By Sam Foster
A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.
The analysis, by British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in Wakefield's paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children's parents.
Wakefield could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls and requests to the publisher of his recent book, which claims there is a connection between vaccines and autism that has been ignored by the medical establishment. Wakefield now lives in the U.S. where he enjoys a vocal following including celebrity supporters like Jenny McCarthy.
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.
In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee and colleagues called Wakefield's study "an elaborate fraud." They said Wakefield's work in other journals should be examined to see if it should be retracted.
Last May, Wakefield was stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. Many other published studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccination and autism.
That's the news as reported by the AP. Yet regardless of the evidence, there is reason to believe that people will remain unconvinced and religiously shun measles vaccines, which happens to be making resurgence thanks to the phony Wakefield study.
But the real lesson here is that truth is not dictated by the vaunted "Peer Review." Those in the profession of science are not above repute because they have a PhD, work at a prestigious college, or scored a 1600 on their SATs. Scientists are men and as in any profession of power, there is motivation to fraud.
For those who introduce groundbreaking studies, there is money, grants, fame, and acolytes to be earned. The discredited Andrew Wakefield became a director of the Thoughtful House Center for Children, a center for autistic children, as a direct result of his work. How about his being made a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists?
Luckily, opponents of Wakefield's research were not labeled as shills for big pharma and ostracized by the media or else who knows? Maybe HHS would be banning vaccines?
Discussion at Memeorandum.