Thursday, January 6, 2011
In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, along with 12 other co-authors, published a paper in the Lancet medical journal in which they concluded that there could potentially be a link between the MMR ( mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccination and autism as well as inflammatory bowel disease.
Following the release of the paper, which remains the "smoking gun" of the anti-vax movement to this day, Wakefield himself called for a boycott of the triple MMR vaccine, suggesting instead that the vaccine be broken up into three single shots to be administered yearly as he believed it was the grouping of the vaccinations which made them dangerous (Wakefield's supporters, who believe the medical industry is aware of the link between MMR and autism but hides this knowledge to protect the profits they make off vaccinations, are tellingly indifferent to the FACT that Wakefield had actually applied for a patent on his own single dose version of the vaccine at the same time as he was calling for this boycott). The publication of this study and the conclusions drawn within it managed to all but single-handedly create the Anti-vax movement as it exists today, a movement fronted by people like Jenny McCarthy.
Fueled primarily by Wakefield's continued support and defense of his own research, People like McCarthy along with Age of Autism and other anti-vax groups around the world have helped diseases like measles and whopping cough mount a comeback. Leading to outbreaks, quarantines, and even the death of children at the hands of these diseases in places where they had previously been all but eradicated. Within these groups, Wakefield continues to be hailed as both marty and savior for the cause of autism research, despite 10 of the papers 12 co-authors having retracted the conclusions of the paper since it's publication, the inability of ANYONE (including Wakefield himself) to reproduce the results, and the complete lack of ANY study confirming ANY link between autism and vaccines; it's all a big conspiracy ya know...
But the blows to Wakefield's credibility don't stop there, just this year alone Wakefield has been stripped of his medical license in the UK, the paper itself was removed from publication by the Lancet medical journal, and perhaps best of all, just yesterday the British Medical Journal printed an article in which it referred to Wakefield's "research" as "An elaborate fraud"; citing evidence that Wakefield had falsified his data.
While this all comes far too late for those who have suffered over the years as a result of the false controversy created by Wakefield's paper; and this will likely have little to no impact on his most loyal devotees. The removal of the paper from publication and this latest declaration of outright fraud from the BMJ does eradicate whatever shred of credibility Wakefield may have had left; and with it goes whatever minuscule bits of validity anti-vaxers may have been able to impart to their beliefs by citing their publication in a respected journal.
As someone who tends to root for the villain in every story, I have to say in real life, sometimes it's nice when the good guys win one for a change.
Source: Brian Deer: Nailed, BMJ, CNN 360,
Be sure to check out Brian Deer's Article: Nailed: Dr. Andrew Wakefield and the MMR-Autism Fraud, for a much more detailed account of the story surrounding Wakefields research and his ultimate exposuer as a complete fraud. Go Here to read more about vaccinations and the Anti-vax movement (AVM), and finally go here to read Deer's article from the BMJ.
Anderson Cooper interviews Andrew Wakefield:
While I very rarely post anything from mainstream media sources, mostly because I avoid them like the plague, and I am by no means a fan of CNN, I have to say, I can't remember the last time I saw anyone on an alleged "news" network go after someone like this with actual fact-based questions. Awesome.