Happy New Year: The Lancet Acknowledges Dr. Andrew Wakefield Is Exonerated

While The Lancet ombudsman Dr. Malcolm Molyneux refused to reverse the retraction of exonerated gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s landmark paper on post-vaccination autism, Dr. Molyneux did acknowledge that the UK General Medical Council’s findings of misconduct against Dr. Wakefield had been overturned.

When told that the 2012 High Court decision in favor of Dr. Wakefield’s colleague Prof. John Walker-Smith “would kill the GMC findings on which your journal’s retraction was based”, the ombudsman Dr. Malcolm Molyneux replied:

Dear Mr Crosby,

Thank you for your letter of June 13, 2015, in which you request that the Lancet Editor reinstate the retracted paper Ileal-lymphoid-nodular-hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children.

In the retraction statement, the editors of The Lancet stated that “several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect. In particular….’” The retraction then mentions the enrolment [sic] procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.

Having considered all of the relevant material, I can see no sufficient reason for reinstatement of the Wakefield paper. I do not believe that COPE’s guidelines have been violated by retraction of the paper in question, or by failure to reinstate it.

I do not believe there is justification for any further debate about this extensively discussed article.

Yours sincerely,

Prof Malcolm Molyneux, Lancet Ombudsman

Despite Molyneux alluding to “other elements” which he did not name, at least both The Lancet and Dr. Andrew Wakefield agree that he was exonerated of the disciplinary findings against him now that they have been completely overturned. The British Medical Journal had better have a strong enough relationship with the drug company Merck to offset the expulsion from the National Library of Medicine that journal may now face as a result of defaming Dr. Wakefield. Now that The Lancet ombudsman has acknowledged that elements of its own retraction of Dr. Wakefield’s paper have proven to be false, The Lancet had better hope the same for its own relationship with Merck as well.

There is another choice The Lancet can make, however, which is to do the right thing by restoring Dr. Wakefield’s paper to its rightful place in the medical literature. And then maybe – just maybe – The Lancet editor can get that five minutes with Donald Trump he’s been begging for…

 

 

Here’s to a Happy New Year!

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39 Thoughts on “Happy New Year: The Lancet Acknowledges Dr. Andrew Wakefield Is Exonerated

  1. I missed the part where Molyneux actually said Andy’s exonerated.

    • He acknowledged that the findings against him were overturned.

      • No, he didn’t. He pointed out that even if one were to set those findings aside there would not be any reason to un-retract the publication. In other words, he said something like “even if you were right,” not “you are right.”

        • Yes he did, and try using the actual quote next time rather than reinventing a new one.

          • “In the retraction statement, the editors of The Lancet stated that “several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect. In particular….’” The retraction then mentions the enrolment procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.”

            Nothing in that statement acknowledges that charges against Mr. Wakefield were overturned. It is a polite response noting that there is no point in engaging on the subject, because there were other elements on which the decision was based. So even if your interpretation of the judgment were correct, it would not support a change in that decision.

            The reason people keep asking you where the email acknowledges that the charges against Mr. Wakefield were overturned, and the reason that you cannot find any such statement, is that there isn’t one. Saying that there were multiple reasons for the decision is not the same as saying that Wakefield was exonerated.

            The thinness, desperation, and logical bankruptcy of this latest act of hero worship says rather a lot about the character of the anti-vax movement.

            • “It is a polite response noting that there is no point in engaging on the subject, because there were other elements on which the decision was based.”

              Thank you for proving my point.

              • I’m not sure if you’re being stubborn or actually missing the point; there was no point in engaging with you because *even if you were right,* there were other grounds for retracting the Wakefield paper. At no point did their response to you ever say that Wakefield has been exonerated, nor is that a fair or honest rephrasing of what they said.

                Wakefield can be judged by his work (retracted, untrustworthy); his later career (unscientific, predatory); and the defenders he inspires (this article–grasping, desperate, dishonest). The record you are creating here is a great testimony to the character and caliber of his work.

  2. I missed the part where you showed us or even cited the source of this “reaction” from Molyneux. “When told of the… decision. .. Molyneux replied” leaves out a lot of information. To whom was he conversing? Where is the primary source? Your blog adds nothing to the discussion if it doesn’t show us that these aren’t just words that some blogger has pulled out of thin air. Maybe you haven’t heard that there is a lot of BS floating around out there; we want to see your sources.

  3. Maurine Meleck on December 31, 2016 at 6:24 pm said:

    You rock Jake. Thanks for this and a Happiest of New Years to you!!

  4. Maurine Meleck on December 31, 2016 at 6:25 pm said:

    Great! Happy New Year.

  5. Wendy Stephen on January 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm said:

    If we take the definition of “overturned” to be, abolish, or invalidate /reverse a previous system or decision, could you please direct me to a source for your statement that the disciplinary findings against Andrew Wakefield have been “completely overturned”. By way of a response please do not provide the findings of Justice Mitting in the appeal by Professor John Walker Smith, who did not have the same charges proven against him by the GMC. The GMC Findings of Fact, list charges brought and proven against Andrew Wakefield which were neither brought nor proven against Professor Walker Smith.

    Thanks

    • “Professor John Walker Smith, who did not have the same charges proven against him by the GMC.” – lie.

      • The statement is provably true. As the commenter noted, “The GMC Findings of Fact, list charges brought and proven against Andrew Wakefield which were neither brought nor proven against Professor Walker Smith.”

        If you think that this is not true (and I suspect that you know that it is, but want desperately to find some way to confuse the facts) you could always post a comparison of the charges brought and proven against both men and show they are identical.

        • The case against Wakefield being true hinged on the case against Walker-Smith being true. It was not, but feel free to be pedantic.

          • Honesty is not pedantry. Charges were alleged and proven against Wakefield that were not alleged or proven against Walker-Smith. Exonerating Walker-Smith cannot logically exonerate Wakefield, especially given that one of Walker-Smith’s defenses was that he relied on Wakefield to correct misleading information in the Lancet piece.

            You are not helping Mr. Wakefield or yourself by calling commenters liars when you know they are telling the truth. The facts are not what you want them to be, but they are the facts.

            • You’re just digging yourself a deeper and deeper hole:

              “it was not misconduct for him, Dr. Murch or Dr. Thomson to invite a research colleague, Dr. Wakefield, to correct a misleading statement in the draft and leave it to him to do so. Because the panel made no finding on that issue, its reasoning is inadequate.”

              • The segment you quoted is referring to the reasoning as to Walker-Smith, not as to Wakefield. The appellate decision did not find that the “misleading statement” was not misleading. It found that the panel did not adequately establish that Walker-Smith was responsible for that statement, especially given that he invited Wakefield to correct it.

                Relying on Andrew Wakefield to correct misleading information was a terrible mistake. I know, having interviewed him personally and having found him to be extremely deceptive and dishonest.

                It is no credit to you to worship such a man, as should be obvious from the amount of work you have to do in juggling and whitewashing the record of his malfeasance.

                • What the appellate decision found was that “the panel made no finding on that issue”. IOW, there is no remaining issue since the panel didn’t rule on it.

                  Also, if you’re going to allude to having personally interviewed Wakefield, it would be nice for you to provide the contents of that interview for readers to draw their own conclusions from. Otherwise, it’s just your word against his. And your word really has no value here.

  6. Hi Jake – you have said in a comment above “He acknowledged that the findings against him were overturned.” – but this is not in the article. Could you let us know where he said that? Thanks.

    • In the retraction statement, the editors of The Lancet stated that “several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect. In particular….’” The retraction then mentions the enrolment [sic] procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.

      His decision to keep the paper retracted is based on reasons other than the GMC findings, which means he knows the findings were overturned.

      • Lawrence on January 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm said:

        And you complain about other people “putting words in mouths?”

        Seriously?

        • No Larry, just in people not having basic command of the English language.

          • Jake is 100% correct here. The “other elements” reference is specious, and smacks of the same dribble fed re: the retraction of Hooker’s re-analysis of the data that had been sanitized from Destefano et al. 2004. Vague references to unproven allegations of conflict of interest on Hooker’s part have been denied by Dr. Hooker (as quoted in “Cures vs. Profits”. Here, the Lancet specifically acknowledges that it would seem reasonable to reverse the retraction based on allegations of misconduct (which for Dr. Walker-Smith have been “quashed”). We should not go about retracting studies on “implications”. Dr. Wakefield and the other authors deserve clear exposition on the grounds that remain for sustaining the retraction, especially in light of new studies that show GI lesions found in autism, enteric microglia-like cells being activated. In citing “implies”, the Lancet is mumbling. The should be clear, precise and detailed in their replies to calls to reverse the retraction. And they should certainly consider those “implied” considerations in light of the tone of the entire proceedings, which hinged on guesswork and conjecture as to Dr. Walker-Smith’s intentions vs. Dr. Wakefields. Of course both knew they were caring for patients, and of course both knew of the investigational nature of some of the assays. Compared to the outright omission of results by Destefano et al. (2004) because, as Destefano told Sharyl Attkisson, they didn’t believe the result (not a sufficient reason to ditch results after manipulating study group definitions to make associations go away, after all why test for associations if they are going to be rejected if detected???). Numerous aspects of Dr. Wakefield’s concerns appear to have been corroborated (see https://molecularautism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13229-016-0110-z), with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) observed after vaccination, not only after infection, and other science similar to Dr. Wakefield’s hypothesis of persistent viral infections being involved with autism (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00401-016-1629-y).

            Even as some worked overtime to dispense with results showing association, science on neurological development disorders has progressed. Over 1,000 studies cited in “Causes” available here: envgencauses.com We must continue to work to understand which patients are at risk and find ways, including familial risk factors (as Jake has pointed out previously ), other known and suspected indicators (there are numerous to be tested out), and protein and genetic biomarkers to identify susceptible subgroups to keep them out of harm’s way.

            As for my professional opinion, the retraction, in fact, does not stand in my mind. Every day that goes by with the Lancet failing to act upon the calls to reverse the retract they demonstrate their illegitimacy as a source of reliable medical research information. And journals that retract after someone tweets to scientists that they should boycott the journal because the Tweeter, or a commenter does not like the results of given study, but ignores all signs of fraud and malfeasance in the various “science” studies showing no association of vaccines and autism, well, such actions speak for the integrity of their peer review process. Such weakness of editors and editorial boards in the face of post-publication community pressure perverts the objectivity of the peer-review process and subjects science to mob rule.

  7. Dawn Loughborough on January 2, 2017 at 4:19 pm said:

    Nice angle to try…

  8. Wendy Stephen on January 2, 2017 at 9:11 pm said:

    Jake, as an example, are you saying that item 4 (a) of the GMC Findings of Fact has been overturned and if so, where /what is your proof to back that up. Has the GMC issued something I’ve missed?

    4(a) i “you failed to cause the Legal Aid Board to be informed that investigations represented by the clinicians as being clinically indicated would be covered by NHS funding” (Found Proved)

    Are you saying that item 4 (a) i, of the GMC Findings of Fact has been overturned and if so, where/what is your source to back that up?.

    4a ii ” you caused or permitted the money supplied by the Legal Aid Board to be used for purposes other than those for which you said it was needed and for which it had been granted”
    (Found Proved in relation to the second instalment of £25,000)

    Are you saying that item 4 a ii, of the GMC Findings of Fact has been overturned also and if so, where/what is your source to back that up?

    Please provide proof that these charges were (a) brought in respect of Professor Walker Smith and (b) found proven against him.

    You need to understand Jake that these particular charges were highly significant and of great interest to the legally aided litigants in the UK class action. It would be pretty shabby of anyone to distribute incorrect information stating that they had been overturned if that was not the case.

    • Yes, because they did not have to be brought against Walker-Smith. They both rested on the finding that the investigations described in the Lancet paper were part of litigation-funded project; that was disproved.

    • Btw, I’m not approving your latest comment because it says the same thing as your previous. I’ve already answered your question, but I won’t get into a tit-for-tat with you over extraneous details that do not make your point any less wrong.

  9. Hans Litten on January 5, 2017 at 1:27 pm said:

    *****************SEEMS BIG NEWS TO ME *************************

    http://www.healthnutnews.com/reuters-frieden-resign-cdc-director/

    The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, plans to submit his resignation on January 20th, the day of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

    It will go down in history that he was running the CDC during the explosive #CDCWhistleblower scandal where a senior scientist blew the whistle on the agency for fraud, corruption, and blatant lies on the 2004 MMR Autism study (and probably many more- we are sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg).

    Frieden disclosed his plans to resign in a year-end interview with Reuters. His future plans are not currently known.

    • Lawrence on January 5, 2017 at 6:02 pm said:

      And why is this big news? Literally hundreds of appointees are leaving, as happens with every other single Presidential transition….in fact, every single member of the West Wing is being replaced, as happens, again, during every single new administration.

      As most former directors of the CDC (with one notable exception), I’m sure he will take a teaching or research position in academia.

    • Anonymous on January 5, 2017 at 11:42 pm said:

      Frieden and the other creeps can run but they can’t hide. Not surprising at all that they will “retire” as a no-nonsense person is the new sheriff. Rats and sinking ships…

      • Lawrence on January 6, 2017 at 11:03 am said:

        Again, this happens with the changeover of every administration…..very few, if any, political appointees are asked to stay.

        If you check out the potential replacements being discussed, all of them are either directly from the industry or believe in less, not more regulation.

  10. Hans Litten on January 5, 2017 at 1:36 pm said:

    http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/scientists-prove-link-between-aluminum-and-early-onset-alzheimer-s-disease

    Scientists Prove Link Between Aluminum and Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease
    In today’s world, aluminum is omnipresent, building up within our system from everyday products. Now, we are learning that aluminum toxicity can manifest itself in alarming ways.
    As many of us are aware, the human body is being bombarded with aluminum in everyday products. Many of our foods, vaccinations, medications, baby products, cosmetics, cleaning products and even soft furnishings contain aluminum and it appears that we are powerless to prevent the ever-increasing onslaught.
    This is extremely worrying because, according to Professor Exley, a scientist from Keele University in Staffordshire, aluminum can accumulate in the body and has the potential to do harm wherever it ends up.

  11. Hans Litten on January 5, 2017 at 1:38 pm said:

    For all these trolls you have attracted Jake : (why don’t you guys ever go to AoA – because you already run that site perhaps ?)

    http://www.naturalblaze.com/2017/01/3-polio-facts-cdc-wishes-you-didnt-know.html

    http://healthimpactnews.com/2017/free-vaccine-docuseries-reveals-biggest-public-health-experiment-ever/

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