Tag Archives | Autism

Jenny McCarthy to Join ‘The View’

Picture: Gamerscoreblog (CC)

Picture: Gamerscoreblog (CC)

Indigo Mom” and anti-vaccination warrior Jenny McCarthy will be joining the intellectual vacuum known as “The View”. I’m going to pop some popcorn and wait for the sound of a million public health workers’ heads exploding.

Via New York Times:

Jenny McCarthy, who will become a co-host of “The View” in September, in an earlier appearance on the show.

The show’s creator, Barbara Walters, announced on the air Monday morning that Ms. McCarthy would become the next co-host on the program.

Her selection had been widely expected; she has been a frequent guest host on the program and her name was at the top of the list for prospective permanent hosts.

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D&D Doings TV Spot

Reddit user NoamCosby has an autistic brother who enjoys writing scripts for fake commercials. Afterwards, much to his delight, Noam and his buddies film them. Here's one of those commercials for "D&D Doings". In my opinion, it's a masterpiece of absurdist humor and charming example of the bond between the brothers.
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Congress Holds An Anti-Vaccination Hearing

The anti-vaccine movement has friends in powerful places in the form of congressional Republicans, Steven Salzberg reveals via Forbes:

I was in my car yesterday listening to C-SPAN, when to my stunned surprise I heard Congressman Dan Burton launch into a diatribe on how mercury in vaccines causes autism. The hearing was held just a few days ago by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. Congressman Burton used this hearing to rehash a series of some of the most thoroughly discredited anti-vaccine positions of the past decade.

To make matters worse, the House committee invited Mark Blaxill to testify. Blaxill is a well-known anti-vaccine activist whose organization, SafeMinds, seems to revolve around the bogus claim that mercury in vaccines causes autism. His organization urges parents not to vaccinate their children, and giving him such a prominent platform only serves to spread misinformation among parents of young children.

The committee called on scientists Alan Guttmacher from the NIH and Colleen Boyle from the CDC to testify, but in fact the committee just wanted to bully the scientists.

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UK Website Ordered to Remove Controversial Claims About MMR Vaccine

Photo: Centers for Disease Control Public Health Image Library (PD)

Via BBC News:

The owners of the website babyjabs.co.uk have been ordered by the British Advertising Standards Authority to retract from the site controversial statements positing a connection between autism and the childhood MMR vaccine:

Babyjabs.co.uk said the three-in-one jab may be causing “up to 10%” of autism in children in the UK.

But the Advertising Standards Authority ruled the claim was misleading and must not appear again, after getting a complaint.

The website was also told not to repeat other claims it made about MMR.

These included the suggestion that “most experts now agree the large rise (in autism) has been caused partly by increased diagnosis, but also by a real increase in the number of children with autism”.

Another claim said the vaccine-strain measles virus had been found in the gut and brain of some autistic children, which supports many parents’ belief that the MMR vaccine caused autism in their children.

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A 12-Million-Person Imaginary City Created By An Autistic Savant

Beautiful renderings which took 20 years to complete: the complete plan of a massive European city that does not exist, revealing the fruits of unrestrained dreaming. Via Brain Pickings:

For the past 20 years, French autistic savant Gilles Trehin has been devising and developing this fanciful megacity, from the remarkable architectural detail to the thoughtful cultural context rooted in real world history. Urville gathers 300 of Trehin’s meticulous, obsessive drawings and sets the door ajar to this complex and intricately woven alternate reality.

urville

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Company Hires Adults With Autism to Test Software

CubeVia the Associated Press:

The software testers at Aspiritech are a collection of characters. Katie Levin talks nonstop. Brian Tozzo hates driving. Jamie Specht is bothered by bright lights, vacuum cleaners and the feel of carpeting against her skin. Rider Hallenstein draws cartoons of himself as a DeLorean sports car. Rick Alexander finds it unnerving to sit near other people.This is the unusual workforce of a U.S. startup that specializes in finding software bugs by harnessing the talents of young adults with autism.

Traits that make great software testers — intense focus, comfort with repetition, memory for detail — also happen to be characteristics of autism. People with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, have normal to high intelligence and often are highly skilled with computers.

Aspiritech, a nonprofit in Highland Park, Ill., nurtures these skills while forgiving the quirks that can make adults with autism unemployable: social awkwardness, poor eye contact, being easily overwhelmed.

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Measles Outbreak Linked to Anti-Vaccination Movement

Measles InfectionThe Seattle Times reports upon a recent measles outbreak in Minneapolis traced local Somalis fearful of a purported link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Andrew Wakefield himself has arrived on the scene. His 1998 study linking the MMR to a new syndrome dubbed “autistic enterocolitis” has since been retracted by the Lancet amid allegations of fraud, and his medical license has been revoked.

As CNN reports, Wakefield expected to earn as much as $43 million/year in revenue from “litigation driven testing” for autistic enterocolitis, a test for which he holds a potentially lucrative patent, and received more than $674,000 “from lawyers trying to build a case against vaccine manufacturers.”

From the Seattle Times article:

Health officials struggling to contain a measles outbreak that’s hit hard in Minneapolis’ large Somali community are running into resistance from parents who fear the vaccine could give their children autism.

Fourteen confirmed measles cases have been reported in Minnesota since February.

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