Tag Archives: Mumps

Andrew Wakefield Fights to Win Back Medical License

With all the attacks against de-licensed British doctor Andrew Wakefield by the scavengers of the media, one thing that gets lost is the fact that the findings on which the retraction of his paper and revocation of his medical license were based have been completely overturned. Wakefield is now looking to get his medical license back that the UK’s General Medical Council had taken from him over five years ago.

When faced with the fact that the findings used to justify the retraction were effectively disproved, the ombudsman of The Lancet – the journal that retracted Wakefield’s paper – Dr. Malcolm Molyneux admitted:

The retraction then mentions the enrolment [sic] procedure and ethical clearance, but implies that there remain other elements on which the decision was based.

The only accurate way to interpret Molyneux’s answer is that he tacitly acknowledges that the findings specifically mentioned to justify the paper’s retraction were overturned, but does not want to do anything about it or even revise the journal’s retraction statement. When pressed on what those “other elements” were that justified the paper’s retraction, Molyneux did not respond further.

Now that Andrew Wakefield is screening a film on the government’s cover-up of vaccines causing autism at the Tribeca Film Festival, I only wish he would include the unwarranted retraction of his paper in his Tribeca bio. I have been quite disappointed in Wakefield – from saying he insists on GMC’s witch trial against him and his colleagues to giving an interview with the pharma-conspiring New York Times, he has truly proven himself to be clueless about how to handle the scavengers’ attacks on him. Look at how pathetic his Tribeca film bio is:

Andrew Wakefield, MB.BS., is an academic gastroenterologist who practiced medicine at the Royal Free in the U.K. publishing over 140 scientific papers. In 1995, he was contacted by parents of autistic children with stomach issues; he learned that these conditions often occurred immediately following an MMR vaccine. In pursuit of this possible link, Dr. Wakefield led an initial study of twelve children with both stomach and developmental issues. The report, published in The Lancet, would catapult Wakefield into becoming one of the most controversial figures in the history of medicine. Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Controversy is his second film.

This is what it should really say:

Andrew Wakefield, MB.BS., is an academic gastroenterologist who practiced medicine at the Royal Free in the U.K. publishing over 140 scientific papers. In 1995, he was contacted by parents of autistic children with stomach issues; he learned that these conditions often occurred immediately following an MMR vaccine. His initial study of these children was retracted by The Lancet and his medical license was revoked because of disproved disciplinary findings that have now been completely overturned on appeal. Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Controversy is his second film.

Wakefield tells Autism Investigated that he is trying to get his medical license back, which is all the more appropriate now that the findings against him have been completely overturned by his colleague’s appeal. Yet he has never commented on whether he will even make a public statement about it. He most certainly should, especially now that his documentary on the CDC whistleblower story that he hijacked is being screened at Tribeca.

Update: Tribeca Film Festival pulled the documentary: “The Festival doesn’t seek to avoid or shy away from controversy. However, we have concerns with certain things in this film that we feel prevent us from presenting it in the Festival program. We have decided to remove it from our schedule.”

Footage from the film includes surreptitious recordings of Dr. William Thompson’s voice leaked by Wakefield as well as a silhouetted actor posing as Dr. Thompson.

Addendum: Last January, Autism Investigated sent the following question to the General Medical Council: “How do you justify keeping Dr. Andrew Wakefield de-licensed when all your findings against him have been overturned on appeal by his colleague, Prof. John Walker-Smith?”

The GMC replied with a signed letter that did not address the findings themselves, but did conclude: “a doctor can apply for restoration to the register in certain circumstances. We would then consider the doctor’s application, along with any further supporting evidence they provide, and determine whether to grant restoration to the register.”

More than five years has elapsed since Dr. Wakefield’s erasure, making him eligible to apply. Once he does, the GMC will have to consider his application along with “any further supporting evidence” he provides.

JAMA Study Implicates Early MMR Vaccine in Causing Autism

JAMA

Editor’s Note: The hyperlink to the study goes to an archived webpage because the full text version is no longer available on the JAMA website.

By Jake Crosby

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that is widely touted to argue against the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine’s association with autism actually provides evidence for a connection. Based on computation from the study results for participants with non-autism spectrum disorder-diagnosed (non-ASD) older siblings, children who received a dose of the MMR vaccine before age five had a risk for ASD diagnosis by age five that was 48% higher than in children who did not in analyses that corrected for certain potential biases.

Where both groups received a dose of MMR vaccine – one largely before the bulk of autism diagnoses were made and one following it – the comparison is less likely to suffer from bias that might affect those involving children never vaccinated with MMR or those who received both recommended doses. Parents might be discouraged from giving a child a second dose of MMR or MMR at all if a child had a negative reaction to the first dose or to a dose of a different vaccine. Similarly, parents of children with autism may be more likely to take seriously concerns about vaccinations’ association with autism and more likely to withhold vaccines from their children. These potential biases make studying the timing of MMR vaccination in relation to autism preferable, though the authors of this study did not bother to do this. Nonetheless, the complete data sets from the study are needed to confirm whether the aforementioned association holds when controlling for other variables.

Yet the crude findings are similar to results from a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that was published in the medical journal Pediatrics in 2004 and has also been cited to deny autism’s association with MMR. Those findings showed an odds of earlier MMR vaccination that was more than two-fold higher among African-American children with autism spectrum disorders compared to their non-ASD counterparts of the same race. According to study coauthor William Thompson who has come forward as a federal whistleblower, that finding was omitted from the published manuscript in breach of final study protocol. Pediatrics has refused to consider the paper for retraction, even though it should be considered according to the guidelines in publishing ethics that the journal claims to follow. Now what CDC researchers found more than a decade ago seems to only be confirmed by the results of this much larger study published in JAMA.

The troubling history of epidemiological studies used to disprove the MMR causes autism despite finding associations predates even the CDC study. A 2002 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and even larger than the recent JAMA study yielded results from which a 45% increased risk for autism associated with MMR vaccination was computed, despite concluding no connection. The scientist who computed that risk explained why the association was potentially meaningful in a letter to the journal, but the journal never published it. The principle investigator Poul Thorsen (who also found but did not publish results implicating mercury in vaccines in causing autism) of the NEJM study has since become a most-wanted international fugitive who was indicted on fraud charges.

Even after his indictment in 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) included his study as one of just four to support the IOM’s position that MMR vaccination does not cause autism. Another IOM-cited study published in the Lancet in 1999 showed a relationship between timing of MMR vaccination and parental concern of child development in a sample of children with autism, according to a slide from an IOM-commissioned epidemiological review.

As the studies used to disprove an association between MMR and autism continue to mount, so too does the evidence favoring a causal relationship. A study in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry claiming autism rose as MMR was removed from use in Japan neglected the fact that the rise was correlated to single measles and rubella vaccines routinely given just four weeks apart. Another study published in JAMA in 2001 claimed that MMR vaccination coverage in California rose marginally while autism occurrence exploded, only for other scientists to then point out that the coverage of MMR vaccination given at younger ages also exploded.

The JAMA study is the latest such study to find an association while claiming to find none, and it probably won’t be the last. Its senior author and Drexel University epidemiologist Craig Newschaffer was previously quoted in 2007 by the LA Times as saying, “Those studies just kept piling up that showed no association between MMR or thimerosal exposure and autism…Among the scientific community, it’s pretty generally accepted that there is no link.”

How ironic that studies he cited to say there is no link actually found a link, and then his own study would later find the same.

See on The Epoch Times.

Correction: More information concerning the study results has since come to the attention of Autism Investigated, including the realization that some of the content originally in this post was not accurate. The article has since been updated.