The Origins of the Vaccine-Autism Link Myth

Image result for measlesParents are, in increasing numbers, refusing to have their children immunized against some truly horrible but preventable diseases. Vaccines can also be used in the treatment of illnesses that are already manifest. This RECENT TRAGEDY is what comes of not doing so.

The usual reason is that ‘a friend of a friend’ said that there is a proven link between certain vaccinations and autism.

One would think that such a momentous decision would be based on a mountain of research by top scientific and medical minds.

But, it isn’t.

It’s based, primarily, on ‘social buzz’ and distorted hearsay on the topic that has its origins in just one deeply flawed, and apparently fraudulent, paper on a 1998 study of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine by Andrew Wakefield and twelve of his associates.

The paper was published by The Lancet, a British medical journal which has since retracted the study.

This retraction did little good, however. The initial publication was noticed by the media and spread to the masses. True or not, it became ‘common knowledge’ that vaccines cause autism.

Let’s look at some of the flaws and hints at unethical and unscientific practices in the original paper.

  • Sample size: 12 children. 12.
  • The children in question were specifically selected for the study. No random sampling was used to make the group representative of the public at large.
  • The paper reported that the onset of cognitive disorders began a few days after vaccination. Hospital records kept during the study period indicate that this is untrue.
  • The parents of several of the children had reported cognitive difficulties prior to the vaccine.
  • 10 of Wakefield’s 12 associates withdrew their support for the study shortly after it was published, stating “no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism”.

But what about fraud?

“An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was “no doubt” Wakefield was responsible.”[1]

Wakefield et al. were guilty of deliberate fraud (they picked and chose data that suited their case; they falsified facts). The British Medical Journal has published a series of articles on the exposure of the fraud, which appears to have taken place for financial gain.[2]

The former doctor was stripped of his license in 2010 by the U.K.’s General Medical Council for ethical violations and failure to disclose potentially competing financial interests.[3] (Being funded by attorneys intending to sue vaccine producers and holding a patent on a competing vaccine to MMR)[3]

There is no justification whatsoever for risking health based on a grass-roots movement that has, at its heart, a fraudulent claim.

It should be noted that the credit for bringing all this to light actually goes to investigative reporters. One such person is Brian Deer.[4] The New York Times said in an editorial on the affair: “Now the British Medical Journal has taken the extraordinary step of publishing a lengthy report by Brian Deer, the British investigative journalist who first brought the paper’s flaws to light – and has put its own reputation on the line by endorsing his findings.”[5]

 

[1] CNN: Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British journal finds

( http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/05/autism.vaccines/ )

[2] The MMR vaccine and autism: Sensation, refutation, retraction, and fraud 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136032/ )

[3] Newsweek: ANDREW WAKEFIELD, FATHER OF THE ANTI-VACCINE MOVEMENT, RESPONDS TO THE CURRENT MEASLES OUTBREAK FOR THE FIRST TIME 

( http://www.newsweek.com/2015/02/20/andrew-wakefield-father-anti-vaccine-movement-sticks-his-story-305836.html )

[4] Brian Deer, Exposed: Andrew Wakefield and the MMR-autism fraud

http://briandeer.com/mmr/lancet-summary.htm )

[5] New York Times: Autism Fraud

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/opinion/13thu2.html?_r=0 )

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