Saturday, January 31, 2015

This is what started all the craziness about vaccines

Journal Retracts 1998 Paper Linking Autism to Vaccines

By GARDINER HARRIS, NYT
Originally published: February 2, 2010

A prominent British medical journal on Tuesday retracted a 1998 research paper that set off a sharp decline in vaccinations in Britain after the paper’s lead author suggested that vaccines could cause autism.

The retraction by The Lancet is part of a reassessment that has lasted for years of the scientific methods and financial conflicts of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who contended that his research showed that the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine may be unsafe.

But the retraction may do little to tarnish Dr. Wakefield’s reputation among parents’ groups in the United States. Despite a wealth of scientific studies that have failed to find any link between vaccines and autism, the parents fervently believe that their children’s mental problems resulted from vaccinations.

Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the retraction of Dr. Wakefield’s study “significant.”

“It builds on the overwhelming body of research by the world’s leading scientists that concludes there is no link between M.M.R. vaccine and autism,” Mr. Skinner wrote in an e-mail message.

(More here.)

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