Added by Nigel Shelbourne on January 10, 2011
A study linking the vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) to autism in children was based on fraudulent data, says a report in the British Medical Journal.
The controversial study, led by Andrew Wakefield and team at the Royal Free medical school, was first published in The Lancet in 1998. It reportedly linked the MMR vaccine to syndromes characterised by autism and bowel disease.
The study, which documented 12 children who allegedly were healthy until receiving the MMR vaccine, was retracted in 2010 following a judgement by the UK General Medical Council that Wakefield had acted “irresponsibly and dishonestly”.
Now, a report by journalist Brian Deer, suggests that the study was not simply guilty of bad scientific practice, but of deliberate scientific fraud. Deer has, through interviews with parents of the children participating in the study and by analysing study records and data, established that the study was an elaborate fabrication.
British Medical Journal’s editor in chief, Fiona Godlee, say’s Deer’s evidence is irrefutable: “Is it possible that [Wakefield] was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 children’s cases accurately? No.”
An investigation into other articles published by Wakefield has now been launched.