“Callous Disregard” for truth: Huckster peddling doctored science finally exposed

The “doctors” who tied autims to the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine doctored the research. 

From the AP:

The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

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.

As a result of the vaccine-shunning, measles outbreaks–once a thing of the past–have become more common both here and in Europe.  And what of the fraud against autistic kids? Their parents?  The shyster who led the falsified study lost his license to practice in England last year, but lives in the States where he enjoys a celebrity following. 

Cult-like followers of discredited scientists.  Shades of Climategate, anyone?  Wakefield has managed to spin the loss of his medical license as part of a vast cover-up.  From the promo to his book:

In the pursuit of possible links between childhood vaccines, intestinal inflammation, and neurologic injury in children, Wakefield lost his job in London’s Royal Free Hospital, his country of birth, his career, and his medical license. A recent General Medical Council ruling stated that he was “dishonest, irresponsible and showed callous disregard for the distress and pain of children.” Maligned by the medical establishment and mainstream media, Wakefield endeavors to set the record straight in Callous Disregard. While explaining what really happened, he calls out the organizations and individuals that are acting not for the sake of children affected by autism, but in their own self-interests.

Bear in mind he still peddles the link between vaccines and autism.  What’s most distressing to me are the legions of parents who cling to the notion that their child’s autism was a direct result of the MMR as a result of this huckster’s lies.  Chasing rabbits down fraudulent holes is a waste of time and resources when real and honest science could find a cause.

2 Responses

  1. That man ought to be in jail. I hope they can prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. He caused so much chaos and hand wringing.

  2. “Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.”

    This kind of thing makes me crazy. I’m glad that Lancet at least showed the integrity to retract the Wakefield article.

    This is an excellent example of the way one or two high-profile bogus studies get built upon by later researchers to build up a body of “accepted” research that is just plain bunk.

    Shades of Climategate truly.

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