Childhood Disorders

 email page    print page

All Topic Reviews
12 and HoldingA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Lethal InheritanceA Mother's Courage: Talking Back to AutismA Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning AutismA Special EducationA Toss Of The DiceA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainABC of Eating DisordersADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your LifeADHD Grown UpADHD in the Schools: Assessment and Intervention StrategiesADHD NationAdolescence and Body ImageAdolescent DepressionAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAlpha GirlsAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAsperger Syndrome and Your ChildAsperger Syndrome, Adolescence, and IdentityAsperger's and GirlsAssessment of Childhood DisordersAttention Deficit DisorderAttention-Deficit Hyperactivity DisorderAttention-Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderAutism - The Eighth Colour of the RainbowAutism and MeAutism's False ProphetsAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBeen There, Done That? DO THIS!Before I DieBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBipolar ChildrenBipolar Disorder in Childhood and Early AdolescenceBipolar DisordersBipolar KidsBlackwell Handbook of Childhood Cognitive DevelopmentBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoy AloneBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingBullying PreventionBut I Love HimCan't Eat, Won't EatCaring for a Child with AutismCatalystChild and Adolescent PsychiatryChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChild and Adolescent PsychopathologyChild NeuropsychologyChild Well-BeingChildren and SexualityChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren with Sexual Behavior ProblemsChildren, Sexuality and SexualizationChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneCommunication Issues In Autism And Asperger SyndromeConcepts of NormalityConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinConsuming KidsContesting ChildhoodCount Us InCrackedCrossesCutCyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy TeensDamageDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDisconnected KidsDoing SchoolDon't Bother Me Mom--I'm Learning!Don't Pick On MeDying to Be ThinEarly Intervention Programs and PoliciesEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismEight Stories UpElijah's CupEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEpilepticEthical Dilemmas in PediatricsEvery Girl Tells a StoryExiting NirvanaExploiting ChildhoodEye ContactFacing BipolarFamily HistoryFast GirlsForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillFrictionGirl CultureGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlhoodGirlWiseHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHandbook of Preschool Mental HealthHealing ADDHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Hyperactive KidsHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHelping Students Overcome Depression and AnxietyHelping Teens Who CutHollow KidsHope's BoyHow Infants Know MindsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHurry Down SunshineI Am Not Joey PigzaIdentifying Hyperactive ChildrenIf Your Adolescent Has an Eating DisorderIn the Company of CraziesIncorporating Social Goals in the ClassroomIntegrated YogaIntrusive ParentingIssues for Families, Schools and CommunitiesJake RileyJoey Pigza Loses ControlJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKim: Empty InsideLearning and Behavior Problems in Asperger SyndromeLearning Disorders and Disorders of the Self in Children and AdolescentsLearning Outside the Lines Let Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLook Me in the EyeLoserLove and SexLove That DogMad at SchoolMaking ADD WorkMaking American BoysManicMastering Anger and AggressionMaverick MindMedicating ChildrenMind FieldsMind to MindMommy I'm Still in HereMore Than a LabelMy Flesh and BloodMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNew Look at ADHD: Inhibition, Time, and Self-ControlNo Child Left DifferentNo Two AlikeNon-Drug Treatments for ADHDNot Much Just Chillin'NurtureShockOdd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the WoodsOvercoming ADHDOvercoming School AnxietyParenting a Child Who Has Intense EmotionsParenting Children With ADHDParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeople with HyperactivityPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPlease Don't Label My ChildPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Problem GirlsPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPurgeRaising a Moody ChildRaising BlazeRaising Generation RxRaising Resilient ChildrenReady or Not, Here Life ComesReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRemembering Our ChildhoodResilience in ChildrenRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRitalin NationRunning on RitalinRunning with ScissorsRutter's Child and Adolescent PsychiatrySeeing EzraSex and the American TeenagerSex, Therapy, and KidsSexting and Young PeopleSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShort Term 12Should I Medicate My Child?SmashedSnapshots of AutismSongs Without WordsSophie Spikey Has a Very Big ProblemSpeakStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStraight Talk about Psychiatric Medications for KidsStraight Talk about Psychological Testing for KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrange SonStudent DepressionSuicidal Behavior in Children and AdolescentsSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTemple GrandinThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Anti-Romantic ChildThe Bipolar ChildThe Boy Who Loved Too MuchThe Boy Who Loved WindowsThe Boy Who Was Raised as a DogThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully Action GuideThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Burn JournalsThe Color of AbsenceThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Evolution of ChildhoodThe Explosive ChildThe Eyes of van GoghThe Fasting GirlThe Field of the DogsThe Flight of a DoveThe Hidden Gifts of the Introverted ChildThe Horse BoyThe Identity TrapThe Inner World of a Suicidal YouthThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Kindness of StrangersThe Last Normal ChildThe Little MonsterThe Medicated ChildThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Nurture AssumptionThe OASIS Guide to Asperger SyndromeThe Other ParentThe Perversion of YouthThe Philosophy of AutismThe Psychoanalytic Study of the ChildThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Ride TogetherThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Science of ADHDThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Survival Guide for Kids With LD*The Unhappy ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouThings Tom LikesThrough the Glass WallThumbsuckerTotally WiredTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreating ADHD and Comorbid DisordersTreatment of Childhood DisordersTwistedUnder the Wolf, Under the DogUnhappy TeenagersUnstrange MindsWastedWe've Got IssuesWeather Reports from the Autism FrontWhat about the KidsWhat in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?What Works for Whom?What Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhat's Happening to Tom?When Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhose America?Why Don't Students Like SchoolWill's ChoiceWinnicott On the ChildWorried All the TimeYou Hear MeYoung Minds in Social WorldsYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?

Related Topics
Autism's False ProphetsReview - Autism's False Prophets
Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure
by Paul A. Offit
Columbia University Press, 2010
Review by Leo Uzych, J.D., M.P.H.
Mar 29th 2011 (Volume 15, Issue 13)

Autism's False Prophets targets the area of autism.  The author, Dr. Paul A. Offit, is the Chief of Infectious Diseases, at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.  The defining characteristic of Offit's captivating discourse is its expertly critical nature.  With very considerable intellectual firepower, Offit takes aim expertly and pulls the trigger unapologetically on sighted falsehoods in the region of autism.  Offit's field of critically discerning vision is quite wide ranging, and spots keenly autism related issues enmeshed with science as well as public health, health policy, ethics, law, politics, and journalism.  The sharp blade of Offit's critical examination cuts rights through the flesh of scientifically unsubstantiated claims, exposing some of autism's false prophets; the deftly wielded scalpel of Offit reveals also some of autism's true prophets, who have followed the path of scientific truth.

Across the length and breadth of the text, Offit expertly and critically reviews selected scientific studies, pertinent to autism.  Quoted fragments from some of these studies are grafted instructively into the textual body.  The review efforts of Offit reveal not only his considerable acumen as a medical scientific investigator, but also his artistic adeptness as a very skilled writer.

Following the "Epilogue" is a "Notes" section, in which Offit, by chapter and by page, provides multitudinous citations for research materials tethered tightly to the textual corpus.

A "Selected Bibliography" follows the Notes, and provides citations, alphabetized by author last name, for some books germane to the contents of the text.

Occasional visual images enhance the text's appeal.

It is noteworthy that the text is populated copiously with fragmented quotes of anecdotal origin.  These anecdotal data help breathe animating life into the nostrils of the text.  There may be alarm, however, that the suffusing of the book's substance with anecdotal matter may dilute its academic potency.

In the book's "Introduction", Offit opines that there have been false prophets, who have offered therapies for autism which may be quite expensive, don't help patients, and may even hurt them.  In the eleven chapters that follow, Offit adds much critical flesh to the bones of autism research.

In Chapter 1, for instance, Offit comments critically on the "facilitated communication" approach of Douglas Biklen to treating autistic children.  Secretin therapy for children with autism likewise draws critical fire.  The conclusion of Offit is that these supposed autism therapies actually offer false promises.

The belief of British surgeon Andrew Wakefield that the measles mumps rubella ("MMR") vaccine might cause autism is examined in Chapter 2.  As is his wont throughout the text, Offit pens discourse notable for its forceful intellectual power, bluntly opinionated nature, and expertly critical informativeness.  The politics, of the possible link between MMR vaccine and autism, and the media response to the controversy additionally are fleshed out by Offit.

Contentious ethical issues and litigation entangled in the net of the MMR vaccine and autism controversy are disentangled and examined by the intellectually skilled hands of Offit, in Chapter 3.  As detailed by Offit, scientific data support the conclusion that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism.  And, in Offit's judgment, Wakefield is one of autism's false prophets.

A flashlight of enlightening scrutiny is shined, in Chapter 4, at public health risks associated possibly with the presence of thimerosal (a mercury containing preservative) in vaccines.  Vaccine  policy making, in this context,  is described enthrallingly.

With informatively illumining effect, Offit's luminous flashlight, in Chapter 5, is directed at the area of thimerosal in vaccines as a possible cause of autism.  The thimerosal causes autism hypothesis is eyed by Offit with his customary, critically expert vision.  Some journalistic and political strands entwined with the thimerosal and autism controversy are separated meticulously by Offit.

Scientific data, germane to an evaluation of public health risks associated possibly with thimerosal in vaccines, are reviewed expertly in Chapter 6.  As detailed by Offit, these data hammer many nails into the thimerosal causes autism coffin.

The determined efforts of a woman named Kathleen Seidel (one of autism's true prophets) to expose scientifically unsubstantiated claims regarding autism are recounted in Chapter7.

The attention of Offit, in Chapter 8, is riveted especially on litigation pertaining to autism.

In Chapter 9, the rapt attention of Offit turns in the direction of the news media.  Following custom, Offit is bluntly (albeit thoughtfully) opinionated.  In this manner, Offit expounds on sundry real life obstacles to public understanding of science.

In the book's Epilogue, there is further thoughtfully opinionated comment by Offit, concerning the media and autism related issues.

Offit does not mince words.  Although specific views Offit advances may not be shared fully by other experts, it cannot sensibly be gainsaid that this book is an educationally enriching contribution to the autism literature.

The vast range of professionals who may be enriched, professionally, by the book's contents extends to:  psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, neuroscientists, speech pathologists, pediatricians, primary care physicians, geneticists, virologists, immunologists, vaccine experts, nurses, infectious disease experts, internists, gastroenterologists, epidemiologists, public health professionals, special education teachers, bioethicists, biochemists, biologists, biostatisticians, endocrinologists, pharmacists, pharmacologists, pharmaceutical industry professionals, health policy makers, journalists, politicians, and trial lawyers.


© 2011 Leo Uzych


Leo Uzych (based in Wallingford, PA) earned a law degree, from Temple University; and a master of public health degree, from Columbia University.  His area of special professional interest is healthcare.


Welcome to Metapsychology. We feature over 8200 in-depth reviews of a wide range of books and DVDs written by our reviewers from many backgrounds and perspectives. We update our front page weekly and add more than twenty new reviews each month. Our editor is Christian Perring, PhD. To contact him, use one of the forms available here.

Metapsychology Online reviewers normally receive gratis review copies of the items they review.
Metapsychology Online receives a commission from for purchases through this site, which helps us send review copies to reviewers. Please support us by making your purchases through our Amazon links. We thank you for your support!

Join our e-mail list!: Metapsychology New Review Announcements: Sent out monthly, these announcements list our recent reviews. To subscribe, click here.

Interested in becoming a book reviewer for Metapsychology? To apply, write to our editor.

Metapsychology Online Reviews

Promote your Page too

Metapsychology Online Reviews
ISSN 1931-5716