Lancet formally retracts paper linking vaccine to autism
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
One of the world’s most respected medical journals, The Lancet, is formally retracting an article that sparked a fierce debate and falsely linked autism to vaccines.
The 1998 study linked the vaccine for mumps, measles and rubella (MMR) to autism which led to a drop in vaccinations and a jump in measles cases around the world. In the meantime, at least 25 studies have found no link between the vaccine and autism.
The move “is part of a reassessment that has lasted for years of the scientific methods and financial conflicts of Dr. Andrew Wakefield,” whose “research showed that the … vaccine may be unsafe,” the New York Times reports.
Last week, the Times reports, “a British medical panel concluded … that Dr. Wakefield has been dishonest, violated basic research ethics rules, and showed a ‘callous disregard’ for the suffering of children involved in his research.”
A spokesman for the CDC said the retraction “builds on the overwhelming body of research … that concludes there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.”
The Washington Post reports, “The Lancet said that after the” panel’s “ruling, it was clear that parts of Wakefield’s paper were wrong.”
The journal “highlighted, for example, assertions that investigations of children for the study were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee.”
Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet, said the journal was especially concerned that Wakefield’s study specifically chose certain children to participate rather than testing those who arrived at the hospital as described in the study, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The AP reports, “The retraction … comes a day after a competing medical journal, BMJ, issued an embargoed commentary calling for The Lancet to formally retract the study.”
The BMJ “said once the study” was published, “the arguments were considered by many to be proven and the ghastly social drama of the demon vaccine took on a life of its own.”
“Despite multiple subsequent studies that have refuted the link, vaccination rates have remained lower than they were before” Wakefield’s study, the Los Angeles Times reported.
BMJ editor Dr. Fiona Goodless said the retraction “will help restore faith in” the vaccine “and in the integrity of the scientific literature.”
You can read my other blogs on the topic:
- U.S. study clears measles vaccine of autism link
- Does the MMR vaccine cause autism? A redux
- Special court rules against families who claim vaccines caused autism
- Vaccine Myth #1: Vaccines Cause Autism
The argument should be over. This final action effectively puts the nail in the coffin to the now disproven theory that the MMR vaccine is associated with or causes autism. Period.
Now, all of who care for and love children should redouble our efforts to find the cause(s) of autism, and abandon the discredited notions that vaccines have a thing to do with this terrible group of disorders.