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Generation Rescue: Rebranding in service of autism grift?

When it comes to pseudoscience, conspiracy theories, quackery, and antivaccine nonsense, remember that, very frequently, it’s all about the grift. Even when it’s not, the grift inevitably takes over.

As I was writing about everybody’s favorite über-quack turned über-crank Mike Adams last week, I made a point about how, for him, it’s all about the grift. Indeed, I went so far as to included in the title of my post, “Griftus Interruptus,” the implication being that the banning of his NaturalNews empire from Facebook was an interruption to his grift. Basically, from my viewpoint (and that of medicine and science) NaturalNews.com exists mainly to do one thing: Sell dubious products whose efficacy is not supported by science, as well as conspiracies whose existence is not supported by evidence. The latter, of course, is a tool to sell the former. After all, if you believe that the CDC is hiding evidence that vaccines cause autism you might be potential customer for the cornucopia of supplements, “detox” treatments, and the like sold on Adams’ site. If you believe that there is a “deep state” conspiracy to take away your guns and crush freedom, you might well be a potential customer for various survivalist gear that Adams sells. Adams, of course, promotes those two false narratives and so many more conspiracies, cleverly jumping onto the Trump bandwagon and embracing alt right conspiracy theories when they became popular during the rise of Trump’s candidacy. Facebook’s decision to ban NaturalNews, of course, didn’t completely interrupt Adams’ grift, but it did cut into his reach. This brings us to Generation Rescue, because I just realized that there was a story by Anna Merlan a week and a half ago showing that this principle doesn’t just apply to people like Mike Adams.

I’ve been following Generation Rescue for a long time now, ever since even shortly after the birth of this blog.. Longtime readers will know that Generation Rescue was formed by investment banker J.B. Handley and his wife Lisa, who believed that mercury in the thimerosal preservative in childhood vaccines had caused their child’s autism. In 2005, they founded Generation Rescue based on the idea that autism was caused by the mercury in the thimerosal used in vaccines until around 2002, which is when the last lots of thimerosal-containing vaccines expired after thimerosal was removed. Two or three years later, as Jenny McCarthy was making a name for herself as an antivaccine activist based on her book, she became the president of Generation Rescue and has been on its board of directors ever since. During that time, in the later part of the first decade of the 21st century, McCarthy appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, published a book (Louder Than Words: A Mother’s Journey in Healing Autism,) claiming that the MMR vaccine had caused her son Evan’s autism and that she had cured him with “biomedical interventions, and leading a march on Washington to “Green Our Vaccines.” She described Evan’s diagnosis thusly to Oprah in 2007:

Right before his MMR shot, I said to the doctor, I have a very bad feeling about this shot. This is the autism shot, isn’t it? And he said, “No, that is ridiculous. It is a mother’s desperate attempt to blame something on autism.” And he swore at me. . . . And not soon thereafter, I noticed that change in the pictures: Boom! Soul, gone from his eyes.

It’s a frequent narrative that we hear from antivaxers, basically that their “real child” was somehow “stolen” or “taken away” by vaccines. Similarly, his “recovery” is a not uncommon story in which antivaxers confuse correlation with causation because autism is a condition of developmental delay, not stasis, and a not insignificant number of children with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis improve considerably. In any event, it’s a profoundly insulting narrative to autistic people, but it resonated among the antivaxers who supported Generation Rescue, for whom it is an article of faith that “something” in vaccines causes (or at least predisposes) autism and that the child can be “recovered” by “autism biomed” treatments, some of which can be dangerous (e.g., chelation therapy and Miracle Mineral Supplement, the latter of which is in fact a form of bleach). McCarthy became the celebrity face of Generation Rescue, with J.B. Handley running things in the background as she appeared regularly at the yearly autism biomed quackfest Autism One and spewed dangerous misinformation about vaccines hither, thither, and yon, such as what she said in this famous 2009 interview in TIME Magazine:

I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their fucking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s shit. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.

Ten years on, I’m amazed at how little antivaccine rhetoric has changed. There’s the same deflection of blame for their actions onto the pharmaceutical companies, particularly in light of what’s happening now that wasn’t happening ten years ago: Massive measles outbreaks in the US. Unfortunately, the return of disease, in this case the measles, hasn’t changed antivaxers’ minds, although states are closing the loophole known as personal belief exemptions that let so many opt out of vaccines “just because” or because, as I like to describe it, “I don’t wanna.”

Ten years ago, Generation Rescue was one of the most prominent antivaccine groups, complete with a celebrity president, Jenny McCarthy, who used to go around with her then boyfriend, comedian Jim Carrey, promoting antivaccine misinformation and autism quackery to “heal vaccine injury” in the form of the horrifically misnamed “autism biomed” while claiming that vaccines have antifreeze and aborted fetal tissue in them. Interestingly, though, in recent years Generation Rescue seems to have gone relatively quiet. First, for reasons that I never figured out, the Autism One quackfest ceased to be affiliated with Generation Rescue a few years ago, and I haven’t paid a lot of attention to Generation Rescue.

Until now.

I’d totally forgotten about this article by Anna Merlan about Generation Rescue, and rereading it sent me to her March article about Generation Rescue. The titles tell you a lot:

The first thing I learned from the more recent of the two articles is that the Generation Rescue website is offline, with a message on a webpage that reads simply, “Stay tuned for what’s next.” Merlan notes:

Even before the site disappeared, there were signs that McCarthy and Generation Rescue hoped to retool the organization into a “functional medicine” nonprofit, rather than one focused on the controversial and non-scientific autism recovery claims they’ve made for years. The apparent rebrand feels almost Goop-esque, a way for McCarthy and the organization to enter a much broader and less clearly defined “wellness” space, where many more kinds of questionable pseudoscience are possible.

My skeptical antennae definitely started twitching, because I remembered immediately something Generation Rescue did in 2007. Remember how I said earlier that Generation Rescue was founded on the idea that mercury in vaccines was The One True Cause of Autism? I’m not kidding. Here’s what Generation Rescue said before the makeover:

Generation Rescue believes that childhood neurological disorders such as autism, Asperger’s, ADHD/ADD, speech delay, sensory integration disorder, and many other developmental delays are all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning. When you know cause, you can focus on cure. Thousands of parents are curing their children by removing the mercury from their children’s bodies. We want you, the parent, to know the truth.

That’s pretty clear and unambiguous, indeed amazingly so for such a kooky site, don’t you think? It’s the mercury, period, and chelation is the cure!! At least, that was Generation Rescue then. Here’s Generation Rescue said after its first rebranding:

We believe these neurological disorders (“NDs”) are environmental illnesses caused by an overload of heavy metals, live viruses, and bacteria. Proper treatment of our children, known as “biomedical intervention”, is leading to recovery for thousands. The cause of this epidemic of NDs is extremely controversial. We believe the primary causes include the tripling of vaccines given to children in the last 15 years (mercury, aluminum and live viruses); maternal toxic load and prenatal vaccines; heavy metals like mercury in our air, water, and food; and the overuse of antibiotics.

That was the first broadening of Generation Rescue’s message and mission. Basically, Generation Rescue had no choice. Five years after the removal of mercury from the vast majority of childhood vaccines, you’d expect that, if mercury in vaccines really were a major cause of autism, then five years would be long enough to start to see a decline in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in younger children, given that autism is most frequently diagnosed between ages 3-5. It wasn’t happening. It never happened. So the rebranding was a face-saving maneuver that allowed Generation Rescue to free itself from its One True Cause of Autism while broadening the cause of autism to not just mercury, but to all vaccines, including the ones that never contained thimerosal, and all sorts of vague, environmental “toxins” and “heavy metals.” Indeed, I said at the time about the mercury-autism idea, “Even zealots can’t defend this hypothesis any more,” noting that they’ve learned how to make their ideas about environmental causes of autism so vague, encompassing vague alternative medicine concepts like “toxic loads” and other components of vaccines, that they’re now practically untestable, guaranteeing that the pseudscience can continue to flow for years to come.

Merlan refers to her March report in the newer article noting something about Generation Rescue, an “evolution” if you will, that’s been going on for a while:

Yet there were signs during our reporting that Generation Rescue’s operations were, if not winding down, seeming to shift. A “grant program” that gave families a small financial stipend in order to guide them into GR-approved medical treatments and services — vitamin supplements, two visits with GR’s brand of medical experts, urine and stool analysis — was suspended. McDonald was replaced with Zack Peter, an aspiring podcasting star who’s in his mid-twenties and who has no apparent experience running a nonprofit, though he did previously work as an intern at GR. A yearly conference run by GR, the Autism Education Summit, didn’t happen last year. (At one point, Generation Rescue appears to have also had plans to build an “integrative health clinics” in Illinois and Missouri, plans that, by 2017, had ground to a halt.) GR also appeared to be quietly taking steps away from describing itself as an organization primarily concerned with autism. On Facebook the organization’s bio still reads, “Generation Rescue is the leading national organization that provides hope, information and immediate treatment assistance to families affected by autism spectrum disorders.” But around April, the group’s Twitter bio changed: the descriptor no longer uses the word “autism” at all. Instead, it read “Leading national nonprofit dedicated to providing access to the latest research and solutions in functional medicine to raise healthy families.”

So, first Generation Rescue stepped away from the rigid idea that mercury in vaccines is what causes autism and that neurodevelopmental disorders are “all misdiagnoses for mercury poisoning.” Twelve years later, as it has become ever more clear, from a scientific standpoint, that vaccines do not increase the risk of autism spectrum disorder, Generation Rescue seems to have started to undergo a new rebrand to cease to be just an “autism charity.” And get a load of the Elevated Summit, the Generation Rescue event held in May with McCarthy as a featured speaker.

For instance, there’s Will Cole, a chiropractor whom we’ve met before. Basically, he’s heavily into “functional medicine,” or, as I like to put it, “Have your doctor run a bunch of useless functional medicine tests.” As I’ve discussed more times than I can remember, functional medicine claims to get at the “root cause” of disease by basically running every test in the book, validated, unvalidated, uncertain, or downright quacky, after which the functional medicine practitioner will try to correct every abnormal lab value he finds. Whatever value “functional medicine” might have, it is only in small overlaps with conventional medicine. It’s basically quackery that forgets what every intern is taught, namely to treat the patient, not the lab values, that you shouldn’t order lab values unless they are directed by clinical indications, and that if you order 100 lab values, chances are very high that at least five of them will be abnormal by random chance alone.

The other speakers were no better:

  • David Foss. A chirorpctor who likes to adjust newborns and believes in “detox” and hyperbaric oxygen for indications for which there is no scientific support.
  • Rajka Milanovic, MD and Peter Kozlowski, MD. More functional medicine quacks, whom I might have to look into more. Dr. Kozlowski bragss about having trained with Mark Hyman and Deepak Chopra. This is not something to be proud of.
  • Ernesto Gutierrez, MD, a.k.a. “The Stem Cell Guy.” Great, another stem cell quack.
  • Jess Peatross, MD. She’s a trifecta of quackery: A Gerson therapy practitioner, a cannabis therapy practitioner, and a functional medicine doctor.
  • Habib Sadeghi, DO. He tops even Dr. Peatross in quackery, specializing in “multi-disciplinary treatment for chronic illnesses that include osteopathic, anthroposophical, environmental, psychosomatic, family, and German new medicine, as well as clinical pharmacology.” German New Medicine and anthroposophic medicine? Holy quackery, Batman!
  • Jared Skowron, ND. Here we go with another “Not-a-Doctor” naturopath who boasts of using “natural therapies” for autism.
  • Peter Sullivan. He’s the founder and CEO of Clear Light Ventures, Inc., and uses detox and believes in “electromagnetic field sensitivity.”
  • Terry Wahls, MD. She’s actually a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa, showing how low quackademic medicine will go. She claims to have cured her multiple sclerosis with primarily diet. Let’s just say that neither Steve Novella nor I found her anecdote credible.

As Merlan drily notes about this “evolution” of Generation Rescue:

A cynic would suggest that there’s more money in a broad and vague set of “cutting edge treatments and therapies to heal the autoimmune spectrum” than there is in focusing solely on autism. On their website, the Elevated Health Summit promised its sponsors and potential sponsors access to women aged 35-44 who are “sassy, savvy and health-conscious,” and who have “key buying power/influence.”

Very Goop-like indeed.

Even more Goop-like is how Merlan described Generation Rescue in her earlier report:

Camel’s milk. B12 lollipops. Hyperbaric oxygen chambers. “Ion-cleansing” foot baths. Chelation therapy. Gluten-free diets. Casein-free diets. Massive doses of nutritional supplements. All of these products and services have two things in common. First, mainstream (and widely trusted) medical bodies don’t recognize them as a reputable or effective treatment for autism. Second, they’re all recommended by—and in some cases sold outright through—Generation Rescue, a charity for autistic kids and their families whose board president and most famous face is actress Jenny McCarthy. A deep dive into the world of Generation Rescue has revealed that the organization doesn’t just promote ineffective or medically unproven or downright debunked treatments for autism (all of which has been demonstrated before): The organization and the people associated with it profit from them, too. In two cases, Generation Rescue has heavily promoted products owned by past board members, at the time they served on the board: hyperbaric oxygen chambers and B12 lollipops, both of which have been presented on GR’s website as near-miraculous treatments for symptoms of autism. In another case, Generation Rescue has lavishly praised and promoted products made by a corporate sponsor—the maker of a ionic footbath that supposedly “cleanses” “toxins” from the body—without directly revealing the company’s business relationship with GR. Families can also apply for “grants” from Generation Rescue, which funnels them into receiving treatment—and buying more products—from handpicked naturopathic doctors and GR partner organizations.

The details are definitely worth reading further in her article. It’s just another bit of evidence how, be it Alex Jones, Mike Adams, Jenny McCarthy, or anyone spreading conspiracy theories and promoting quackery, it’s all about the grift. Even if it wasn’t about the grift in the beginning, as was likely the case for Generation Rescue, eventually it becomes about the grift. It’s a common evolution.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

44 replies on “Generation Rescue: Rebranding in service of autism grift?”

It’s a frequent narrative that we hear from antivaxers, basically that their “real child” was somehow “stolen” or “taken away” by vaccines.

This is so much like the changeling legend.

Changelings were autistic children and developmentally disabled children. Contemporary accounts make that completely clear.

I couldn’t agree more – there’s so many parallels to the myths and legends of demonic possession as well.

They appear to literally see an autistic individual’s personality as a separate, even hostile entity that the “real” person needs rescuing from.

While I think many of the “leaders” are simply on the grift (Wakefield, the Geiers, RFK Jr, Riveria etc) I think those who are the “true believers” in the purported cause of Generation Rescue are straight up calling for the autistic neurotype to be eliminated, at the very least drugged into a stupor that serves as an approximation of “normal”.

I’ve drawn this comparison before but genuinely it reminds me very much of the way people used to treat homosexuality – it was something to be “cured” – and just as marks were fleeced out of thousands for junk “conversion therapies” aimed at “curing” their kids of being gay now we have Generation Rescue who are willing to shack up with whatever quacks will cut them in for a share in their profits off whatever bullsh#t “cure” they are peddling. All the while pretending to speak for autistic people and their interests, it’s sickening.

Maybe there was a case back in the day to argue that Generation Rescue was well intentioned but woefully misguided, now I’m with Orac it’s all about the grift. And this latest broadening of their scope only reinforces the point.

The “Elevated Summit” screenshot in the Merlan’s article regarding the “rebrand” is a textbook marketing slide pitching a trade show stand or speaking panel to businesses in whatever industry your event is about. Right down to the detailed demographic breakdown of age, gender, and what they are interested [in buying]. They even talk about it being a “networking experience to connect with other wellness influencers” on the website.

I’d not heard of Zack Peter before.. but he seems like a charmer doesn’t he? From a little digging it seems like he’s been doing his best to exploit his autistic brother for his own promotion as well. Sounds like he’ll fit right in at GR.

I recall that Zack was featured at AoA years ago as a comic and writer. His Wikipedia page says that he began as a teen .

Isn’t it interesting that so many of the luminaries in anti-vax start out by writing about their autistic family members?

of the way people used to treat homosexuality

Slight nitpicking:
From what I have read here and there, you can use the present tense.
I think the current US VP is adamant that Xian conversion therapy is working. And isn’t some current US deputy/senator claiming to have been “cured” of gayness?
/nitpicking

at the very least drugged into a stupor

Drugged, beaten, abused… Until the child behaves “normally”.
Yeah, parental love could go in some very dark paths. Too many parents end up loving the idea of the perfect child more than the child actually being here.

@Athaic

Sadly I think your nitpick is spot on.. it does appear that (unfortunately) that particular unpleasantness hasn’t been completely stamped out yet 🙁

A cynic would suggest that there’s more money in a broad and vague set […]

Keen observers of reality are often cynic. As the saying goes, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

In vaccine-related news, one conclusion drawn from a recent Gallup poll is that we French are world champions at being suspicious of vaccines. Or about anything sciency-related, really. Just before the US. Yeah for my country, I guess, we do something better than the Americans.
(the French part is not detailed in the provided link, it was the ‘take home’ analysis of French newspaper Le Monde this morning)

The poll itself has plenty of more positive results. Thankfully. Although I feel like the journalists analyzing the poll are conflating opinions (‘how people see themselves’) and facts (‘how people actually behave’). Science-deniers tend to see themselves/present themselves as science-savvy people.
Which bring us back to Goop and Generation Rescue, and I’ll stop there before derailing the thread.

But aren’t the French proud of one of the great heroes of vaccination, the great Louis Pasteur? I mean, hello, germ theory? And his rabies vaccine!

I must be missing something.

@ JustaTech

Oh, we are. Well, there must be a few French who bought the full antivax rhetoric and believe he recanted on his deathbed, but aside those…
I’m afraid we French can be just as pigheaded and Dunning-Krugering as any other human being, even Americans (joking – we really are not so different). Let’s be honest, we French are the very definition of the obnoxious know-it-all.
There is in France a strong (and to some point, healthy) current of suspicion toward institutions and corporations. At least for the past century. Unfortunately, that’s fertile ground for anti-intellectualism in general and antivaxer ideas in particular.

Judging from what I read about one French hotbed of measles vaccination refusal, you are going to find lot of similarities with American vaccine refusal. Remember the vacationing French family who brought their child infected with measles into Costa Rica a few months ago? The child was from a private school near St-Tropez. Rather well-to-do social class, tend to believe that government’s rules are more like guidelines. At least two family physicians following the children at that school didn’t report measles cases, while this is mandatory in France.

RFK Jr finally gave up on thimerosal also, changing “The Mercury Project” to the “Children’s Health Defense”.

He’s now appearing on ads for a personal injury law firm engaged in suing Monsanto about RoundUp. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Off on a tangent, does RFK, Jr have spasmodic dysphonia?

Yes, he does. The actress in the scary movie “Us” used it as a model for the scary version of her character. My youngest, who is getting a masters in speech/language pathology specializing in voice disorders, says that is a very unfortunate thing as it stigmatizes those with it.

As much as I dislike his anti-science stance that includes lying, I am not going to judge on his voice disorder.

I suppose we could be, um, charitable and say they haven’t earned a profit, yet. May that continue.

Is it me, or does the now suspended grant program sound like a free cigarette sample to someone else: get them hooked by a freebie and they will be paying customers for life?

And I wonder how believers feel about these kinds of revelations about organizations that build on claiming everyone else is corrupt.

Related, this should have been here, not on the other article – for readers not following it:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/meet-the-new-york-couple-donating-millions-to-the-anti-vax-movement/2019/06/18/9d791bcc-8e28-11e9-b08e-cfd89bd36d4e_story.html?fbclid=IwAR3Nhtut9VbKQdVli0I8GFdIE_nNiU6PsqcY_Ht5Jm8uMoy_MNwSY13VcZc&utm_term=.8ab013687747

Thanks, Dorit.
Reading the article I have to laugh at the dodging – the weaving and bobbing – that BigLies performs when it is shown he grabs a large salary from his small “non-profit”:
“In a written response to questions from The Post, Bigtree said the compensation from ICAN is currently his only salary.”
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Oh, really?
I wonder if Dull charges speaking fees for his appearances at various anti-vaccine events.
I wonder if Dull reaps any financial reward from his internet radio show and its sponsors.
I wonder if Dull is part of the “legal fees”, as a consultant or some-such, that his ICAN “charity” spent (We can assume the bulk went to RFK, Jr. and the various anti-vax shysters).
As the article shows, paying yourself from your own 501 by running a company that you and your 501 donate money to is a common trick to get around the IRS discovering that your 501(c)(3) is not a “charity” but a personal money-making endeavor.
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Mostly I wonder how the principals of the anti-vaccine events and businesses that pay money to Bigliar to appear at their event or advertise their company reconcile Dull’s statement that he doesn’t have any income other than his ICAN 501(c)(3) salary.
Not really – They are all members of the same anti-vaccine grifting club so they know lying to the public is a prerequisite to membership… The important thing is to keep the grift rolling in and spread it around to the other grifters.
.
Of course, Dull could be using the mental linguistic/semantics tactic often employed by swindlers that all his other income is not in the form of a “salary” so he did not misrepresent the scale of his financial interest in his anti-vaccine grift.
.
Thanks for the link to the very good article.

Jenny McCarthy is a grifter par excellence– she manages to get gigs that exploit her limited abilities. When she married a Wahlberg, she acquired a reality show about her marriage; later, she got a satellite radio show. She has pushed her own brand of mixed drinks. Many more that I can’t remember at present.

About how woo spreads ( like the puddle of runny goo that it is):
AoA once branched out into the Canary Party that included other chronic illnesses as well as ASDs.
Similarly, woo-meisters go beyond natural health issues to political and social woes. Why limit your charlatanry? – there’s a big world out there. See NN, PRN, Mercola

Another example:
the Segal family’s Focus on Autism became Focus for Health see Focus for Health.org
They have been active I woo-ish activities for another and may have sponsored AutismOne and other events

Orac may have written a little about them/ Brian Hooker was involved

She also acquired a loyal fanbase of grown-up Blockheads who’ll pay excellent money to go to any event Donnie will be at. I posted below, there was a Summit last September, I personally know people who went strictly to see him. Most don’t believe her BS and actively hate her privately, but will pay money to see him, which goes into the GR coffers.

That’s good to know.
I notice that he and his family have had a few reality shows. he’s been in movies and television shows ( see Wikipedia/ IMBd. So perhaps HE is the draw, not her.
I assumed she would aim up when dating/ marrying though.

“A yearly conference run by GR, the Autism Education Summit, didn’t happen last year.”

This did happen, in September. I also commented on Anna’s story when it first went up. Source: I’m a Blockhead (NKOTB fan) and I know several fans who went because Donnie Wahlberg, her husband, was there. The main page link is broken, but here’s the old closed Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-autism-education-summit-2018-tickets-39462109231#. I’ve seen pictures of people who went. There was a cocktail party where people wore dumb Flapper headbands. It was held. Whether there will be one this year, I don’t know; I haven’t heard anything in the circles and can’t find info.

Most of the people who’ve attended those, and other events like the Poker tournament in Chicago, are NKOTB fans who are hoping to see Donnie. The marriage has pulled in otherwise smart people, most of whom probably vaccinate their kids and know she’s full of crap, but still donate to it because Donnie will be there. I’d say it’s not out of the realm of possibility that’s part of their rebrand–the NKs aren’t Top 40 anymore, but they have a sizeable, loyal following of women–and men–in their mid-30s and 40s who have their own money to blow.

So happy to be a Joe-girl.

German New Medicine and anthroposophic medicine? Holy quackery, Batman!

Indeed.

It is probably all you need to know about the event.

WTF is wrong with casein now? I swear these idiots see a word they can’t pronounce and think it can’t possibly be good for you.

Sounds like a lot of work for the parents and an additional layer of isolation for the kid (“no, you can’t have any cake” “no, you can’t have mac’n’cheese”). Hopefully it’s gone out of style?

It’s still very much in style for all kinds of reasons. Not sure about autism, but I hear a lot of people touting it as what ails a lot of things.

Speaking of the ultimate antivax grifter:

Did you know that two of Andrew Wakefield’s children, who he describes as “intelligent and caring individuals” decided against careers in medicine because they would have had to “risk multiple and repeated vaccinations” in order to go through medical school? (this claim is made in comments by Wakefield in the foreword of Brett Wilcox’s recently published book “Jabbed”).

Apart from the insanity of adults giving up on the idea of becoming a physician because of fear of vaccines, what “multiple and repeated” vaccinations would be needed in order to attend med school these days? I can recall only getting hepatitis B vaccination, and that wasn’t even mandatory. The only shots I can think of that might be required now are annual flu shots and maybe one-time pertussis vaccination.

I’d be lots more apprehensive about the nasty upper respiratory infections one tends to contract during the pediatrics rotation.*

*reminds me of the time in residency I was rounding with the infectious diseases team, and we got on a hospital elevator with a mother and child (who proceeded to sneeze and cough prodigiously, naturally without covering its mouth). Once the two had exited onto their floor, the attending turned to us and sagely noted, “A vector.”

Hospitals where medical students would do their clinical rotations probably require all students to be up to date on childhood vaccines. If a student is not up to date, they can’t attend clinical rotations. That would mean MMR, Varicella, DTaP, Hep A, polio, and possibly rotavirus. Mengineococcal. Some school might require Hep B others may still make it optional. My nursing school requires it. An annual flu shot.

So yeah, Wakefield’s kids would have to get a lot of shots but “risk”? Gimme a break.

I see this as a good thing. I don’t think we want or need Wakefield’s kids to be doctors if they aren’t willing to use best medical practices for themselves.

OT but breaking and, if true, very good news:
https://www.thedailybeast.com/dem-megadonor-pulls-funding-from-anti-vax-group-blames-wife-for-initial-involvement?source=email&via=desktop
“Dem MegaDonor Pulls Funding From Anti-Vax Group, Blames Wife For Initial Involvement
Albert Dwoskin says he is no longer backing the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute and has seen the light when it comes to vaccinations.

Real estate developer Albert Dwoskin said that he cut funding from the Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute long before the current measles outbreak heightened interest in vaccination policy. The group closed at the end of 2018 after he and his wife, Claire, began divorce proceedings.”

.
Looks like Daddy Warbucks really wasn’t down with the kookery after all.
Divorce…
Sometimes it’s a wonderful thing.
.
Now who is going to fund all those studies by those science muppets Shaw and Tomljenovic?

We can only hope that CMSRI is no more BUT
there’s always the possibility that she got a divorce settlement that she’ll use in similar ways. Her own personal group?

-btw- I did read somewhere ( possibly here) that Lucija T. was no longer researching that area. Maybe a new woo?
I’ll try to find it.

Wow! I am writing a Masters thesis on CMSRI and agnotology (manufactured debate). I’m almost sorry to see them go. And the post a bit further down with the comment about Shaw being finished with vaccines. Exley will be all on his own-some.

I was only able to find 2017 references to her religious beliefs- a former Catholic she went Fundie.
( I could see how that could relate to Gardasil misinformation)

Shaw and Tomljenovic appear to be finished.

Shaw said he’s likely finished working on papers concerning vaccines after this retraction.

“I’m honestly not sure at this point that I want to dabble in [vaccines] anymore,” he said. “We have some projects that are ongoing that have been funded that we feel duty-bound to complete that are on this topic. Frankly, I doubt if I will do it again after that.”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/ubc-autsism-vaccine-paper-retraction-chris-shaw-1.4351855

Former Roman Catholic priest for 22 years Richard Bennett (www.BereanBeacon.org) interviews Dr. Tomljenovic about her conversion away from the false religions of Roman Catholicism & Darwin’s theory of evolution & to true Biblical Christianity.

So she’s an evolution denier too? (I am not going to watch 41 minutes of Fundie babble)
That fits.
Last I knew Suzy Humphries was also into and proselytizing some weird Fundie Christianity with some other woman.
But, of course, bearing false witness about vaccines is totally OK wit da Big Man/Woman/Being Upstairs…
.
“Get thee to a nunnery” and out of science, Lucija.

Shaw said he’s likely finished working on papers concerning vaccines after this retraction.
“I’m honestly not sure at this point that I want to dabble in [vaccines] anymore,” he said.

Shaw has published several antivax papers since then. Whether he will continue without CMSRI funding remains to be seen. Exley, of course, is touting for donations through his university.

Yesterday, Mikey himself ( NN) called forth fire and fury because of abortion ((shudder)).

Okay.
Is it any accident that woo and fundamentalism often appear together? For years, he never spoke like this. Even Null, now occasionally discusses his deep religious beliefs, morality and ETHICS– which are obviously absent from SBM. And his RESPECT for LIFE ( code word). Which is interesting being that his original audience was NY/ CA liberals.
They’re targeting the fundies.

“Shaw said he’s likely finished working on papers concerning vaccines after this retraction.

“I’m honestly not sure at this point that I want to dabble in [vaccines] anymore,” he said.”

But we’ve so enjoyed his dabbling. Or dribbling. And without Shaw, what will Retraction Watch do for stories?*

*actually there’s no shortage of colorful research hanky-panky, especially as you get into woo-esque and/or obscure research areas where there are fewer eagle-eyed observers.

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