- About ASF
- What is Autism?
- How Common is Autism?
- Early Signs of Autism
- Autism Diagnosis
- Following a Diagnosis
- Treatment Options
- Beware of Non-Evidence-Based Treatments
- Autism and Vaccines
- Autism Science
- Quick Facts About Autism
- What We Fund
- Autism Sisters Project
- Baby Siblings Research Consortium
- Resources for Grantees
- Funding Calendar
- ASF Funded Research
- ASF Supported Findings
- Apply for a Fellowship
- Apply for a Research Accelerator Grant
- Apply for an Undergraduate Summer Research Grant
- Apply for INSAR Annual Meeting Travel Grant
- Get Involved
- Day of Learning
- Research Recap of 2017
- Contact Us
Study Linking Autism, Vaccines Deemed an “Elaborate Fraud”
January 5, 2011
Andrew Wakefield’s 1998 MMR study, originally published and then retracted by the Lancet, has been called an “elaborate fraud” by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) after a lengthy investigation. BMJ concluded Dr. Andrew Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study — and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.
"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," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief said in an interview on CNN. "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."Britain stripped Wakefield of his medical license in May.
"Meanwhile, the damage to public health continues, fueled by unbalanced media reporting and an ineffective response from government, researchers, journals and the medical profession," BMJ states in an editorial accompanying the work.
The new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in Wakefield's paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about pateients in their study. The analysis, by award winning British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in the paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children's parents.
Media coverage of this story:
CNN: Retracted autism study an ‘elaborate fraud,’ British Journal finds –
CNN: Medical Journal: Study Linking Autism, Vaccines is "Elaborate Fraud" – http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/01/06/autism.vaccines/index.html
ABC News' Good Morning America: Fraudulent Vaccine Research Exposed – http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/fraudulent-vaccine-research-exposed-12553656
USA Today: Report Linking Vaccine to Autism ‘An Elaborate Fraud' – http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/autism/2011-01-06-autism06_ST_N.htm
LA Times: Wakefield's Paper Linking MMR Vaccine to Autism a Fraud – http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/05/news/la-heb-andrew-wakefield-01052011
MNT: Study Linking Autism To MMR Vaccine "An Elaborate Fraud" – http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/212899.php
Forbes: Thimerosal-Autism Link Was A Legal Theory In Search Of Science- http://blogs.forbes.com/danielfisher/2011/01/05/thimerosol-autism-link-was-a-legal-theory-in-search-of-science/?boxes=businesschannelsections
LB/RB: BMJ editorial: Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent – http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/01/06/bmj-editorial-wakefields-article-linking-mmr-vaccine-and-autism-was-fraudulent/
ABC Nightline: For Doctor Accused of Falsifying Vaccine-Autism Link: What Consequences? – http://blogs.abcnews.com/nightlinedailyline/2011/01/for-doctor-accused-of-falsifying-vaccine-autism-link-what-consequences.html
LB/RB: The National Autism Association tries and fails to defend Andrew Wakefield’s fraud – http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2011/01/the-national-autism-association-tries-and-fails-to-defend-andrew-wakefields-fraud/