Jenny McCarthy on claims her son was never autistic: ‘irresponsible & inaccurate’

In 2008, Jenny McCarthy claimed to have cured her son of autism through a gluten and dairy free diet and vitamin regimen. She published a book called Mother Warriors: A Nation of Parents Healing Autism Against All Odds and later went on to lead a “Green Our Vaccine” campaign. Jenny called for less additives and chemicals in vaccinations and a more relaxed shot schedule. Jenny claimed she she wasn’t advocating for a total elimination of childhood vaccinations, although she did claim that vaccinations were responsible for the increase in childhood autism.

In 2010, Time Magazine published a profile of Jenny in which they speculated that her son might never have suffered from autism at all, but possibly had another milder disorder called Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Here’s the relevant part of the Time article on Jenny:

There are dark murmurings from scientists and doctors asking, Was her son ever really autistic? Evan’s symptoms – heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control – are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage. Or, as other pediatricians have suggested, perhaps the miracle I have beheld is the quotidian miracle of childhood development: a delayed 2-year-old catching up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall. It is enraging to the mother to hear that nothing was wrong with her boy – she held him during his seizures, saw his eyes roll up after he received his vaccines – and how can you say that she doesn’t know what she knows?

[Time, February 2010 via]

For some reason this nearly four year-old article is getting new play online, and Jenny is hopping mad. She posted a response on twitlonger in which she refuted these claims and again asserted that her son had autism.

Stories circulating online, claiming that I said my son Evan may not have autism after all, are blatantly inaccurate and completely ridiculous. Evan was diagnosed with autism by the Autism Evaluation Clinic at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and was confirmed by the State of California (through their Regional Center). The implication that I have changed my position, that my child was not initially diagnosed with autism (and instead may suffer from Landau-Kleffner Syndrome), is both irresponsible and inaccurate. These stories cite a “new” Time Magazine interview with me, which was actually published in 2010, that never contained any such statements by me. Continued misrepresentations, such as these, only serve to open wounds of the many families who are courageously dealing with this disorder. Please know that I am taking every legal measure necessary to set this straight.

[From Twitlonger]

I don’t get how Jenny is claiming that she’s “taking every legal measure necessary” when these claims are based on a four year-old article. The statute of limitations to sue for libel in California is just one year. It’s possible she’ll sue overseas, but the longest time she would have to sue in the US would be three years, and that has long since passed. This is just a hollow threat from Jenny and at most she’ll have her lawyer send out some cease and desists.

Jenny does make the point that her son was diagnosed by top hospitals, and I get that she wants to defend herself and stand up for her son. Many people think that Jenny’s position on this issue has done more harm than good, however, and she would do well to stop reminding the public about it. From what we’ve heard, she’s not very well liked by fans of The View, and she’s a polarizing figure at best.



Jenny McCarthy is shown on Jan 1 at a New Year’s Eve event and on December 12 at a holiday food drive. She’s shown with Evan in April, 2012. Credit: and FameFlynet

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125 Responses to “Jenny McCarthy on claims her son was never autistic: ‘irresponsible & inaccurate’”

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  1. Lindy79 says:

    “irresponsible and inaccurate”
    Much like her initial comments on vaccinations, which she is now backtracking on.

    • Mia4S says:

      Exactly. Her pushing of junk anti-vaccine science has been beyond gross. Although any parent taking advice from this idiot probably had issues to begin with!

      • Ag says:

        Agreed. She’s a public health threat. If she truly was concerned about making vaccines “safer” she would have stopped her campaign a long time ago, as vaccines have been proven perfectly safe and NOT as autism triggers over and over again by legitimate scientists. Her true mission IS thr end of baccines. She’s an ill-informed, malicious individual who’s preying on people’s desperation when it comes to finding answers for their children’s illnesses.

      • Florc says:

        Do people actually take her seriously enough for her to be considered a real threat? I thought she claimed a few things, but she was a joke overall.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Florc, I thought so too until I met a mother who didn’t vaccinate her children because she “heard” that vaccines cause autism. It is true that someone who takes the word of celebrity at face value or who doesn’t fully investigate matters on their own doesn’t need any encouragement to fail in their responsibilities as parents, but I think Jen contributed to the vaccine noise and keeping the discussion alive on the news and social media.

        I have heard that if a person hears something 7 times, they are more likely to give it credibility. (If it is a song or person, they are more likely to think they “like” it if they hear/see it 7 times).

      • Florc says:

        At best I assumed there was someone out there that heard something down the line and took it at face value without question. It’s just unbelievable to me someone would not question info like that regarding their child’s health. I could rant, but I think we’re on the same page.
        At this point I accept some people are just idiots and believe rumors on whim. They shouldn’t blame those who got the ball rolling on said rumors though. Those people aren’t the ones restricting parents from asking questions.

        And I heard it was 13 times for a person to hear something and believe it. Also, 13 times to retrain your brain out of a bad habit. I don’t believe it though.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:


    • MrsB says:

      My thoughts exactly!

    • Lucinda says:

      Yes, I never got that she was promoting a less aggressive schedule. All I heard was how her son was made sick by vaccines. She is a huge reason the myth is still being promoted. I had also heard it suggested that her son never had Autism as soon as she claimed to have cured him. Her claim only illustrated how she didn’t really understand Autism. I really wish she would just go away.

      • IzzyB says:

        The myth about vaccines causing autism annoys me.

        Their have been extensive studies where vaccines were delayed in groups of children.

        Symptoms started showing at the same time in the normal time vaccinated and delayed time vaccinated children.

        By coincidence and bad luck, the time that vaccines are normally given is the same time autism symptoms start to show.

      • JD says:

        Interesting article I read the other day cited a study in which children that were subscetible (sp?) to autism had the disease triggered by getting doses of acetaminophen to relieve the pain of the vaccinations.
        The study is in the winter edition of the Autism Spectrum quarterly, if anyone is curious.
        I don’t know if it can be proven without a doubt, but it makes a person wonder.

      • Seagulls says:

        I seem to remember (it was three years ago!) being told not to give my son Tylenol for a day or two after shots. I believe it was so the body’s immune response wouldn’t be suppressed at all, but I can’t remember.

    • Kimble says:

      There is no “had” autism because despite what this crackpot says – autism is NOT curable!

      • Bridgett says:

        That’s actually an interesting debate right now, and depends a lot on semantics. Technically, you cannot cure Autism. But with behavioral and speech therapy, you CAN actually become symptom-free, and evaluate out of the spectrum. Technically you’ll always have Autism, but some consider this to be ‘cured’.

        But either way I wish she’d go away.

      • IzzyB says:

        Thank you Bridgett.

        I was going to say she may have misused the word cured but many children with great treatment can become relatively symptom free.

        Obviously it depends on the severity of the disease and access to expensive specialist care, but it can be treated very well.

      • Hiddlesgirl85 says:

        Jenny even saying ‘cured’ is irresponsible as it implies that Autism is a sickness that plagues the child and family. As someone stated above, one can get interventions and therapy and become symptom free, but will always have Autism. I also think that is an irresponsible thing to say as it shames individuals with Autism and families into thinking something is wrong with them if their child is never able to become symptom free or otherwise.

    • Mom2two says:


    • Mrsjennyk says:

      Exactly! What a stupid, stupid woman. And same goes with the parents that took her advice. Not getting your child vaccinated is a form of child abuse. This is the reason there are out breaks or long dormant diseases like measles and such!

  2. Suze says:

    God, she’s exhausting.

  3. hindulovegod says:

    She has always been mouth first, brain never.

  4. Esmom says:

    That Jenny would call someone else “irresponsible and inaccurate” is rich.

    The fact is some kids do overcome many of the challenges associated with autism spectrum disorders that initially seem so daunting. Some don’t. That’s why autism is a spectrum disorder, ranging from mild to severe.

    My son is a perfect example of someone who initially presented as mild to moderate and now, 10 years later, can pass for virtually “typical.” He wasn’t “cured” (nor did vaccine contribute to his issues). Thanks to the right services and interventions (OT, speech therapy, vision therapy, social skills groups, special ed), he worked and continues to work very hard to master the things that most people take for granted.

    Now another kid could receive all the same things my son has received, support-wise, and not make nearly as much progress and still struggle immensely. We (the scientific community, I mean) don’t know why. But believe me I know how lucky we are…I see kids with more severe issues, whose parents are panicked at the thought of dying because they don’t know who will care for their adult child, and often think “there but for the grace of God go I.”

    • Lucinda says:

      I’m glad your son is doing so well. Truly. As you say, he is not “cured”. Instead he has learned to “cope” with appropriate interventions and strategies.

      • Esmom says:

        Thank you. I give all credit to him, the most determined kid I know. And you’re right, while most people see him as a typical, albeit slightly quirky teen, he isn’t cured of the things he struggled with but simply coping 24/7 to fly under the radar in a society that has cookie cutter expectations about learning, behavior and social interaction.

    • LahdidahBaby says:

      Loved yr post! Good for you son, Esmom, and good for you!

    • Hakura says:

      @Esmom – That’s so wonderful, that your son has been able overcome so much. It’s hard to imagine having to deal with *that* sort of mature life challenge right from the get-go, but it’s truly inspirational =)

      I realize that this is very different from the sort of struggles that come with Autism, but what you said about different ‘severities’ of the condition, & ‘There but for he grace if God’ struck a cord bc my brother has Cystic Fibrosis.

      Not unlike your son, my brother was incredibly fortunate to have a fairly low ‘severity’ level regarding (what can be serious & even life-threatening) complications. He’s never been unable to so something bc of it, including sports & working. He’s spent quite a bit of time in the hospital when he was young for various reasons relative to the disease, & sadly has seen friends come & go because they weren’t as lucky.

      It may be a very different condition, but it too has naturally differing levels of severity, & I can really relate when it comes to ‘There but for the grace of God’.

  5. Luca26 says:

    I dislike her but the fact is the hysteria is about a 4 year old article. Assuming she’s telling the truth it’s not her fault that her doctors possibly misdiagnosed her son. Now the snake oil she is selling about vaccinations on the other hand she needs to own up to it and donate the money she made from her crappy books to charity. But this is old,old news not new info.

    • Erinn says:

      The thing is that the doctors only sort of misdiagnosed. Her son was displaying all kinds of autistic signs due to his neurological condition. Since it’s such a rare condition, it made sense to diagnose him with the condition he was displaying so many signs of, I guess. Sometimes it’s not black and white, and a diagnosis might have to be re-evaluated I guess.

      What infuriates me is that instead of looking into it, she became a loud spoken promoter of anti-vaccine movements. Instead of donating money to help with autism studies, or places that help children with autism adapt, she just opened her mouth for the attention it brought her. Blaming vaccines did not help her son. Blaming vaccines did not help anyone. If anything, her promotion just caused potential dangers for other people’s kids.

      • Esmom says:

        Great comments. The diagnosis doesn’t really matter, because if it “looks” like autism then the interventions would be the same anyway. I understand the panic and desperation at getting that sort of news — and wanting to blame someone, anyone, anything — but her anti-vaccine rants were seriously misguided and did so much damage within the already-divided autism community.

        As you said, she could have donated to research or support, areas where her influence would have been much needed and welcome. Instead she did way more harm than good on her celeb soapbox.

      • Faith says:

        I think thats the problem with some mental health and neuorlogical disorders sometimes it make quack like a duck and look like a duck its usually a duck but it might not actually be one. What someone was diagnosed earlier with time and closer inspection may show that the first diagnosis was not right and I think its silly that she is not open to this especially when it comes to her son.

  6. blue marie says:

    This f-kwit infuriates me almost every time she opens her mouth.

  7. Erinn says:

    I hate this woman. I actually loathe her.

    My brother was diagnosed with Aspergers as a young kid. My mother, for the longest time believed all this vaccination bullshit and blamed herself. This was in the early 90s that she came to this conclusion, and it wasn’t like she was just going to google around for sources. She only told me like a year or so ago. It was the saddest thing. I pulled up the articles discounting the falsified studies, and I’d never seen her so relieved. It wasn’t that she was listening to Jenny, but there was, for a time, a lot of people on the anti-vaccine bandwagon, and without all the resources at out fingertips that we have today, it’s not a case of just googling up the studies and things like that.

    • Miffy says:

      Your poor mom 🙁 For a parent there can’t be much worse than feeling that you hurt your child trying to do the right thing. I’m glad she got to finally have her mind put at ease.

    • Lucinda says:

      Your poor mom. The sad thing is Autism used to be blamed on the “frigid mother”. So blaming vaccinations really was just another way to blame the mother (you let this happen to your child) except now women had more voice so they fought back. Unfortunately, I think some women still feel like it is their fault somehow because that is so ingrained in our society which is why thy argue the vaccination theory so vigorously even though it’s been long disproven. I hope your mom doesn’t blame herself anymore.

      • Erinn says:

        She’s coped a lot better. And then after doing a bit of poking around, it seems more likely if the father exhibits characteristics as well, and dad kind of blames himself a bit too. So at least they’re sharing their misplaced blame I guess. Either way, my brothers a great guy, and they adore him.

      • cr says:

        ADD also used to be blamed on the mom, that’s what happened to my Mom when both my sister and me were diagnosed with ADD. Apparently it was bad parenting on her part, instead of my Dad’s genetic contribution!

  8. gg says:

    I’m confused now. Why is this even a hot button issue except another reason to open her huge mouth?

  9. John says:

    The former Playboy Playmate needs to STFU and stop pretending she knows anything about medicine or anything outside of Spring Break.
    How many children died because she perpetuated the “inoculations cause autism” nonsense? That has been soundly debunked by the medical community, and the doctor who started the panic was stripped of his license.
    She’s the very stereotype of the dumb blonde.

  10. Kiddo says:

    I see that she is still an adherent to the Pam Anderson make-up club, circa 2001.

  11. Ramona Q. says:

    Woman must stop with the Botox around her nose.

  12. Kim1 says:

    She needs to apologize to ME for that pic of her and Donnie kissing on New Year’s Eve Show.It made that famous kiss between Al and Tipper Gore look sexy.

    • Esmom says:

      Haha, seriously. Even Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie were sexier too.

    • Cora says:

      The kiss between Liza Minnelli and David Gest (at their wedding) remains, for me, the most terrifying sight my poor eyeballs have ever witnessed. *shudder*

    • momoftwo says:

      Totally! What is it that makes some people kissing sexy and some people gross? Is it just age? I agree…I could have lived my life without ever having seen them make out!

    • Peppa says:

      Haha, did you see that baby giving them the side eye?

    • lucy2 says:

      Ugh, I know. The group I was watching with don’t really follow celeb stuff, but everyone commented on how weird and plastic her face was, and then were grossed out by them together.

  13. Maria says:

    Public discussion of her son’s medical problems is totally out of line. His right to privacy has been violated. Jenny is using her son to seek attention. How sad.

    • lucy2 says:

      I was thinking the same thing – this kid deserves privacy. He doesn’t deserve Time Magazine speculating about his medical history, and it’s a shame his mother made his life so public to start with. I can understand wanting to share your struggles and help others as well, but it’s gone beyond that for her.

  14. Belle Epoch says:

    GREAT COMMENTS. This woman has done SO MUCH HARM to parents and to society! Every mother wants to be a “warrior mom” and fix their child’s problems – as well as find a reason WHY them, why their child? So an uneducated Playboy model served as a lightning rod for all this anxiety and need for answers and for hope. Too bad she is dead wrong. Now there is an entrenched anti-vax movement made up of zealots who are bringing back measles, whooping cough, etc.

    There should be a word for mega-irresponsible – she is a social demon.

    • Esmom says:

      Agree. When the “uneducated Playboy model” put on glasses people assumed she must be smart. Social demon is right, but she’s got some idiotic followers as well. Sad.

  15. msw says:

    The doctor who conducted the bogus vaccine study lost his license. This anti vax trend really scares me, especially since there is a pertussis outbreak here. Its upsetting, as a parent, that my kids bo through them to protect the herd and eventually it could be far less effective just because some knuckleheads believe in junk science or conspiracy theories.

  16. momoftwo says:

    First, isn’t it possible the doctors (mis)diagnosed Jenny’s son as autistic? I am sure she didn’t make it up. At the time perhaps that’s what the doctors thought he was austistic but now they realize that autism isn’t the correct diagnosis? (people make it sound like SHE diagnosed him)

    Also, whatever you may think of her stance on vaccinations, she definitely opened up a conversation about it. There were plenty of parents who were against vaccinations way before Jenny McCarthy. Isn’t it more dangerous to have this underground? At least now the medical community has to address people’s concerns and will be more able to inform them.

    I think there have been scare tactics on both sides. You are killing your kids if you vaccinate and killing your kids if you don’t. When presented with solid medical evidence, I think most parents will make an informed decision.

    • The Original Mia says:

      Best response! Both sides need to dial it down and talk, instead of the name calling and hysterics.

    • Esmom says:

      “When presented with solid medical evidence, I think most parents will make an informed decision.”

      You’d think so but that’s the problem with today’s celeb-obsessed, media-overloaded culture. No due diligence whatsoever is required when you can swallow whatever’s out there at the moment as fact. People see someone they like or admire, like Jenny, and automatically trust her opinion. And therein lies the danger.

      • Kiddo says:

        I completely agree. How is it a balanced argument or genuine presentation of an issue when one side is a dimbulb and the other is science? I have no problem with two experts duking it out, and I have concerns about BigPharma. But for crissakes, giving a huge platform to someone who *feels* something about an issue, versus actually being educated and knowledgeable, is dangerous business, especially in a culture with a short attention span, who receive news in bullet points and short characters on twitter.

      • cr says:

        And a lot of people don’t have the skill set to determine what website or information is accurate and what isn’t. McCarthy certainly hasn’t bothered to learn. And she’s had plenty of time. It’s a learnable skill, but something she never bothered with.

    • Lucinda says:

      The conversation was there already. My kids are a few years older than Jenny’s son. When they were babies, I talked to my doctor; we had a reasonable discussion about autism and what was or wasn’t in the vaccines anymore. I could have also searched on my own. The information was already out there. I think she is responsible for the retaliation I’ve seen of late from the pro-vax side because she is so strident in her arguments. Yes, both sides are using scare tactics now. But we really are now seeing children die because the anti-vax side has gone unchecked for so long. It’s been in the last 2-3 years that I’m hearing reports of dead illnesses coming back (Whooping Cough in California for one). I’m honestly expecting to hear about Polio very soon and I’m pretty moderate about this whole thing. I think we over vaccinate and I think the schedule is too aggressive. But I worry about what my kids may be exposed to in the future because I live in a pretty liberal state where LOTS of kids don’t have their shots.

    • Lee says:

      this is a great and well thought out response.

    • Nicolette says:

      All I can say is what my experience was with vaccines. My son is 10 and at 18 months had one of his combination vaccines. That night he was crying, very restless and cranky and after that he was not the same. He had begun being verbal prior to it, and just stopped talking afterward. He would just scream and cry and it was stressful and heartbreaking to say the least. I had not known what Autism was at the time, and just started doing my own research on the internet. His pediatricians never seemed to bat an eye that he was non verbal, but I knew something was off.

      He then developed obsessive behavior towards anything that would spin, and would “flap’ his hands and feet when he would get excited. He still does it with his hands to this day if he’s really happy or excited about something. He is an Asperger’s child, and yes I have thought about and questioned that vaccine many times over the years, feeling that I somehow should have known. It was a very clear turning point, and many other parents have said the same. Thankfully he did start talking, and now talks constantly. He’s high functioning and very bright but it took a lot of work on our part.

      I don’t trust Big Pharmaceutical when they say it’s fine, it has nothing whatsoever to do with their vaccines. We’re talking BIG money here, billions to exact. They will say anything to protect that, and I do not trust what they say. Factor in the money being generated by putting so many children on medication now, and you are talking big business. It is an industry all on it’s own. Many children have Autistic issues that are co-morbid with others, particularly ADD. Yes, my son is vaccinated and up to date but I do believe they should spread out the vaccine schedule. It’s too much too soon for their little bodies to handle. They start giving them shots before they come home from the hospital for goodness sake.

      Just think for a moment about all those commercials we see now promoting some vaccine or some pill that will do wonders for your ailment, but then you hear about the possible side effect which many times include heart attacks, stroke and possible death. But take it! You’ll feel great! Then sometime later comes the commercial for a law firm willing to represent you or a loved one that has been affected by one of these so called miracle drugs.

      • Sam says:

        Nicolette – one thing I have to correct is the “big money” argument, simply because its really not true. The pharmaceutical industry would make billions more without vaccines. Think about it. A single shot (or series of shots) precludes the illness for at least a number of years. Which would result in more money to a Pharmaceutical company? They’d made far, far more if you contracted one of these illnesses and needed hospitalization and then medications, as well as potential lifelong treatments. Vaccines result in LOST revenue for most companies. My sister has worked in drug and vaccine development for a long time – primarily testing into a potential HIV vaccine. She constantly talks about how hard it is to get funding for HIV vaccine research. Do you know why? Because an HIV vaccine, if successful, would eventually decimate the market for retrovirals – which are, right now, an extremely lucrative, high-money market. Why would a vaccine be desireable when long-term treatment makes so much more money? It’s the same premise with all the illnesses vaccines exist for.

        I’m not attacking you, but this “big money” argument is so often used, but it is so demonstrately false at the same time.

      • Bridget says:

        The Autism-Vaccine link has been extensively researched, and even after spending hundreds of millions of dollars still nothing has come up. At this point there is simply no question that Autism is NOT caused by vaccines.

        It’s very common in children with Autism to regress on developmental milestones, especially speech and behavior, around the 18mo to 2 year mark. Some children always exhibit symptoms of ASD, an some only begin to exhibit when in their toddler years. My son (who is on the spectrum) has always displayed the rigidity that characterizes Autism, but was developing normally with speech until about 18mos, and then just stopped. It’s a classic sign, apparently.

        It’s hard as a parent because you want answers, but the most important thing is getting the RIGHT answers. It sucks, but there’s a lot of great therapies out there, and early interventions have been proven to make huge improvements with Autistic children.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Sam is right. I work in neurological research at the clinical level and the only studies that really get grants are for treatments, though there is substantial evidence supporting the development of more than one neuro vaccine. They want you to take the drug for life, not one-and-done. As for vaccines directly causing neuro disorders, the man who made these claims and published these falsified data has been stripped of all medical privileges. The entire situation bears a striking resemblance to the cold fusion fiasco in the ’89.

        I’m sorry about your son, but there is a theory that shots can be traumatic for young children and trigger the onset of certain disorders.

      • Nicolette says:

        @Sam, I appreciate your thought but the fact remains this is an industry now. More and more children are being diagnosed, and handed a prescription. Have I thought about putting my son on medication for his ADD? Yes I have, then I stop in my tracks when I read about the side effects. Is it worth it to risk his health in other ways? From his appetite to his heart rate, or possibly exasperating his behavioral issues. Let’s also consider how the therapy industry is profiting from this as well as the schools who get extra funding for each child evaluated and put in special programs. My son was evaluated last year in school, and I cannot tell you how my husband and I felt pressured and almost bullied by some of the staff. Money is being generated everywhere by Autism and ADD. I’m sorry, but I don’t trust when certain vaccines and medications are being pushed so hard on the public. From the flu vaccine which has gotten everyone I know who has had it very sick, to the Gardasil vaccine that has killed young women and made many seriously ill. I understand what you’re saying about the profit to be made from the illnesses, but there is serious profit being made from vaccines and prescriptions being handed out like candy as well. There is a fight here in NY going on now because the powers that be want to make it mandatory for pre-school children to be vaccinated with the flu shot, thus eliminating a parents choice. Is that right? Would they be doing that if there were no profit to be made? I doubt it.

        With all due respect, you did not sit there and see the change in my son. You did not try day after day to make him speak instead of scream and cry. You did not sit there wondering if by doing what you thought was the right thing in getting your child a vaccine, inadvertently caused his issues. So forgive me if I have a different opinion about Big Pharmaceutical. I may not agree with you, but I respect your right to disagree. 🙂

        @Bridget, yes I have read about the regression in milestone’s at certain ages, and perhaps that being the cause as opposed to the vaccines. But as I said the change happened literally overnight after his shot, and there was no consoling him that evening. How could that be? Yes, there is that window for intervention and we have worked hard with him believe me. He just recently took a test for the gifted and talented, scored very high in his state exams and can run rings around adults when talking about technology. But there will always for me be the memory of how drastically he changed after receiving a vaccine.

      • cr says:

        Maybe the anti-vaccine lobby is also in it for the money:

        ” Since February 1996, seven months before child 2′s admission, Wakefield had been engaged by a lawyer named Richard Barr, who hoped to bring a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers. Barr was a high street solicitor, and an expert in home conveyancing, but also acted for an anti-vaccine group, JABS. And, through this connection, the man nowadays popularly dubbed the “MMR doctor” had found a supply of research patients for Walker-Smith.

        “The following are signs to look for,” Barr wrote in a newsletter to his vaccine claim clients, mostly media enlisted parents of children with brain disorders, giving a list of common Crohn’s disease symptoms. “If your child has suffered from all or any of these symptoms could you please contact us, and it may be appropriate to put you in touch with Dr Wakefield.”

        These are the sort of children that were being encouraged to contact Dr. Wakefield, who, as we know was ultimately paid £435,643 in fees, plus £3,910 expenses by Barr. But that was chump change compared to the amount of money that Wakefield and his cronies envisioned based on the work they were doing at the Royal Free Hospital. ”

      • Sam says:

        Nicollete: You’re dancing around my point. You’re of the belief that vaccines are being protected because they are profitable. I was pointing out that is not the case. Companies make money off of illnesses. If they truly wanted to make big profits, companies would support declining vaccination rates, not fight against them. Your whole premise is then incorrect.

        Vaccines are victims of what is called “temporal proximity.” Basically, it means that two things that happen close in time become associated together, even though they are unrelated. I am a former counselor in a children’s therapy setting. Almost all children’s counselors and therapists know that autism often works on a timetable. Children with it are often born and develop on schedule until a certain point – often 12 months, 18 months, thereabouts. Then they regress. This pattern is repeated quite often. Vaccines are given quite often during the first 1-2 years of life – sometimes as close as every 1-3 months. Thus, the statistical odds are very high that an autistic child’s first major regression with occur within a few days of a vaccination! However, all this does is demonstrate temporal proximity – nothing more. For example – I had my first major bipolar episode a day after having my wisdom teeth out. Is there any link between the two? Of course not! But if I were so inclined, I could convince myself that the medications I received somehow impacted my mind. But that doesn’t make that a scientific conclusion.

        Listen, i feel for the parents who want to know why. But vaccines are largely an easy target. There is a ton of research going on about autism, and yes, there’s a lot of evidence that many things might be implicated – environmental pollution, drugs used during labor and birth, fod additives, etc. Those are all valuable areas of research. Vaccines largely are not. The parents who claim otherwise largely only have temporal proximity on their side, and little else.

      • msw says:

        Nicolette, with all due respect, you simply cannot make an accurate claim about the side effects of any drug without data, and personal experiences and case studies are not data. The daa, which are not only collected by the CDC, show there is no link to vaccines and autism. The single study making the claim was thoroughly shot down and no one could duplicate the results, because the findings were falsified. The doctor responsibke lost his license. You are entitled to your opinions and your suspicions, but I don’t know how to say this without sounding rude–you might as well say you think it is linked to fairies, for all the good anecdotes do in methodologically sound science.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I think this is so important, “As for vaccines directly causing neuro disorders, the man who made these claims and published these falsified data has been stripped of all medical privileges.”

        In order for me to take the idea that vaccines cause autism seriously, there needs to be data and science behind that. The one study that did show it has been discredited and the man behind it punished in a very serious manner. Many years have passed for new studies to be done, and nothing has shown this link yet.

    • Jessica says:

      Long before Jenni McCarthy’s comments, I had heard about claims from women that the MMR vaccine resulted in their children’s autism. The vaccine has been outlawed in Japan, is offered as a single shot in other countries (not in the US), and may be in the process of being banned in other countries as we speak. It’s hard to filter through the BS on the internet and the truth so I’m still not sure what other countries are in fact doing. To say that there is in no way a link because of statistical studies performed really doesn’t prove that there is not a link. Science also says you can’t get the flu from a flu shot but I can say from personal experience that isn’t true.

      • Sam says:

        Uh, you’re spreading misinformation. ONE variety of the MMR vaccine – the Urabe strain version – was banned in Japan. And it was NOT because of autism. That strain was found to leave those who received it vulnerable to aspectic meningitis.

        And also, Japan’s autism rate continues to rise, despite the MMR vaccine being banned. So there goes that little argument out the window.

        And I didn’t need much research to find this out. It’s all on the first page of Google. It’s also all freely on Wikipedia. The problem is that there’s too much BS on the internet, not too little.

        And yes, you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. The shot contains no actual live virus, only a dead one. And since its against the laws of nature for a dead virus to infect you, yes, it is actually impossible to get the flu from a flu shot. (You can react to the nasal mist, which DOES contain a live virus).

      • Nerd Alert says:

        There is a live flu vaccine that is, for some reason, still used. That can cause a reaction, but the vast majority of flu shots are dead strains, which you cannot get sick from.

      • cr says:

        @Nerd Alert: there is live flu virus used in the nasal vaccination. The shot uses the dead virus.

      • sapphoandgrits says:

        You can’t get flu from a flu shot. It is medically not possible.

      • I'm With The Band says:

        You cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine. The injection contains an inactive virus, which your body recognises and develops antibodies to protect against the live virus. People who get sick after the vaccination were going to get sick anyway.

    • CC says:

      IMO, ‘present both sides and assess the information in the same way’ is a false equivalence when one ‘side’ is based on falsified studies and the exploitation of parental fear, and the other on replicable results and the scientific method. Quackery needs to be called out as as quackery in the loudest voice possible. McCarthy was and in her apparent embarrassment and ongoing dishonesty will continue to be a public health menace.

      There aren’t two sides here when one side is based on studies anchored in lies.

      • Sam says:

        I always wonder why this “both sides” thing doesn’t apply elsewhere. Sherri Shepard believes that the Earth is flat. Does that mean that geopgrahy teachers should now be obligated to devote time to entertaining those students who believe the Earth is flat? Some people believe the Earth is 10,000 years old. Should we humor them? It’s ridiculous. No matter what the scientific idea, you will always have people who don’t believe it.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        +1 to you both.

      • Kiddo says:

        Sam, LMFAO. Well done.

    • Amanda_M87 says:

      Agreed. I think both sides need to discuss this and find some kind of middle ground.

      • msw says:

        one side is based in science, the other based in a hunch which can’t be substantiated in any significant way. asking for both sides to find a middle ground isn’t exactly fair to the side basing their opinions on actual information.

  17. Cecilia says:

    This is the only woman that I can imagine being best friends with Chelsea Handler. They seem to be cut from the same cloth.

  18. Sam says:

    It’s amazing that after bashing doctors for so long, she puts so much weight into their diagnosis of her son.

    There’s been a great deal written that her son’s symptoms don’t exactly comport with autism. For example, she used to say he took seizures. Those aren’t all that common about autistic kids, along with other symptoms. More than a few people have pointed out that his symptoms, if she’s being truthful about them, are far more consistent with Kleinfelder-Landau Syndrome. K-L Syndrome often goes into remission for very long periods of time, which sounds a great deal like how she now claims her son is “cured.”

    She also overlooks the fact that a great many people who initially were diagnosed as autistic DO go on to get re-evaluated and get their diagnoses changed later in life. A diagnosis by a doctor does not mean you absolutely have that illness. I was misdiagnosed several times before a therapist figured out I was bipolar! Does that mean I wasn’t bipolar till I had a proper diagnosis? No – it means I was misdiagnosed.

    Jenny McCarthy plays with the facts to suit her own particular needs and wants. She has turned her son into a poster child for a dangerous movement. God knows how he’ll feel about this when he’s old enough to understand.

  19. shump says:

    This is where the ball gag needs to go.

  20. Miffy says:

    Everything about this situation is deplorable. Flouting her son’s right to privacy for something as personal as his medical background, the unfounded fear mongering over basic and valuable medical practices (and the children put in harm’s way as a result), the implication that parents unwittingly caused their child’s ‘preventable’ autism. From start to finish this woman’s campaign makes me sick.

  21. Evi says:

    I find her problematic on many levels. She is one of those uninformed people who pretends to be informed, probably obtaining her information from some new age charlatan, and uses her celebrity status to mislead people and while it wouldn’t be a huge deal if she misled people with some type of crappy product [even though that would be terrible as well], she went on to practically say that autism was caused by vaccinations. As a result of people like her, a portion of parents have decided not to vaccinate their children, and thereby contribute to health threats toward others in their immediate communities.
    It only takes one ignoramus of an adult not to vaccinate their children, for their children to contract and spread something like Rubella to a pregnant woman, who will then 100% have problems with her baby.
    And who is left to pick up the pieces? Definitely not the idiot celebrity like McCarthy and other anti vaccination morons.

  22. Really says:

    She brought much needed attention to the disorder one way or the other. Getting the toxins out of the vaccines should still be a priority.

    • Anon says:

      Getting the toxins out should indeed be a priority. As they did with Bisphenol A (or BPA) in baby bottles and plastic-wares, which BPA was removed from plastics sold for infants/toddlers by the corporations in 2009, voluntarily. That says a lot right there for the corporations to take action first. Now Monsanto (Round-up), the world is watching you and already past wondering. …see Cheerios. hehe, taking action does work.

      Big mouthed Jenny was right on one thing, it is a bucket list of bad things combined. Not vaccinating your kids is playing Russian roulette with not only your child’s life, but possibly your own and thousands++ elsewhere.

    • Jedi says:

      There are no “toxins” (what does that even mean?) in vaccines. They removed theomirsal from vaccines, even though the WHO had done tons of studies that said it was not dangerous when used to stabilize vaccines. Most people are exposed to more toxins by simply going outside than if they took a million MMR vaccines.

      • Sam says:

        I believe it’s been proven that there is generally more mercury in a single serving of conventional fish then there is in a vaccine dose. So all the concern about mercury in the world goes out the window when it’s time to eat. People really, really don’t listen to reason.

    • sapphoandgrits says:

      1. They are no toxins in vax, and

      2. She brought disinformation and grifters to the disease, as well as unwarranted guilt to many parents. Not all attention is good.

  23. Dreamyk says:

    I’m surprised she was hired for a talk show host. She’s a lightening rod, for sure.

    I completely disagree with her vaccine bashing. Her son has medical issues but not because of the vaccines. Science is not her side and yet she can’t seem to come to grips with the fact that her son was born with some legitimate medical problems so she shifts blame. Like it’s some kind of reflection on her because her son has medical issues. That’s narcissistic to the extreme.

  24. Irishserra says:

    Who could even take her seriously anyway?

  25. kat says:

    I’m posting because I see a lot of the same opinions that were all over my facebook wall yesterday, and it infuriated the heck out of me. I am autistic. I have an autistic son. I have run the gamut of emotions over the past eight years as these facts have become apparent, and have listened to whatever opinions and digested whatever information I can find. I apologize in advance for the length. I figure if you’re interested, you will read, and if not, I’ll join you back on the Kardashian posts.

    There are three things pissing me off the most

    1) the continued mis-information that McCarthy is driving some anti-vaccine movement. She isn’t. She is incredibly vocal against introducing unnecessary toxins into children’s bodies, and unquestioningly following the status quo when it comes to big pharma and government telling you what to do, especially when your instincts as a mother tell you otherwise. If you can find me one quote where Jenny says “DO NOT VACCINATE” to other parents (and other people’s opinions of what she said, and HuffPo summaries do not count), I will happily go and pick one of my beautiful selection of hats, and eat it. She says question. She asks if it’s necessary. Why is this so heretical, especially where children are concerned? Especially when her son had seizures after receiving his MMR shot and had to be revived by medics? (Fact.) And later went on to develop autism? (Connection unproved, but see #3 below). It is the media who have turned her into some anti-vaccine magnate for the drama factor, and it is now being quoted as fact. And if uneducated folks want to read media conjecture and draw their own conclusions about vaccination, is that McCarthy’s fault?

    2) The continued mention of her Playboy appearances and saucy persona in general.
    Because of course, women are completely incapable of getting their tits out for money, and being educated, and being an advocate, and being a mother all at the same time. /sarcasm Nothing as unsettling as a beautiful bitch with boobs AND a brain!

    3) Vaccines don’t cause autism! Wakefield was wrong! The govenrment says so!!
    Just because Wakefield was a bad scientist, doesn’t mean the science was bad. And his paper was published 15 years ago! Could we please entertain the thought that there is a connection between vaccinations and neurological trauma? (including symptoms that can contribute to a diagnosis of ASD?)

    Regardless of what you feel about Wakefield, Julie Gerberding, then Deputy Director of the CDC, is on record as saying (and I paraphrase for brevity — watch the video if you wish) — “Immune system trauma as a result of the act of vaccination, in the case of children who may have an underlying mitochondrial disorder, may cause autism-like symptoms.” There’s some hairs — go split them if you wish. But I interpret that to mean that if your child has the appropriate genetic make up, then is unfortunate enough to get water on the brain, or a brain damaging fever as the result of a vaccination, they can develop neurological damage resulting in autism. (“autismlike symptoms” vs. “autism” — the only difference there is that the latter opens the doors to millions of dollars of litigation suits and the former doesn’t.)

    Watch it here:

    And of COURSE the government is calling McCarthy a threat to public health. Quite frankly, I would be proud if the government thought of me as a questioning pain in the ass.

    Thanks for listening 🙂

    • Nerd Alert says:

      I’m in neurological research, and I can assure you that the science was bad. I read the paper. Not only were the methods and results falsified, but the study included only eight people. His findings were not reproduceable and what’s worse, were demonstrably false. In science we do not prove; we can only disprove, and his theory was disproved by a number of actual, reputable scientists.

      As for the government, I don’t think they’ve been involved in Jenny’s business at all. Scientists call her a threat because in this country, more people listen to her than actual researchers.

      • kat says:

        So if the science and scientist were so bad, how can people equally have faith that vaccinations do not cause autism? That was what the paper set out to prove, but its failure doesn’t mean the argument is wrong. Especially with EIGHT subjects.

      • cr says:

        @kat: Because in the years since there have been multiple studies, and continue to be studies. They can’t find the link. There isn’t one.

      • msw says:

        Kat, they have attempted to duplicate the results, and cannot. Further research also could not find a link. The original research design was flawed AND the results were falsified. It’s that simple.

      • Nerd Alert says:

        Read again, kat: His findings were not reproduceable and what’s worse, were demonstrably false.

        Even if you assume the study was fine and ignore all the overwhelming, condemning data, Wakefield’s study only had 12 patients. In science this number is what’s known as “not statistically significant.” Meaning no matter what it showed, it needed to be demonstrated on a much larger scale to be considered valid. Small scale studies like that are intended to provide a basis for a larger, more expensive trial.

    • cr says:

      “3) Vaccines don’t cause autism! Wakefield was wrong! The govenrment says so!!
      Just because Wakefield was a bad scientist, doesn’t mean the science was bad. And his paper was published 15 years ago! Could we please entertain the thought that there is a connection between vaccinations and neurological trauma? (including symptoms that can contribute to a diagnosis of ASD?)”

      Vaccines don’t cause autism. Wakefield was not only a bad scientist, but the science was bad. Is a lot more research needed? Yes. But currently the evidence isn’t there that it’s the vaccines causing autism.

    • Nicolette says:

      Vaccines don’t cause autism! Wakefield was wrong! The government says so!! LOL.
      I know, because the government is just so trustworthy these days. About as much as a used car salesman to me. And yes exactly, can we please just entertain the thought that there is a connection? To just wipe away that possibility is staggering to me. The amount of children being diagnosed is on the rise, and something is causing it. For their sake it is worth turning over every single stone to find the cause.

      • Sam says:

        Science IS turning over all the stones. The difference is that scientists largely don’t stay with a theory once the evidence is strongly against it. Are you even aware of the major trials going on now that seem to suggest a link between autism and drugs used during labor and birth? Or the ones that are studying the potential links between autism and environmental pollution, or the ones that are researching the potential link to processing chemicals in plastics? You probably aren’t. People have focused like a laser beam on vaccines, and that is to the detriment of all the other valuable research being done. Personally, I always ask people what it would take to sufficiently demonstrate to you that vaccines don’t cause autism. Exactly how many studies are needed before they will be satisfied? They never have a number.

      • msw says:

        It was the United Kingdom which revoked Wakefield’s license. So to be clear, the UK is in on this, too?

      • Nerd Alert says:

        The stones have been unturned. Multiple reputable scientists have studied this from every angle. Am I to understand that since you cannot read the evidence, you simply feel better denying its existence? Not understanding something is not a good reason to discount its viability.

        This is why people need to be trained on reading scientific literature for themselves.

      • Kiddo says:

        Sam, msw and others, you are on fire today.

    • The Original Mia says:

      Thanks for your intelligent, well-thoughtout response!

  26. Marisa says:

    Can she please just stfu & go away?

  27. cr says:

    “A Risky Science Communication Environment for Vaccines

    Controversy over childhood vaccinations is an instance of what might be styled the “science communication problem”—the failure of compelling scientific evidence to resolve public dispute over risks and similar facts (1). This problem itself has been the focus of scientific study since the 1970s, when psychologists began to investigate the divergence between expert and public opinion on nuclear power. Indeed, the science of science communication that this body of work comprises can now be used not just to explain controversy over risk but also to predict, manage, and in theory avoid conditions likely to trigger it. The example of childhood vaccinations illustrates these points—and teaches an important practical lesson. ..Ironically, one such influence is empirically uninformed risk communication. The media and advocacy groups routinely lament a “growing distrust of vaccinations” (12) and a resulting “erosion in immunization rates” (13), claims belied by CDC statistics. Emphatic assertions that a technology poses no danger can actually enhance its perceived riskiness (14). In addition, people tend to contribute voluntarily to public goods—such as herd immunity—when they believe that others are doing so but refrain when they perceive widespread free-riding (15). Thus, misleadingly implying that increasing numbers of parents are fearfully refusing vaccination could create exactly such fear and resistance. ..Empirically uniformed and counterproductive risk communication is the inevitable by-product of the absence of a systematic, evidence-based alternative. Decades of study show that the sources of public controversy over decision-relevant science are numerous and diverse. There is, however, a single factor that connects them: The failure of democratic societies to use scientific knowledge to protect the science communication environment from influences that prevent citizens from recognizing that decision-relevant science contributes to their well-being. ..”

  28. Murphy says:

    If she’s against additives why is she hawking Progresso?

  29. Laurinha says:

    @ esmom in reply to your above comment. Thank you for discussing the difference in children with autism responding to treatments. Every child responds differently depending on the severity of their autism. I am so happy for you that your son has managed to overcome some of the struggles of autism. My sister is severely autistic and when she was diagnosed ( I was 12 so old enough to remember) I watched my mother make the decision to get this child every single treatment and therapy available. She was determined to drag this child out of her autism if she had to. Nothing worked. She is completely non verbal and so severe. Over the years I saw my mothers eventually acceptance that what works for some autistic kids just doesn’t for others. Sometimes people hear about these therapies diets etc. and ask why we never tried them. We tried EVERYTHING. I tell them if you’ve met one autistic person you’ve met one autistic person what works for one might not for another.

    • Esmom says:

      Laurinha, Your comment, “If you’ve met one autistic person you’ve met one autistic person” is indeed true. I know that if my son’s journey is a tough one, I can’t imagine how difficult your sister’s must be. Being non-verbal must be frustrating for her and heartbreaking for your mom and you.

      Which brings me back to Jenny. Making the broad, sweeping statements about causes and cures she’s made shows just how uninformed she is about how autism’s likely causes, manifestations and treatments are as varied as the term “spectrum” indicates.

  30. Rubber Ducky says:

    If you’re interested in the reality of McCarthy’s actions, and the truth about autism, read this excellent book on the subject. It shows what really went on, and those who make money scare mongering naive and frightened parents.

    It’s a fascinating and infuriating read.

  31. Jennifer12 says:

    She’s an irresponsible ass at best. There’s an article out now that shows you can link the rise in autism to the sale of organic foods. You can pretty much create a graph and correlation out of anything. She claimed she cured him of autism, which is completely impossible, so why is she surprised that people doubt her?

  32. Cinderella says:

    Jenny M. would be the LAST person I would take advice from, be it pediatric medicine, neurology, parenting, fashion, diet, relationships.

    Why is she on The View again?