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Autism and Jenny McCarthy

by in Autism, Kitchen Sink, Lifestyle Tips April 23, 2009

PhotobucketBy Dr. Nicole Sundene
I was just reading this article by Jim Carey on vaccines and started thinking….
Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall at Jim Carey and Jenny McCarthy’s house? I have always been a fan of both of theirs and am delighted to see that they found each other.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a celebrity take on a cause that is personal to them. Jenny McCarthy’s son has autism and she wrote a book about it. As a physician, I appreciate celebrities personalizing these causes because I can only imagine how frustrating and alone it would feel to be a mom or dad of a child with Autism.
God bless Jenny McCarthy for writing a candid book on her personal experience. Nothing warms my heart like seeing that someone with a hilarious sense of humor also has a huge heart. On top of that, she is an educated and informed parent.
Jenny did not accept the doctor’s lack of answers for her son’s condition, or the medications that were not helping. She took responsibility for his health by spending hours on the internet researching her son’s condition. Now normally, this kind of parent or patient scares the heck out of most doctors. We don’t like you to know more than us.
After all her research, she then placed her son on a gluten free casein free diet. Is there a whole lot of research out there supporting this? Not really…a little bit. But who cares? It is wheat and dairy! It is not an anti-psychotic medicine that causes Tardive Dyskinesia as a side effect (given off label to boot! Meaning there is no FDA indication or research supporting its efficacy…)
So what is the harm in trying it? After a while, I think, in order to really problem solve conditions, you HAVE to think outside the box, outside the “standard of care” and go back to the basics…like that childhood game of “Hot and Cold”. Are we getting warmer or getting colder? Maybe there isn’t a name for what is wrong with you, so let’s instead play a game to find out what makes it better and what makes it worse.
Ok…then let’s avoid the things that make it worse and only do the things that make it better.
Sorry is that too simple?
PhotobucketSometimes I think that a preschooler would make the best doctor. We have over-complicated medicine to the point that doctors are so stressed out that half the time they cannot even think clearly or freely. We need our palm pilots and our Merck Manuals and heaven forbid that the internet is down and I can’t look stuff up on FP consult or Google it.
What!??!!??
What is that?
The internet is down today?
I have to THINK!!!
Oh the horror!!!
Trust me, I am not poking fun at any particular doctors as I am just as guilty of these mannerisms as the next doctor. I love my PDA and Google is my best friend. I will be the first person to ask you where your double blind randomized controlled trial is to support your treatment choice….
However, do we really need this kind of research for common sense?
If Jenny McCarthy comes in to my office and tells me that her son is better without gluten and casein, instead of acting in shock and disbelief shouldn’t I just rejoice with her that it was as simple as avoiding wheat and dairy? So we make sure her son gets enough fiber, zinc, b vitamins, and calcium somewhere else in their diet while we give it a whirl…why not?
Why must doctors always play the role of the authority figure in the situation? Listen I am happy to step down from my pedestal…I am scared of heights as it is. Why not let the parents play some of this “Hot and Cold?” game. Like the parent’s in the movie “Lorenzo’s Oil” that took curing their son’s rare condition in to their own hands.
If you or your child have a rare disease I highly recommend watching that movie with a BIG box of Kleenex. It may just be the inspiration you need to keep on going, and keep on doing what you are doing.
Now I am not saying that you should ever go against what your doctor says. I am simply suggesting thinking critically for yourself and your family. If something doesn’t feel right, if something doesn’t sound right, then question it.
Participate in your health care, ask questions, keep copies of your own labs, understand when your doctor says “I don’t know,” and allow for that to be an acceptable answer.
Too many doctors think they have to be the know-it-all. Let’s all keep in mind that “I don’t know” is actually a fantastic answer!
Doctors are only human beings, they are not gods (that may be new information to some of my colleagues in Orthopedics…he he.) One of the leading causes of death in America is from “Iatrogenic causes” a fancy way of saying that some medical person seriously messed up and killed you.
Whether you grab the wheel away, or just sit shot gun, whatever you do….don’t take a backseat to your health. Pay attention, take notes, let Jenny McCarthy and her son’s “recovery from autism” remind us that all hope is not lost when the current answer is “I don’t know.”
I believe that for every problem there is a solution it simply is a matter of us taking the time to look for it. Is the treatment that helped Jenny’s son, Evan, going to help your kid? I don’t know….but there is very little harm in trying it when done properly with the guidance of a nutritionist or qualified physician.
Thanks for stopping by my kitchen table,
Dr. Nicole
Related reading:
Autism Awareness Month
Autism: 10 Strategies for Implementing Diet Changes
The Autism Diet Connection
Autism: 10 Tips for Everyone

7 Comments
  1. The trouble is that Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey are both full of what makes the grass grow green regarding autism and vaccines. Did you really enjoy reading how vaccines are full of anti-freeze courtesy of Jim Carrey? Because they’re not. But wheres the harm right? Everythings lovely and wonderful.
    Are you really are a Doctor?
    Kev Leitch’s last blog post..Liar Liar

  2. Vaccines are full of preservatives and adjuvants such as aluminum (can’t really work without it….but researchers are actively working for an alternative) if you just read the labels. I’ve worked in fam practice for eight years as a medical assistant and have read the labels of every single vaccine hospitals administer…. and am a licensed physician in the state of WA if you would like to call and check my credentials. Feel free!!
    At first I was going to just delete your comment because I found it so incredibly rude….but I decided that everyone is entitled to their opinion….but what are YOUR credentials….?
    I don’t think the actual vaccine is the problem in autism, autism is likely a phenotype triggered by multifactorial environmental influences and stressors. Are you aware that a child suffers from aluminum toxicity 24 hours after they are given a shot? For most kids….no big deal….but for those that have this phenotype and are unable to metabolize toxins because they may have a malfunction in their homocysteine—->methionine pathways (yes I’m a biochemist too dear)
    Anyways I see from your site that you are blogging for autism…so lets all be polite and work together until a solution is found. Currently there is no right or wrong answer and the premise of this article is that DAN! parents should not have to feel ASHAMED for the health condition of their child….let’s talk about it in the open and get help.
    That’s all….if you would like to have a professional friendly debate I am more than happy. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, however I will not allot for lack of manners at the kitchen table. Elbows off please….

  3. Kev, I’m not sure what *your* qualifications are – as you didn’t list them. Are you a vaccine producer, doctor, nurse? Did you ask your pediatrician to allow you to read the ingredients on all their vaccinations? If not – how do you know what is in them?
    Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey have done quite alot of research on this particular matter, and I’d be willing to bet they HAVE asked to see an ingredient list. However, even if they didn’t, Dr. Sundene has years of experience with them and can attest to the ingredients herself.
    Why do you feel the need to attack her?
    Kat’s last blog post..Sinupret for Kids Giveaway!

  4. I should amend that last part to read:
    Dr. Sundene has had years of experience with “vaccines”, lol. I’m not sure she has years of experience with Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy.
    Kat’s last blog post..Sinupret for Kids Giveaway!

  5. I’m impressed Nicole, way to stand up for not only yourself but a whole group of us out here who can’t seem to get heard – and you’re giving us a chance!
    Thank God Jim Carey and Jenny McCarthy aren’t just going on their merry way now that her son’s doing so much better – I’m so thankful they’re voicing out for the rest of us who haven’t found the answers for our kids yet and or working to financially afford what we’ve found to work!
    Immunization advocates, c’mon. When I was a kid there were 10 altogether. Now there are 36?!? And they keep coming up with more!!! These are all for our health? Are we really getting healthier? I’m not seeing it.
    I’m not against antibiotics either, but when you pound a kid with chronic ear infections over and over and they keep coming back -we have an ear tube epidemic in this county as well, y’know, just doesn’t seem as extreme as autism, but my point is what may help sometimes may not always be the answer for everyone. These are human bodies we’re talking about, we can’t treat them like a piece of machinery all made the same way!
    Such a big, important puzzle. I can’t understand why anyone wants to get mad about looking at the pieces, considering what is at stake if we don’t start making some progress towards understanding . And also learning how respectfully support the individuals who live with autism daily…
    I LOVED your message about how to handle health care, Nicole! So many people seem afraid to question their doctor or look into their own health solutions. I’ve been yelled at by doctors several times now, it’s not fun because they do seem to play an authoritative role. Thank-you for your great article!

  6. Thanks ladies for your contributions, and Tara….NEVER let your doctor let you feel bad for taking an authoritative role. I’m sorry but YOU are the expert….not your doctor. YOU live with your kid every day and know him best. YOU have done the work….YOU know what you are talking about….you are an authority….keep looking….we all need to work together and negative commentary such as what is posted above simply is an obstacle in our course. When the community is convinced it is NOT vaccines and we actually know WHAT autism is….then ….then we can have ‘experts’….
    My friend that has a PhD in biochemistry and computer science studies autism and I consider him an “expert” and he reminded me that, “there are no experts on autism until we know what autism is.”

  7. […] kill them with kindness, but that still didn’t work, and I grew exceedingly depressed by the anti-Jenny McCarthy haters attacking my website (until I learned how to close comments and block IP addresses…he […]

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