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Book Reviews and Other Media
April 6, 2009

Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009;163(4):396. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.13

In 1998, Pandora's box was opened. Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist, revealed to the media his article linking the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism. From this singular moment a movement was born. Despite millions in research, no number of articles refuting causality between vaccines and autism has been able to quell this myth. This is a problem that practicing physicians and nurses encounter every day.

Wading into this stormy sea of controversy is Paul Offit, with his book Autism's False Prophets. Offit is the chief of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and no stranger to the world of vaccines, having been involved in the development of RotaTeq (Merck, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey), a rotavirus vaccine licensed by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. In addition to his scientific efforts, he has led a charge nationally against the unseen powers that have raised unfounded suspicions against these valuable medicines. This fight has not been without personal cost. Offit has received death threats, been granted Federal Bureau of Investigation security detail, and even had threats made against his children.