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The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  52 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Much of the public discussion about autism has missed the point about the possible causes. To solve this question, two writers began digging into the history of other degenerative neurological disorders. Their research led them to discover incredible and previously unacknowledged links between a strain of syphilis which left suffers raving mad, the spike in incidence of sc ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 13th 2011 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 14th 2010)
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My sympathies are to a certain extent with the authors of this this book, but for better or worse they fail to offer enough evidence to convince me of their central thesis. Namely, that mercury in one form or another is responsible for the dramatic increase in the number of cases of autism in the United States, the United Kingdom and to one degree or other the rest of the developed world. They do put a great many data points onto the paper, but simply cannot connect them.

I say they have my sympa
This book is written by a journalist; not a doctor or scientist. While this doesn't discredit him, I'm not eager to agree with his sometimes hyperbolic claims. He more or less blames mercury poisoning for everything but the common cold. According to this author, epidemics caused or worsened (by the treatment of) by mercury include hysteria, syphilis, general paralysis, schizophrenia, CROHN'S, lupus, and of course autism. The cause of autism has become a bonafide witchhunt, and I appreciate the c ...more
Pseudo science at its worst. Calls to mind an early 20th century study that determined that the low incidence of cervical cancer in Jewish women was attributable to their not eating pork. Coincidence is not causality.

The Age of Autism
By Dan Olmsted and Mark Blaxill

This book is 364 pages long and it took me a very long time to read it. I usually fly through books, but this one read more like a textbook from school. BUT it was super informative and I'm so glad that I read it.
I weeded through it and found some excellent information that I have typed up below. I know it will be time consuming, but I promise that you will learn A LOT.

My notes:
Worldwide mercury exposures have been skyrocketing in the last decade.
I really wanted to like this book as I know it has the right interest at heart, but I was ultimately disappointed that they did not prove their central thesis--i.e. that the rise in autism is caused by mercury and the increase in vaccinations. In fact, much of what they wrote about was not proved in this book at all. The whole beginning section of the book was a history of syphilis and hysteria and though interesting, it makes conjectures--about Mozart no less--that cannot possibly be proven. Th ...more
Missy Olive
This book was an interesting read though it was cumbersome to get through at times. I enjoyed the history of medical conditions particularly the use of mercury to treat syphilis and the subsequent side effect. The link between mercury and autism sure seems plausible based on the other mercury related conditions. I especially like how the authors discuss the gene/environment interaction. Everyone needs to read this book so that we can have candid discussions about necessary changes to our current ...more
Debra Morris
The book began interestingly. I found the whole connection between hysteria and mercury poisoning fascinating. I loved the way he went through Freud's early cases. The book became less strong as it approached the whole question of the connection between autism and mercury (vaccines). I did find the read informative, however and I'm glad I read the book.
Alannah Marie
This book is a bunch of pseudoscientific crap. Anyone who knows anything about Autism knows that the symptoms of Autism and those of mercury poisoning are absolutely different. Vaccines do not contain elemental mercury for a start nor do many contain thiomersal and those that do contain thiomersal do not have it at levels that are toxic. This book neglects to mention the actual history of Autism - that increases in diagnosis are the result of increased recognition of the condition. There have be ...more
the basic premise here is that mercury exposure leads to autism. defends wakefield, explains away contradictions.

the book made me think about disease in general though, and the sudden appearance of different maladies and teh way we treat them. it is true that we can't simply change the environment in which we evolved for billions of years and not get sick.

i spent as much time on the web researching claims as i did actually reading the book, so it was a great introduction to the controversy, an
Rehashes a lot of what I have learned over the last half-dozen years and fills in a lot of historical background.
Interesting history of the use of mercury in medicine.
Pseudoscientific crap. Andrew Wakefield admitted that he made the original study up, and further studies have proved that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The reason why a lot of kids show symptoms of autism after their shots is because autism symptoms start manifesting around that timeframe. There are children who can't get vaccines because of illnesses or allergies and rely on herd immunity. Refusing to vaccinate your children is not only wrong, but dangerous.

The reason why autism
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The Age of Autism: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic: Mercury, Medicine, and a Man-Made Epidemic

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