Wednesday, May 31, 2006


I promise to post something substantive about Autism One in the next few days, but it’s been a little hectic at work and I haven’t had the time to do it justice. In the meantime, let me tell you about something that happened toward the end of our trip.

We stayed an extra day in the Chicago area, and were able to get some fairly good seats at Wrigley Field (not that there are any bad seats there) to see the Cubs host the Reds. I consider a pilgrimage to the friendly confines to be an essential part of any springtime visit to the Windy City. A fine time was had by all, including the Little Rankster, and the Cubs defeated the boys from Cincy by a score of seven to three.

A couple of innings into the game, my wife started smiling and pointed to a man seated a little to the side and one row in front of us. “Isn’t that Paul Offit?” she asked. The spectator she pointed to indeed bore a resemblance to everyone’s favorite shill, but I didn’t think it was him. The odds of him being in Chicago were slim. This man had a much thinner face than the dark one (not that Dr. O is fat anywhere except the wallet, but the man near us was very lean). And if Paul Offit was at the game, he could probably find a luxury box to which he could get himself invited.

Still, I enjoyed the potential irony of being in such proximity to the man I call “the blogger’s buddy” (so called because he manages to provide so many opportunities to write a post pointing out the absurdities of his many public statements). When our neighbor got up to leave, he picked up a tote bag, bearing the brand name Imitrex. It was one of those promotional goodies the pharmaceutical companies shower upon doctors.

Of course, Imitrex is a product of GlaxoSmithKline; had it been Merck, I would have admitted to my wife that she had spotted the real deal. On the other hand, could it have been him? That would be worth a “Holy Cow!”


Blogger kristina said...

And you didn't ask for an autograph.....

5/31/06, 7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he wasn't in chicago and you have him all wrong

5/31/06, 8:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pathetic, Wade.

5/31/06, 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Apparently anonymous knows where Offit was on the night of the game... so do tell, where was he? Wade, you should have thrown a beer at the guy on the slim chance that it really was him :)

6/1/06, 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Truly classic, thanks for the yuks!!!

Some real winners from Offit's book:

But vaccines are just a small part of what babies encounter every day. Although the mother's womb is free from bacteria and viruses, newborns immediately face a host of different challenges to their immune system. For example, from the minute they are born, thousands of different bacteria start to live on the skin as well as the lining of the nose, throat, and intestines. By quickly making an immune response to these bacteria, babies keep the bacteria from invading their bloodstream and causing serious disease.

In fact, babies are capable of responding to millions of different viruses and bacteria because they have billions of immunologic cells circulating in their bodies. Therefore the vaccines given in the first two years of life are literally a raindrop in the ocean of what infants' immune systems successfully encounter in their environment every day.

Natural infection with certain viruses can indeed weaken the immune system. This means that when children are infected with one virus, they can't fight off other viruses or bacteria as easily. This happens most notably during natural infection with either chickenpox or measles. Children infected with chickenpox are susceptible to infection with certain bacterial infections (like "flesh-eating" bacteria). And children infected with measles are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the bloodstream (sepsis).
But vaccines are different. The viruses in the measles and chickenpox vaccines (the so-called vaccine viruses) are very different from those that cause measles and chickenpox infections (the "wild-type" viruses). The vaccine viruses are themselves so disabled that they cannot weaken the immune system. Vaccinated children are not at greater risk of other infections (meaning infections not prevented by vaccines) than unvaccinated children.

6/1/06, 3:18 PM  
Blogger Wade Rankin said...

No, Sue, throwing a beer at someone that I didn’t think was Dr. Offit in the first place would be kind of like adding injury to insult, considering the poor guy already has to go through life being mistaken for you-know-who. And if it had been Dr. O, I’m not sure I would have wanted to waste an otherwise useful beer.

As for anonymous, I am convinced he knows Dr. Offit, but I have no particular interest in where he was on Memorial Day. I suspect that to his friends and family, which may well include our anonymous friend, Paul Offit may be a jewel of a guy. Unfortunately, I can only judge him by his public life, in which he helps to create an atmosphere in which the lives of individual children are adversely affected in the name of a vaccine program that should be a boon to society instead of the dirty business it has become.

This post was merely an attempt to relate what I thought was a humorous incident, and probably says more about my unhealthy obsession with Paul Offit than anything else. I guess that’s what anonymous #2 means by “pathetic.” Of course, what is truly pathetic is Dr. O’s complete willingness to sacrifice some of our children on an altar of “the greater good” based on his theoretical capacities of a theoretical child’s immune system. (Thanks, anonymous #3.) Unfortunately, my son is not theoretical.

6/1/06, 4:11 PM  
Blogger María Luján said...

Hi Wade
I also imagine it was a humorous incident and your post was not pathetic for me. It was an honest presentation of your "unhealthy obsession".
BTW, my son is not theoretical also.
When you say
Of course, what is truly pathetic is Dr. O’s complete willingness to sacrifice some of our children on an altar of “the greater good” based on his theoretical capacities of a theoretical child’s immune system. (Thanks, anonymous #3.)
What is not said is that not all human beings are equal to the insult and the correlation between the (certain) enormous amount of environmental insults -our children must face and deal with since they are born- with diasease is only being studied now in the field of ASD.
The recent published literature demonstrates again and again the incredible human variability of biochemical answer to the environment, whatever the consideration of ( air-food-water contamination, antibiotics, organic and inorganic chemicals, etc) in my opinion.

María Luján

María Luján

6/1/06, 10:48 PM  

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