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Book Review: Healing and Preventing Autism by Jenny McCarthy

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User Rating 5 Star Rating (2 Reviews)

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Updated April 02, 2009

Book Review: Healing and Preventing Autism by Jenny McCarthy

Healing and Preventing Autism by Jenny McCarthy

Courtesy Penguin Group Publishing

The Bottom Line

As always, Jenny McCarthy is earthy, funny, and easy to read. Healing and Preventing Autism, however, is mainly a series of questions and answers, with leading questions coming from Jenny and answers coming from her medical advisor, Jerry Kartzinel, M.D. Kartiznel's responses are -- to be kind -- idiosyncratic in the extreme. His medical recommendations are potentially very risky. And the book's cartoons disparaging the medical profession are flat out nasty.
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Pros

  • Jenny's always humorous and fun to read
  • There are a few useful hints and tips

Cons

  • Makes statements unsupported by research
  • Includes cartoons disparaging medical professional
  • Offers advice that could result in injury
  • Describes autism and related issues incorrectly

Description

  • Hardcover
  • Published by Dutton Publishing April 2009
  • 399 pages

Guide Review - Book Review: Healing and Preventing Autism by Jenny McCarthy

According to the bookflap on Healing and Preventing Autism, "There is a window for pulling a child out of the grasp of autism and autism spectrum disorders." There isn't. The bookflap claims there are techniques for avoiding autism during pregnancy. There aren't.

Opening the book, you learn that Jenny McCarthy's medical advisor, Jerry Kartzinel, M.D., is the voice of authority. According to him, "autism is simply the abnormal response to everyday stimuli." This description appears nowhere in any diagnostic literature.

According to Kartzinel, every child with autism has regressed, whether or not he or she has lost skills. All children should be on special diets, whether or not they have any relevant symptoms or test positive for allergies. Parents should literally ignore the advice of their pediatricians, and listen only to those who support what are usually described a "biomedical" treatments for autism. A list of supplements is provided, and parents are offered specific information about how to dose their children. From a medical perspective, this information is at best misleading -- and at worst, potentially dangerous.

Throughout the book, cartoons insinuate that the medical profession are puppets of big pharmaceutical firms and that doctors are ignorant of basic biology. Obviously, these are pretty controversial charges -- backed up, at least in the book, by nothing but opinion.

Building on the premise that doctors are ignorant and untrustworthy, parents are urged to take on their children's medical care, choosing and supplying supplements, diets, and therapies almost entirely on their own. Kartzinel recommends chelation therapy (a highly controversial treatment involving removal of heavy metals from the body), and recommends an extremely modified vaccination schedule which, he feels, will prevent children from becoming autistic.

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