June 13, 2006

Coming home to roost

Very cool news. Dr. Andrew Wakefield was the key researcher in a Lancet paper which debuted the idea that there was a link between a common childhood vaccine (MMR) and some forms of Autism in children. As everyone should know by now, this has been soundly debunked -- there is zero relation between the vaccine, the preservative Thimerosol and any form of Autism. Well guess what... From The Guardian:
Doctor behind MMR scare to face four charges of misconduct over research
Andrew Wakefield, the doctor behind the scare over a potential link between the MMR jab and autism in children, is to face four charges relating to unprofessional conduct at the General Medical Council, it is reported today.

Mr. Wakefield, a surgeon who became a gut specialist, could be struck off the medical register and debarred from practising in the UK if the GMC finds him guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Following the publication of a research paper in the Lancet by Mr Wakefield and colleagues in February 1998 - which suggested a tentative link between the immunisation at the age of 18 months, a bowel disorder called Crohn's disease, and autism - many parents became anxious over the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine.

At the press conference to launch the paper, Mr Wakefield had parted company with his colleagues to say that, in his opinion, single jabs might be safer than the three-in-one MMR combination. The take-up of MMR slumped and is still low in some parts, especially areas of London. Public health experts have warned that measles outbreaks are possible, in which some children may be damaged and even die. The numbers of cases of mumps has risen. A top-level inquiry commissioned by the Medical Research Council examined Mr Wakefield's findings, and epidemiological studies were commissioned which found that children given the MMR vaccine were no more likely to become autistic than those who were not.
And it seems that the good Doctor was not clean when he wrote the paper:
In 2004 it was alleged that Mr Wakefield had had an undeclared conflict of interest at the time he wrote the Lancet paper: having been paid 55,000 by the Legal Aid Board to assess whether some of the children who featured in his research paper might have a case to sue for vaccine damage.
And of course, the alt.med people probably still believe this claptrap and will continue to "boycott" a simple injection that prevents serious diseases in their children. Posted by DaveH at June 13, 2006 3:38 PM
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