Defeating Autism: A Damaging Delusion

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Routledge, Oct 27, 2008 - Medical - 184 pages
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Autism: disease, disorder or difference?

What causes autism – genes or environment?

Can biomedical treatments cure autism, and are they safe?

An increased public awareness of autism has resulted in a rising trend of diagnoses, creating the impression of an ‘epidemic’. Many parents of children newly diagnosed with autism have been impressed by plausible theories blaming vaccines and other environmental causes. Many have also been captivated by claims that ‘biomedical’ treatments – including special diets and supplements, detoxification and medications – can achieve dramatic results.

In Defeating Autism, Michael Fitzpatrick, a family doctor and father of a son with autism, questions the scientific basis of environmental explanations of autism and exposes the incoherence of unorthodox ‘biomedical’ theories and therapies. This book reveals that these therapies are far from pioneering interventions and they remain unsubstantiated by scientific authorities. Campaigns promising to ‘defeat or cure autism now’ have attracted much support among parents struggling with their difficult children. But the crusade against autism risks dehumanising and stigmatising those who are identified as autistic and their families. This compelling book is essential reading for students and professionals working in the field of autism, as well as academics concerned with the public understanding of science and the treatment of scientific and medical controversies in the media.

 

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Contents

When quackery kills
1
2 Toxic childhood
14
3 Age of autism
26
4 Angry parents
37
5 Unorthodox biomedics
57
6 Genes or toxins?
76
Ten years on
88
8 Mercury and beyond
99
9 From diet to detox
114
10 Treatment issues
130
Being appropriately critical
142
Bibliography
148
Index
162
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About the author (2008)

Michael Fitzpatrick has worked as a general practitioner in East London for 25 years. He writes on health matters for a range of medical and mainstream publications, including two previous books for Routledge: The Tyranny of Health and MMR and Autism.

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