Researcher fudged data on vaccine danger

The British doctor who started the scare over a link between the MMR vaccine and autism “changed and misreported results in his research,” charges a Times of London investigation.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.

The research was published in February 1998 in an article in The Lancet medical journal. It claimed that the families of eight out of 12 children attending a routine clinic at the hospital had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab. The team also claimed to have discovered a new inflammatory bowel disease underlying the children’s conditions.

However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.

After the paper was published in 1998, rates of inoculation fell from 92% to below 80%.

Last week official figures showed that 1,348 confirmed cases of measles in England and Wales were reported last year, compared with 56 in 1998. Two children have died of the disease.

Here are details on the 12 children in the study.

Wakefield worked for a lawyer trying to build a case against vaccine manufacturers, emphasizes Mike Dunford on The Questionable Authority.  Some of the parents came to Wakefield’s clinic in hopes of proving the vaccine caused their children’s problems.

Will this change minds?

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  1. Will this change minds?


  2. Will this change minds?

    The true believers in the vaccine/autism connection are immune to facts and reason.

    The anti-vaccine activists (Dan Olmsted, Kim Stagliano, Kent Heckenlively, David Kirby, Mark Blaxill, Anne Dachel, J. B. Handley et al.) at Age of Autism have been valiantly on the job, defending Wakefield despite acres of facts and oceans of evidence.


    March 27, 2008



    The British Medical Establishment’s battle to discredit Andy Wakefield runs into its first major obstacle this week — Andy Wakefield himself. He begins testimony in his own defense in the proceeding — we think Inquisition is a much better word — to pull his medical license after he published a study raising questions (questions, mind you!) about whether the MMR shot led to a GI disorder and regressive autism. He had the temerity to suggest that while we figure it out, it might make sense to separate the measles, mumps and rubella shots. For this outrage, he’s already been driven out of England — thankfully, to the USA. We’ll bring you full coverage and news about how you can support him starting with the letter (below) from several major US autism groups. In addition, you can visit to learn more.

    Wakefield and Colleagues Should Be Knighted, Not Persecuted


    October 12, 2008

    Wakefield on Jenny, the MMR and the Fight of His Life

    Editor’s Note: England’s Sunday Express has a great article on Andy Wakefield today with quotes that ought to put the fight back into anyone whose energy is flagging right about now (hey, it happens!). He talks about Jenny McCarthy’s courage, his upcoming book and his motivation for persevering. “My sole purpose is to help these children and get to grips with the root of the problem, which is what I am doing,” he said. “Despite having discovered an apparently new disease my colleagues and I are being vilified purely because of the vaccine association. This link has threatened Government policy and drug-company profit. What we’re witnessing over the triple jab is a propaganda campaign based on who has the biggest budget. I have none while the budget of the UK Government and its allies is limitless.” Yes, but Andy has allies, too, including Age of Autism and its thousands of readers. — Dan Olmsted


    December 22, 2008

    Smoke and Mirrors: Dr Richard Horton and the Wakefield Affair

    Managing Editor’s Note: The Wakefield family crest bears the latin “Arudua vinco” which translates to “I conquer difficulties.” We can’t thank Dr. Wakefield enough for his dedication to our children.

    By John Stone


    December 31, 2008

    Age of Autism Awards 2008 Galileo Award: Dr. Andrew Wakefield

    From the Roman to the Wakefield Inquisition

    By Mark Blaxill

    As the year draws to a close, all of us at the Age of Autism are very pleased to honor Dr. Andrew Wakefield. As we’ve reported here many times during the past year, Dr. Wakefield has been the subject of a remarkable and unprecedented campaign to discredit his work and character, most notably in a show trial that is still underway in London, in hearings of the General Medical Council. In the face of extraordinary attempts to silence him, Wakefield has stood up to these attacks with grace and determination and has continued his research and clinical work on behalf of children and families suffering from autism. That makes him our first Age of Autism Galileo Award recipient.


    February 06, 2009
    The Wakefield Affair and Meadow Syndrome at the GMC: an Open Letter to the President

    Big ben By John Stone

    The GMC hearing against Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith and Simon Murch has finished hearing evidence. All that remains are for panel to hear final summaries next month, and to give its final adjudication sometime in the early summer. It is apparently not possible to address representations to the panel so this letter is addressed to GMC president, Sir Graeme Catto.


    February 08, 2009

    British Bulldog Attacks Dr. Wakefield Again

    Brit bulldog UK journalist Brian Deer continues to attack Dr. Andrew Wakefield in his latest piece.

  3. I agree with Andromeda that few people who have already adopted the view that vaccinations==>autism will alter their views.

    Fortunately, Joanne, I think that the proportion of the population who have adopted that view is small, although they speak often, widely, and with great conviction. I hope that the exposure from publications such as yours and others—there are many where sensible comments can be found—will result in careful reflection on the issue by the far larger proportion of the people who will face questions about whether to vaccinate their children. Thus, it is important to identify the sources to whom parents can turn for trustworthy information on this (and other!) issues.

    Joanne, I hope you can help do so.

  4. Also see David Gorski, M.D., and Science-Based Medicine:

    “Antivaccine hero Andrew Wakefield: Scientific fraud?
    Published by David Gorski under Science and the Media, Vaccines
    Comments: 7

    Pity poor Andrew Wakefield.

    Actually, on second thought, Wakefield deserves no pity at all. After all, he is the man who almost single-handedly launched the scare over the MMR vaccine in Britain when he published his infamous Lancet paper in 1998 in which he claimed to have linked the MMR vaccine to regressive autism and inflammation of the colon, a study that was followed up four years later with a paper that claimed to have found the strain of attenuated measles virus in the MMR in the colons of autistic children by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). It would be one thing if these studies were sound science. If that were the case, then Wakefield’s work would have been very important and would have correctly cast doubt on the safety of the MMR. Unfortunately, they were not, and, indeed, most of the authors of the 1998 Lancet paper later withdrew their names from it.

    Over the next decade, aided and abetted by useful idiots in the media, by British newspapers and other media that sensationalized the story, and the antivaccine movement, which hailed Wakefield as a hero, Wakefield managed to drive MMR vaccination rates in the U.K. below the level of herd immunity, from 93% to 75% (and as low as 50% in some parts of London). As a result Wakefield has been frequently sarcastically “thanked” for his leadership role in bringing the measles back to the U.K. to the point where, fourteen years after measles had been declared under control in the U.K., it was in 2008 declared endemic again.

    Worse, this fear was based on the worst science imaginable”

    More at

  5. There are a LOT of anti-vaccine whackos out there. Trying to talk to them is like talking to a brick wall. I know, personally, at least five people that refuse any type of vaccine – including a chiropractor client of my husband’s, who even calls taking an aspirin “doing drugs” and if I hear the words “Big Pharma” one more time I think I’ll just flip out!

  6. In reality, there should be a charge of murder for every person who died as a result of his fraudulent research. This is the equivalent of causing a deadly stampede by yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Deliberate fraud, affecting the gullible, is causing the deaths of innocents.

    Of course, if that were the standard, we’d put Rachel Carson and her DDT fraud ahead of Hitler (>30 million dead vs. ~22 million).

  7. I hope this “researcher” finishes out his career mopping the labs of the people who DIDN’T falsify data.

    This kind of thing makes me spitting mad. Even more so that it probably lead to deaths of children from diseases we can prevent with vaccines.

  8. This incident is an example of the “politics” that has invaded (and often corrupted) science. Think global war…oops, climate change.

  9. Bill Leonard says:

    No doubt to the joy of the anti-vaccine crowd, but sadly for the rest of us, the useful idiots can be next to impossible to counter.

    Consider: 10 minutes on Oprah can trump by any knucklehead with a cockamamie opinion can trump 10 years of serious scientific research. And who are these soapOprah “experts”? Why, such serious medical and scientific researchers as Jenny McCarthy, former Playboy Playmate and D-list actress.


  10. Bill Leonard says:

    Dammit! Passion overcomes syntax!

    The sentance in that post should read, “…10 minutes on Oprah by any knucklehead with a cockamamie opinion can trump 10 years of serious scientific research.”

    And so it goes…


  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    There are those who simply think that knowing better than the crowd makes them automatically superior that they will bite on this sort of thing. The subject, and whether they have any personal interest in it are irrelevant.
    Facts don’t change their minds, either.

  12. Ahhh… all this guy has to do to validate his claims is to design computer models that will show the link and then claim that every disease is caused by vaccines after the fact.
    Well, it worked for global warming…

  13. It turns out journalist Brian Deer made it up:-
    Sunday Times Journalist Made Up Wakefield MMR Data Fixing Allegation:

    And he was helping the US Justice Dept sink 4500 US kids claims for vaccine damage compensation – what kind of normal journalist does that? Ans: none.
    US Federal Court, US Justice Dept & The Sunday Times – More Questions Than Answers


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