Update: The London Times story we cited has been allegedly shown to be false.
The esteemed Melanie Phillips writes on the case.
Last week we blogged about Lancet's false reports in 2006 of Iraqi casualties and the author of that unsubstantiated report.Today the Times UK notes that a study in Lancet that connected autism with vaccinations is also false and this one has led many parents to forego critical vaccinations, subjecting many to the effects of measles, once a minor hazard when almost everyone was vaccinated:
THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.
Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patientsʼ 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 childrenʼs conditions.
However, our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the childrenʼs 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.
For a publication whose very existence depends on its reputation for veracity, this seems a substantial blow.