For some time a 1998 British study that supposedly connected childhood vaccinations with autism gained traction in western countries. This theory received high-profile publicity from some in Hollywood that announced they would not vaccinate their children because of the potential dangers.
CNN has just reported that the British medical journal, BMJ, concluded that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the study’s author, misrepresented or altered the histories of all 12 patients in the study. BMJ’s editor-in-chief, Fiona Godlee, went so far as to say:
“It’s one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors. But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data.”
“Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession.”
“It’s always hard to explain fraud and where it affects people to lie in science. But it does seem a financial motive was underlying this, both in terms of payments by lawyers and through legal aid grants that he received but also through financial schemes that he hoped would benefit him through diagnostic and other tests for autism and MMR-related issues.”
The negative impact on society from this fraudulent study has been significant. Concern from parents led to a drop in children getting vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella. In Britain after the studies publication, the vaccination rate dropped to 80% and in 2004 with cases increased sharply. In the United States, measles cases in 2008 were the highest in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As bad as the initial fraud was, it remarkably took very long for Dr. Wakefield to be called on the flawed study by the scientific community after questions arose as to its validity. His co-authors withdrew their names from the study six years ago when it became public knowledge that Wakefield took funds a law firm that sued vaccine manufacturers. If something quacks like a duck it is not an elephant!
This story of bad science seems to have parallels with some of the junk science being used to support the theory of global warming being creating by man’s use of carbon-based fuels.
- Both have inherent conflicts of interest with significant money at stake.
- Both have shown fraud in their studies.
- Both have or had wide support in the Progressive community including the Hollywooders.
Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH, concluded of the reported fraud that it “represents Wakefield as a person where the ends justified the means. Unfortunately, his core group of supporters is not going to let the facts dissuade their beliefs that MMR causes autism. They need to be open-minded and examine the information as everybody else.”
Those who blindly follow the theories of manmade global warming would do well to consider Dr. Wiznitzer’s advice and be open-minded and examine the information. They would also do well to determine who profits from the theory since they are most susceptible to the ends justifying the means