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False reports claim Jenny McCarthy's son not diagnosed with autism

In this file photo, Jenny McCarthy holds her son, Evan, now 11, at a launch party for the Tree House Social Club. McCarthy has refuted false reports saying her son was not diagnosed with autism.
Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images

A celebrity website Friday falsely reported that controversial autism advocate Jenny McCarthy admitted her son may never have had the disease.

An article in the Radar Online referenced a supposedly new TIME Magazine article in which McCarthy allegedly recanted her son’s diagnosis of autism, suggesting instead that he had Landau-Kleffner Syndrome.

The rumor was repeated by blogs, news sites, and social media.

McCarthy quickly refuted that claim on Twitter.

"Evan was diagnosed with autism by the Autism Evaluation Clinic at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital and was confirmed by the State of California (through their Regional Center), she wrote. “The implication that I have changed my position, that my child was not initially diagnosed with autism (and instead may suffer from Landau-Kleffner Syndrome), is both irresponsible and inaccurate."

“Please know that I am taking every legal measure necessary to set this straight,” added the former Playboy playmate and current host of “The View.”

McCarthy has thrust herself into the spotlight for years as an outspoken critic of vaccinations, taking aim particularly at a supposed association between autism and the Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccine. Numerous scientific studies have long debunked any causal link between vaccines and autism.

The TIME article cited in the rumors is not new; it appeared in 2010. The article in fact confirms McCarthy’s position: "A psychological evaluation from UCLA's neuropsychiatric hospital, dated May 10, 2005, was 'conclusive for a diagnosis of Autistic Disorder.'”

The TIME article's author, Karl Taro Greenfeld, later in the piece discusses speculation by other medical professionals about Evan’s “recovery” from his symptoms:

“There are dark murmurings from scientists and doctors asking, Was her son ever really autistic? Evan's symptoms--heavy seizures, followed by marked improvement once the seizures were brought under control--are similar to those of Landau-Kleffner syndrome, a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage. Or, as other pediatricians have suggested, perhaps the miracle I have beheld is the quotidian miracle of childhood development: a delayed 2-year-old catching up by the time he is 7, a commonplace, routine occurrence, nothing more surprising than a short boy growing tall.”

The article never suggested McCarthy believed the speculations, nor did it claim her son’s diagnosis of autism had been invalidated.

The Radar Online had taken down the inaccurate article as of Saturday evening, though versions were still available elsewhere.

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