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Nicole Shanahan is just getting started

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Nicole Shanahan is just getting started

A person familiar with the matter noted that Brin, unlike Shanahan, does not appear to speak publicly about his daughter’s autism diagnosis or treatment. (She also has not commented publicly on Shanahan’s campaign or post-divorce philanthropy.)

In other words, two phenomenally wealthy ex-spouses are poised to become the respective faces of philanthropy and autism pseudoscience. This potentially has far more consequences than Shanahan’s candidacy, and people involved in these worlds are already deeply apprehensive or excited, depending on your perspective.

“Other than Robert F. Kennedy Jr., I have never heard any candidate for major office speak so clearly, candidly and bravely about autism and chronic illness,” said John Gilmore, founder of Autism Action Network, a group that blames Robert F. Kennedy Jr. vaccines and other environmental factors for autism, he wrote recently.

“Shanahan’s knowledge of autism comes from his own lived experience,” he added. And then, in bold, he proclaimed: “Nicole Shanahan is one of us.”

Shanahan has helped fund projects ranging from laboratories studying female fertility and reproductive longevity to Evolver, a Cate Blanchett-narrated “Collective virtual reality experience that immerses the public in the depths of the landscape of the body.” Nowadays, however, his true passion seems to be pseudoscience. This has positioned her as a useful messenger to communicate to the anti-vaccine movement that Kennedy is still with them, even as she occasionally and intermittently is. He tried to downplay his long career in that world. Shanahan is not only a powerful funder and sponsor, but a symbol of his unwavering commitment to the cause.

Many parents develop suspicions of vaccine injuries after their child begins to show symptoms of autism spectrum disorder or other developmental conditions; Those suspicions can lead them deep into a world of pseudoscience and distrust. In a 2023 interview with People which focused heavily on her divorce, Shanahan described that process herself.

“I usually talk to two scientists a week, whether they’re neurosurgeons, neurologists or mitochondrial experts,” he told the outlet. “I talk to a lot of other mothers of autistic children because I think mothers are some of the best educated and researched… They are trying some of these interventions for autism and can say it more accurately than any other published information. medical document what they are seeing in their children.”

However, despite Kennedy and Shanahan’s concerns, vaccines do not cause autism. A huge body of research and evidence, including a major decade-long Danish study of people who received MMR vaccines, published in 2019, has shown this time and again. A second theory, that thimerosal, a preservative previously used in some childhood vaccines, causes autism. has also been repeatedly discredited. (Thimerosal was never used in MMR vaccines, which creates a clear logical problem for anti-vaccine activists using that argument.) Yet another claim, that “too many” childhood vaccines at once can cause autism, has also been conclusively debunked.

However, suspicions like Shanahan’s have led many parents to take life-changing actions, spending money on bogus treatments for their children and becoming absorbed into an anti-vaccine movement, of which Kennedy has been an integral part—that monetizes your pain and frustration.

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