Years ago a study was published in the Lancet that linked autism with vaccines. This study was quite controversial and even now is still considered to be quite controversial.
Many people went back and forth on these findings but in the end, the Lancet ended retracting their publication. They apologized to the public and said that the findings had been somehow ‘fabricated.’ Dr. Andrew Wakefield lead author on this study has ever since been receiving a lot of hate. You see, the British General Medical Council brought this ‘dishonesty’ to light through the work of investigative reporter Brian Deer.
Back when this study was published it sparked a lot of people within the medical community and motivated them to do their own research in regards. You see, Wakefield’s study was one that casually linked the MMR vaccine to the development of Autism in children as well as IBD. This he referred to at the time as ‘Autistic Enterocolitis.’ This study was a small one but was one that really changed a lot of things even if it was dismissed quickly.
Conflict of Interest and Research Don’t Mix
In 2004, a UK journalist named Brian Deer helped to expose the fact that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest related to the study.7 Firstly, the Wakefield study’s funding sources included a lawyer who was working on an anti-vaccine lawsuit for people who believed that the vaccines caused their children’s medical conditions. Secondly, the lawyer paid Wakefield to assist with the lawsuit. Ten of the thirteen co-authors then withdrew their support of the Lancet paper’s interpretation section. Their retraction read, “We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between (the) vaccine and autism, as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised, and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.”8
Despite that partial retraction and the mounting criticism of the original paper that so powerfully ignited the MMR vaccine scare, Wakefield continued to find supporters among other researchers and thousands of parents of developmentally delayed and/or IBD children. In 2004, Wakefield founded “Thoughtful House Center for Children” in Texas, where even though he did not hold a medical license, he led the clinic’s research program. The organization was technically not-for-profit, but Wakefield received an annual salary of nearly US$300,000.3
Could this truly be a ‘real study’ proving the vaccine is dangerous or could it be that the medical world doesn’t want us to have proof of the link? I guess that is something for you to decide for yourself as we will never truly know either way. To hear more about all of this please check out the video below to hear Wakefield speak himself. What do you think?
Whether you believe his findings are legitimate or not I think we can all agree that it did raise a lot of questions and most likely had lots of people looking more into things themselves. Educating ourselves on the things going in our bodies and the bodies of those we care for is always a good thing.
(Image Via: Lu Yuyang Richard)