British Medical Journal further discredits doctor who claims autism linked to MMR vaccination

As you may have heard on the news this morning, the British Medical Journal further discredited the research of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, an English doctor whose work attempts to link autism to vaccinations for measles, mumps and rubella. Wakefield’s data and research practices have been questioned in the past, (he was barred from practicing medicine in the U.K. by the country’s General Medical Council in May) but two new articles from the BMJ go as far as to claim that his research was not only incorrect, but purposely falsified, possibly for financial gain.

Yesterday’s article and accompanying editorial will be the first in a series stating that Wakefield either misrepresented or altered information in his study of 12 children, whose autism he claims was linked to vaccination. According to the article’s author Brian Deer, the series will  “expose the bogus data behind claims that launched a worldwide scare over the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine, and reveals how the appearance of a link with autism was manufactured at a London medical school.”

Since 2004 Deer has been publishing stories discrediting Wakefield’s findings on the dangers of MMR vaccination, and now accuses the doctor of purposely submitting falsified data to prove his theories. A separate BMJ editorial written about Wakefield calls his work “an elaborate fraud.”

Leonard Rappaport MD, MS and chief of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Division of Developmental Medicine, has this to say about Wakefield’s work:

Unfortunately the work of Andrew Wakefield has had a negative impact on the lives of children, the practice of pediatrics, and research to discover the causes and develop new and innovative treatments for autism spectrum disorders. As a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician who also provided primary care for the past 27 years, I have seen the impact up close and personal.

First, it would be impossible to quantify the amount of time wasted in pediatric practices discussing why we believe that the MMR vaccination does not cause autism and that children should be immunized.

Second, the heartbreak and worry for parents of children with autism, who have secretly believed that they were responsible for their child’s condition, and the anxiety of parents approaching immunization time with so much false information and fear flying around them, is impossible to comprehend.

Perhaps most painful for pediatric practices, the biggest public health breakthrough during my 30 year career – immunizations – has been twisted into a source of suspicion, breaking down the trust of parents in their pediatrician. Wakefield and his associates have tried to convince parents that pediatricians are in cahoots with pharmaceutical companies and not at all concerned with the welfare of their children. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth.

Thirty years ago, every week my primary care practice would have at least one case on meningitis, one case of epiglotitis, and one case of septic arthritis – all life threatening disorders with lasting sequelae. Today, pediatric residents could go through their entire training and never see one case. In fact, even though almost everyone I grew up with had measles, mumps and rubella, I never saw a case of measles during my training or practice due to the MMR vaccine.

Pediatricians however are starting to see these diseases again due to the fear that Wakefield’s paper caused thereby decreasing immunization rates.

Finally, millions of dollars have been diverted from autism research to one study after another, unsuccessfully attempting to replicate any of the findings from Wakefield’s work.

  • Jean

    I had a mouth full of metal amalgum– 50% mercury. 13 fillings in all. The last of my fillings was put in at age 12. I had three children. Two of the three children were born with serious digestive problems. Both developed a tic disorder within days of being vaccinated with DTaP.
    You can’t tell me there isn’t something to it.

  • Greekadonis

    One case a week of Meningitis 30 years ago? I would like to see that. Frankly, I don’t believe you. Secondly, you have been in practice for 27 years and what have you accomplished to help figure out what is causing the rise in Autism? You are irritated and call it a waste of time to do your job and explain to parents what they are injecting in their kids! You just want to inject them quick and collect the cash. I hope you enjoy your vacation in Barbados. How much money would you make if you did not vaccinate your patients? Not much business then, huh. Vaccinations is what percent of a doctor’s income? Brian Deer is journalist who has not collected a paycheck from any newspapers for some time, yet he is able to pay his bills how? Maybe bought off by the big pharma companies….I have had my son evaluated by your hospital. His IQ has risen 30% since I have been treating his bowel disease. I am sure you would say that your diagnosis was inaccurate. Convenient. You guys are the crooks and the destroyers of the innocent children. No sympathy from you for the mute boy who at one time could speak until you injected him…If vaccines are so safe, please please please let me see you inject yourself with these safe vaccines, maybe like they did to my son–all at once–that is 18 different types of vaccines in one day. Then, give yourself a booster two months later–all 18 again. Would you do that? And film yourself before and have someone film you after, because you probably will have vaccine damage after, just like my son did.

  • Timnevie

    It’s so refreshing to see FACT-BASED information being provided to parents.