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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Autism/vaccine link: Another nail in the coffin

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

A 1998 study suggesting that the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine causes autism has been debunked again. (File photo by Mike Hutmacher, Associated Press)

Read the transcript from a Q&A with autism expert Dr. Susan Hyman.

The research that launched an enduring but apparently erroneous belief that autism is caused by a common childhood vaccination has been debunked, disclaimed -- and now debunked again.

Last February the British medical journal the Lancet retracted a study it had published in 1998 in which British researcher Andrew Wakefield suggested that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine triggered autism. Wakefield's science proved shoddy and his methods questionable.

Yesterday that stance was reinforced by the publication in another British medical journal, BMJ, of an analysis that finds Wakefield's research was in fact a fraud. Journalist Brian Deer outlines a series of discrepancies and irregularities, including falsification of data, in Wakefield's earth-shattering work that remained unquestioned for years.

The incidence of childhood measles rose in Great Britain and elsewhere after Wakefield's study was published as worried parents declined to have their children vaccinated against the potentially deadly disease. Even so, and even after Wakefield's work was debunked, he continues his research (now in the U.S.) and has his share of loyal supporters, among them actress Jenny McCarthy, whose son has autism.

Okay, can we just be done with this autism/MMR link once and for all? It's been such a huge distraction, likely diverting energy and funds from the research that could detect autism's true causes, and has led to many kids' needlessly coming down with a disease that should be entirely preventable. Let's put this behind us and move on.

More coverage of the debunked vaccines claim

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | January 6, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Autism, Chronic Conditions, Family Health, Kids' health, Neurological disorders, Parenting, Vaccinations, Vaccines  
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Comments

So much for work that appears in "peer reviewed" journals. There's probably a ton of the same fake science behind the AGW myth.

Posted by: ronjaboy | January 6, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I hope authorities in the UK or US are looking at potential criminal charges for Dr. Wakefield. Fraudulent studies like these produce junk science that recklessly endanger public health.

Posted by: rbtewes | January 6, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Luddites will say and do anything to hinder human progress. This is no suprise.

Look for the same sorts of nonsense about genetic modification, nanotech and everything else that has the potential to better human life.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | January 6, 2011 10:52 AM | Report abuse

These stories all need a big box that implores parents who waited to GET THEIR KID VACCINATED NOW!

Posted by: raheli | January 6, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

But Don Imus and Rick Santorum think it is real, so please don't bother us with reality, thank you very much.

Posted by: daweeni | January 6, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

First, it was the global warming hoax and now the vaccine related autism myth. These episodes underscore the dangers associated with social liberals who distort the scientific method to achieve their social agenda.

Posted by: freepost | January 6, 2011 11:04 AM | Report abuse

You know, vaccination is perhaps the best case for a little socialism. If you refuse to get your kid vaccinated, that raises the possibility that my kid will get measles or mumps, which can be serious diseases sometimes. For example, infants have to be a certain age before being vaccinated. So if there is more measles around because some toddlers, etc., aren't vaccinated, my infant is more likely to get it before he/she can get his/her vaccination. So it makes perfect sense for the gov't to FORCE you to get your kid vaccinated.

Posted by: Dan4 | January 6, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Wonder if these "new" findings will stop shrill nut-cases like Jenny McCarthy from casting blame for her kid's illness on anyone or anything?

Posted by: snalg1 | January 6, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This study was probably paid for by the Trial Lawyers seeking another gravy train. Remember the myth about silicon breast implants that they used to force Corning into bankruptcy? This is all evidence of the criminals that now inhabit the Soros/Socialist/ Democratic Party, the EPA, FDA, etc, etc. The sooner we expose all of them for what they are, the sooner we can get our country back. The downward trend of this country came with the SCOTUS(a liberal court by the way) edit that they could advertise.

Posted by: twoeagle | January 6, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

dear twoeagle:

not probably.

the study was, in FACT, funded by lawyers.... not trial lawyers in general, but a specific group looking to go after vaccine makers.

watch the pbs special on it, amazing.

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 6, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Does Wakefield have a license to practice in Texas? If so, does he still have a license to practice in Texas, in light of all of this? If a hair stylist had caused all this trouble, I'd imagine he/she would lose his/her State license.

Posted by: Zontag | January 6, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@ronjaboy: If the scientists falsify the data, a peer-reviewed journal wouldn't know that. They only know what the authors present. Peer review works quite well when you don't LIE about your data, thanks.

Posted by: sensitiveplant | January 6, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

ronjaboy wrote:

"So much for work that appears in "peer reviewed" journals. There's probably a ton of the same fake science behind the AGW myth."
---------------------------

Actually there is much more overlap between the Anti-Vaxer crowd and Global Warming Denialist crowd.

Posted by: FrankIBC | January 6, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

It is the mercury in vaccines that many people feel leads to autism, not the biological material in them. This article wasn't clear on whether there was mercury in the vaccines used for the study.

Posted by: CBS64 | January 6, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Dan4 wrote:

"You know, vaccination is perhaps the best case for a little socialism. If you refuse to get your kid vaccinated, that raises the possibility that my kid will get measles or mumps, which can be serious diseases sometimes."
---------------------------

Welcome to the wonderful world of externalities, which conservatives would like to pretend doesn't exist.

Posted by: FrankIBC | January 6, 2011 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@CBS64: most vaccines never contained thimerosal (the mercury based preservative). It's been removed from all vaccines except multi-shot vials of flu vaccine. See FDA site: http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228#t1

Riddle me this: if you believe mercury is the problem and thimerosal has been removed from vaccines years ago, why is the autism rate still climbing?

There's more mercury in your dental fillings. OMG, I may have started a new panic....

Posted by: beta1 | January 6, 2011 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Finally someone can tell Jenny McCarthy her child's autism is 100% her fault and nobody else is to blame.

Posted by: truereasoning | January 6, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

It is the mercury in vaccines that many people feel leads to autism, not the biological material in them. This article wasn't clear on whether there was mercury in the vaccines used for the study

Does it really matter if the study had a focus on the mercury????? The point is that the links between the vaccination (whatever was in it) was made up!! The autism cases used as "proof" do not stand the test/were misrepresented/made up. This is the study that lead to parents not vaccinating their children, mercury or not. The whole religion around anti vaccination for a person working in countries where children are not vaccinated for many diseases that do not exist in the north. I wonder how many people may have died because of this researchers' lies.... How about some fresh research on that!

Posted by: hippo5 | January 6, 2011 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Interesting website on deaths caused through lack of vaccination:

http://www.jennymccarthybodycount.co

Posted by: qonder | January 6, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"truereasoning" wrote:

"Finally someone can tell Jenny McCarthy her child's autism is 100% her fault and nobody else is to blame."
-------------------------------------

Stupid, autism isn't anyone's "fault". That's the whole point of this.

Posted by: FrankIBC | January 6, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"It is the mercury in vaccines that many people feel leads to autism, not the biological material in them. This article wasn't clear on whether there was mercury in the vaccines used for the study"

Does it really matter if the study had a focus on the mercury????? The point is that the links between the vaccination (whatever was in it) was made up!! The autism cases used as "proof" do not stand the test/were misrepresented/made up. This is the study that lead to parents not vaccinating their children, mercury or not.

The whole religion around anti vaccination is a mystery for a person such as me working in countries where children are not vaccinated for many diseases that do not exist in the north, and dying of deseases we have almost forgotten about.

I wonder how many people may have died because of this researchers' lies.... How about some fresh research on that? Somehow I think that such research will not convince people already part of the congregation....

Posted by: hippo5 | January 6, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Even so, and even after Wakefield's work was debunked, he continues his research (now in the U.S.) and has his share of loyal supporters, among them actress Jenny McCarthy, whose son has autism.

=========================================

Sadly I don't think this or anything else will get that bimbo to shut the F up and stop putting other kids at risk avoiding vaccinations.

Posted by: bbface21 | January 6, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

When they removed the mercury, and kept giving vaccine.... autism continued to rise.

This basically eliminated the mercury argument.

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 6, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Looks to me like the scientific method and peer review worked as designed. Other researchers were unable to replicate the findings. And as far as peer review goes, peer review means that others review the manuscript and determine whether the methods and conclusions are sound. It does not mean that the peer does a site review or anything like that. Yes, that means that people can lie about their data, but it also means that they are easy to catch, hence the failures to replicate. Lie at your own risk, as you will be found out, eventually.

Of course this will just be more fodder for birthers, truthers, climate-change deniers, and other conspiracy theorists that will twist this to fit their own political agendas.

Posted by: steve1231 | January 6, 2011 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I dunno Jennifer McCarthy's breasts-- I mean argument are still very appealing...

Posted by: ozpunk | January 6, 2011 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Dan4 wrote:

"Welcome to the wonderful world of externalities, which conservatives would like to pretend doesn't exist."
_______________________________

Apropos of biological realties, I do not think it was a conservative initiative to get rid of sexual contact tracing in the face of the AIDS epidemic.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 6, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Advocacy science inevitably produces scientists looking to manipulate studies to increase funding opportunities and book deals. Nothing new.

Posted by: cprferry | January 6, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

The only "myth" associated with AGW is that of the deniers who think that the opinions of dentists, medical doctors, civil engineers, etc. carry as much significance as the 90%+ of climate scientists who have concluded that the evidence for AGW is compelling enough to warrant action.

Posted by: washpost18 | January 6, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

dear washpost:

I suggest that the opinion of real scientists is more important that that of fake scientists.

Since MIT/caltech/RICE/MUDD.... do not have majors in "climatology" or "climate" or "climate science".... I will go with the scientists that I know are in fact scientists.

you're opinion is just that.

Posted by: docwhocuts | January 6, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

The idiots who use this news to try to claim that good science demonstrating global warming/climate change must automatically also be suspect are the same type who would say that if one black man committed a crime, then all black men must be criminals. Ludicrous, but these vermin pop up all the time on every comment board. Koch industries must have a very big anti global warming budget!

Posted by: NM1964 | January 6, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I am sure that Amanda Peet's phone must be ringing off the hook this morning with apologies from the pitched fork crowd at Autism United et al, that vilified and threatened the actor for having the temerity to protect her child and others from the type of ignorance that indeed has dramatic health consequences for society.

When making a living in a town that insists on strict adherence to Leftist dogma (in this case pharmaceutical companies are evil, etc.), it is refreshing to see someone with the guts (and intelligence) to stand up for what is right. Congratulations, Ms. Peet!

Posted by: carolinadreams | January 6, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

freepost: Put your conservative playbook away.

Parents are the largest group pushing the vcacine related thoughts. Scandinavian countries use the same vaccines the U.S. does, and their incidents of autism have not increased. Also involded with the "increase" of autism is that the goalposts keep being moved. There is no real consensus in the medical/psycology communities what autism is, nor what symptoms to put in the diagnosis system.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 6, 2011 1:27 PM | Report abuse

There's a lot of money behind efforts to debunk Wakefield's vaccine claim. On the other hand, financing the original study probably would have been difficult hadn't Wakefield received money from his sources. Why this after more than 12 years? Be skeptical of the Wakefield criticism...

Posted by: NJJACK | January 6, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Once upon a time, a scientist's experiemental findings were replicated by other scientists. Remember cold fusion?

With medicine, there does not seem to be this same requirement for a duplication of results. I have heard people say the costs are prohibitive to the reality that people are not the same so it would be impossible to get duplicate results. One should expect to get similar results from the study being run again by several different groups. If each group gets a different answer, then a better study needs to be developed.

Being a peer reviewed journal is nothing more than the publisher/editor sent it to a few friends and asked them to submit an opinion.

Posted by: skramsv | January 6, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Vaccines don't cause autism.

And in other news, illness isn't caused by an imbalance of bodily humors or imps sent from Lucifer to torment the righteous.

Posted by: js_edit | January 6, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

My 44 year-old sister has autism, while I started my undergraduate career at 15. Both of us received every recommended childhood vaccine and more at the time as military kids, albeit 20 months apart. Hence, it never made sense to me to blame vaccines for autism--with our family, a hodgepodge of genetic pre-dispositions and an environmental trigger always seemed more likely culprits.

For the record, I am socially progressive and fiscally conservative. I believe that perpatrators of the autism-vaccine link myth are committing atrocities on a slightly smaller scale than climate-change denialists and those who profess that HIV is not the sole infectious agent responsible for the conditions labelled AIDS.

Posted by: bigolpoofter | January 6, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, SOMETHING is causing the huge rise in autism, asthma, ADD, and life-threatening food allergies. It clearly is not simply greater awareness/diagnostic capabilities. What all these problems have in common is that they all involve the immune system. It seems reasonable that children with these problems have a genetic tendency toward developing them, but something in the environment must trigger the final expression. As a research scientist, what I find ridiculous about making categorically blanket statements such as "vaccines don't cause autism" is that the possibility of genetic predisposition is usually not mentioned, nor is there at present any way to identify specific factors predisposing a child to autism (or any other of the maladies listed above). Given the contaminant burden in the air, water, soil, and foods, it is hardly far fetched to search for environmental factors that may trigger these disorders in susceptible individuals. One of my colleagues wows his audience during seminars by introducing his discussions of mercury toxicity by showing mercury concentrations in his exhaled breath (i.e. an aerosol)resulting from the mercury amalgam in his dental fillings.

Posted by: ihave4ducks | January 6, 2011 1:56 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: skramsv:
"Being a peer reviewed journal is nothing more than the publisher/editor sent it to a few friends and asked them to submit an opinion".... this "opinion" is the worthiness for publication, based on the data presented and the reviewer's other knowledge of the field. Almost all the time papers are first rejected or accepted with the condition that more experiments be done so it can be considered again.


"Once upon a time, a scientist's experiemental findings were replicated by other scientists. Remember cold fusion?" Remember vaccine studies? Isn't this EXACTLY what's being done - more studies testing the conclusions?

Posted by: CellBioProf | January 6, 2011 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Well, SOMETHING is causing the huge rise in autism, asthma, ADD, and life-threatening food allergies. It clearly is not simply greater awareness/diagnostic capabilities. What all these problems have in common is that they all involve the immune system. It seems reasonable that children with these problems have a genetic tendency toward developing them, but something in the environment must trigger the final expression. As a research scientist, what I find ridiculous about making categorically blanket statements such as "vaccines don't cause autism" is that the possibility of genetic predisposition is usually not mentioned, nor is there at present any way to identify specific factors predisposing any one individual to autism (or any other of the maladies listed above). Given the contaminant burden in the air, water, soil, and foods, it is hardly far fetched to search for environmental factors that may trigger these disorders in susceptible individuals. One of my colleagues wows his audience during seminars by introducing his discussions of mercury toxicity by showing mercury concentrations in his exhaled breath (i.e. an aerosol)resulting from the mercury amalgam in his dental fillings.

Posted by: ihave4ducks | January 6, 2011 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"90%+ of climate scientists who have concluded that the evidence for AGW is compelling enough to warrant action."

Any "scientist" who says that can be immediately dismissed as no scientist at all, but a political hack. A scientists job is to research theories, gather data, and draw conclusions based on that data. The job of determining what if any any action should be taken is that of economists, voters, policymakers etc. Any "scientist" who attempts to play both roles is simply a hack or in it for the grant money.

Posted by: Paco95 | January 6, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"Well, SOMETHING is causing the huge rise in autism, asthma, ADD, and life-threatening food allergies. It clearly is not simply greater awareness/diagnostic capabilities. What all these problems have in common is that they all involve the immune system....Given the contaminant burden in the air, water, soil, and foods, it is hardly far fetched to search for environmental factors that may trigger these disorders in susceptible individuals."

You are absolutely right. The dangers, especially for endocrine-disrupting chemicals, are very real. Please come to SW PA tell our Marcellus Shale gas drillers/frackers that - they continue to insist that their "residual waste" which they dump into our rivers is harmless.

Posted by: CellBioProf | January 6, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Well, SOMETHING is causing the huge rise in autism, asthma, ADD, and life-threatening food allergies. It clearly is not simply greater awareness/diagnostic capabilities.
Posted by: ihave4ducks | January 6, 2011 1:56 PM |

---------------------------------

Actually, it is probably mostly due to greater awareness and more advanced diagnostic capabilities. Add to that the number of maladies that have very vague or broad definitions/symptoms -- including autism and ADD -- and it isn't difficult to understand why more diagnoses occur now than in the past.

Posted by: js_edit | January 6, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I guess all the paid pharma, lawyers, their doctors and assorted others will blog and fight this because they are so well funded. My son got the MMR vaccine and 2-3 months later, he was a different person. You people are PAID to say otherwise. Disgusting. Health care by you people is an oxymoron.

Posted by: citizen625 | January 6, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Need an investigation of mothers with plastic boobs having children with Hollywood eunicks.

Posted by: WmLaney | January 6, 2011 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: freepost
First, it was the global warming hoax and now the vaccine related autism myth. These episodes underscore the dangers associated with social liberals who distort the scientific method to achieve their social agenda.

---------

Oh, you mean like saying Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

Posted by: dlpetersdc | January 6, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"I guess all the paid pharma, lawyers, their doctors and assorted others will blog and fight this because they are so well funded. My son got the MMR vaccine and 2-3 months later, he was a different person. You people are PAID to say otherwise. Disgusting. Health care by you people is an oxymoron."

I feel terrible about anyone having to deal with this disorder. However, this is a perfect example of WHY junk science has so many believers at an almost religious level. No one wants to accept that things just happen. Everyone needs a "reason", someone to blame, an explanation, etc. For centuries it was God, witches, ghosts, werewolves, curses, etc. People need a reason so badly, and on such an emotional level, that they will grab on to ANYTHING, regardless of how absurd it is.

Only in the past few years have I begun to fully grasp what is meant by the phrase "people will believe what they want to believe." When someone truly WANTS to believe something, absolutely NOTHING will tear them from that belief, regardless of it's obvious fallacy.

Posted by: Paco95 | January 6, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Can we now duct-tape Deirdre Imus's mouth? Please?

Posted by: Rob_ | January 6, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse


There is a cause for the rise in autism. I don't believe it is just a statistical anomaly. It is just that the vaccinations are not that source of the observed rise.

As someone who had a son just grazed by the disorder and a person who knows many who are affected, I hope someone finds the answer to preventing more cases.

Posted by: edbyronadams | January 6, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

As both someone with family on the Autism spectrum and a pinko, commie, Big Brother loving, gun stealing, death panel supporting liberal, let me be the millionth to question how exactly saying there's a link between immunization and Autism is a left-wing thing to do? From what I can tell, the suspicion and distrust of science in general (climate change proof, issues involving endangered species, the planet being over 6500 years old) is a trend among conservatives -- mostly the more right-wing/fundamentalist.

As a fan of the scientific method and having evidence for claims in general (preferably from experts), I have to wonder why anyone would risk their child's health and the well-being of the children in their community based on the word of a woman who's famous for posing naked and hosting an MTV game show.

Posted by: dagrubb824 | January 6, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

dagrubb824:

I am an atheist and also a fan of the scientific process. I don't personally equate the anti-vaccine movement with liberalism (I equate it with the anti-floride movement) but I think I can answer your question as to why some do so equate it.

There is unquestionably a certain element in the environmental movement that is VERY technophobe and reacts with the same sort of illogical luddism to various aspects of technological advancement. These people seem to see humanity and technology as somehow set against nature and this expresses itself in senseless, uninformed reactions against genetically modified food, atomic energy, genetic engineering and so on. They drink unpasteurized milk and pay top dollar to eat "organic". They dream of a world after people. They prefer all things "natural" apparently failing to understand that human beings are animals, not gods, and that we are in fact a PART of nature and that EVERYTHING we do is therefore natural, not supernatural not preternatural.

I don't know how prevelant they actually are but they are VERY vocal as one can see on pretty much any of these threads anytime the FDA approves some new food technology or so on. That, I'm sure, is the root of the idea that the anti-vaccinne movement is somehow 'liberal' when it is, in fact, simply irrational.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | January 6, 2011 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"let me be the millionth to question how exactly saying there's a link between immunization and Autism is a left-wing thing to do? "

As a right wing, "kill a commie for mommie, reagan loving, gun toting, red neck, this is a question I have pondered myself!

I think the answer lies more in "how" we think than in "what" we think. I approach concepts with a skeptical eye towards the the person putting the concept forward. In other words "consider the source". Whether it's trial lawyers(democrats' largest supporters)suing dow chemical or "scientists" who live off of government grants or Al Gore making hundreds of millions off of carbon credits, I look first at the motivation of the person who is trying to convince me something.

It isn't so much "left wing" as it is that simple answers to complex issuestend to appeal to those who are on the left, and there are P.T. Barnum types (michael moore, al gore, etc) who are experts at taking advantage of those people for money.

Posted by: Paco95 | January 6, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Paco95 & dagrubb824: You two are rational (well, until Paco starts an Al Gore rant at the end). Of course it's not a right vs. left issue (nor can, nor should, most things be framed that way). Instead, it's an us vs them issue. People seem to need to finger point, to demonize, to blame others for every fault in society. They need a bogie-man, They are the same folks who start sentences with "Liberals…" or use the term "Repugs". Seeing things in constant pseudo-poltical terms says more about the insecurity and ignorance of the poster more than anything else.

Posted by: steve1231 | January 6, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I think steve1231 made my point better than I did. I didn't mean for the Al Gore thing to be a rant, only to point up an example of how many "leaders" who happen to be on the left will use the fact that people need a bogie-man to create a bogie man, then tell everyone that they will slay said bogie man if you give them money/power/votes, etc. (need I mention the manbearpig?)

I see this as very analogous to the what the politicians on the left do with regards to blaming "big _________" (oil, pharma, wall street, tobacco, rich people" as the bogie men. "If only you will vote for me, I will punish them and save you from them!" Whereas those on the right tend to say "You are responsible for your own lot in life, and nothing I do can overcome your decisions and the normal ebb and flow of lifes opportunities"

It's always easier to blame someone else, and there will never be a shortage of snake oil salesman to separate the fools from their money or votes while affirming their beliefs in the bogie man.

Posted by: Paco95 | January 6, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: vince03380 | January 6, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

twoeagle said: "This is all evidence of the criminals that now inhabit the Soros/Socialist/ Democratic Party, the EPA, FDA, etc, etc. The sooner we expose all of them for what they are, the sooner we can get our country back."

What is your problem, twoeagle? You're so blinded by your irrational hatred that you didn't even notice that this was a BRITISH doctor, a British study and a British medical journal. The EPA and FDA -- in fact, the entire American government -- had nothing to do with it. You wingnuts are so convinced that those boogeyman Democrats are out to get you that you become a paranoid parody of yourselves.

Posted by: tomguy1 | January 6, 2011 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Can the Post PLEASE do something for this type of comment thread so that there aren't so many double, triple, even quadruple posts? And why do they need two completely different systems for commenting, anyway?

Posted by: FrankIBC | January 6, 2011 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I would assume that an "autism expert" would be able to enlighten the lay public
as to the etiology of autism. She seems to have about as much insight as to the causes of autism as my paperboy. And Doctor, have you ever heard of the Amish?

Posted by: cellus | January 6, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

An autistic physician, I call this refutation vital. My disorder is grossly overdiagnosed. In truth, there are very, very few autistic persons; the abuse of this diagnosis has generated child abuse in the form of foisting unneeded and possibly dangerous medicines on a huge number of children. Worse was the misuse of statistics to link autism and vaccines, the most important public health technology after adequate sewage and clean drinking water. Most of the analyses simply used concurrent trends, the increase in vaccination and the subsequent increase in autism diagnoses (overdiagnoses in reality) to assert a causal relationship. That outright fraud has now been added to the mix places the final nail in the coffin. It is very unfortunate that otherwise honorable persons such as Jim Carrey should have been victimized by this nefarious campaign.

Posted by: Martial | January 6, 2011 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Here's the qoute

"Deer's article was paid for by the Sunday Times of London and Britain's Channel 4 television network. It was published online Thursday in the medical journal, BMJ."

Sorry when is objective science funded by a television station and a newspaper owned by Murdoch.

James Murdoch Ruperts son happens to be CEO of Newscorp and coincidentally a

... Non-Executive Director of GlaxoSmithKline....who produce childhood immunisation.

Call me a conspiracy theorist but there are the links.

Shouldn't the Washington Post done a bit of research on this article ???

Posted by: Blackheart1 | January 7, 2011 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Infanrix - Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis Introduced ... Jan-1996 earned GlaxoSmithKline $945million in 2006.

That would probably be $5 Billion over the last 5 years

I love a good conspiracy theory.

Posted by: Blackheart1 | January 7, 2011 2:48 AM | Report abuse

And now for the real story.

http://www.nvic.org/nvic-archives/newsletter/autismandvaccines.aspx

Let's keep our critical thinking caps on folks.

Posted by: doksomedon | January 7, 2011 4:39 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: doksomedon | January 7, 2011 5:09 AM | Report abuse

Well, in Jenny McCarthy's defense, she does have extremely large breasts.

Posted by: mlincoln1 | January 7, 2011 6:23 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing to me how many people want to cling to the conclusions of this guy Wakefield even after it is disclosed that his research was faked -- not just questioned but faked. As in, his subjects didn't even have the disorders he said they did, or some developed autism _before_ they were vaccinated. A complete fraud. People love a conspiracy theory more than facts?

I just think of the millions of dollars spent debunking this that could have been spent on real research, and it's infuriating. Children have died because of this belief. Probably many more will because the morons must cling to their beliefs rather than admit that they were wrong and they don't actually understand science.

Posted by: msame | January 7, 2011 6:46 AM | Report abuse

So we're supposed to conclude that vaccines are safe? Ha! They destroy the body's natural immune system.

Posted by: Bearbank | January 7, 2011 7:33 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion the real responsibility lies with the editors of the Lancet. They published this not on its merits but because they knew it would get plenty of publicity and would help them in their competition with the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Posted by: corco02az | January 7, 2011 7:45 AM | Report abuse

People do love a good conspiracy theory because the so called 'investigators' or 'skeptics' often have their own agendas to promote.

Whether Wakefield is a fraud or not the unanswered question remains for the medical profession - What is causing a rise not only in autism , PDD , Asperger's Syndrome , ADDHD and serious childhood allergies and a rise in anaphylatic reactions.

Deer's obsession with Wakefield may well obscure some serious research that needs to be done in factoring such things as autoimmune system reactions to proteins within medicines and pharmaceuticals.

http://holyhormones.com/vaccinations/welcome-to-the-sunday-glaxo-big-pharma-media-in-bed-together/

... and that's not only my opinion. After a bit of research I find the above blog and ...

Murdoch will serve as a member of GSK’s corporate responsibility committee, where he will help to review

“external issues that might have the potential for serious impact upon the group’s business and reputation“

:[James Murdoch takes GlaxoSmithKline role - Chris Tryhorn The Guardian Monday 2 February 2009.

and ...

James Murdoch took up his appointment alongside Sir Crispin Davis the CEO of The Lancet medical journal's owners.

Sir Crispin is BROTHER of Judge Nigel Davis whose English High Court judgement in February 2004 saw the end of British children's MMR vaccine injury claims [MMR Judge Faces Probe Over Brother's Links to Vaccine Firm - Evening Standard, London 9 May 2007].

... A statement issued on Judge Davis’ behalf to The Telegraph newspaper legal correspondent, Joshua Rosenberg stated that “the possibility of any conflict of interest had not occurred to him“. Sir Crispin Davis received a knighthood in June 2004.

-----------------------------

A conspiracy is a conspiracy because it is secret. Not because it might be true.

Posted by: Blackheart1 | January 7, 2011 8:11 AM | Report abuse

I thought it had been discovered that Jennifer McCarthy's child never had autism. It was a misdiagnosis by the pediatrician and the child actually suffered from Landau-Kleffner syndrome.

Posted by: funkey | January 7, 2011 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"Since MIT/caltech/RICE/MUDD.... do not have majors in "climatology" or "climate" or "climate science".... I will go with the scientists that I know are in fact scientists."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Better check again. MIT has a Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, which includes an undergraduate concentration in "Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate," as well as extensive graduate academic and research programs in climate-related areas.

Posted by: oldguy2 | January 7, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

This story should serve as a warning to those who believe scientists are all disinterested solons dedicated to pursuit of the truth.

They are human beings just like you and me, and they get paid for making discoveries that are important and get press. Almost always, a researcher *does* have an agenda and is trying to prove it. So recent results really aren't always very meaningful.

A result that has gotten attention and then been subsequently attacked by other researchers actively seeking to disprove it is another matter. That is where scientific research justly deserves its reputation.

But you do have to wait awhile. Sometimes a couple of decades.

Posted by: JeffRandom | January 7, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Bearbank wrote:

"So we're supposed to conclude that vaccines are safe? Ha! They destroy the body's natural immune system."
-----------------------

Really, just how stupid and uninformed can one be? In just two sentences you've clearly demonstrated that you know nothing about biology.

Posted by: FrankIBC | January 7, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

So much for work that appears in "peer reviewed" journals. There's probably a ton of the same fake science behind the AGW myth.

Posted by: ronjaboy

------------------------------------------

Dear ronjaboy,

You have missed the point. Science INVITES others to test and retest all of its conclusions and to replicate its results--or disprove them.

That's how scams like this are exposed.

I'd rather put my faith in this system than a system where politicians decide what is proven "scientifically" by their own agenda or by those who decide by gut feelings.

Posted by: RickyGibson | January 7, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Most of these comments are ignorant. Vaccines do cause adverse effects in some people, leading to serious permanent diseases and disabilities, including autism, and death. The CDC and FDA (HHS) collect data on this: see http://vaers.hhs.gov/index
See also this website:
http://thinktwice.com/
It's easy to be so smug about this issue, call people "luddites" and "junk science", until it is YOUR formerly normal son or daughter that dies or suffers permanent brain damage. I think part of the problem is that too many vaccines are administered at once, including those for "chicken pox" and other non-dangerous diseases. Blasting a poor baby's immune system with all of these toxins simultaneously may be the cause rather than the individual vaccines themselves. Understand that vaccines do not protect the individual against a disease. They do protect society as a whole against an epidemic. As Mr. Spock of Star Trek says in one of those movies, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one." That's fine, except when you are the one.

Posted by: JayJackson2 | January 7, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The important question is what is really causing the staggering rise of autism rates in the United States? Were there just more undetected cases in the past? Has the criteria for defining the condition been broadened to include persons not formerly classified as autistic? Or is there some external cause and we just haven't figured it out yet? No political objectives here and I don't pretend to know the answers, just posing the question to see if anyone has any thoughts. As a parent, the rise in autism rates is troubling.

Posted by: jswift1 | January 7, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Enough is enough. Who cares what caused autism, we are way past this debate. My daughter is aging out of the education system in 4 years and will be entering the adult world of being disabled in the working community. The first generation of this epidemic is about to join society and there are not enough programs in place to house, employ, or keep a constant eye on these young adults as their parents age and can no longer take care of them. Research is fine for the younger and future generations that will be diagnosed with this lifelong disability. If the state and federal government don't start setting aside funding and create programs, these adults with the minds of young/preteens will be walking the streets and be the most vulnerable to be preyed upon by the vile people who look for the weakest people to take advantage of and harm.

Posted by: jeiken | January 7, 2011 1:22 PM | Report abuse

The good Dr. Wakefield was probably looking to be the next Nobel Peace Prize winner for medical research.

Posted by: sjcsando | January 7, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

WHAT ABOUT HIS BIRTH CERTIFICATE? I will never be satisfied until someone personally hands me proof in my own pudgy hands

Posted by: theobserver4 | January 7, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

"So much for work that appears in "peer reviewed" journals. There's probably a ton of the same fake science behind the AGW myth."

The point is not that fraudulent research sometimes gets into print (it does), but that the peer review system eventually catches up with and exposes the fraud.

Posted by: bobd4 | January 7, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

As with so many of these wonderful little debates on WaPo, there are points made by both sides.

Vaccines are wonderful. Yes, they do work. How do I know? Smallpox. There's more, but still. No, it isn't JUST because we are cleaner or have indoor plumbing, though that helps too. You don't wipe a disease off the face of the earth through hand washing. They work.

Buuuuuuut...

There is the legitimate point made by Jay Jackson above. Vaccines do mess with the TH1/TH2 balance of the immune system in favor of the TH2 side (makes antibodies). Depending on how young the child is they may still have a natural imbalance in favor of TH2 immunity from sharing the mother's immune system that, while a woman is pregnant, also favors TH2. Many autoimmune disorders are on the rise, and this may be a large factor, along with MANY other things, to explain why.

Next, don't equate this with global warming, idiots. Different subject, different people, different science. That debate is for another day.

Also, to the person who made some snide comment about fluoride up there. What the hell do you know? You think a chemical that has no nutritional function outside of the topical effect on tooth enamel in the internal systems of the body is something to be ignored? READ DUMMY! And no I don't mean the conspicacy theory books, I mean the latest scientific studies, the ADA specs on fluoride and your own nutrition textbooks. Then, go drink some suntan lotion and tell me how good it is for preventing skin cancer while you throw it up. Topical effect. External use ONLY.

Lastly folks, I'm sure this won't be the only time I say this, leave the conspiracy theories in the trash where they belong. To all new age lefty kooks and right wing religious nutbars: If I was the devil, I think the best thing I could do to distract people from "finding God" in whatever form would be to create a whole bunch of crazy, interesting stories about how people have NO CONTROL over their own life, its all up to the majestic 12 illuminati freemasons who, along with the 5 jew bankers, control every aspect of international finance and THEY in turn are controlled by the annunaki and of course the lizardmen from the orion system and we need to pray to sirius that the dolphin people will rise from lake titicaca to save us all.

*phew*

Well, was that as fun for you as it was for me? You guys are great. I love these forums.

Posted by: ashtar377 | January 7, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

There are some who believe that many cases of fetal alcohol syndrome are being misdiagnosed as autism---in fact, in some circles, autism is called FAS without the guilt.

Posted by: fireweed1 | January 7, 2011 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The level of comment to this article is truly impressive sadly much is poorly informed and wrong. You should know that Andrew Wakefield has been discredited by the same means used to destroy claims that vaccines and autism are linked. That means is simply that of an artificial construct that turns fact into fiction and rightside up on its head. The underlying reality is simple enough there are no unvaccinated autistic people. I will happily argue that claim with any person at any time in any independent public venue open to all comers. At my own expense!

Tony Bateson, Oxford, UK.

Posted by: tonybateson | January 8, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Tony Bateson roams the web and repeatedly posts the same nonsense that "there are no unvaccinated autistic people" despite it having been repeatedly pointed out to him that there are, of course, unvaccinated people with autism--including, for example, the third child of antivaccine activist Kim Stagliano, who (like Bateson) strangely blames vaccines for her daughters' condition, although her first two, vaccinated children developed ASD just like her third, unvaccinated child.

At least Bateson realizes that, as he stated, the claims that vaccines and autism are linked have been destroyed--not least by the fact that Wakefield is a fraud.

Posted by: bpatient | January 9, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

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