Posted: March 10th, 2010 by Militant Libertarian
The news has been full of headlines trumpeting the discrediting of Dr. Andrew Wakefield`s 1998 study on vaccines (specifically MMR, measles-mumps-rubella) and childhood autism. While the news outlets in the main stream wax poetic about their belief that this discredits all autism-vaccine links, they ignore several fundamental things about the study, Dr. Wakefield, and the General Medical Council (GMC) which gave him a guilty verdict.
First, Wakefield`s study was only five pages long1 and was a case study, not a double-blind test drawing conclusive results. It studied 12 children and made no claims, only hypotheses. Thousands of these kinds of reports and studies are published every year and generally are ignored, as they are usually merely springboards towards more scientific research. It should also be mentioned that Wakefield`s observational research in this study has been duplicated by 2 other research institutions, one in Japan and the other in the U.S.2
Dr. Wakefield has published 32 peer-reviewed papers since 1998 and none of those have been mentioned, retracted, or challenged. The 1998 study was, however, the beginnings of an instrumental line of inquiry that would, eventually, lead to a study which will be published inNeurotoxicology, the advance first-phase having published last year.3
In fact, Dr. Wakefield has never been against vaccination and has, instead, been a proponent of single antigen vaccines. In other words, Wakefield is hardly “anti-vaccine” and instead urges pediatricians and vaccine makers to use single-dose vaccines formulated for only one pathogen.
The findings of the GMC had nothing to do with his research or his methodology, but only with his failure to disclose financial links they saw as potentially conflicting and with his alleged treatment of test subjects. The panel went so far as to specifically state that their decision had nothing to do with a vaccine-MMR-autism link.4
The findings of the GMC hinged on the supposed treatment of the children in the study`s control group, all of whom were friends of the Wakefield family. During Dr. Kumar`s (GMC panel chair) reading of the findings in this regard, all five of those parents stood and interrupted at various intervals to call the panel liars and unethical miscreants.5
That same Dr. S Kumar, who chaired the Fitness to Practice Panel and read the guilty verdicts to Dr. Wakefield and others, is a shareholder in a well-known pharmaceutical company. His predecessor was outed after it was found that Professor Dennis McDevitt was a research fellow for the same pharmaceutical giant.
The entire trial began because a man named Brian Deer brought complaint against Dr. Wakefield, with the help of funding and assistance from Medico-Legal Investigations. MLI is a private inquiry company funded solely by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
The suit began in 2007 and trudged on for two years. During that time, parents of the children in question attempted to bring their case to court, to force the GMC panel to allow them to testify, but the judge refused. That judge, Sir Nigel Davis, has a brother who was on the board of (again) the same big pharma company.
If you`re not seeing a pattern here, you aren`t paying attention.
1 – Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and
pervasive developmental disorder in children by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, et al
2 – Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism by H. Kawashima, T. Mori, et al
3 – Infant Primate Study Links Vaccination with Autism by Aaron Turpen, NaturalNews.com
3a – Infant Hepatitis B Vaccine Triples Risk of Autism in Boys, Study Says by Aaron Turpen, NaturalNews.com
4 – Fitness to Practice Panel Hearing, January 28, 2010 General Medical Council
5 – Eye Witness Report from the UK GMC Wakefield, Walker-Smith, Murch Hearing by Martin Walker, Age of Autism