Andrew Huberman, Stanford academic and host of a science-themed podcast, recently released an episode on Autism with guest Dr. Karen Parker. Considering the prevalence of misinformation about vaccines and autism and this episode being promoted as providing an overview of the topic, we were interested to see how the topic would be covered. In part, this interest was because of Huberman's strategic choice to avoid any discussion, let alone any recommendation, of COVID vaccines during the pandemic. The topic came up 2 hours and 43 minutes into the episode and lasted for around 10 minutes.
What we found was interesting and we think deserving of a mini-decoding. What you will not find here is any endorsement of lurid anti-vax claims or cheers for Andrew Wakefield. Indeed, Huberman notes that Wakefield's research was debunked, while his guest Dr. Parker explains the consensus view amongst researchers that there is no evidence of a link. What you will find: Huberman readily engaging in ‘both sides’ hedging: maybe Wakefield’s research helped locate real issues with preservatives, maybe there are too many childhood vaccines (some clinicians 'in private' recommend none), maybe new data will come out later that reveals a link between autism and vaccines. There certainly are a lot of questions and could it be that 'cancel culture' is the real problem here rather than the existence of a very influential anti-vaccine movement?
Let's just say, when you pair this with Huberman's comments on the potential dangers of Bluetooth headphones/sunscreen, the potential benefits for negative ion bathing and grounding, the lab leak origins of COVID, endorsement of AG1 and a host of other supplements, and fawning over figures like RFK Jnr and Joe Rogan... we have some questions of our own.