The Bottom Line
- Jenny's always humorous and fun to read
- There are a few useful hints and tips
- Makes statements unsupported by research
- Includes cartoons disparaging medical professional
- Offers advice that could result in injury
- Describes autism and related issues incorrectly
- Published by Dutton Publishing April 2009
- 399 pages
Guide Review - Book Review: Healing and Preventing Autism by Jenny McCarthy
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.