The Research Claiming Links Between Autism And Mmr Was Fraudulent
Not only was Wakefield’s paper inconclusive, it was later revealed that he tweaked timelines and manipulated data to show increase links between the vaccine and did not disclose that lawyers mounting a case against vaccine manufacturers financed his research. In fact, the parents quoted in Wakefield’s paper were also litigants. Immediately following these revelations, 10 of the 12 co-authors of the paper retracted its conclusion.
But that did not stop thousands of parents from standing in the way of their children being vaccinated.
Is There A Connection Between Vaccines And Autism
Is there a connection between vaccines and autism? Parris
No, there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
Autism is a condition that affects the brain and makes communicating and interacting with other people more difficult. The cause of autism is unknown. But genetics, differences in brain anatomy, and toxic substances in the environment are thought to contribute to children developing the condition.
So how did the idea that vaccines play a role get started? Much of the blame lies with a study published in 1998 that suggested that the MMR vaccine, or infection with the naturally occurring measles virus itself, might cause autism. Since then, numerous scientific studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines or any of their ingredients and autism. And the research used in that study was found to be false, the doctor who wrote it lost his medical license, and the medical journal that published it retracted the paper .
Even with the overwhelming evidence that vaccines are safe and effective, some parents still decide not to have their children vaccinated or to delay vaccinations. But this is extremely risky because vaccine-preventable diseases like measles are still around. An unvaccinated child who gets one of these preventable diseases could get very sick or even die, as could other people around the child.
But The Whole Debacle Isnt Only Wakefields Fault
So how did such a shoddy idea gain such outsized influence? The second thing to know about Wakefields vaccine-autism study is that the media helped it go viral.
One of my favorite writings on the Wakefield debacle comes from the British journalist-researcher Ben Goldacre. In a column for the Guardian and in his book Bad Science, Goldacre pointed out that journalists were complicit in helping perpetuate the notion that vaccines cause autism:
Wakefield was at the centre of a media storm about the MMR vaccine, and is now being blamed by journalists as if he were the only one at fault. In reality, the media are equally guilty.
Even if it had been immaculately well conducted and it certainly wasnt Wakefields case series report of 12 childrens clinical anecdotes would never have justified the conclusion that MMR causes autism, despite what journalists claimed: it simply didnt have big enough numbers to do so. But the media repeatedly reported the concerns of this one man, generally without giving methodological details of the research, either because they found it too complicated, inexplicably, or because to do so would have undermined their story.
We journalists are still doing this today on myriad health topics. We report on single, often poorly designed studies even if they dont deserve an ounce of attention. We also focus a lot more on the anti-vaccine movement and their concerns than on the astounding progress made against vaccine-preventable diseases.
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Natural Immunity Won’t Protect Your Kids
Some anti-vaxxers think their kids are born equipped to fight these diseases. But in fact, 90 percent of vaccinated kids exposed to measles get infected. Vaccines were game changers. Generations ago, kids did not stand a fighting chance against illnesses like polio. Give your kids the tools they need to protect themselves.
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Michal Strahilevitz, a consumer psychologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia, said people want to believe the best about stars they look up to.
Research shows that respecting a celebrity in any context can cause people to think that celebrity is an expert in areas where they don’t have any real expertise, she said in an email. So if I think Beyoncé is an amazingly awesome entertainer , I may be more inclined to take her advice on what vitamins to take .
Tim Derdenger, an associate professor of marketing and strategy at Carnegie Mellon Universitys Tepper School of Business, calls this the golden halo effect, in which a performer or athlete admired for her skill is somehow seen as more trustworthy in unrelated areas.
This can lead to irrational decisions, said Dr. Peter Alperin, an internist at the Veterans Affairs hospital in San Francisco and a vice president at Doximity, a social network for health care professionals. Trust the right professional for the job, he advised: I wouldnt go to my accountant for medical advice, and I wouldnt go to my doctor to do my taxes.
He blames the media, too, for framing the topic as the vaccine debate or vaccine controversy. There is no debate, there is no controversy, he said.
Ultimately, celebrities who spread false ideas are playing with fire, said the NYU bioethicist Arthur Caplan.
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Myth #: Better Hygiene And Sanitation Are Actually Responsible For Decreased Infections Not Vaccines
Vaccines don’t deserve all the credit for reducing or eliminating rates of infectious disease. Better sanitation, nutrition, and the development of antibiotics helped a lot too. But when these factors are isolated and rates of infectious disease are scrutinized, the role of vaccines cannot be denied.
One example is measles in the United States. When the first measles vaccine was introduced in 1963, rates of infection had been holding steady at around 400,000 cases a year. And while hygienic habits and sanitation didn’t change much over the following decade, the rate of measles infections dropped precipitously following the introduction of the vaccine, with only around 25,000 cases by 1970. Another example is Hib disease. According to CDC data, the incidence rate for this malady plummeted from 20,000 in 1990 to around 1,500 in 1993, following the introduction of the vaccine.
Conflict Of Interest And Research Dont Mix
In 2004, a UK journalist named Brian Deer helped to expose the fact that Wakefield had a financial conflict of interest related to the study.7 Firstly, the Wakefield studys funding sources included a lawyer who was working on an anti-vaccine lawsuit for people who believed that the vaccines caused their childrens medical conditions. Secondly, the lawyer paid Wakefield to assist with the lawsuit. Ten of the thirteen co-authors then withdrew their support of the Lancet papers interpretation section. Their retraction read, We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between vaccine and autism, as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised, and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.8
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Billy Corgan Is An Anti
I say propaganda because, in my heart, there is something mighty suspicious about declaring an emergency for something that has yet to show itself to be a grand pandemic, Corgan writes on his new blog. Our American President Obama has declared a national emergency about this virus, which he in his own words said was, at this point, a preventative measure. So, why declare an emergency if there isnt one?
I do not trust those who make the vaccines, or the apperatus behind it all to push it on us thru fear. This is not judgment it is a personal decision based on research, intuition, conversations with my doctor and my family. If the virus comes to take me Home, that is between me and the Lord.
Corgan is obviously anti-vaccine, and he also criticizes a mandatory vaccination law in Massachusetts, stating: Soon, you wont even have the choice to live OR die as you wish!
When It Comes To Vaccines Celebrities Often Call The Shots
Sixty-two years ago Sunday, Elvis Presley took the stage at CBS studios in New York and smiled as a city health official stuck a needle in his left arm. The publicity stunt, broadcast nationwide before Presleys appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, was meant to convince the American public that the new polio vaccine was safe.
It worked. And playing to Presleys demographic apparently helped. About 75 percent of Americans under 20 had received at least one polio shot by August 1957, when the first national survey was taken this rose to nearly 90 percent by September 1961, according to a 1962 public health report.
In the 1950s, many celebrities were happy to promote the Salk polio vaccine.
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Are Dr Wakefield’s Ethics Irrelevant
When the public got word of Wakefield’s work, worried parents skipped vaccines, and the percentage of children who were not vaccinated in the United States rose from 0.77 percent in 1997 to 2.1 percent in 2000, according to an article by Dr. Michael Smith in the journal Pediatrics.
A similar drop-off in vaccinations occurred in Britain, weakening overall immunity and putting those who are too young to get vaccinated at risk for measles, mumps or rubella.
Although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control declared the United States cleared of measles in 2000, fewer vaccinations brought back the disease in a 2008 outbreak.
At least 131 cases were reported to the CDC, and 11 percent of the cases were hospitalized. A handful of children in Britain died of the measles around the time of the U.S. outbreak.
Scientists Investigate Vaccine, Autism Connection
Offit said that scientists didn’t sit idly by after the news broke in 1998.
“People spent millions and millions of dollar looking at this hypothesis that he raised,” he said.
But according to Offit — and international studies supported by the CDC as well as a 2004 review of large international studies by the Institute of Medicine — high-quality studies could not confirm Wakefield’s hypothesis about vaccines.
Opinionwe Want To Hear What You Think Please Submit A Letter To The Editor
A chief reason for the speedy turnaround was a decision the federal government made to expedite delivery of the vaccine which has nothing to do with the scientific validity of the drug itself. The government allowed the drugmakers to mass-produce the vaccine while still conducting clinical trials. This was a gamble: If the Food and Drug Administration deemed the vaccines not safe and effective, those doses would be no better than trash. But it’s a bet that seems to have paid off.
Another concern stems from the talk that the medical technology involved is “novel.” Other vaccines, like that for the flu, use forms of inactivated or weakened viruses. In contrast, the Covid-19 vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna deliver a small snippet of messenger RNA into the body. Messenger RNA, or mRNA, is a genetic coding material the body uses as instructions to make specific proteins. Once a protein is made, it is displayed on the surface of the cell. The body then recognizes the foreign protein and develops an immune response to fend off future infection.
The coronavirus vaccines do have side effects but that doesn’t mean they’re harmful. It actually means they’re working. We know from Pfizer’s clinical trials that short-term side effects occurred within 24 to 48 hours, especially after the second dose. Sixteen percent of people ages 18 to 55 and 11 percent of people over 55 reported fevers after the second dose. Even more people reported having fatigue, headaches and joint pain.
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Myth #: Vaccines Contain Unsafe Toxins
People have concerns over the use of formaldehyde, mercury or aluminum in vaccines. It’s true that these chemicals are toxic to the human body in certain levels, but only trace amounts of these chemicals are used in FDA approved vaccines. In fact, according to the FDA and the CDC, formaldehyde is produced at higher rates by our own metabolic systems and there is no scientific evidence that the low levels of this chemical, mercury or aluminum in vaccines can be harmful. See section III of this guide to review safety information about these chemicals and how they are used in vaccines.
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“Bailey was so excited to see her friends, she couldn’t sit still for a photo!” Mollie Cheary
Tanya Whitaker’s life mantra is a large part of why she’s so driven to help those in need in her community of Clinton, Maryland. It boils down to a Gilbert Young painting called “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.”
“I knew I needed to do something to help break down systemic barriers and build bridges for not only the underprivileged, but the underserved,” Tanya tells Upworthy. “I am assisting my brother in our community.”
Tanya has been working to lift up underserved communities in almost every aspect of her life. She works in the career and technical education department for the District of Columbia’s State Superintendent of Education, and helps students realize goals they didn’t even know were possible. That work informed the development of her nonprofit, Skills Today Advance Tomorrow Development Center , which aims to “advance the economic mobility and social progress in low and moderate-income communities,” she explains.
Even before starting STAT DC, Tanya felt compelled to help people have access to what they need, regardless of their circumstances. This became particularly clear to her during the pandemic, which left so many more people in need of food and/or shelter. “It has been my experience through this pandemic that all economic lines have been blurred,” she says.
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Doctor Who Claimed Vaccine
The controversial Andrew Wakefield, MBBS, whose now largely discredited research ignited the vaccine-autism furor, has filed a defamation suit in a Texas court against BMJ, its editor, and an investigative journalist over a series of articles published last January.
The articles, by Brian Deer, as well as commentaries by the journal’s editor, Fiona Godlee, MB, BChir, MSc, slammed a now-infamous 1998 paper in The Lancet that suggested childhood MMR vaccinations had caused autism-like symptoms in 12 children.
Deer’s reporting had uncovered numerous discrepancies between details presented in the report and the children’s actual histories, as detailed in their medical records and their parents’ recollections in interviews. He also disclosed financial ties between Wakefield and lawyers preparing litigation against vaccine firms.
Godlee went further, charging that Wakefield had deliberately “alter numerous facts about the patients’ medical histories in order to support his claim to have identified a new syndrome.”
The Lancet had formally retracted the paper in February 2010 — most of its 12 co-authors had repudiated it long before — and the U.K.’s medical regulatory authority subsequently stripped Wakefield of his license to practice, finding that he had been “intentionally dishonest and misleading.”
In the lawsuit filed in his adopted hometown of Austin, Texas, Wakefield called the BMJ articles “unfair, incorrect, inaccurate, and unjust.”
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Doctor Who Started Vaccine Autism Debate In Ethics Row
Doc’s critics and parent supporters say ethics debate is irrelevant to science.
Feb. 1, 2010 — Parent activists who say vaccines can trigger autism, and scientists who say that hypothesis has been discredited, agreed on one point last week.
It won’t change their debate if Dr. Andrew Wakefield — the British doctor known widely for sparking international fear that vaccines cause autism — loses his medical license for unethical behavior.
Wakefield has been found guilty of acting unethically during the time he conducted the famous, and now retracted, 1998 case report of 12 children that questioned if a childhood vaccine caused a new form of autism.
The United Kingdom’s General Medical Council concluded Jan. 28 that Wakefield participated in “dishonesty and misleading conduct” while he conducted the 1998 research. Most of the findings against Wakefield are breaches of standard ethical codes meant to keep bias out of scientific journals.
But, according to one of the findings against the doctor, Wakefield took blood samples from children at his own child’s birthday party, and paid them five British pounds for their trouble.
“In some ways I think it’s irrelevant,” said Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who has been twice threatened with lawsuits for critical statements he has made of Wakefield’s work.
“It created a firestorm,” Offit said.
General Medical Council Hearings
Between July 2007 and May 2010, a 217-day “fitness to practise” hearing of the UK General Medical Council examined charges of professional misconduct against Wakefield and two colleagues involved in the paper in The Lancet. The charges included that he:
- “Was being paid to conduct the study by solicitors representing parents who believed their children had been harmed by MMR”.
- Ordered investigations “without the requisite paediatric qualifications” including colonoscopies, colon biopsies and lumbar punctures on his research subjects without the approval of his department’s ethics board and contrary to the children’s clinical interests, when these diagnostic tests were not indicated by the children’s symptoms or medical history.
- “Act ‘dishonestly and irresponsibly’ in failing to disclose … how patients were recruited for the study” as well as in his descriptions in the Lancet papers and in questions after the paper published, about what ailments the children had, and when those ailments were observed relative to their getting vaccinated.:Paragraphs 3336,pp 4548
- “Conduct the study on a basis not approved by the hospital’s ethics committee.”
- Purchased blood samplesfor £5 eachfrom children present at his son’s birthday party, which Wakefield joked about in a later presentation.
- “howed callous disregard for any distress or pain the children might suffer”
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