The Fraud Behind Autism-Vaccination Scares


In 1998, the British medical journal Lancet published a study linking autism to childhood vaccines authored by Andrew Wakefield and others. Last February, Lancet retracted the article amid concerns of its accuracy. In May, Wakefield was stripped of his British medical license and now another journal has wrapped up an investigation that concludes that Wakefield cooked the data for all 12 of the patients discussed in his hugely influential article.

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes the study's author, 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….

Wakefield has been unable to reproduce his results in the face of criticism, and other researchers have been unable to match them. Most of his co-authors withdrew their names from the study in 2004 after learning he had had been paid by a law firm that intended to sue vaccine manufacturers—a serious conflict of interest he failed to disclose. After years on controversy, the Lancet, the prestigious journal that originally published the research, retracted Wakefield's paper last February.

More here.

Last May, in the wake of controversy, Reason.tv asked whether vaccines cause autism. The short answer is no. Here's our take: