partial to the medical establishment. What does that have to do with anything? It’s as simple as this: find the evidence that links autism to vaccines. I can find you loads of evidence that vaccines have wiped out small pox, whooping cough, tetanus in most societies that take them. Saving untold millions of lives. The problem with the antiviral movement is that almost all of the people (and most on this blog) have never grew up in the pre-vaccine days. They’ve no idea how bad it was.

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