More anti-vaccine nonsense coming to media near you this fall

Oh, goody.

It looks as though the fall is going to be a repeat of the spring as far as anti-vaccine lunacy goes. This spring, we had the release of a book by the now disgraced granddaddy of the most recent incarnation of the anti-vaccine movement, Andrew Wakefield. The book, entitled Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines–The Truth Behind a Tragedy, was released to great fanfare by the antivaccine movement and then promptly tanked. This is not surprising, given how bad it apparently was. Only the die hards would want a copy, and it’s currently languishing around number 23,576 on the Amazon Bestseller List. So May saw the release of Wakefield’s book, and June and July saw it gone.

What’s next for the anti-vaccine movement?

Gluttons for punishment that they are, apparently Mark “Not A Doctor, Not A Scientist” Blaxill and Dan “Where are the Autistic Amish?” Olmsted are going to grace the publishing world with their very own book, entitled The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic. (How original.) It’s due to be released on September 14, 2010, and already the anti-vaccine propaganda blog Age of Autism is cranking up the advertising:

We started on the journey to write this book determined to seek the truth, and now we need you to help spread the word about what we found: early sales increase press runs, expand bookstore orders and launch best sellers that command national attention. For the sake of our children, our country and our future, attention MUST be paid.

More like: For the sake of our bank accounts and our fame, money MUST be paid.

The hilarious thing about this book is that it’s so…well, 2004 in its outlook. Or even earlier. To me it looks as though Blaxilla and Olmthra are going to party like it’s 1999. After all, that is the year that the CDC and AAP decided to recommend the removal of thimerosal from childhood vaccines, and it was late 2001 by the time the process was complete. In any case, get a load of the cover blurb on its page:

For centuries, medicine has made reckless use of one of earth’s most toxic substances: mercury–and the consequences, often invisible or ignored, continue to be tragic. Today, background pollution levels, including global emissions of mercury as well as other toxicants, make us all more vulnerable to its effects. From the worst cases of syphilis to Sigmund Freud’s first cases of hysteria, from baffling new disorders in 19th century Britain to the modern scourge of autism, THE AGE OF AUTISM traces the long overlooked history of mercury poisoning.

Now, for the first time, authors Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill uncover that history. Within this context, they present startling findings: investigating the first cases of autism diagnosed in the 1940s revealed an unsuspected link to a new form of mercury in seed disinfectants, lumber fungicides and vaccines. In the tradition of Silent Spring and An Inconvenient Truth, Olmsted and Blaxill demonstrate with clarity how chemical and environmental clues may have been missed as medical “experts,” many of them blinded by decades of systemic bias, instead placed blamed on parental behavior or children’s biology. By exposing the roots and rise of The Age of Autism, this book attempts to point the way out – to a safer future for our children and the planet.

Wow! Mercury can do everything, can’t it?

Of course, the Dimmer Twins’ latest book has everything. Horrible “toxins” making millions ill? Check? Mercury causing autism? Check. Medical experts “ignoring” all the signs that only parents could see? Check.

Feeling as though has been lobotomized after reading this book? Almost certainly check.

If course, the usual suspects are there, too, providing helpful blurbs of praise to tell you that how awesome Blaxill and Olmsted’s research skills are. Of course, given how many truly stinky bombs of idiocy Blaxill has deposited before and Olmsted’s amazing inability to find the Clinic for Special Children right in the heart of Amish country, anyone who can praise the Dimmer Twins for their research ability clearly wouldn’t know good (or bad) research skills if it bit them on the proverbial posterior. Maybe that’s why Jenny McCarthy herself contributed this blurb:

A fascinating read that shatters many myths of the very real autism epidemic that is happening before our eyes. Every parent will benefit from Olmsted and Blaxill’s well-researched story of the environmental factors contributing to autism, and perhaps leave with ideas for how to start recovering their child today.

Does this mean that Olmsted and Blaxill will be contributing information on autism quackery “biomed” treatments as well as their six year old scientifically discredited ideas that mercury in vaccines causes autism? Stay tuned. Perhaps my favorite two blurbs are the following. First, there’s one by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the man who, other than David Kirby, is arguably the most responsible for popularizing the myth that mercury in vaccines causes autism:

Olmsted and Blaxill’s devastating account shows how medical and manufacturing interests have mounted an assault on human health for decades and covered their tracks along the way. The Age of Autism is only the latest episode in centuries of crimes against nature but is in many ways the most troubling. Autistic children are the canaries in the coal mine; shame on all of us if we don’t heed their distress call.

“Crimes against nature”? To protect children from deadly infectious diseases? I suppose if you’re crunchy enough to think that it’s better to suffer from these diseases, depriving the poor, poor, pitiful microbes of the opportunity to sicken and kill children is a “crime against nature,” but among those in the reality-based community, not so much. Of course, it looks to me from the description of the book that Olmsted and Blaxill, realizing that the idea that mercury in vaccines causes autism has been discredited, plan on casting a wider net to blame mercury in the environment and industrial pollution for autism. Still, some of the promoters of this book apparently didn’t get the message, promoters like Deirdre Imus, wife of aging and unfunny washed up shock jock and sometime fellow traveler with the mercury militia Don Imus:

The Age of Autism lays out disturbing evidence that mercury from many sources is a major factor in the rise of this tragic epidemic. And vaccines are by no means off the hook. One wonders why doctors who gave children multiple vaccinations loaded with the neurotoxin thimerosal (mercury) didn’t also hand the kids a pack of cigarettes. Make sure your doctor sees a copy of this timely book.

My guess is that most pediatricians have enough to worry about without having to read the pseudoscientific ramblings of anti-vaccine propagandists. I do love the tired old comparison of vaccination and vaccine companies to tobacco companies. That one is so old and lame that it’s a favorite of everyone’s favorite anti-vaccine apologist pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon.

Remember, when I volunteered to try to blog Suzanne Somer’s cancer book last fall? I realize that I utterly failed to follow through after the first three or four chapters, but I have my reasons. First, my brain was in pain, so dense was the quackery and pseudoscience within the book. Second, I got very, very busy after that time and didn’t get around to reading the rest of it. Maybe I can do better this time. All I need is a review copy of The Age of Autism.

II wonder if Blaxill’s and Olmsted’s publicist would send me a copy if I wrote a polite request as a blogger. I promise to be fair and science-based in my assessment of the book. Really.