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“The Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children.” – Michael J. Goldberg, Elyse Goldberg

January 14, 2019 book review, autism
How children are mistakenly labeled 'autistic' when, in fact, they have a dysfunctional immune system.

'The Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children.' - Michael J. Goldberg, Elyse Goldberg

This isn't a very good book, but it presents some interesting ideas.
So, maybe worth a read anyway ???

What I liked :

  • This doctor seems to be genuinly interested in making his patients better. He's methodical in his treatments and above all, he adheres to the motto "do no harm". He also realizes there's no point in treating just the symptoms of an illness.
  • He thinks autism, CFS, ADHD and ADD are all related afflictions caused by a dysfunctional immune system. Part of the treatment should therefore be to eliminate as many allergens as possible.

What I didn't like :

  • This book is not well written. The author repeats himself quite a bit, and the content seems 'organized' by free association rather than by logical thought.
  • There's a bit of a god-complex going on here : "I'm right and everybody else doesn't know what they're doing", and "parents shouldn't be allowed to read information on the internet. They didn't get the same medical education that I had (a long time ago) and so they can't possibly understand what they are reading", and finally : "my research is the only type of research that's worthwhile, and hence the only type that should be funded".
  • I'm not sure what to think about the testimonials. The wording in them seems quite similar :
    "a sweet and beautiful boy", "a virus infection at a young age", "'A' word diagnosis", viva dr. Goldberg, "our boy is now top of his class", "he will be a productive member of society and contribute instead of needing a lifetime of care".

It's a bit of a sad book in that it confirms my own feelings about our health care system.
Most of the doctors that I've met seem to regard their profession as 'just a job'. They are content to follow the 'recipe' that they were taught in medical school. They are happy to suppress symptoms, but seem utterly uninterested in the underlying causes.
I often feel as if we (our society) should be much further along now in our treatments of illnesses ...

I agree with the author that it is very likely that the immune system is causing some of the symptoms associated with autism and CFS (I can't comment on ADHD/ADD). I don't however think it is the root cause of autism. Personally, I think that people born with autism (yes, born) have a fundamentally different brain, a brain that's easily excited and loves details.
The author however, wants us to believe that autism is -caused- by a virus (herpes or retro). More specifically, a virus with a preference for boys (not girls) of about 18 months of age, and an IQ that's above average. The author also claims that the way in which the disease presents itself is age-dependent : in young kids it causes autism, older kids get ADD/ADHD, and adults get CFS.
A quick read on Wikipedia lets me know that there seem to be 2 types of herpes virus and that about 67% of the world population younger than 50 has HSV-1. Some of the best known retrovirusses are probably the ones that cause HIV.
So ... I'm sorry, but the conclusion that these virusses cause autism seems a bit of a stretch.

The author also states that his research is the only research that's ever going to provide an answer to the 'autism question'. And yet, he also mentions in his book that he cherrypicks his patients. And even then, his success rate is far less than 100%.

Having a bit of an open mind should be a prerequisite for any scientist/doctor.