Andrew Wakefield and the Mmr Autism Fraud

Topics: MMR vaccine, Measles, The Lancet Pages: 4 (1511 words) Published: November 29, 2012

In February 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist, published a research paper in which he linked autism and bowel disease to the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine – creating a public health crisis in England and raising questions about vaccine safety in North America. Additional studies have since shown that the data presented was fraudulent, and after ten years of controversy and investigation, Dr. Wakefield was discredited, his licence revoked and his research discarded. The damage, however, had been done – vaccination rates in the industrialized world are down to such an extent that it has brought back diseases that have not been seen for decades. The article in the British medical journal The Lancet claimed that the three-in-one measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) was causing inflammatory bowel syndrome and brain damage in children. The five-page paper, which was backed by a press conference, provoked substantial media interest. Dr. Wakefield reported on twelve cases of children with what he called “regressive autism”, who had been admitted to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead (London) between July 1996 and February 1997, all within 14 days of receiving the MMR vaccine. These previously healthy children, the study claimed, suddenly lost basic language and communication skills. Wakefield theorized that the three vaccines, given together, can alter a child’s immune system, allowing the measles virus in the vaccine to infiltrate the intestines; certain proteins, escaping from the intestines, could then reach and harm neurons in the brain. "It's a moral issue for me," he announced at the 1998 press conference, where he advocated breaking up the triple MMR vaccine into single measles, mumps and rubella shots, to be given at yearly intervals. "I can't support the continued use of these three vaccines, given in combination," he said, "until this issue has been resolved." As the doctor...
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