In 1998, a study by now famous medical researcher and former surgeon Andrew Wakefield that centered on a connection between autism and the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine was published. An investigation was launched in 2004 by Brian Deer, who was posing as a reporter for the Sunday Times to expose potential conflicts of interest. Because of this investigation, most of Wakefield’s colleagues who contributed to the research withdrew their approval once the investigation was made public. Only a few weeks ago, the British Medical Journal published findings from this investigation and alleged that Dr. Wakefield fabricated his study results, and he was subsequently banned from practicing medicine. Only 3 weeks after this knee-jerk reaction, documents have surfaced from a completely unrelated study that was conducted over a year prior to Dr. Wakefield’s own report that found the same results, and by all rights should completely clear his name.
At the 1996 Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study Group at the Royal Free Hospital Medical School, Professor Walker-Smith gave a presentation on 7 of the children who participated in one of his studies, and would also be featured in Dr. Wakefield’s separate study 2 years later. This study by Professor Walker-Smith and Dr. Amar Dhillon, completely independent of Dr. Wakefield’s own research, documented the exact same results and effects in children; effects that include but are not limited to symptoms of autism. Even if Dr. Wakefield did not conduct his own research, this proves that he could not have completely fabricated the results.
Walker-Smith’s presentation began by announcing data from his studies about 7 children who all developed disintegrative disorder, probably autism, following MMR. He detailed these results, along with those of Dr. Dhillon over a year before Dr. Wakefield published his findings. One of the main accusations by BMJ was that the results from Dr. Wakefield’s paper had never been independently replicated, which with the revelation of this 1996 report is inaccurate.
These newly released documents prove a few things, and none of them are particularly pretty. Not only does it prove the fallibility of major medical publications, but it makes one question the reason a report like this by a fraudulent reporter could ever gain such reputability that it could cause such a stir across the world. It exposes the facts that there actually are real risks with vaccinations. Risks that could potentially be so large that major medical sources and publications are willing to lie, distort truth, or hide facts in order to protect them.
Revelations of this nature aren’t easy for the mainstream world to swallow. Sources like BMJ are traditionally trusted for a reason, and when stories like this one that set the whole world ablaze are proven to be either factually incorrect or completely false, it shakes the foundation of what we believe in to stay informed and healthy. It may require a little more work, but it’s always best to do your homework regarding matters like these.
In response to this new information, Dr. Wakefield issued the following statement:
“The British Medical Journal and reporter Brian Deer recently alleged that my 1998 research paper was ‘a hoax’ and ‘an elaborate fraud’ and that my motivation was profit.
I want to make one thing crystal clear for the record my research and the serious medical problems found in those children were not a hoax and there was no fraud whatsoever. Nor did I seek to profit from our findings.
I stand by the Lancet paper’s methodology and the results which call for more research into whether environmental triggers cause gastrointestinal disease and developmental regression in children. In fact, despite media reports to the contrary, the results of my research have been duplicated in five other countries.
It is not unexpected to see poor reporting and misinformation coming from Brian Deer, the lead reporter of the recent BMJ coverage. But to see coverage in other media that cites Deer’s shoddy journalism in the BMJ as a final justification to claim there is no link between vaccines and autism is ludicrous. The MMR is only one vaccine of the eleven vaccinations on the pediatric schedule that has been studied for causing developmental problems such as autism. That is fact, not opinion. Any medical professional, government official or journalist who states that the case is closed on whether vaccines cause autism is jumping to conclusions without the research to back it up.
I continue to fully support more independent research to determine if environmental triggers, including vaccines, are causing autism and other developmental problems. The current rate of autism is 1 in 110 children in the United States and 1 in 64 children in the U.K. My goal has always been and will remain the health and safety of children. Since the Lancet paper, I have lost my job, my career and my country. To claim that my motivation was profit is patently untrue. I will not be deterred – this issue is far too important.”