The MMR controversy has been characterized by two one-sided discourses. In the medical world, the weight of opinion is overwhelmingly in favour of MMR. In the public world, the anti-MMR campaign has a much greater influence, centred on the fears of parents that the triple vaccine may cause autism in their children. Both professionals and parents struggle to cope with the anxieties this creates, but find it difficult to find a balanced account of the issues.
In MMR and Autism Michael Fitzpatrick, a general practitioner who is also the parent of an autistic child, explains why he believes the anti-MMR campaign is misguided in a way that will reassure parents considering vaccination and also relieve the anxieties of parents of autistic children. At the same time, this informative book provides health care professionals and health studies students with an accessible overview of a contemporary health issue with significant policy implications.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: What Parents Need to Know Part 1. How the Risk Society Turned on its Own Children 2. The MMR Debacle 3. The Trouble with Vaccines 4. Age of Anxiety Part 2. How Parents Turned Against MMR 5. Parents and Autism 6. Alternative Autism 7. The Campaign Against MMR Part 3. The Problem with Junk Science 8. The Lancet Paper 9. Missing Links 10. The Metamorphosis of Andrew Wakefield 11. Epilogue: What Doctors Need to Do
Michael Fitzpatrick is a general practitioner working in Hackney, London.
'Michael Fitzpatrick splendidly demolishes the argument that MMR causes autism by careful review of the scientific and other evidence. He also provides an insightful review of autism and its management, together with the role of risk aversion in health scares like the MMR. Every health worker, parent, politician and journalist concerned with these issues must read this brilliant book.' - Brent Taylor, Professor of Community Child Health, Royal Free and University College Medical School
'Fitzpatrick ... offers a profound and wide-ranging account including politics, philosophy and rationality, science and medicine, the media, the medics, history and autism itself from both sides of the fence and indeed the fence itself. Erudite without obscurity, economical without dryness, I found his book a gripping read - and so did my wife, a non medic.' - Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine
'This book is a tour de force. Extensively researched and impeccably argued.' - Health Watch
'Dr Fitzpatrick's book on the MMR affair goes well beyond the affair itself, and casts a searchlight on our society, indeed on our soul.' - Dr Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph
'Michael Fitzpatrick is a general practitioner and also the parent of a child with autism. Fortunately he is also a very good writer and has produced a readable, well-discussed book about the MMR-autism saga. The book is informative, detailed, and accurate.' - International Journal of Epidemiology