Study linking autism to vaccine retracted

by admin on February 3, 2010

This week, the medical journal The Lancet retracted a 1998 study linking autism to vaccines after it was found to be rife with bias and error. Britain’s General Medical Council concluded that the author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, had acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” in conducting the study, including accepting payment from lawyers of parents who thought their children had been harmed by the MMR vaccine. Wakefield was also found to have subjected children to painful and unnecessary tests, including paying children at his son’s birthday party to have blood drawn for research purposes.

Hopefully, some of the resources spent combating the antivaccine movement inspired by Wakefield’s flawed report will be reallocated to developing effective treatments for childhood disorders like autism. In a New York Times editorial by a parent who spent thousands of dollars on untested treatments for her son, Liane Kupferberg Carter decries the touted anecdotal evidence of antivax crusaders like Jenny McCarthy, writing, “Warm and fuzzy anecdotes don’t do it for me. Give me hard science any day, with its double blind studies and rigorous peer review.”

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