"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Wakefield's MMR study is a fraud

Dr Andrew Wakefield, the researcher responsible for the alleged link between MMR vaccine and autism has now been accused by the BMJ of deliberately falsifying data to back up his claims. They have reviewed the transcript of the General Medical Council hearings and compared them with the original research paper in the Lancet and the findings of investigative journalist Brian Deer
The latest findings suggest that Wakefield knowingly lied about the medical histories and subsequent symptoms of the twelve children examined for his study. In particular…
– only one child clearly had regressive autism and three did not have autism at all
– five children had concerns recorded about their development on their records predating MMR vaccination
– claims that the symptoms appeared days after vaccination were found to be wrong and in some cases these started months later.
– nine children had normal test results from their bowel but this was changed to 'non-specific colitis'
– some patients were recruited through anti-MMR campaigners and the study was commissioned and funded as part of planned litigation against the jab's manufacturer.

Wakefield has already been struck off the medical register in the U.K but he continues to protest his innocence and the truth of his claims from his new base in America where he also enjoys support from autism groups.
It cannot be emphasised enough: Study after study, including worldwide meta-analysis of all the data available for MMR has totally failed to find a link between the vaccine and autism. There has been a consequential rise in measles infections ever since poorly informed parents withheld vaccination from their children under the mistaken impression that they were being prudent or cautious and we are still not back to vaccination rates that ensure herd immunity. Measles in particular is not a trivial disease and complications can occur fairly frequently including bronchitis, and panencephalitis which is potentially fatal.
I’d like to think today’s revelations will finally end this fabricated controversy, but I’m not optimistic. The lack of critical thinking among the general population and the willingness of the press to give equal weight to the anti-vaccination lobby , evidence be damned, will probably keep it rumbling on.

No comments:

Post a Comment