Pros: Shares and explains the biomedical approach to treating autism
Cons: A big advertisement for Dr. Kartzinel. Jenny's language. sharing specifics on dosages is dangerous
With April being Autism Awareness month and the launch of Jenny McCarthy's latest book, you have probably seen her on TV with Dr. Jerry Kartzinel talking about Autism. Together the two are working daytime and primetime TV promoting their latest book, Healing and Preventing Autism: A Complete Guide. The book is a collaboration between former playboy bunny turned Autism Mom aka Mother Warrior who has recovered her son Evan from Autism and Jerry Kartzinel, MD - "a well known Autism doctor" and father of a child with Autism.
In Healing and Preventing Autism, the duo have compiled a soup to nuts guide about the causes of autism (as they see it), an approach to treating it, and ways that it can be prevented for future generations.
The book is written in an interview style that is a shared question and answer session with Jenny asking questions, Dr. Kartzinel answering in mostly easy to understand medical and layman's terms. Jenny responding to the good doctor's answers by "dumbing" things down a bit and making analogies as well as sharing Evan's experience. The back and forth banter between the two makes a tough topic like Autism surprisingly easy to read about. Of course, I'm familiar with autism and biomedical approaches so most of the terms and abbreviations were not new to me. I could particularly relate to the chapter about Poop, I wish it weren't so.
McCarthy also treats the reader to amusing cartoons that make most political cartoons seem quite tame. The cartoons attack most mainstream medical doctors, vaccines, big Pharma, etc. I wasn't offended and actually chuckled at the art and yes, even found them enjoyable. I do not however think our pediatrician nor my family members who are doctors and nurses would care for them very much! Also, as this is Jenny McCarthy some of the language is a bit raw but you won't find the cursing like you did in her other books.
Quite a bit of focus in the book is on the damages caused by vaccines. However, I found that Healing and Preventing Autism was actually quite a bit more well rounded than its predecessors: Louder Than Words and Mother Warriors which maybe doesn't say all that much. Still, in this 3rd installment, Jenny and Dr. Kartzinel go past vaccines and shed light on toxins everywhere from the carpets under our feet to the food we eat, as well as acknowledging the family trees we come that may predispose children to autism from weak and damaged immune systems. Perhaps better titled the book would be: Healing and Preventing our damaged Immune System (which definitely wouldn't sell as well as a book on Autism - 1 in 150 children are affected).
In Healing and Preventing Autism you will find specific examples and recommendations for supplements, special diets, treating leaky gut, how to order blood tests and which ones, specifics about treatments like HBOT, B12, and chelation. The book in a lot of ways is a big giant advertisement for Dr. Kartzinel's supplements that he sells on the Kartner Health website (which topped most of the resource lists). As Dr. Kartzinel was co-author for the book, I can certainly see some nod to his products being given, but after about the hundredth occurrence I couldn't help but find myself seeing the dollar bills signs. Dr. Kartzinel has a waiting list that is 3 years long to get into for treatment, or you can read this just shy of 400 page book and learn how and why he does what he does. The sheer idea that some will do just that scares me. I found it troublesome that the book gives specific dosages and instructions on treatments that should only be done under the strict supervision of a doctor. When Jenny and Jerry start dishing about doses of meds and supplements as well as what required a prescription and what didn't - it got a touch uncomfortable for me. Info sharing is good, but arming parents with 'instructions' and medical treatment advice smacked dangerous to me.
Despite some druthers, there were things that I loved and things that I hated about Healing and Preventing Autism and I found myself finishing it up in about a day (a very rainy day). I recommend the book to families who are just starting or considering embarking on a biomedical approach.
I write this review from the standpoint of a mother, yes a Mother Warrior even, who has an amazing child with Autism who is thriving on the gluten free and casein free diet. I respect Jenny McCarthy as a mother of a child with autism who is recovered (recovering?) and doing great. I give her kudos for sharing her story and using her big loud voice and celebrity status to shine the light on toxins in vaccines and the environment. I also recognize that Jenny is a celebrity. She isn't the only voice for Autism, she isn't God, and her books should not be elevated to a bible status. That being said, while there is no cure for Autism, there is hope for the future.
Other Related Reviews:
Epinions Review: Mother Warriors
Epinions Review: Louder Than Words
Note: portions of this review are published on my personal Autism blog: The Bon Bon Gazette.