The first chapter of Age of Autism (called The Age of Syphilis) could easily have been summed up in one short sentence: Mercury is bad m’kay? Well no shit Sherlock(s). We all know that.
Taking us an a tour (and the book is reasonably well narrated and edited) through the insane asylums of various European countries, through the lack of association of mercury poisoning and indigenous races of various countries, the two authors end up in Vienna and (place tongue in cheek) in a bombshell moment of horror, reveal their idea that Mozart might’ve died of mercury poisoning. Hardly a new idea. According to Wikipedia , Mozart has been suggested to have died from over 100 different things but the most likely is acute rheumatic fever.
What makes Age of Autism different from most is that they posit that Mozart’s mercury poisoning (if he was which is in doubt) came about whilst he was trying to cure Syphilis. Indeed, you could get the idea from reading Age of Autism that just about everyone in the world from the 1600’s onwards died of mercury poisoning whilst treating syphilis.
Lurking underneath this first chapter with its autism-free mundane plodding from situation to situation is where the authors reveal one of the main themes of the book.
...the best medical minds in Europe were slow to realize…
But the notion that medicine might have been that habit just didn’t occur to [them] – perhaps because it could only mean that doctors were causing the worst manifestation of syphilis. And that was simply inconceivable.
Not using ‘recognized forms of treatment’...may have spared the American Indians the brain lesions symptomatic of neurosyphilis.
Despite all the evidence and concern, the heart of the medical profession remained committed to mercury treatment, and mainstream physicians rose strongly to its defense.
I’m sure you don’t need more examples but trust me – they’re there. Anyway, as you can see Age of Autism is not just a book about mercury being bad (m’kay?) its also a book about mainstream medicine and how stupid and purposefully evil it is as well as how frickin’ great complementary medicine is. Take a look at those quotes again. “See?” B & O seem to be screaming hysterically, “See? Look – even back then they were useless, these ‘doctors’...its just like now with The Vaccines“
I mean don’t get me wrong – the mercury treatments of Syphilis were frequently worse than the disease but lets compare the trace amount of mercury in paediatric vaccines these days to a passage from Age of Autism:
Patients coated in mercury often stayed wrapped in bedclothes for weeks…[t]hey sat in baths saturated with mercury or squatted on stools above a steaming cauldron of it…
So lest we forget, these two medical procedures, one commonly known as a ‘targeted precise injection’ and one known as ‘slopping that shit on with a spoon’ are not really comparable. So far, this is one of the main (though not only) weakness of the book – its comparing apples with oranges.
We still test for syphilis in some neurological disorders, and mercury hasn't been used for, what, a century?
But facts aren't really on their radar are they...
Well firstly, it's generally discounted that mozart died of Mercury Poisoning.......although there is very little evidence surrounding the death of mozart. His body was so swollen and smelt so putrid by the time he finally popped his clogs his physician apparently decided that to carry out any kind of autopsy would be really rather unpleasant - and so he didn't!
However, what we do have is the testimonies of his family members, friends and doctors who were present during his death and the time leading up to his death. In none of these accounts of his illness/death does it mention some of the main symptoms of Mercury poisoning that one would have expected to have seen such as: memory loss, delirium, excessive salivation and you also would have expected him to have suffered from tremors. Mozart's handwriting leading up to his death showed no signs whatsoever of any shakiness or tremors.
So there you have it - it's only the more "romantic" (I prefer the words delusional and obstinate) that still cling to this theory re Mozart. The truth is we'll never truly know exactly what did kill him but there certainly is not enough evidence to link his death in any way to Mercury.
It's the same old same old though with AoA. When did a silly little thing like a lack of evidence ever stop them from making wild claims in the past?
Don't tell me....there were pharma shills skulking around in the 18th century and maybe even before then too.....perhaps they had shares in leeches??!!!
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Untreated neurosyphilis is pretty bad and is pretty uniformly fatal in a couple of years. The first “real” treatment for it was what was called “fever therapy”. Inoculating the patient with malaria, letting them go through ~10 cycles of fever which took over a month before curing the malaria with quinine. Patients with neurosyphilis at that stage were pretty much all institutionalized anyway. Fever therapy had not a small death rate, but it was curative of neurosyphilis in many cases.
Mercury was used for a lot of treatments. On the other thread I just left a comment on how mercury was used in teething powders and was a leading cause of death in children (23% of deaths were due to pink disease aka mercury poisoning). When many millions of children each received many thousands of times more mercury from teething powders than any child has received from vaccines, where are all the autistics from the first half of the 20th century?
Why wasn't there an epidemic of autism when children were being given so much mercury in teething powders that mercury poisoning was a leading cause of death? The obvious conclusion is because autism is not caused by mercury.
Blaxill and Olmsted quote the death rate of fever therapy at 5%. As you say, a not inconsiderable amount.
As for Pinks disease, there's a chapter on that coming up, if I can drag myself through Chapter 2 which is *not* a great read so far.