Host: American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Few controversies in modern medicine are as emotionally charged as the one over the causes of autism and its possible cures. Journalists, celebrities, and a few medical researchers have claimed that some long-used vaccines cause autism and that various substances and procedures can cure it.
Wading into this controversy is Paul Offit, M.D., the distinguished immunologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and co-inventor and co-developer of a rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006 to protect children against a potentially fatal infection. Offit’s 2005 book, The Cutter Incident, recounted how litigation over the polio vaccine in the 1950s was transmuted into the dangerous legal environment that today threatens many useful pharmaceuticals. Last year, Offit’s Vaccinated provided a vivid intellectual biography of Maurice Hilleman, the extraordinary Merck researcher who developed many of today’s most valuable life-saving vaccines. Now, Offit digs into the autism controversy with his latest book, Autism’s False Prophets (Columbia University Press, September 2008). In unusually straightforward yet carefully argued prose, Offit explains how science has exonerated long-used vaccines from blame and why numerous putative cures for this devastating condition are ineffective or worse. Offit will be joined by Roy Richard Grinker, a professor at George Washington University and author of Unstrange Minds, a book about his daughter's autism. AEI’s John E. Calfee will moderate.
Added by insideronline on September 29, 2008