Autism vaccine link study a 'fraud'

2011-01-06 07:06

London - 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 immunisation 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.

Celebrity supporters

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 US 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 on Thursday 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 US. In 2008, measles was deemed endemic in England and Wales.

  • Pieter - 2011-01-06 08:40

    I am a parent of a child suffering from Autism, and I still believe that there is a direct link between the vaccine and Autism as my sons' "problems" started soon after receiving the vaccine. I have also spoken to numerous parents who have children with Autism and some of them also confirmed that their children had regressed in their development after receiving the vaccine. Obviously the link between the MMR vaccine and Autism will be denied. Imagine the financial implication to the pharmaceutical companies should this be proved. At the end of the day it is all about money and not about the children & adults that are affected by Autism!

      LarchStrober - 2011-01-06 09:11

      The facts are available to anyone who wishes to find or study the information. There is no link between autism and vaccination and any such claim only puts millions of children's health at risk. Do not consider anecdotal evidence, rather find the facts for yourself and read the studies. This is an emotional debate as families are devastated by the tragedy they are experiencing...

      Soothsayer - 2011-01-06 09:18

      @Peter. I also strongly believe that there is a direct link between the vaccine and Autism as my first son's development problems started soon after receiving the vaccine.No MMR for my bubbly,pleasant and fast developing second son.

      Ousus - 2011-01-06 09:39

      It is also possible that the symptoms of autism only starts to appear at the age that the MMR is also given, which is why parents seem to make this connection.I think enough independent studies have shown that there is no link between the vaccine and autism

      Pieter - 2011-01-06 09:51

      Maybe I should clarify my statement a little. It is all about the mercury based preservative (thimerosal) that are in vaccines, not just specifically the MMR vaccine, although most Autism cases seems to have happened after the MMR vaccine (maybe it is the combination or the quantity of the vaccine). This "preservative" has subsequently been removed from most vaccine after the initial scare of the Autism link. Why then remove thimerosal if the allegation is untrue? I am also not saying that children should not be vaccinated, it is every single parents own choice. 1 out of every 110 children are now affected by Autism, far higher than that of children with HIV, still governments across the world still give Autism little attention. Very little research is done (compared to other conditions) and very few facilities for people with Autism are available in South Africa.

      labrat - 2011-01-06 10:54

      If that is true there should also be a link between autism and the use of the popular mecuro-chrome and merthiolate on blisters and grassburns. Methiolate is the tradename of the preservative used in the vacines and mecuro-chrome's name implies the mecurous content of the chemical.

      ksgjackrichard - 2011-01-08 09:50

      My son and all my friends have had their children done including me and we do not have autism. I think it is just noticeable around the time the vaccines are due for children eg their age. We lost a brother to measles so I definitely recommend it to everyone..

      GTH - 2011-01-09 23:10

      @LABRAT - The FDA Banned mecurochrome a long time ago, its very dangerous stuff. Where have you been?

  • kristoe - 2011-01-06 09:36

    Has anyone read or seen "the constant gardner"? The way that the whissleblowing doctors/scientists are treated in this case sounds EXCACTLY like it was done in the book (and movie)? Money talks for the big pharma companies. Imagine the link can be proved and autistic children's parents sue the buggers? of course they will discredit, bribe (and sometimes worse) the wistleblowers

  • kristoe - 2011-01-06 09:39

    Has anyone read, or seen the book/movie "The Constant Gardner"? this is almost excactly the same way in which the wistleblowers were trated in the book - refuted, retracted, disbarred and later murdered. Life immetating art. The big Pharma companies wil do ANYTHING not to be sued bu the parents of Autistic children.

  • mac - 2011-01-06 09:51

    @kristoe if you get your ideas about how the world works from movies instead of educated facts then i feel sorry for mankind each time you fly an airplane,use a fax-machine or take an asprin. @soothsayer you sound like those people in pakistan and afghanistan who refuse to take vaccines because it interferes with "God's will", in your case it would be "my pocket".

      Howzitekse - 2011-01-07 23:36

      Mac, be constructive or shut up, what is your point?

  • buzzkut - 2011-01-06 10:04

    The truth behind the exponential increase in developmental problem, in children, is is coming out..... Consider the rate of the deployment of cellphones into the global market over the last 20 years. Also the prevalence of wireless (WiFi)data networks in our homes and shopping malls. The radiation from two cellphones located in close proximity to one another can cook an egg in under 3 minutes (or so), check it on Youtube. Now compare that to the prevalence of ADHD, ADD, Depression, Bi-Polar over the past 20 years..... The causes is sitting right under our noses and far less avoidable and far more insidious than something like MMR. I reckon the MMR thing was engineered by the big cellphone companies to throw us off the scent whilst they filled their bank balances...... It's been done before. How long did it take the American tobacco industry to finally admit that smoking is directly related to lung cancer... Us humans are a terribly flawed lot... This would not be the first time that we have s**t on our own doorstep for the sake of financial gain...... Makes you think doesn't it?

      labrat - 2011-01-06 11:06

      Then how do you explain the disparity of the conditions (autism & ADD/ADHD) prevalence among males and females i.e. More boys tend to suffer from both conditions than girls.

  • craig - 2011-01-06 10:04

    You cannot base these critical decisions on anecdotal evidence. Just because two events happen at the same time does not mean they are linked. We need to ask why autism is rising, and conduct proper investigations. Independent studies from the following organisations found no link. (This is just a short list of the main ones) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Academy of Sciences National Health Service (UK) Cochrane Library review These are independent bodies - all found no link. Hence there is no link. Something else is causing a rise in incidents of autism, and it's important to find out why. Not to blindly and stupidly follow the red herring.

      Pieter - 2011-01-06 10:27

      The maybe all independent, I am just wondering where these organisations got their funding from?

      labrat - 2011-01-06 10:57

      They get their funding from the respective governments.

  • buzzkut - 2011-01-06 10:05

    By the way I have a nine year old son with Autism....

  • bmontong - 2011-01-06 10:13

    People, please wake up, the crap that they inject your children with will have permanent negative effects and damage, go have a look on David Icke`s website... there are some interesting facts. Any vaccine breaks down your immune system. By just believing what the "experts" tell you, you have the herd mentality. It is all a money making racket and controlled by the Pharmaceutical Cartels of this world. That is why Wakefield was discredited and stripped of his right to practice medicine, because he exposes the truth.

      LarchStrober - 2011-01-06 10:55

      This is how the mind of a conspiracy theorist works - Ignore the facts, any evidence disproving the conspiracy is proof of a cover up and therefore it is actually evidence of the conspiracy. Label those who publish verifiable facts as "experts", "big pharma", turn loons like David Icke into Heroes...

      craigkaos - 2011-01-06 19:43

      This is the same David Icke that believes Earth is controlled by 'reptilian shapeshifters'...nothing more needs to be said. And please don't judge the Pharma's benevolence props up most of the healthcare of the third world, something governments don't appear to take very seriously. The real "herd mentality" is all too predictable with the morons slithering out of the woodwork en masse when it comes to these issues. Those with the absolute least insight into medical and scientific matters have the most to say...

  • JellyBug - 2011-01-06 10:39

    I feel a conspiracy theory coming on........

  • JellyBug - 2011-01-06 10:44

    I feel a conspiracy theory coming on .......

  • buzzkut - 2011-01-06 10:50

    Spot on Pieter!

  • buzzkut - 2011-01-06 10:51

    Oh yes JellyBug!..... Oh yes.....!

  • Carmen - 2011-01-06 11:36

    But not vaccinating your child, you not only put your child at risk but also a community. Imagine if everyone decided not to vaccinate. Only a matter of time before polio and small pox would make a comeback and not only contend with the likes of measles and chicken pox. Please immunise your child as it is irresponsible NOT to do so.

  • dyrece - 2011-01-06 13:33

    my son has had all his vaccinations as have all my friends children and not one has any side effects from them. and to parents who choose not to vaccinate their child based on hearsay, don't you dare turn around and say that it was Gods' will should something happen to your child! not only are you being irresponable but you are also putting other children at risk!

  • dyrece - 2011-01-06 13:37

    and remember one thing you were given the same vaccination when you were a child!.

  • Tracy - 2011-01-06 14:08

    The apparent link is in the timing. At the time when the vaccine is administered is the time when many things are not seen developmentally that are seen in typically developing children. Research on Austism not shows that signs of Autism can be reliably seen and therefor diagnosed form about 9 months of age. This again contradicts the vaccine theory. The worst part of the theory, however, is that it leaves parents of austistic children with guilt (that their child's disorder is their fault as they gave the vaccine) which is untrue.

  • bmontong - 2011-01-06 14:39

    Yes, I`m not here to defend David Icke, at least he has balls and has done proper research and not mere hearsay, more than I can say about most and if you really had a little brain cell to think for yourself. What are vaccines made of, what do they contain? Do you as a responsible parent know or do you just accept what the doctors or experts tell you???? Go do some research before you blow your little horn. The evidence is overwhelming, the legal drugs, vaccines, food, water, cooldrinks that these profit Mongers sell, causes so much havoc in society that to just brush it aside is insane. If these people tell you to jump in a fire, will you really? I believe that most would, cause they are brain dead... robots. And where does all these diseases come from? Do you really think that they all occur naturally? No, they don`t, they are man made. The authorities create the problem, the public provides the reaction (something must be done)and then they provide the solution. Look at the swine flu scare, it was manufactured, so that fear is created and the vaccines are readily injected into the unknowing population... even at my wife`s company, but she refused. And guess what? Everybody got sick besides her hey, but if you know the game then it becomes easy. The human race was born without all this manufactured stuff. To just dismiss something, because it is "out of the box" is suicide. You are leaving your very existence in other peoples hands... wake up and think for youselves.

      Jenni - 2011-01-06 15:11

      Oh my gosh, we are all going to die. aaargh.

      Mike - 2011-01-11 12:20

      very sad, very sad indeed that you have convinced yourself to think this way. I am not writing to convince you otherwise as you wont be convinced, you have already decided that. I write this so that others may not be hoodwinked by your crazy notion. from the tone of your comments, it is very clear that you dont have a bloody clue. you probably think that viruses and bacteria and parasite are all the same. I have 25 years experience in Biomedical sciences and if these diseases were all man made, then we are indeed an extremely intelligent race. Oh by the way - I am the boogy man and I am out to get you!!!!!

  • Mike - 2011-01-06 15:33

    it is very sad to read the comments below. I suppose people will believe what they WANT to believe - me included. We read things that we agree with and then never question the autenticity, however when we read or hear something that we disagree with we spend hours pulling it apart and interogating every aspect. The principle of scientific publishing is that the details of the investigation whether positive or negative are all interogated and not just the parts that we dont like. According to some of the comments made here, as a person involved in the vaccine industry, I must have been "blinded and decieved and hoodwinked by the very nasty pharmaceutical industry beast". Dont get me wrong, I really do sympathise with any family that has to go through the pain and suffering of dealing with a child with autism, but please please do not take your anger out on the worng thing. I have never heard of anyone not taking their child out in a car, because their first child or someone they know may be killed. Vaccination is a critical part of public health. the tragedy is that we dont see the grave consequences and impact of Measles, or rubella or polio anymore so we have been lulled into thinking that they arent killers. Let me remind you that they are very grave diseases indeed. please dont make follish decisions when it comes to your childs health.

  • ksgjackrichard - 2011-01-08 09:43

    I personally do not believe in the link between the two. I think its just noticeable due to the age of when the child has the vaccine. Too many children can die from not having it. We lost a brother to measles so I recommend the vaccine to everyone!

  • Karoobloed - 2011-01-09 14:23

    It is a terrible circumstance to have a child with severe autism, and understandably parents are looking for something to blame. People usually believe in a a framework that makes them feel comfortable, whether it is real or not. And it is somewhat comforting to identify a scapegoat for a difficult issue to deal with - it provides a sense of control. Many individuals are not educated enough in science (not pseudosciences like homeopathy, reflexology, iridology and astrology) to realize that anecdotal evidence does not cut it at all - so it is pointless to argue with them since their premise is flawed. Prospective randomized controlled trials executed ethically are probably the closest humankind will ever come to discovering scientific truths - the kind of truth that flushes toilets, make cars work and has taken us to the moon. How sad that so many parents have bought into a thoroughly discredited "study" by a discredited doctor. Smallpox, a horrible and disfiguring disease, has been eraddicated through universal immunizations. Universal immunizations could potentially eradicate measles, mumps, rubella and polio - how on earth could eradicating disease be to the benefit of the dug companies? Why are the vast majority of physicians still having their children properly immunized? Now, through ignorance, millions of kids remain at risk for the terrible complications of these diseaases.

      king stukie - 2011-03-08 23:47

      I guess stupid is as stupid does. Or is that just greed? A quick google search will tell you what is in those vile injections. Why are these ingredients in vaccines? There is NO scientific proof that vaccination is immunisation! So how exactly is smallpox prevented by injecting people with cowpox??? Maybe you would care to discuss the links between vaccines and cancer? Sir you are an idiot. Ian's Voice If you have some spare time look what the active ingredient of rat poison is or what constitutes the main ingredient of Prozac.

  • Brendon - 2011-01-09 18:22

    FDA and pharmacueticals making the sheeple feel better about themselves again. Dont fall for it. Oh btw the flouride in your drinking water has been put there to keep people 'dumbed down'. Evidently that tactic is working well.

      Karoobloed - 2011-01-09 20:17

      People of your ilk are obviously not Nobel Prize winning material, and predictably at least a little paranoid - everything in evidence based medicine is part of a conspiracy eh? Until you get really sick and then rush into the arms Modern Medicine. If you have been drinking fluoride free water your comment indicates that the cause for dumbness should be sought elsewhere.

      king stukie - 2011-03-08 22:35

      Well said! Ignore Karoobloed who's so wrapped up in his intellectual cocoon and brainwashed by the dogma that's been rammed down his throat that he can't see past is nose. But that's ok he probably makes money off peoples sickness Don't forget to read the comments. Try this for

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