PBS Autism Now Series: Dr. Martha Herbert Extended Interview

MB Comment: When directly questioned about vaccines and autism, this neurologist is evasive. She obviously doesn’t want to end up like Wakefield — lynched by pharmaceutical industry puppets. However, this extended interview goes way beyond the edited version that appeared in the PBS video. This PBS series has set a new standard for autism media coverage. Parents who care about the health of their children now see reputable scientific sources citing environmental causes of autism — including vaccines.


Autism Now: Dr. Martha Herbert Extended Interview

Below is an extended transcript excerpt from the Autism Now series, edited for length, relevance and clarity, with Dr. Martha Herbert, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School …

ROBERT MACNEIL: How do you explain the hostility in a lot of the medical community to the treatments that parents of autistic children are using to treat these biomedical conditions? …

DR. MARTHA HERBERT: … medical doctors are trained to believe that drugs are more efficacious than remedies like diet. There’s a strong prejudice against diet and nutritional interventions … But if you think of the brain as being affected by the whole body, then when you affect the body, you can affect the brain. And that’s the rationale of what the parents are doing. The parents are doing, in my view, systems biology.

ROBERT MACNEIL: Could there be a subset of children with a genetic predisposition to have a toxic reaction to vaccines that, for the rest of the children, have no adverse affect?

DR. MARTHA HERBERT: I think it’s possible that you could have a genetic subgroup. You also might have an immune subgroup …

ROBERT MACNEIL: Is our wonderful science implicated in creating such changes in the environment that it could be, in part, responsible for creating autism?

DR. MARTHA HERBERT: Yes. I think our science has created changes in the environment that go beyond the capacity of our bodies and our planet to cope. And when you’re pushed past the point of coping, you pull back into systems that you can handle. Everybody gets repetitive and they do the same thing over and over again when they’re stressed. If you look at an autistic child, person, narrowing their field, it’s a stress response.

But our cells are stressed, too. Everything is stressed. We have too many chemicals coming in; we have too much information coming in, much of it pointless. And so I think we’ve created a glut of new chemicals, information and quick fixes that are not optimal. And people are caving. They’re not handling it. And the autistic children are caving really young and really dramatically …

I mean, it’s bad enough that there’s a controversy about vaccines; imagine if there’s a controversy about antibiotics. I mean – and look at where we’re putting so much antibiotic into the food supply for the farm animals. And then it gets into the water and into our…

ROBERT MACNEIL: And hormones.

DR. MARTHA HERBERT: Yeah. So all of these things, they are confusing to the body. I think we’re confusing the signaling systems. We’re confusing the information properties of our bodies and our brains.

I mean, in the past, we didn’t have a concept that there were information systems that you could confuse.

ROBERT MACNEIL: I’m particularly interested in this, and it would be easy to take it too far – this idea that we have so dramatically changed the environment. I’ve read numbers like 12,000 new chemicals that have been introduced – maybe it’s many more than that — into all the various aspects of life, from the farm to food to some that are known to be neurotoxic, like fire-retardant chemicals in sofa cushions and that sort of thing, which are required. And their toxicity was discovered because California passed one of the most progressive fire-retardant laws in the country.

DR. MARTHA HERBERT: My choice has been that I think we need to look at the environmental factors in relation to how the body is vulnerable to them.

Read the PBS Article

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