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Best of Age of Autism: Dr. Ari Brown Plays Liars Poker

Posted Feb 01 2011 12:00am

Ari brown This post ran last spring. Dr. Brown was the "AAP autism expert" on Dr. Oz yesterday.

By J.B. Handley
Maybe doctors shouldn’t blog?
Along with many other bloggers with apparently no interest in actually reading Karl Greenfeld’s article in Time Magazine last week on Jenny McCarthy and the autism debate, Austin-based pediatrician Dr. Ari Brown wrote about it instead, and may have set a blogosphere record in the “lies per words typed” ratio.
Friday, Dr. Brown wrote a post titled “Jenny McCarthy changes her mind on autism” for the blog Basil & Spice.
Herewith, the incredible lies and ignorance of another doctor trying to defend the indefensible, in this case by just making stuff up 
#1: “Those of you who follow this blog and read my books know that I have never supported Jenny McCarthy's claims that her son developed autism from vaccines.”
You never have supported Jenny’s “claims” that her son regressed into autism? I am certain that a hallmark of good doctoring is to listen to the parents, particularly true when you’re a pediatrician. A second hallmark of good doctoring is to refrain from opining on the medical cases of patients to whom you have no direct access, like Jenny’s son. 
Jenny McCarthy has written about many things she observed in her son after his MMR shot. Interestingly, a small sample of the side-effects from the insert label of the actual MMR vaccine appear to describe many of the things Jenny has talked about: “fever, syncope, headache, dizziness, malaise, irritability, diarrhea, vomiting, parotitis, nausea, myalgia, encephalitis, encephalopathy, febrile convulsions, afebrile convulsions or seizures.”
#2: “Despite the overwhelming lack of scientific evidence, her "mission" to improve public awareness and draw attention to herself has been a pretty successful campaign.”
“Overwhelming lack of scientific evidence” is, of course, nothing more than the “Hungry Lie” I have written about many times where research regarding a single vaccine, MMR, has been generalized by pharma sympathizers to represent “all vaccines”, including the 10 other licensed vaccines given to our kids that have never been studied for their relationship to autism. Anybody want to bet that Dr. Brown tells the parents in her practice the same thing, falsely reassuring them that “the science has been done”?
Of course, Dr. Brown is right about one thing, and I’m sure she’s hearing it from parents every day: Jenny’s campaign has been successful. But, it’s been successful for reasons most doctors don’t want to admit: parents on every neighborhood corner in the country are telling the same story Jenny is telling. Without this chorus of confirmation, Jenny’s story wouldn’t resonate.
#3: “More parents are freaked about vaccines (and have decided to risk leaving their child unprotected) and Jenny has just taped a pilot for a new talk show with Oprah. Congratulations, Jenny.”
At the very least, this is some snarky stuff for a pediatrician to write. Insidiously, Dr. Brown helps perpetuate a myth about our side that serves pharma supporters interests that we are 100% opposed to any and all vaccines.

Leave a child unprotected? From what, exactly, I ask? Rotavirus? Chickenpox? Despite the fact that many first world countries give their kids far fewer vaccines, pediatricians in America like Dr. Brown don’t think for themselves and simply tell their parents to get every shot the CDC says they should.
Go to Generation Rescue’s website and you don’t find a note from Jenny saying, “please don’t vaccinate”, you’ll find alternative vaccine schedules.
#4: “But after years of this little campaign, Ms. McCarthy has suddenly changed her mind. (Perhaps the international flogging of the MMR Theory's creator or her new public image as talk show host was the inspiration?)”
I’m sure Ms. Brown subdues this snarkiness when meeting with concerned parents and saves it for her blogging…
Of course, we know that Andy Wakefield, who also lives in Austin, is NOT the “MMR Theory’s creator” but rather is a respected gastroenterologist who chose to listen to parents who had watched their children regress into autism after vaccination and develop severe bowel disease.
Dr. Wakefield is the kind of doctor we all love and respect, and Dr. Brown is the kind of pediatrician many of us had who we all hate.
#5: “An article this week in Time Magazine inferred that her son, Evan, had a different neurologic disorder (Landau-Kleffner syndrome)—NOT AUTISM.” 
The allcaps above, NOT AUTISM, are Ms. Brown’s words, not Time Magazine’s. Let’s look at what Time said in several parts 
“A psychological evaluation from UCLA's neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was ‘conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder,’ and yet here, running toward us on a warm California afternoon, is Evan, shouting out, ‘Are you here to play with me? When are we going to play?’ McCarthy's boy is a vivacious, articulate and communicative child who seems to have beaten the condition. He is an inspiration, the fact of him as incontrovertible as any study done in any laboratory in the world.”
First off, what a beautiful description of Evan! Second, UCLA is one of the premier autism evaluation locations in the country. Thirdly, one of the great things about this description is that it quells the previous murmurings from the blogs that Evan hadn’t actually recovered and still had autism. Having seen that one fully debunked, time to create a new story!
Time goes on to speculate 
“Or is this the truth? 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.”
Let me just say, this is one of the most wildly irresponsible bits of reporting I have ever seen. Dark murmurings? Since the only two people from the Dark Side quoted in Time are Paul Offit and Alison Singer, “dark murmurings” may in fact be the perfect word choice. Get ready folks for the next chapter: a call for UCLA to retract Evan’s diagnosis!
This is absurd, but not at all unexpected. A child who recovered from autism either never had autism or still has it, there’s just no other way. And, black swans don’t exist, either. Until they do.
The irony here is that Ms. Brown is all too happy to perpetuate this irresponsible speculation, while just down the street in her own town Thoughtful House is recovering children! Let me ask you something, what kind of advice to you think Dr. Brown is giving to parents who she a) convinced that getting every vaccine on the CDC’s schedule was perfectly safe who are now b) dealing with an autism diagnosis? Parents: run, and run fast!
#6: “Ms. McCarthy reverses her position and now does NOT believe that the MMR vaccine was the cause of her child's autism.”
This is certainly Ms. Brown’s boldest and most blatant lie. It simply boggles my mind that a physician who treats children would waste her time to write this shit piece and just make something up. For those keeping track at home, here’s what the Time article (which Dr. Brown either didn’t read or just enjoys lying pathologically) actually said:
“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...The treatments promoted by McCarthy purport to treat an injury, specifically one to the immune or digestive system of the autistic child — and the agent that activists like McCarthy most commonly point to as the cause of the injury is the MMR vaccine.”
Jenny doesn’t blame MMR for Evan’s regression? Dr. Brown literally created this out of thin air. She should retract it, apologize to Jenny, and wear a T-Shirt for a week saying, “I will make up anything to convince you vaccines are safe, my career depends on it.”
Don’t worry, parents, I’m sure she’s far more thorough when researching the vaccine-autism link, and saves her lies and ignorance for her blogging and books, but you may want to go here just in case:
#7: “So her kid never had autism at all and she's suddenly changed her mind about vaccines.”
This is really just a continuation of the lies I have spelled out above, but I think it highlights how desperate the other side is to put the genie back in the bottle, with zero success: “Evan didn’t have autism, Jenny doesn’t blame MMR, yippee, it’s all over, we’re all OK!! What? He did, she didn’t? The parents are still fighting? Oh, crap.”
#8: “Great! The only problem is, there's a lot of blood on her hands. I'd like her give a public apology or have her volunteer for a public service campaign on vaccines with the CDC. It won't take back all the damage she has done, but it would at least it would show that she had some acknowledgment of personal responsibility.”
It’s amazing, really, to read stuff like this: this is written in a public place by a pediatrician who interacts with parents.
The one thing I will say, a view I know is shared, is that Jenny has demonstrated as much personal responsibility as any parent on the planet. She could have headed off into the sunset with her recovered son, and instead she is hanging out here in the trenches, fighting for all of our kids.
#9: “Today is a new beginning for me...the post-McCarthyism era. I hope it is for you, too.”
Today is a new beginning for me, the day when I show the world that Dr. Ari Brown is just another snarky, ignorant, shrill, close-minded pediatrician who literally makes stuff up to try and make us all go away. Parents, beware!
Of course, Dr. Brown is not just a snarky pediatrician. They never are. She’s also an author of books on parenting, and the author of a highly misleading piece that she wrote on autism and vaccines HERE that has been widely circulated by the Immunization Action Coalition, a front group for the Dark Side.
Dr. Brown’s entire piece on autism and vaccines is trash, here’s just one excerpt: “No, many of these kids are now diagnosed with autism instead of mental retardation. In other words, autistic kids were there in the 80’s and 90’s—we just didn’t call them autistic.”
Double sigh.
As some AoA readers know, this isn’t the first public humiliation our side has given Dr. Brown for her poor research and lies about autism. After her horrendous piece on autism was circulated by the aforementioned IAC, the Thoughtful House published one of the all-time great scientific beat downs that you can sit back and enjoy right HERE.
Dr. Brown, welcome to your Amanda Peet moment. In this case, for perpetuating and making up blatant lies about Jenny McCarthy and her son, ostensibly to try and put the genie back in the bottle. You bet the house on a bunch of lies and we all call your bluff.
Please step away from the table, put the vaccine down, and stop lying to parents.

J.B. Handley is Co-Founder of Generation Rescue

Posted by Age of Autism at February 18, 2011 at 5:30 AM in JB Handley Permalink

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