New allegations against Dr Andrew Wakefield made by the UK Times newspaper have recently emerged, further throwing into disrepute his controversial 1998 Lancet publication.

Considering the recent resurgence of this debate, sparked by the ramblings of LBCs 97.3FM’s Jeni Barnett last week, I thought it appropriate to make you aware of the “retraction of interpretation” published in the Lancet in 2004 and written by 10 of the 12 authors of the original paper. This includes Murch and Walker-Smith who, along with Wakefield, are currently being investigated by the General Medical Council of the UK for serious professional misconduct relating to the Lancet publication. Conspicuous by his absence from this retraction is Dr Wakefield. The authors explain that they

“wish to make it clear, that in this paper no causal link was established between the MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient”

The entire retraction is reproduced below, please click on the image to see it in high resolution.

Lancet, 2004 Mar 6;363(9411):750.

Lancet, 2004 Mar 6;363(9411):750.

I want to emphasise this was published in 2004. Almost FIVE years ago. Yet the anti-vaccers, including the likes of the toxic Jeni Barnett still insist there is a link between MMR and autism. Just to make sure I didn’t get it wrong, here is the important part, enlarged.

This seems pretty clear to me.

So why is this debate still on-going? If the authors have admitted they may have got the interpretation of their own data wrong, why is it the anti-vacc crowd think they know better?
And when will they realise the Wakefield paper was never a definitive finding on MMR and autism?
Especially when you look at the conflict of interest issues also clouding this publication which constitutes part of the reason why Wakefield is currently being investigated for serious professional misconduct.

For the anti-vacc crowd it seems like this might be a case of Saunders’* law in action;

The more bizzare the premise, the more entrenched the belief.

*Richard E. Saunders

You can read the entire 1998 Lancet paper, for free reproduced here on Brian Deer’s blog.

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