Sunday, 8 February 2009

MMR / autism - Original data fraudulent?

After last Friday's report of the worrying rise in cases of measles in the UK, the Times Online today publishes an investigation into the doctor responsible for causing the initial fears about the MMR vaccine and its (non-existent) link to autism.

In February 1998 Andrew Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet following 12 children after their MMR jabs. The Times Online continues:

It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.
However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.
This is damning stuff if true. Following Wakefield's paper children's vaccination rates fell from over 90% to less than 80%. About 95% is needed to ensure group immunity, hence the increase in cases of measles.

However the end of BBC link above reveals:
Dr Wakefield is still adamant that the scientific results of his 1998 study are still valid. In a statement, he said: "The clinical and pathological findings in these children stand as reported." He has welcomed moves by the General Medical Council to examine how he carried out his research. "I not only welcome this, I insist on it," he said.
Good, nothing to worry about then. Except the findings reported by the Times.
For more, see the full Times article, and read Orac's response at Respectful Insolence.


Liz Ditz said...

I've done another round-up post -- who is saying what about the Deer articles on Wakefield in the London Times. I've included this post.

11 years on, Wakefield Manufactured Data showing MMR-Autism Link?

Andy Holroyd said...

Thanks Liz. I've linked back to your post. There's some good reading there.

Anonymous said...

It turns out journalist Brian Deer made it up:-
"Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation":

And he was helping the US Justice Dept sink 4500 US kids claims for vaccine damage compensation - what kind of normal journalist does that? Ans: none.
"US Federal Court, US Justice Dept & The Sunday Times - More Questions Than Answers"

Andy Holroyd said...

I've been digging round trying to find anything, anything at all, to substantiate your claims and those in the first article you cite. The other link does not work. Guess what I find - Nothing, nada, zip.

I call bullshit on what you say.

For a real insight into the stupidity of MMR deniers read this article at Respectful Insolence. Then stop spreading crap like your comment above.