Dr Andrew Wakefield was recently ‘dis-barred’ from practicing his profession in the UK largely as a result of a British Medical Journal suggestion that, in 1998, he ‘fabricated’ the results of his research into what was to be found in the guts of children who regressed into autism around the age of two. He did not, although that is what he was accused by all and sundry of doing, make any specific link between autism and the MMR vaccine at the time, but the press reports of his research, and the government’s response to them, were so badly handled that the truth of what he had found, and had said, got buried under a mountain of genuine ‘fabrication’.
Result: crisis of confidence in the vaccination programme, parents confused and concerned, further erosion of confidence in the truth of any Department of Health/government statements/claims – and the destruction of Dr Wakefield’s career. For detailed information on the whole saga, Google Wakefield and MMR or check out www.generationrescue.org or www.cryshame.com (both run by a group of parents of autistic children).
The latest development is appearance of a report of a meeting of the The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study Group at the Royal Free Hospital where Andrew Wakefield worked. He did not belong to the group and had no involvement in their work. At this meeting, in December 1996, Professor John Walker Smith presented ‘preliminary details concerning seven children, all boys, who appear to have entero-colitis and disintegrative disorder, probably autism, following MMR’.
Effectively this means that far from ‘fabricating’ his findings, Dr Wakefield was merely replicating work done eighteen months earlier by one of this colleagues – work which has subsequently been replicated twice more, once in Ireland and once in the US….
Check here for Andrew Wakefield’s own statement on this latest development.