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Misconceptions about Immunization, 20/1/2008
If measles vaccine or any other vaccine causes autism, it would have to be a very rare occurrence, because millions of children have received vaccines without ill health effects. The only "evidence" linking MMR vaccine and autism was published in the British journal Lancet in 1998 . An editorial published in the same issue, however, discussed concerns about the validity of the study . Based on data from 12 patients, Dr. Andrew Wakefield (a British gastroenterologist) and colleagues speculated that MMR vaccine may have been the possible cause of bowel problems which led to a decreased absorption of essential vitamins and nutrients which resulted in developmental disorders like autism. No scientific analyses were reported, however, to substantiate the theory. Whether this series of 12 cases represent an unusual or unique clinical syndrome is difficult to judge without knowing the size of the patient population and time period over which the cases were identified.

If there happened to be selective referral of patients with autism to the researchers' practice, for example, the reported case series may simply reflect such referral bias. Moreover, the theory that autism may be caused by poor absorption of nutrients due to bowel inflammation is senseless and is not supported by the clinical data. In at least 4 of the 12 cases, behavioral problems appeared before the onset of symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. Furthermore, since publication of their original report in February of 1998, Wakefield and colleagues have published another study in which highly specific laboratory assays in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, the posited mechanism for autism after MMR vaccination, were negative for measles virus .

A study by Taylor and colleagues provides population-based evidence that overcomes many of the limitations faced by the Working Party and by Wakefield and colleagues . The authors identified all 498 known cases of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in certain districts of London born in 1979 or later and linked them to an independent regional vaccination registry. ASD includes classical autism, atypical autism, and Asperger's syndrome, but the results were similar when cases of classical autism were analyzed separately. The authors noted:

Most people have no adverse reaction after receiving a MMR vaccination. About 5%-15% of vaccines may develop a fever 5-12 days after MMR vaccination and 5% may develop a rash. Central nervous system conditions, including encephalitis and encephalopathy, have been reported with a frequency of less than one per million doses administered. In July 2002, after Wakefield testified before a U.S. Congressional committee chaired by a vaccine opponent, Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick (a British general physician and parenbt of an autistic child) charged that Wakefield "has opted out of medical science to join the world of pseudoscientific dogma, media celebrity and populist campaigning." In a devastating review of the conduct of Wakefield and Paul Shattock, a pharmacist and vaccine opponent who runs the so-called Autism Research Unit at the University of Sunderland, Fitzpatrick stated:

There are other beneficiaries of the anti-MMR campaign. Private GPs are now making profits of several hundred percent from selling separate vaccines. Lawyers are eagerly collecting legal aid fees by inflating the hopes of parents that they may gain substantial compensation for the alleged damages from MMR through the pursuit of litigation. It is not surprising that both are enthusiastic supporters of Dr Wakefield's crusade. It seems that Britain's investigative journalists are so smitten by Dr Wakefield's charisma and so credulous towards junk science, that they are reluctant to investigate the real abuses generated around the anti-MMR campaign .

Wakefield AJ and others. Ileal lymphoid nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and regressive developmental disorder in children. Lancet 351:637-641, 1998.

A Critical Look at Defeat Autism Now! and the "DAN! Protocol", 8/6/2015
In 2010, the British General Medical Council (GMC) struck Dr. Andrew Wakefield from its medical register after concluding that he had acted dishonestly and irresponsibly in connection with a research project and its subsequent publication. The GMC's concern centered on a study of children by Wakefield and twelve colleagues that linked the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine with autism and bowel problems. The Lancet published the study in 1998, and sensational publicity caused immunization rates in the United Kingdom to drop more than 10%. Subsequent research found no connections—and, in 2004, ten of the study's co-authors renounced its conclusions. After GMC's findings were announced, The Lancet retracted the paper . The GMC's action permanently barred Wakefield from practicing medicine in the United Kingdom.

Barrett S. Lancet retracts Wakefield paper. Autism Watch, May 29, 2010.

Herbert, Sharp, & Gaudiano - Autism, 14/1/2006
In fact, it was preliminary research findings that initially raised the possibility that the MMR vaccine might be related to the apparent increase in the incidence of autism. The British researcher Andrew Wakefield and colleagues (1998) reported 12 case studies of children who were diagnosed with particular forms of intestinal abnormalities (e.g., ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia).

Eight out of the 12 children demonstrated behavioral disorders diagnosed as representing autism, which reportedly occurred after MMR vaccination. The authors concluded that "the uniformity of the intestinal pathological changes and the fact that previous studies have found intestinal dysfunction in children with autistic-spectrum disorders, suggests that the connection is real and reflects a unique disease process" (p. 639). However, Wakefield et al.

Although the Wakefield et al. (1998) case reports suggested that the MMR vaccine may be associated with autism, recent epidemiological research has provided strong evidence against any such connection.

Wakefield, A. J., Murch, S. H., Anthony, A., Linnell, J., Casson, D. M., Malik, M., Berelowitz, M., Dhillon, A. P., Thomson, M.

Immunization Is a Question of Science, Not Faith, 4/2/2005
Recently, The New Zealand Herald reported on research that has contradicted the findings of Dr Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist and lead author of a 1998 paper that suggested there may be a relation between the MMR vaccine and autism. This single claim gathered enormous publicity, and was used in every single anti-immunization argument, providing another chance for the immunization campaigners to frighten parents away from protecting their children against preventable diseases. The claim was reported the year before our son was born, and was used relentlessly as an example of why not to immunize him. Who in their right mind, wants to impose a risk of autism on a healthy child?

Since then, ten of Wakefield's co-authors have published a formal retraction of the suggestion of a link in the medical journal, the Lancet (March 2004) and they have strongly dissociated themselves from the idea that the vaccine is in any way related to autism. Dr Wakefield is also under investigation for alleged failure to declare a financial interest when he submitted his research for publication, as he failed to mention he was paid 50,000 towards research for a legal action by parents claiming the MMR vaccine had harmed their children.

British Courts Side with Vaccination in Parental Dispute, 8/8/2003
Controversy arose he says from a press report in 1998 when a research gastroenterologist, Dr Wakefield, spoke about a paper colleagues had written. The paper looked at any association between autistic regression, bowel disorder, and the MMR jab. The paper concluded

At the press conference Dr Wakefield offered an opinion that it was not wise to administer the MMR jab as a combined preparation.

New claims were made by Dr Wakefield and colleagues. Professor Kroll has reviewed a series of papers about this topic since then. He has looked at a link with autism and the effect of combining the 3 vaccines together.

Promoters of Questionable Methods, 25/6/2015
Andrew Wakefield * (link to another site)

Nonrecommended Books, 11/11/2013
Andrew Wakefield

Nonrecommended Books, 12/7/2010
Andrew Wakefield

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