Archive for Thursday, January 6, 2011

Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud

January 6, 2011


— The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.

The analysis, by British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in Wakefield’s paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children’s parents.

Wakefield could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls and requests to the publisher of his recent book, which claims there is a connection between vaccines and autism that has been ignored by the medical establishment. Wakefield now lives in the U.S. where he enjoys a vocal following including celebrity supporters like Jenny McCarthy.

Deer’s article was paid for by the Sunday Times of London and Britain’s Channel 4 television network. It was published online today in the medical journal BMJ.

In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee and colleagues called Wakefield’s study “an elaborate fraud.” They said Wakefield’s work in other journals should be examined to see if it should be retracted.

Last May, Wakefield was stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. Many other published studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccination and autism.

But measles has surged since Wakefield’s paper was published and there are sporadic outbreaks in Europe and the U.S. In 2008, measles was deemed endemic in England and Wales.


Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

Unreal! Autism is a condition that needs further research, and falsified studies only detract from finding the truth.

TheYetiSpeaks 7 years, 5 months ago

Yup.....this clown did immense damage that is still, and will continue, to be felt.

nepenthe 7 years, 5 months ago

And thanks to this fraud getting so much press over his false study, we have tons of people convinced they shouldn't vaccinate their children. And no amount of information about how this study was not accurate will convince them otherwise.

nepenthe 7 years, 5 months ago

Money. Fame. More fame. Even though he's been denounced as a fraud he still has a large following of anti-vaccine idiots proclaiming him some kind of messiah.

smot 7 years, 5 months ago

He received nearly 3/4 million dollars from the plaintiff's bar. They used him and his study to sue big Pharma. Lots of similar stuff out there published to enhance settlements.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

Can the defendants who lost get their money back?

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

What? Do you mean Jenny McCarthy isn't a medical expert? Inconceivable!

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

She does have an autistic kid...and when your kid has a condition, a good mother becomes an expert on it.

LoveThsLife 7 years, 5 months ago

Actually, it came out last year that her son was misdiagnosed and did not have autism but had Landau-Kleffner syndrome.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

I did not know that. great, now i must learn what Landau-Kleffner syndrome, here I come.

KansasPerson 7 years, 5 months ago

Hi ChelseaDiane,

I think I read on a previous comment that you are an experienced nurse. You might find some info via your job (depending on where it is) or at some of the local agencies. Of course, google is a great place to start, but I was thinking that as a healthcare professional you might have access to even better options.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

you would think so...but sadly, that is not the case. Most facilities have a college med-surg book on hand, but that's about it. My nursing textbooks only give brief descriptions of somewhat obscure is up to the nurse to learn as we go. I do find many scholarly articles through google, written with medical terminology that the average layman might find too technical. Like many professions....we learn new things everyday.

KansasPerson 7 years, 5 months ago

I know that continuing education is a huge part of being a nurse, and that's why I'm surprised that it should be totally up to the nurse -- I mean, of course that's where the motivation to learn has to come from, but I wish more agencies would focus on continuing ed for their staff. Don't some professional organizations offer classes and certification for learning new skills and specialties? (Not that there is always time and/or money for that, I know....) I've even heard of some hospitals that offer counseling or mentoring designed to offset burnout, which is something that I bet happens a lot in healthcare.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

We have to do a certian amount of continuing ed for license renewal...but it is very minimal. Some facilities are better than others about their in-services. Usually the in-services are all the same though- infection control, patient abuse, HIPPA, etc. It seems I've been to the same in-services a thousand times. Nursing is a tough gig- i see a lot of nurses just "survive" their shifts. Burn-out is very high. We take a lot of heat from a lot of different sources- and other nurses are the worst! I love it though-now that I have a very independent position. But to be a good nurse you must research unfamiliar diseases and disorders on your own. Most do. There is just no way any nurse can know everything, and if they think they do, well, they are very dangerous.

verity 7 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for what you do and for trying to keep up with new things. I can imagine it must be very thankless and frustrating sometimes, especially when you are caught between the doctors, patients, administration, etc. and people's lives depend on you.

LoveThsLife 7 years, 5 months ago

That is very interesting.

I read another study where they found a correlation between the amount of time spent indoors and autism diagnoses. They were unsure what the cause of that correlation was though.

It will be nice once they figure out the cause of the problem so that parents can have some real answers.

KansasPerson 7 years, 5 months ago

Amen to this. I know of many cases where the child was absolutely normal, bubbly, active, and learning language at an age-appropriate rate, and then suddenly, abruptly started losing language and other developmental milestones. My heart aches for these parents and I can't blame them for wanting to explore every avenue. The abruptness of the change might cause even a rational person to grasp at straws. I am very eager for the day when someone figures this thing out.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

Wouldn't that just kill you, to see your child change like that? There are so many variables-environmental poisons, genetics, vitamin deficiencies, unknown viruses, injuries....on and on. The last thing we need is some joker falsifying research and subsequently diverting valuble resources to study bogus findings. makes me so darn mad!!! I could only imagine how I'd feel if MY child were autistic!

notajayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

"I read another study where they found a correlation between the amount of time spent indoors and autism diagnoses."

Quick! Sue the homebuilders!!!!

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

oh, give her a break...she's got a kid with a terrible condition. Can't blame a mom for exploring every avenue. And look what this "medical expert did-falsified reserch! I mean, who in the heck are we suppossed to believe anymore?

jonas_opines 7 years, 5 months ago

You don't have to blame her for exploring every avenue, but you surely can for taking one study, contradicted by others, and using your status to publicly promote a questionable agenda that could cause serious damage to many people, when you should know that you don't have all of the facts.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

Very well put. Honestly, I really don't know enough about her philosophy to be agruing for or against it. Probably should have kept quiet...I just feel for any mother who has to struggle with a disease that is so...mysterious.

nepenthe 7 years, 5 months ago

It'd be one thing if she'd made the personal choice not to vaccinate herself or her children. It's something else entirely to use her public status to promote and advocate an anti-vaccination stance. Especially since she is at least partially responsible for increased cases of the very diseases those vaccinations would have prevented. Because people saw her and believed her.

Chelsea Kapfer 7 years, 5 months ago

I totally see where your coming from- but she was following accepted medical research that turned out to be fraudulent. Don't get me wrong- I believe in immunizations and I am not some big Jenny McCarthy fan. But I think maybe we are blaming the wrong person. The guilty party is Andrew Wakefield! This was accepted medical research! I do believe she, and all the others who were advocating the same cause, meant no harm. Andrew Wakefield knew what he was doing, knew he was lying and chose to jeapordize childrens lives. That's who the real dirtbag is.

mbulicz 7 years, 5 months ago

In other news, water is wet, rice is white, and Bruce Willis was dead the whole movie.

staff04 7 years, 5 months ago

Link, please. Otherwise, it never happened.

Boston_Corbett 7 years, 5 months ago

Where is our proliffic local letter-writer & squeaky wheel L.W. today?

Will she acknowledge she and her anti-virus brethren have increased preventable childhood illnesses? :

"Vaccination rates dropped sharply in Britain after its publication, falling as low as 80% by 2004. Measles cases have gone up sharply in the ensuing years. In the United States, more cases of measles were reported in 2008 than in any other year since 1997, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Flap Doodle 7 years, 5 months ago

Repeating the ravings of a quack doesn't make you an expert. It makes you a credulous dupe.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 5 months ago

how many children have been sickened or died from preventable childhood diseases around the world due to this fake study?

verity 7 years, 5 months ago

At what cost? To the environment and to humans? Maybe I just imagined my cat having convulsions and then dropping dead after DDT was sprayed around our house.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 5 months ago

you got my vote for stupidest post of the day, and there were many candidates.

The costs of DDT on human and environmental impact is incredible when there are alternatives available.

You believe in it as a God, not as science, otherwise you would simply vote the alternatives that are equal in cost and less damaging.

You, by ignorance or by carelessness, support the death of the environment needlessly without adding any significant help to humanity.

Story of your life though.

Paul R Getto 7 years, 5 months ago

Most who understand science rejected these claims long ago, but it takes a while sometimes to expose the frauds. Perhaps this will encourage some of the holdouts to get shots for their kids.

notajayhawk 7 years, 5 months ago

Aw, come on, TOB, you can't say Jenny is directly responsible for those deaths.

There is a correlation, however ..............


Jimo 7 years, 5 months ago

I wouldn't unload all my fire on this fellow. After all, he wasn't the "journalist" desperate to print exciting, novel, and controversial "news" about complicated topics that he/she knew nothing about themselves so that a poorly educated, credulous public could lap up the shocking theory.

Journalists need to stop with false balance of 'round earth/flat earth' reporting as a desperate attempt to avoid being branded as biased by the biased! It's one thing to report conventional wisdom as fact when it's incorrect but quite another to report demonstrable falsehoods as an alternative viewpoint.

jafs 7 years, 5 months ago

I would.

He deliberately and knowingly falsified data and presented his results as accurate.

LoveThsLife 7 years, 5 months ago

The issue I have with Jenny McCarthy is that she continues to peddle her book about her son's "recovery from autism".

In fact, Generation Rescue continues to sell signed copies.

The same organization also continues to stand by Wakefield's research, sad that some desperate parents might reach out to such an organization.

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