Thursday, January 6, 2011

Study linking vaccination and autism retracted

The scientific study that touched off a major vaccine scare in the late '90s has been officially retracted, the Wall Street Journal reports today.  The British Medical Journal has concluded that the study was largely falsified. Despite this, its influence was deeply corrosive, resulting in thousands of children falling ill from measles/mumps/rubella because their parents feared that if they were given the standard vaccine they would develop autism. The study claimed to demonstrate a causal connection between receiving the measles/mumps/rubella vaccine and developing autism. All of the original co-authors of the study, except Dr. Andrew Wakefield of Britain, have retracted their original findings.

The article reports:

"The findings provoked a still-raging debate over vaccine safety and they prompted thousands of parents to forgo shots for their children. Measles outbreaks were subsequently reported in several Western countries. Several epidemiological studies conducted since the Wakefield paper by public health authorities haven't found any link between the vaccines and autism.

The Lancet withdrew the article in January of last year after concluding that "several elements" of the paper were incorrect. But the journal didn't describe any of the discrepancies as fraud. A British regulator stripped Dr. Wakefield of his medical license last May, citing "serious professional misconduct" in the way he handled the research."

The full article can be read here.

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