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MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Know [Paperback]

Michael Fitzpatrick
2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
Price: £27.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

24 Jun 2004 0415321794 978-0415321792 1st
The MMR controversy has been characterized by two one-sided discourses. In the medical world, the weight of opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of MMR. In the public world, the anti-MMR campaign has a much greater influence, centred on the fears of parents that the triple vaccine may cause autism in their children. Both professionals and parents struggle to cope with the anxieties this creates, but find it difficult to find a balanced account of the issues.

In MMR and Autism Michael Fitzpatrick, a general practitioner who is also the parent of an autistic child, explains why he believes the anti-MMR campaign is misguided in a way that will reassure parents considering vaccination and also relieve the anxieties of parents of autistic children. At the same time, this informative book provides health care professionals and health studies students with an accessible overview of a contemporary health issue with significant policy implications.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1st edition (24 Jun 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415321794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415321792
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 705,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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'Michael Fitzpatrick splendidly demolishes the argument that MMR causes autism by careful review of the scientific and other evidence. He also provides an insightful review of autism and its management, together with the role of risk aversion in health scares like the MMR. Every health worker, parent, politician and journalist concerned with these issues must read this brilliant book.' - Brent Taylor, Professor of Community Child Health, Royal Free and University College Medical School

'Fitzpatrick ... offers a profound and wide-ranging account including politics, philosophy and rationality, science and medicine, the media, the medics, history and autism itself from both sides of the fence and indeed the fence itself. Erudite without obscurity, economical without dryness, I found his book a gripping read - and so did my wife, a non medic.' - Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine

'This book is a tour de force. Extensively researched and impeccably argued.' - Health Watch

'Dr Fitzpatrick's book on the MMR affair goes well beyond the affair itself, and casts a searchlight on our society, indeed on our soul.' - Dr Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph

'Michael Fitzpatrick is a general practitioner and also the parent of a child with autism. Fortunately he is also a very good writer and has produced a readable, well-discussed book about the MMR-autism saga. The book is informative, detailed, and accurate.' - International Journal of Epidemiology

About the Author

Michael Fitzpatrick is a general practitioner working in Hackney, London.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In the public discussion following the London premiere of the anti-MMR television drama 'Hear the Silence' in September 2003 a journalist active in the campaign against MMR claimed that doctors had exaggerated the benefits of immunisation by failing to acknowledge that deaths from measles had been declining before MMR was introduced: 'Only 14 children' had died from measles in Britain in 1988 - the year MMR was launched. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fake MMR scare - why its still important 3 Jan 2006
By jcmacc VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We live at a time when our children no longer die of smallpox and are not encased in iron lungs because of polio infection. Vaccination is one of the main reasons why our children are safer from infectious disease than ever before. Oddly, we also live in a time where many well-meaning people (along with many more cranks and quacks) try to deny the fact that vaccinations are effective. These people are busy creating fake safety issues to put people off having their children vaccinated, opening the way for children to be harmed needlessly by easily preventable disease. Vague hints that governments and pharmaceutical companies are deliberately causing damage to children for profit usually accompany these paranoid fantasies, witness a review here. Oddly, the anti-vaccine quacks who offer their own dubious services for cash have no such financial motivation in the eyes of their faithful followers.
In this book Michael Fitzpatrick, a father of an autistic child and a GP, cuts through the fake hysteria surrounding MMR to show why no scare should have started in the first place. Fitzpatrick shows that the MMR-autism link is not supported by epidemiology and has no credible, reproducible lab evidence that could provide a mechanism.
The fake MMR scare now, thankfully, appears to be fading as the media loses interest under the weight of more and more studies showing no link to autism, however, this book remains important. The lessons of the MMR fiasco need to be learnt by the government and the media so the next time a “medical maverick” questions established and effective therapies the correct questions are asked before an unnecessary panic is created.
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85 of 119 people found the following review helpful
This is a very important book, which really does live up to its title, it does contain what 'every parent need to know '. In fact it contains a great deal more that they need to know and is arguably the most comprehensive and reliable discussion of the subject there, is as well as providing a useful summary of ideas about autism. ( Fitzpatrick himself is the father of an autistic child). Some may find the level of detail a bit overwhelming , but only by tracing it chronologically is it possible to grasp how the story developed and the peculiar way in which new claims have been added and others quietly dropped as they proved unsustainable even to Andrew Wakefield, the originator of the idea that autism and MMR were linked.
Fitzpatrick does not dismiss the views of those who claims a link between MMR and autisms out of hand but systematically goes through all their claims and shows how they just don't stand up to any rational analysis by which we make judgments and decisions about issues in normal life.
Yet it's remarkable how widespread these views now are, working in a hospital, I'm still amazed at the number of people who've smugly told me that there must be something in the link with autism but the advantages of the MMR vaccine outweigh the risks of not having it; well, this book shows quite clearly that there isn't anything in the link and it's not a question of balancing two opposing points of view.
In fact, the medical and political establishment doesn't come out of this story very well either and Fitzpatrick is right to point out their shortcomings.
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67 of 96 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study of autism and the MMR scare 22 July 2004
This superb book gives an extremely useful account of the current state of knowledge of autism and its causes. It also shows that parents should allow their children to be immunised with MMR. The author is a London GP, who has an autistic son James.
Dr Fitzpatrick reminds us of the dangers of measles, mumps and rubella. In the ten years before the first measles immunisation was introduced in Britain, 850 children died from measles. Since MMR immunisation was introduced in 1988, there have been only four deaths from measles, and 19 from complications. Japan, with a low uptake of MMR immunisation, has 50/100 measles deaths a year.
So the government is right to encourage mass MMR immunisation and to oppose the individual choice of separate vaccines, even though its promotion of 'individual choice' and 'personalised care' undermines all good NHS policies. The government's 'faith-based' politics - evident in Blair's refusal to say whether his son Leo had been immunised - align it against both the medical profession and scientific evidence.
The original article that sparked the MMR immunisation scare, by Dr Andrew Wakefield, only raised the possibility of a relationship between MMR immunisation and autism: it put forward no evidence of a causal link, and specified no mechanism of transmission. In the subsequent five years, he has failed to substantiate his claim.
Since then, many independent researchers have proven that there is no causal link between MMR and autism, but Dr Wakefield refuses to accept the overwhelming evidence. He even told a US senate committee that the Royal Statistical Society had damned an important study that refuted his hypothesis, although this was not true. He has now moved to a private clinic in Florida run by an evangelical Christian.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars appalling cynicism
How disappointing to read the number of one star reviews from people about this book which, please remember, is written by the father of a child with autism who is also a GP. Read more
Published on 6 Dec 2011 by SMcM
1.0 out of 5 stars Medical (Allopathic) propaganda
Dr Fitzpatrick: "In the medical world, the weight of opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of MMR."

No surprise there, the vaccinators (medical world/Allopaths) are in... Read more
Published on 28 Feb 2011 by
1.0 out of 5 stars Pity people actually pay for this book
The studies done by Wakefield have been rep[eated, confirmed and validated by a number of researchers around the world such as Urlmann et al, Gonzalez et al Fulano et al, O'Leary... Read more
Published on 24 July 2010 by Clair
1.0 out of 5 stars very poor
There is so much you can do to treat autism. It is such a shame that parents have to spend money on and wade through the utter tripe that is out there before finding the good... Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2008 by S. Moroza-james
1.0 out of 5 stars One sided and poorly written
I do have to admit I could not bear to read the whole of this book but forced myself to read half of it. Read more
Published on 4 July 2008 by David Mcgrath
1.0 out of 5 stars Great fire starting material
I felt this book was completely one sided and does not ever recognize that vaccines do cause severe long term damage which is why we have the vaccine compensation unit in this... Read more
Published on 30 Jun 2008 by Mrs. A. C. Mcgurin
1.0 out of 5 stars hopelessly one sided
If you are looking for a balanced evaluation of the risks vs benefits of MMR you won't find it here. Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2008 by mark A
1.0 out of 5 stars Dredful misrepresentation of children with autism
This book did not give me an insight to my child's health at all, it was a very one sided argument. I would rather read less about Andrew Wakefield and more about the studies and... Read more
Published on 9 Jun 2008 by louise
1.0 out of 5 stars Cleverly written
Dr Fitzpatrick presents many arguments which are very useful weapons for pharmaceutical companies who need to defend their shareholders' interests. Read more
Published on 30 Sep 2006 by Galileo
1.0 out of 5 stars The jury is still out and will be for a long time to come
This is a well written book but being a doctor does not give you chapter and verse on what may or may not trigger autism. Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2006 by Marvo
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