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One of four.

Andrew Wakefield and the faked link between MMR vaccinations and autism.

Andrew Wakefield is one of the heroes of the anti-vaccination crusaders. In 1998 prestigious British medical journal The Lancet published a paper by Wakefield and others which implied a link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination. Not only was there no such link, but Wakefield’s data was faked. The article was retracted by The Lancet on February 2, 2010.

Wakefield must have known the likelihood that his faked research would reduce vaccination rates and lead to increased levels of preventable infectious childhood diseases. That is, he must have known than faking data so as to suggest a link between MMR vaccinations and autism would lead to increased child deaths.

Whatever Andrew Wakefield is, he is no hero of child health.

Apart from faking the results, there were several other ethics violations. These included failing to disclose cash payments from a lawyer representing families claiming MMR caused their children’s autism, failure to disclose financial interests in patents for MMR alternatives, failure to include data which contradicted his conclusions, and the use of contaminated samples to support his conclusions.

On January 28, 2010, Wakefield and two of his co-authors, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch, were found by the UK’s General Medical Council to have acted irresponsibly, dishonestly and not in the clinical interests of the children involved in the study.  The Medial Council found, amongst other things, that Wakefield had used colonoscopies, MRIs and lumbar punctures when such procedures were not clinically indicated.  On May 24, 2010, the General Medical Council issued a determination that Wakefield and Walker-Smith were guilty of professional misconduct and should be struck from the Medical Register in the U.K. His license to practice medicine has been revoked.

There is no moral difference between this faking of medical research with foreseeably lethal consequences, and adding Melamine (a poison) to milk with foreseeably lethal consequences.

Some supporters of the MMR/autism theory claim that just because a few bad apples faked their results doesn’t necessarily mean there is no connection between vaccination and autism. No it doesn’t. But there isn’t. Not a speck. Not a jot nor a tittle.

In the next few days I will explain exactly how scientists know this. I’ll also examine the story that when Japan stopped vaccinating children, SIDS (cot death) stopped completely. It didn’t.

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