The doctor who sparked the MMR controversy “showed a callous disregard” for the suffering of children and “abused his position of trust”, a disciplinary panel has ruled.

wakefield

The General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK has handed down their findings on Dr Andrew Wakefield and two colleagues who are credited with catalysing the Measles, Mumps Rubella (MMR) vaccine scare in 1998.

Thousands of parents opted out of having their children vaccinated following the publishing of a paper in the journal ‘The Lancet’ linking MMR with gastrointestinal disorders and autism.

Wakefield’s findings resonated world wide firmly establishing the anti-vaccination movement and resulting in outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease.

The enquiry sat for 148 days and was estimated to have cost one million pounds. The GMC’s disciplinary panel of experts ruled Dr Wakefield showed a ‘callous disregard’ for children’s suffering and abused his position of trust.

His conduct brought the medical profession ‘into disrepute’ after he took blood samples from youngsters at his son’s birthday party in return for payment. He also acted dishonestly and was misleading and irresponsible in the way he described research later published in The Lancet medical journal. More seriously, he was charged with causing pain to sick children by unnecessary painful, intrusive diagnostic treatments

Dr Wakefield faces being struck off the medical register after the panel decided the allegations against him could amount to serious professional misconduct, which will be decided at a later date.

Although The Lancet study did not demonstrate the MMR vaccine as dangerous, Dr Wakefield warned parents to have single injections against measles, mumps and rubella. The claim has been widely discredited. Subsequent studies into the safety of vaccines have demonstrated no link between vaccination, the mercury based preservative thimerosal and autism.

But the anti-vaccination movement calls the findings “unjust”, a “smear campaign” and “a sad day for our children.” Generation Rescue, a militant anti-vaccination group in the US, issued a statement of support saying;

“Dr. Andrew Wakefield is perhaps this debate’s greatest hero. He’s a doctor who has held onto the truth, unbowed, through pressure that would break most mortals. Dr. Wakefield’s influence in saving other children from the fate that befell so many children is incalculable.”

Already petitions have sprung up in support of the Dr who they call “a man of integrity, courage and proven commitment to children and public health.”

But sadly, the facts surrounding this case do not reflect this belief. Wakefield defends his decision to use children at the birthday party as a control group for his study. He continues to believe it was not unethical.

“I had fully informed parent and child consent. The ethics committee is there to protect NHS patients, and these weren’t NHS patients.”

Investigations by Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer revealed that Wakefield had not revealed serious conflicts of interest when submitting his paper for publication. Deer claims he was paid four hundred thousands pounds by lawyers seeking a link between the vaccine and autism. Further, Wakefield had a patent pending on a single measles vaccine, just like the one he urged parents to seek out the press conference following the publishing of the paper.

In 2004, ten of the twelve authors on the paper withdrew their names from the paper.

“We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health.”

The decision as to whether Wakefield is struck off the medical register in the UK is expected to be handed down in the next few months. He currently resides in Texas where he is the director of a alternative medicine clinic, Thoughtful House, which has also been accused of using dubious treatments such a chelation.


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  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    Fascinating. as someone who worked in science I can safely say that most of the research done is just garbage. Having said that, it is important to note that factually most of them are correct.

    So which is it Lolo – garbage or factually correct?

  • lolo

    Fascinating. as someone who worked in science I can safely say that most of the research done is just garbage. Having said that, it is important to note that factually most of them are correct. It is the interpretations that are usually false. Like in modern day journalism, it is all about selling “a story”. If you dont sell any stories, you will not publish very high. Good, solid, honest science rarely gets you very far.
    .

    But arguing against hard data as presented by Dr. Tenpenny with mainstream media “FACTS” 1,2,3,4 can only be laughed at by anyone who has done any scientific work at all.
    .

    giving only one side “facts” as these, true or false, can not be regarded as serious argumentation. so in response:
    .

    FACT1-b each and every study is payed for by “someone”. Clinical studies done in the drug approval process are not only payed for by, but are done in collaboration with the company that wants the thing approved in the first place.
    If this were a valid argument, no drug should ever be approved. Not to mention that 400 000 doesnt get you very far in science. Perhaps a year or two of research with say a staff of 3. As I can see, Dr. Wakefield has been at it for more than a decade.

    FACT2b as in fact1b, every new drug is patented. What is not mentioned is the timeline of his research and his recommendations in relation to the date of the supposed patent
    .

    FACT3b Lumbar puncture is a standard medical procedure, and the necessity of it being done is a matter of professional judgement. Just because it is painful, does not mean it is unnecessary
    .

    FACT4b Doctors take childrens blood regularly and quite often for the stupidest of reasons. It is one of the first things they do. The only “problem” here seems to be it was not done in a hospital or in school by “proper” doctors..(i.e. dr. House). And the children got some money for buying icecream. Now that is a crime right there.
    .

    FACT4c “likely” contains fraudulent data? is that an argument? “allegedly” serves just as good.
    .

    FACT4d “He has also diverted a lot of research money and time away from finding the real cause of autism as scientists and doctors focused on disproving his “hypothesis”. We may be closer to finding a cure, if not the cause of autism had it not been for Wakefield.”
    .

    This is circular reasoning at its best. Dr. Wakefield is a fraud because he took the money to investigate autism, and because he is a fraud his research money has been “diverted”. Although, obviously, the money went into autism research. Just not the right kind of research
    .

    FACT5 The article has been withdrawn at the request of the editor after being peer reviewed and published previously. Doesnt say much, unless you want to a) see this as a confirmation of a witchhunt b)see it as a confirmation that Wakefield is a fraud.
    .

    there is a lot of crap out there noone bothers to withdraw, although it is not reproducible or is just clearly false. So it doesnt say much. If i wanted to expand on this, there is a likely/alleged conflict of interest in that particular case.

  • Pingback: » Wakefield’s paper vindicated “again”? Not likely.

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  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    @scepdick, Dr Tenpenny is an anti-vaxer. Why have you copied and pasted her entire rant here? Do you think it is worth something? It isn’t. I am not going to waste my time dissecting this nonsense apart from to say the following;
    .

    Andrew Wakefield did not declare significant conflicts of interests regarding the 1998 Lancet publication.
    .
    FACT 1: He was paid more than 400,000 pounds by lawyers who were trying to prove that vaccines caused harm.

    .
    Dr Tenpenny says:
    .

    But consider other scandals that have emerged in the scientific world, such as research that was published using fake stem-cell lines. These studies used fabricated data and were published in prestigious journals. Has anyone heard Hwang Woo-Suk or Jan Hendrik Schön? Those were the researchers; they were not publicly crucified by the media.

    .

    These studies were also retracted.
    .
    AND
    .
    Hwang Woo-Suk was sentenced to a two years suspended prison sentence at the Seoul Central District Court on 26 October 2009, after being found guilty of embezzlement and bioethical violations. There was not as much hoo-ha about this, because the repercussions of this publication was not damage to public health and the death of children. Do you see the difference?
    .

    Dr Tenpenny says; “7. Dr. Wakefield has always recommended single antigen vaccines. He hypothesized that the three live viruses given together in the MMR vaccine are the source of potential problems in at least SOME children.”
    .
    FACT 2: He had a patent out for a single measles vaccine. So he had very good reason for claiming the triple MMR was dangerous. He stood to make an awful lot of money from his own vaccine.
    .
    Dr Tenpenny says: “He didn’t make *any claims* in his original paper that has gotten all the attention. 2. His original paper was simply a hypothesis, not a claim, of the connection to Autism. Be sure to read the original paper; it’s only 5 pages long.”
    .
    Correct, he didn’t in the original paper, but he certainly did after publication. (NB: I find it intriguing that PRIOR to this paper being retracted, the anti-vaxers were noticeably quiet about this claim. I have only heard that “this paper made no claims about a link between MMR and autism, SINCE it was retracted and completely discredited. Why is this?).
    .

    This from Brian Deer, excerpted from a video released by the Royal Free Hospital
    .

    Q: ..are you saying now then that there does appear to be a proven link between the vaccine and the side effects?
    AJW: No, the work certainly raises a question mark over MMR vaccine, but …It is our suspicion that there may well be but that is far from being a causal association that is proven beyond doubt.
    Q: But if you say there’s at least a question mark over it now, should the vaccine continue to be administered while you’re investigating?
    AJW: …I have to say that there is sufficient anxiety in my own mind of the safety, the long term safety of the polyvalent, that is the MMR vaccination in combination, that I think that it should be suspended in favour of the single vaccines, that is continued use of the individual measles, mumps and rubella components. (my emphasis).

    .

    FACT 3: He subjected children to unnecessary and painful treatments such as lumbar punctures or spinal taps. This is when a large needle is inserted into the child’s spine to obtain spinal fluid.
    .
    FACT 4: He collected blood samples for his control experiments from kids at his son’s birthday party and paid them five pounds. Later he laughed and joked about how some of the kids vomited or fainted.
    .

    How can you possibly defend a doctor who does things such as this – to children nonetheless. Never mind that his “paper”, which likely also contained fraudulent data, sparked such panic resulting in a threat to public health – that is, a reduction in vaccination and the re-emergence of preventable disease. Children have died, because of the greed, incompetence and ego of Wakefield.
    .
    He has also diverted a lot of research money and time away from finding the real cause of autism as scientists and doctors focused on disproving his “hypothesis”. We may be closer to finding a cure, if not the cause of autism had it not been for Wakefield.

    .

    4. Wakefield’s most recent research incriminates the use of hepatitis B vaccines in newborns. The first phase of this monkey study was published three months ago in the journal Neurotoxicology, focused on the first two weeks of life. Baby monkeys received a single vaccine for Hepatitis B, mimicking the U.S. vaccine schedule, and were compared with matched, unvaccinated monkeys. The vaccinated monkeys, unlike their unvaccinated peers, suffered the loss of many reflexes that are critical for survival. Discrediting Wakefield’s work over a perceived “ethical” issue would serve to discredit this new research, protecting the vaccine industry once again. [3]

    .

    FACT 5: This paper has been retracted too.

  • scep dick

    Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, DO
    February 14, 2010
    NewsWithViews.com

    I’ve been asked many times over the last few weeks to share my opinion on the verdict of the U.K’s General Medical Council (GMC) about Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the retraction of his 1998 article, “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children” by the medical journal, Lancet. The many inquiries fall into four basic questions, answered below.

    Question #1: What do you know about Dr. Wakefield’s 1998 paper? Do you feel the response of the GMC was appropriate?

    Answers:

    1. Dr. Wakefield’s paper was SIMPLY a case study of 12 children. Hundreds of case reports are published each year in the medical journals….and are essentially ignored. He didn’t make *any claims* in his original paper that has gotten all the attention.

    2. His original paper was simply a hypothesis, not a claim, of the connection to Autism. Be sure to read the original paper; it’s only 5 pages long. [1]

    3. Wakefield published 32 peer-reviewed papers since 1998. NONE of these were mentioned or retracted. [2]

    4. Wakefield’s most recent research incriminates the use of hepatitis B vaccines in newborns. The first phase of this monkey study was published three months ago in the journal Neurotoxicology, focused on the first two weeks of life. Baby monkeys received a single vaccine for Hepatitis B, mimicking the U.S. vaccine schedule, and were compared with matched, unvaccinated monkeys. The vaccinated monkeys, unlike their unvaccinated peers, suffered the loss of many reflexes that are critical for survival. Discrediting Wakefield’s work over a perceived “ethical” issue would serve to discredit this new research, protecting the vaccine industry once again. [3]

    5. Dr. Wakefield’s research was never questioned by the GMC. The ruling focused on what was called “unethical behavior” – drawing blood at a children’s party, even though the parent’s who were present had given their fully informed consent. In fact, in an open letter to the Lancet, the parents of the 12 children in the study rebuke the GMC, politely calling them liars.

    6. Dr. Wakefield has never been “anti-vaccine.” His work has always been focused on finding an explanation for WHY so many autistic children have terrible bowel disease.

    7. Dr. Wakefield has always recommended single antigen vaccines. He hypothesized that the three live viruses given together in the MMR vaccine are the source of potential problems in at least SOME children.

    Question #2: Do you have concerns over Dr. Wakefield’s failure to disclose financial links to a malpractice attorney and to patents he was working on to develop a single vaccine solution?

    Answers: I was rather surprised at the question and my response is, no. I don’t feel one bit concerned about that particular issue. I’m not even sure the accusation is 100 percent true; it could be simply a pharma spin/smear. There is so much impropriety among the Players in the vaccine business that any singular accusation about Dr. Wakefield’s work toward developing a single-antigen vaccine to make things safer for children TRULY amounts to “the pot calling the kettle black.”

    Consider this:

    1. Dr. Paul Offit, who sat on the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) committee, the committee who approves all the vaccines given to children and adults, holds the patent for the Rotavirus vaccine, (the one that was withdrawn) AND a patent on the current Rotavirus vaccine which is known to cause pneumonia and still some cases of intussusception. It is rumored that he made millions on his vaccine patent and that big pharma bought all his books, so he could make millions more.

    2. Dr. Sam Katz sat for year on the ACIP committee having been the developer of the MMR vaccine (particularly the attenuated measles vaccine). He simultaneously consulted with all of the vaccine manufacturers.

    3. Dr. D.A. Henderson, credited with smallpox vaccine eradication, consulted simultaneously with all the vaccine manufacturers for year.

    4. Dr. Julie Gerberding, after serving eight years as head of the CDC, was recently named President of Merck vaccines. This is one of the most visible and blatant examples of a gross conflict of interest. Just barely past the 365 day mandatory “wait time” imposed on persons who pass from public service into private sector jobs, she was welcomed with open arms. Does anyone think she just might have insider information to share with her new boss, and not just about vaccines?

    Question #3: Do you think the Lancet was justified in pulling the paper for pure scientific reasons?

    Answer: It was inappropriate for the Lancet to retract his 1998 paper. What did it prove? By focusing on this paper with such fanfare, the general public has been lead to believe that Wakefield’s 1998 Lancet paper, a case report, was the ONLY paper and the ONLY research Wakefield has ever done. They sure paint it that way, don’t they?

    • NOT ONE mainstream reporter mentioned the 32 research papers published in peer-reviewed journals since 1998.
    • NOT ONE mainstream reporter interviewed Wakefield for “balanced reporting.” What does that say about the story…and the bought-and-owned, generally lazy press?
    • AND NOT ONE mainstream reporter dared to report that Wakefield’s observation, finding vaccine-strain measles in the gut of *some* autistic children, has been replicated by other researchers. [4] [5]
    • NO ONE has been told about the science that has been published supporting a connection between vaccines and autism and other disorders, and yet the list grows every day. Researchers studying vaccine-related illness have a hard task; their research is not funded by drug companies. The drug companies and the government don’t want to know the answers.

    It is the same reason the CDC refuses do a study of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated kids, examining something solidly objective like number of drugs they are on, number of days of school missed due to illness and number of doctor visits between birth and 5 years of age for ear infections and asthma.

    This “issue” with Dr. Wakefield is a pharma-driven, media-manipulated power move, meant to embarrass Wakefield so they can negate and call into question his new, incriminating research on the hepatitis B vaccine given at birth. No doubt this “media frenzied heyday” has been orchestrated to squash the efforts of the massively growing, Vaccine Choice/Vaccine Awareness movement. The one-sided accusations in magazines and blogs rambling on about the story even call the retraction, “a blow to the anti-vaccine movement.”

    Here’s a common example: Just look at the title. This was published in Popular Mechanics (a vaccine story in Popular Mechanics?) [6]

    At the end of the day, isn’t that the point of all this rhetoric? The truth about vaccine damage is gaining too much attention. The masses are listening and questioning because they are (rightfully) suspicious of government and they don’t trust CDC, AAP, etc. Vaccination rates are falling, parents are rebelling. They know that something is amiss as they watch their children get sick, and even die, right before their eyes.

    Question #4: Are you simply a blinded, “Dr. Andy Groupie”?
    Answer: No, I am not. I clearly understand the reason why this has happened. Could he have done things better? Probably. Could he have been more forthcoming about certain events that he has been accused of? Of course.

    But consider other scandals that have emerged in the scientific world, such as research that was published using fake stem-cell lines. These studies used fabricated data and were published in prestigious journals. Has anyone heard Hwang Woo-Suk or Jan Hendrik Schön? Those were the researchers; they were not publicly crucified by the media.

    I suspect that if any researcher’s methods, associations and data were scrutinized with a fine tooth comb like they have done for 12 YEARS with Dr. Wakefield, the Lancet would be forced to retract many articles — maybe all of them. Looking at the Big Picture, one *has to see* that the issue with Dr. Andrew Wakefield is a witch hunt with an agenda. When the twisted associations of those who have been out to crucify Dr. Wakefield are mapped out, it is plain that he had not a chance of exoneration. [7]

    The Results of the Vaccine-Illness Connection

    We have exchanged chicken pox for autism, flu for asthma, ear infections for diabetes…and the list goes on and on. In the zeal to eliminate relatively benign microbes, we have traded temporary illnesses for pervasive, life-long diseases, disorders, dysfunctions and disabilities. And all of the Powers That Be – doctors, politicians, corporate heads, and government public health officials – refuse to consider these expensive, pervasive diseases could be caused by vaccines.

    If we had an epidemic of blindness in 300,000 children, would doctors ignore it and say, “We have no idea why it is happening. Guess we need to train more seeing-eye dogs.” But we have an epidemic of sick children losing their brains. Doctors shrug and say, “It must be genetics.” This is the best they have to offer, despite scientific confirmation that there is no such thing as a “genetic epidemic.”

    There are nearly 300,000 sets of parents with sick, autistic children; the lion share of them saw it happen, with their own eyes, and rightfully blame vaccines. These children are ill; and conventional doctors don’t even try to address their illnesses. When non-conventional practitioners try to help, they are scoffed, ridiculed and even raided by the Feds. [8]

    There is one unifying factor affecting children, from sea to shining sea. It’s not genetics; genetics between families are different. It’s not environmental exposures; some kids live in the projects, some live in gated communities. It’s not food; some kids eat only organic, some eat mostly McDonalds. It’s not exercise; some kids are athletes; others are couch potatoes.

    What touches almost all children and is the most likely ‘smoking gun’ for the epidemic of chronic illness and autism across North America (and beyond), are childhood vaccinations.

    What is it going to take?

    At the end of the day, it is going to take a tragedy in a high profile doctor or politician for the VACCINE-ILLNESS CONNECTION (not just autism) to get serious examination. I have a friend in Maine who is a nephrologist. She consults on patients who need dialysis. Just by asking the question, “When was your last vaccine?” she has found nine patients – most with previously normal kidney function – who developed acute renal failure within two to 28 days of the shot. All but one needed kidney dialysis. All but two have recovered, but to the tune of more than $200,000 in hospital bills — EACH. We pay and pay and pay for vaccines.

    We pay drug companies to make them. We pay doctors and public health officials to give them. We pay astronomical health insurance rates to cover the health care costs of the illnesses they cause. Vaccines drive the industry — if only we were *willing* to look. WHAT other connections are we missing because we don’t want to know?

    How conventional medicine can deny this is the real travesty. The Vaccine Court (Federal Court of Claims) has awarded at least nine judgments in favor of children who have become autistic or have had serious damage from MMR vaccine. For heaven’s sake, aspirin, antibiotics, and many other drugs can be (and often are) deadly. Why are vaccines always considered to be harmless and their side effects a coincidence?

    Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis was a Hungarian physician who was among the first to perceive that birth-related deaths due to puerperal fever was caused by doctors who didn’t wash their hands before childbirth. He dared collect and publish data which admonished his peers and indicted the existing Medical System. Despite various publications that demonstrated hand washing reduced birth mortality below one percent, Semmelweis’ practice was ignored by doctors because his observations were in “conflict with established medical opinions.” Thousands of children died as a result of the arrogance of doctors and their unwillingness to change.

    The tenacity of Semmelweis is a precedent for how Dr. Wakefield has been treated by the GMC in the United Kingdom. Conventionally trained doctors around the world have added thunderous applause, seemingly incapable of questioning the lies they have been forced to swallow and have believed for two centuries about vaccines.

    The GMC, the press and the medical establishment have had their Inquisition. But those of us who know the truth are not giving up. Like Semmelweis, our research and evidence will eventually be proven correct. We must continue; the lives – and brains – of the next generation of children are at stake.

    Footnotes:

    1, Dr. Wakefield’s original Lancet paper.
    2, Additional Wakefield publications.
    3, Dr. Wakefield’s new research on the Hepatitis B vaccine
    4, Japanese study: Detection and Sequencing of Measles Virus from Peripheral Mononuclear Cells from Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Autism.
    5, NJ Medical School: Dysregulated Innate Immune. Responses in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Their Relationship to Gastrointestinal Symptoms and Dietary Intervention.
    6, Anti-Vaccination Groups Dealt Blow as Lancet Study is Retracted,” By Adam Hadhazy.
    7, “The Witch Hunt of Dr. Andy Wakefield,” by Ginger Taylor.
    8, Autism clinic raided by federal authorities, by Mary Ann Roser. July 15, 2009.

  • Chris

    Lewis, for more information on the research on the MMR vaccine (which has been used in the USA since 1971) see this page that has a list of all the pro/con studies:
    http://www.immunize.org/catg.d/p4026.pdf

    For more complete explanation of the shenanigans behind Wakefield and his ideas read the following two books:
    Bad Science by Ben Goldacre
    Autism’s False Prophets by Paul Offit (who was just interviewed on the Point of Inquiry podcast)

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    Hi Lewis,

    That is the correct article, and although it does not directly state there was a link between vaccines/MMR and autism it was after the paper was published and Wakefield did press that he made these assertions.

    This from the blog Respectful Insolence

    It was the press, starting with the the press conference he gave upon the release of the study. In that press conference, Wakefield went far beyond what he wrote in the manuscript. Indeed, appearing in a 20-minute video released by the Royal Free Hospital, Wakefield laid down these gems:
    .

    ” No, the work certainly raises a question mark over MMR vaccine, but it is, there is no proven link as such and we are seeking to establish whether there is a genuine causal association between the MMR and this syndrome or not. It is our suspicion that there may well be but that is far from being a causal association that is proven beyond doubt.”

    .

    “And I have to say that there is sufficient anxiety in my own mind of the safety, the long term safety of the polyvalent, that is the MMR vaccination in combination, that I think that it should be suspended in favour of the single vaccines, that is continued use of the individual measles, mumps and rubella components.”
    .

    INTERVIEWER: So you’re saying that a parent should still ensure that their child is inoculated but perhaps not with the MMR combined vaccine?
    .

    DR ANDREW WAKEFIELD: Again, this was very contentious and you would not get consensus from all members of the group on this, but that is my feeling, that the, the risk of this particular syndrome developing is related to the combined vaccine, the MMR, rather than the single vaccines.

    .

    I don’t know about the photos in the paper – I was not able to find a specific refereence to them in the GMC findings. I am not a medical doctor so I am unable to give you advice on your nephew’s condition.
    .
    What I can say is that of course your brother is likely to be convinced that the MMR caused his son’s problems. Not only would Wakefield’s now disgraced work have contributed to this, but also ASD is diagnosed around the time that kids receive the MMR. So if the appearance of the ASD correlates with the vaccine, then it is only natural to think that the vax caused it. But, as I said in my previous post there has been a huge amount of data collected since Wakefield’s 1998 study, demonstrating that there is no link between vaccination/MMR and autism.
    .

    Wakefield has done much damage as a result of fraudulent work. Firstly, much research time and money has been redirected into disproving his flawed theories which could have been better spent trying to find a cure for autism. And not only has he scared parents into not vaccinating, thereby resulting in kids getting sick and even dying, but he did it for his own personal gain.
    .
    We know that he was paid 400,000 pounds by lawyers who were trying to prove vaccines to be unsafe and that he had a patent submitted for a new single measles vaccine.
    .
    I find it hard to understand how anyone can continue to support him after what he has done.

  • lewis

    Thanks, but the article didn’t say that it proved a link between MMR and autism. Is this the correct article I found?

    http://press.thelancet.com/wakefieldpaper.pdf

    What about the photos in the article, are these fabricated, and if not what is the cause of this condition, if not measles? What is the treatment, because my nephew has been on many medications over the years and they have not helped? My brother is convinced that bowel problems contribute to his son’s symptoms, and that these started following the MMR.

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    Hi Lewis,
    .

    The impact of the retraction goes well beyond the ethics of Wakefield and his behaviour surrounding the 1998 study. The Lancet retracted the results too, since it was discovered that some of them were wrong and even worse, may have been fabricated. For example the lab that conducted the PCR analysis to detect the measles virus in kids bowels, were found to produce false positives. When the experiments were repeated in another lab, they could not get the same results. It was concluded that the original lab had contaminants in their samples.
    ,

    From Brian Deer

    It follows claims made in the High Court of anomalies in O’Leary’s laboratory reports on samples from hundreds of autistic children who are allegedly victims of the MMR vaccine. Along with earlier research by Wakefield, which was discredited in February after a Sunday Times investigation, O’Leary’s tests have been seen as critical to the claim linking the vaccine with autism.
    .

    Unigenetics, O’Leary’s private company, found that 80% of the 91 autistic children it tested had traces of measles in their bodies, presumably as a result of being given MMR. This data is being relied on by parents who believe MMR caused autism in their children and are suing three manufacturers of the vaccine — GlaxoSmithKline, Merck and Aventis Pasteur.
    .

    Experts for the three companies, who have had access to some of O’Leary’s raw data, have claimed in court that the samples could have been contaminated and were incorrectly reported. If this is so, it would be a big blow to the families’ case and to Wakefield’s campaign for single jabs to replace the MMR triple inoculation.

    .

    Ultimately, this resulted in this data being disproved. This from Brian Deer’s investigation
    .

    Wakefield has claimed since 1997 that the ultimate culprit for some forms of autism is the live measles virus in MMR. He speculates that this causes a persistent infection leading to gut and brain damage.

    .

    Scientists at the Health Protection Agency and the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control took blood samples from 100 autistic children and compared them with blood from another 100 children without the disorder.
    .

    They used three different molecular testing methods and probed for evidence of genes in the virus.
    .

    One laboratory is understood to have found minute traces of measles in only one child with autism and in two children without it. The other laboratory found nothing.

    In 2004, 10 of the 12 authors retracted their names from the paper.
    .

    The findings of the GMC recently handed down, also included examination of the behaviour of Professor John Angus Walker-Smith and Professor Simon Harry Murch.
    .

    There is now a large body of evidence demonstrating there is no link between MMR and autism. A 2002 study from Denmark\ in 537,303 children concluded that there was strong evidence against the hypothesis that MMR vaccination causes autism.
    .

    Wakefield’s work had now been completely and thoroughly discredited and debunked. There is no reason anymore to make any claims that vaccines cause autism.
    .
    Also note another one of his papers was retracted overnight.

  • lewis

    I have been starting to research vaccines following the birth of our first child, having been advised by my brother not to vaccinate due to my nephew’s autism which he developed following the MMR vaccine at 12 months. I have found the full article online and read it.
    .

    Can you please clarify for me the effect of the retraction? Am I right in concluding that it was the authors methods, ethics, and conflicts of interest that are the problem rather than the actual findings of this particular bowel condition, because, my nephew has undergone colonoscopy with similar findings, and has had significant problems with bowel impaction over the years. What about the other authors?
    .

    Thanks for yor assistance.

  • Pingback: » And so it begins to unravel for Wakefield

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  • Ilijas

    Finally justice is dispensed. Too late to undo the damage it has done, regrettably.
    .

    But hopefully it will stand as a beacon to any future doctor with dubious motives to publish nonsense that will endanger human life.
    .

    Wakefield cannot plead ignorance on what he has done. He has the medical training to know better. The most reasonable conclusion on his character is that he is most probably an unscrupulous and callous bastard who does not have anyone’s best intention in mind, apart from his own pockets.
    .

    I hope the GMC comes down on him like a tonne of bricks.
    .

    Sorry to everyone in here, I just have a lot of anger towards this man and the immeasurable damage he has done directly and indirectly to so many people’s lives.
    .

    ~ ilijas.

  • http://scepticsbook.com Maggie

    Hi Liz, I remembered you twittered about this. You might want to add this one too;

    From Australian Skeptics

    and Australian Skeptics writing for “Croakey”

  • http://lizditz.typepad.com Liz Ditz

    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 GMC’s ruling on Andrew Wakefield’s conduct.

    I’ve added your blog to the list.

    The post is at

    http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2010/01/andrew-wakefield-dishonesty-misleading-conduct-and-serious-professional-misconduct.html

    Here it is three days after the verdict. I find it curious that the anti-vaccination faithful have had so little to say about the ruling. It’s also interesting that the people writing in favor of the ruling aren’t just the usual suspects (skeptics and those in favor of science-based medicine and public health) but folks I’ve never seen writing about anti-vaccination issues before. I’ve been especially moved by the several parents who have written about agonizing over giving their children the MMR,and how angry they are over being lied to by Wakefield and his followers.