Saturday, February 6, 2010

About Time!

From Autism Watch:

The Lancet has retracted publication of a 1998 paper [1] whose authors—led by Dr. Andrew Wakefield—suggested that the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine might be linked to autism. The paper didn't declare that cause-and-effect had been demonstrated, but at the press conference announcing its publication, Wakefield attacked the triple vaccine; and he has continued to do so ever since.

The full retraction came five days after The British General Medical Council (GMC), which registers doctors in the United Kingdom, reported that Wakefield had acted dishonestly, irresponsibly, unethically, and callously in connection with the research project and its subsequent publication [2]. Wakefield's misconduct was brought to light by Brian Deer, one of the world's toughest investigative reporters.

In 2004, ten of the study's authors issued a "retraction" which stated: "We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient." [3] Lancet editor Richard Horton—after Deer provided the incriminating evidence—said he should not have published the study and that Wakefield's links to litigation against the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine were a "fatal conflict of interest." [4] But full retraction had to wait nearly six more years.

The GMC hearings, which began in July 2007, centered on Wakefield's 1998 report. Many studies have found no connections [5,6], but sensational publicity caused immunization rates in the UK to drop more than 10 percent and have left lingering doubts among parents worldwide.

The GMC began investigating after learning from Deer that Wakefield had failed to declare he had been paid £55,000 to advise lawyers representing parents who believed that the vaccine had harmed their children. The GMC found that Wakefield had:

  • Improperly obtained blood for research purposes from normal children attending his son's birthday party, paid them £5 for their discomfort, and later joked during a lecture about having done this.
  • Subjected autistic children to colonoscopy, lumbar punctures, and other tests without approval from a research review board.
  • Failed to disclose that he had filed a patent for a vaccine to compete with the MMR
  • Starting a child on an experimental product called Transfer Factor, which he planned to market.

The GMC panel concluded that the allegations against Wakefield could amount to "serious professional misconduct." During the investigation, Wakefield relocated to Austin, Texas, where he helped found Thoughtful House Center for Children, a "nonprofit" clinic that offers many unsubstantiated treatments for autism. He does not have a medical license but oversees the clinic's research program. The clinic's latest (2008) tax filing lists his salary as $270,000 [7].

One more time, just so nobody misses the point here—Andrew Wakefield lied to you. He lied, and because of his lies, children are dead [8].


Anonymous said...

Well Joy
seems you missed the news that 5 of the procescution witness lied and that the chair of the pannel has GSK shares upto 2 years ago.

the whole case stinks of corruption
as this 1 hour film featuring 15 minuts of Brian Deer shows

Vaklam said...

Oh, look. You've got a new troll. And this one's too cowardly to put a name to the comment.

Thanks, Anonymous, but I'll stick with science.

froggy said...

I remember one of my BFF being so worried about this with her two AS boys.

Liz Ditz said...

I sometimes write a post that collates blog responses, both positive and negative, to a given issue.

I'm keeping one now on responses to the Lancet retraction of the Wakefield's paper.

I've added your post to the list.

The post is at

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Looks like you have found some people that monitor this issue. I think avoiding the vacinations because of this fear is wrong.

mrs. miss alaineus said...

i dont know what's worse. trolls or bad science.

i do know that vaccinations keep populations safe and people have been autistic for far longer then we have been dosing kids with the mmr series.

i wonder how the good doctor explained that in his paper???


Joy said...

Good grief! Guess it could have been worse! I wasn't quite expecting this.

Joy said...

I generally delete anonymous comments (see instructions above the comment box), but I'll leave this one on here since Brian responded to it so well.

Marker said...

The Lancet - snort! What do they know?

Have Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey had a chance to peer review the article yet?