An investigation by the Sunday Times has concluded that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who first reported a link between autism and the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine, altered and misrepresented data to indicate that result.
Dr. Wakefield’s research was presented in an article in The Lancet medical journal in February of 1998. This article claimed that 8 of 12 “previously normal” children who received the MMR vaccine displayed “behavioural symptoms” within weeks of their vaccinations.
However, according to interviews with witnesses and previously inaccessible documents and medical records, many of the 12 children involved with Wakefield’s study displayed symptoms of autism before they received their vaccination.
Other children in the study were reported to have begun displaying symptoms within weeks of their vaccination, while medical records portray a longer time period. This is significant because autism often presents in the second year; a longer period of time could indicate a more conventional diagnosis other than “sudden onset” as a result of the MMR.
The research team also claimed that a bowel disease, called nonspecific colitis, was an underlying cause for these symptoms, suggested by a “uniformity of the intestinal pathological changes”. The Lancet reported each child suffered from colitis to varying degrees of severity; hospital records for at least seven children detected no such abnormalities.
In addition, Dr. Wakefield was found to be working with a lawyer hired to find evidence to be used against the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine, calling his motives into question.
The Wakefield findings have been controversial for some time, as researchers found it difficult to replicate the results although directly replicating the tests. In addition, while one might expect the timing of the introduction of the MMR vaccine to correspond to a steep uptick in autism cases, no such statistical correlation could be made.
The fact remains that diagnoses of autism are on the rise. Recent findings suggest that autism may be linked to environmental factors, such as proximity to sites emitting industrial mercury and exposure to chemicals in the home.
Cases of measles are also on the rise, a 36% increase in 2008, as parents opt to forego the MMR vaccination for their children. As fewer children receive these vaccinations, the public loses their “herd immunity”, and the possibility of an epidemic is increased. Measles can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis, serious illnesses in young children.
The question of vaccination keeps growing more complicated. Does this new information change your stance?
Photo Credit: Andres Rueda under Creative Commons
Does this new information change your stance?
Absolutely not. We need to let these kids develop their own immunities. If we are constantly pumping their tiny bodies full of vaccines and antibiotics, they never have time to build a strong immune system.
Further – some of the vaccines they are “requiring” are just unnecessary. Hep A? Chicken Pox? These are common childhood illnesses – and once you have them you are naturally immune.
Well that isn’t cool. I shared this with my parenting blog community, I hope you don’t mind that I copy/pasted and linked back.
This doesn’t really change anything for us because we never believed that vaccines caused autism in the first place. We are on a delayed schedule. My boys will have their vaccines, just not while they are so little.
Was anyone paid to debunk Wakefield?
Anyone know what, if anything, this has to do with the fact that there is an increase in the number of children suffering brain injuries and in a few cases death, immediately after receiving the MMR,MMRV and HepB vaccines? Did Dr. Wakefield create this epidemic?
I never heard of Wakefield prior to my son’s brain swelling up after his ProQuad, MMRV. (BTW, ProQuad was removed from the market the same month my son got his jab) Am I imaging the GI problems, the loss of speech, all the classical autistic like symptoms that resulted immediately after his vaccines?
Any idea if these vaccines’ manufacturers are required to mention the possible brain damage or injury as a result of the administration of these vaccines to children? If so, did the FDA require the manufacturer to do so based on Wakefield’s study? OR did they do their own study?
What percentage of children vaccinated are 100% safe from the disease? (chicken pox vaccine is 87% effective http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/abstract/344/13/955)
If you read the Deer report you’ll know he himself found that one out of the 12 children in the Wakefield study had regressed into exhibiting symptoms of autism immediately after receiving the MMR. That’s one out of 12. Should parents be fed that ALL VACCINES ARE SAFE when they are not? Come on, one out of twelve regressed into autism or so Deer said.
Children do not “develop their own immunities” to polio, the measles, meningitis, etc. Vaccines are an important measure to protect our society from epidemics that threaten our health and well-being.
Clifford G Miller says
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”
Clifford G. Miller says
It looks like it was not Wakefield who was fixing the data but journalist Brian Deer:
“Sunday Times Ordered ‘Remove Wakefield MMR “Data Fixing” Story’ ”
I disagree with Elisabeth who said “we need to let our kids build up their own immunities” Well that obviously hasn’t worked in the past because most people only lived till the age of 40 if they were lucky and many family would have 8 kids hoping a couple would make it past child hood. And if natural immunites worked how do you explain the Black Plauge? Or the Pollio outbreak? I rest my case.
Helo Wheels says
They more intensive test before releasing such data and conclusion. These kids need immediate cure indeed but they have to be very accurate and effective.