Though he is the founder of the American Open University (AOU), which has trained most of the members of the North American Imams Federation, fundamentalist Muslim theocrat Jaafar Sheikh Idris doesn’t appear to count as American – he needs a brief mention, though, for his apparent influence among certain crazier Muslim groups in the US.
Joe Imbriano, on the other hand, claims to have identified the true cause of autism. His contribution is in fact a tiny bit original since the main culprit for Imbriano isn’t vaccines – the by far most popular perceived villain among deranged anti-scientist non-experts – but … [facepalm] … EMF. Which is emphatically no less stupid than blaming vaccines. Imbriano relates his ravings to the public on the website thecauseofautism, which is concerned with two topics: That “WiFi in the schools is dangerous to young children,” and “that Microwave Electro-Magnetic Frequency Emissions acting upon metals in the child’s brain in and out of the womb is the cause of autism.” Imbriano ostensibly got the idea when he tried to microwave a tinfoil-wrapped burger in the 80s, which showed him that microwaving metal is dangerous. On the other hand, according to Imbriano, carbonyl iron powder, which is often used as an iron supplement, does not create a spectacle when microwaved but instead absorbs the radiation. This shows that EMF microwave emissions are “creating electrical discharges and voltage spikes on certain metals,” allowing “metals and toxins to get in the brain by opening the BBB [blood-brain barrier] channels” and producing a “fireworks show at the cellular level”, which is “destroying the myelin sheathing” of neurons in the brain and thereby causing autism in vulnerable populations. It’s rather painfully clear when reading his rants that Imbriano doesn’t really have more than a cursory misunderstanding of the topics he is writing about, but that hasn’t stopped anyone before (and don’t even think about evidence – this is abject pseudoscience; it is confirmation by a priori speculation by someone who has not the faintest idea what he is speculating about).
In any case, certain iron supplements make developing fetus vulnerable to WiFi, and the idea is supported by the claim that anemia “shows up in almost all autistic children”. Then there is something about cord clamping, and … well, let’s just let Imbriano fit all the pieces together himself:
Calling this crazy speculation would be an insult to crazy speculation. Oh, and he cannot help himself: the “battery of immunizations are simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back of the already anemic, microwave EMF damaged, electrosensitive, immunocompromised infant.” So yes, it is vaccines. I’ll be darned.
Diagnosis: Tinfoil hat-style, frothing madman and Dunning-Kruger victim. His influence seems fortunately to be limited.
Hat tip: Respectful Insolence