February 9, 2009

DT Monday Madness: Dude Made Up His Vaccine Causes Autism Data

Not sure why they're doing this now, but the Times of London reports that it investigated the original medical records behind Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 paper in The Lancet which found a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Their conclusion: the dude was basically making shit up.

As the Times puts it, Wakefield's paper claimed that 8 of 12 families at a regular clinic "had blamed MMR for their autism, and said that problems came on within days of the jab." But examination of the patients' actual records show reports of problems before the vaccinations, and next to no reports of problems "within days." When asked about whether he manufactured his results, Wakefield basically told the Times, "uh-uh, did not," but declined to go into detail.

The paper triggered a media and science firestorm that's still going on, and has resulted in significant drops in vaccination rates--from 92% to 80% in the UK--and a rise in measles outbreaks among kids with paranoid hippie parents. OK, I might be paraphrasing on that last part.

Not to steal the Times' thunder, but weren't the same findings and charges laid against Wakefield in Paul Offit's vaccine-causes-autism takedown book last fall?

MMR doctor Andrew Wakefield fixed data on autism [timesonline via dt reader jj daddy-o]

8 Comments

yeah, weird, not news at all.

did i ever show you my jewy-perspective-on-vaccines column? i was particularly proud of it.

http://www.forward.com/articles/10622/

We live in a hotbed of anti-vaxxers (that, by the way, is what they call themselves) I hate them, they have no ability to understand statistics or interpret data, they're like the "The U.S. gov't brought down the Twin Towers" crowd, but with kids. Kids who go to my kids preschool! Which had a whooping cough outbreak a couple months ago, all the anti-vaxx kids got it, and we had to keep our newborn and 3 year old quarantined in separate parts of the house for 4 days. Unreal.

Also, watch for this one: They're all changing their argument from "vaccines cause autism" to "vaccines aren't as good as true immunity (from surviving a disease)". Mark my words, there will be a measles outbreak in some lefty part of the country (Eugene? Boulder?) and lots of kids will die, and that will be the only thing that changes the anti-vaxx minds.

Personally, we've thought of not letting the kid play at anti-vaxx kids' houses, thinking maybe social pressure would do what reason cannot, but we wimped out and haven't done it.

If your kids have the vaccine why are you worried about it? I personally think the onslaught of cancers and other such diseases are a direct reflection of the use of vaccines and not letting the immune system take care of itself. Reluctantly, I have given my child most of the vaccines, but still have withheld the MMR until at least 2, and still then we are separating it out into separate vaccines given at a larger interval.

surfer dude/dudette: dara is worried about it because of the way most vaccines work: herd immunity. a certain threshold of the population has be vaccinated for the rest not to get sick. dip below the threshold, and you're looking at the possibiilty of a major outbreak. (and yup, the incidence of measles is at a 10-yr high in the US. we'll see how much worse it gets.) even if your own kid is vaccinated, you can care about public health and want other people to, you know, NOT DIE.

those of us who came of age after the polio and measles shots were commonplace have forgotten how horrible those diseases were. measles and mumps seem kinda cute now, like chicken pox -- i was actually surprised to learn how bad they were.

Well, a reason to be concerned is if you have an infant--under the age for certain vaccinations--and a toddler/preschooler who is mingling with unvaccinated kids and then coming home to play with baby. Or having todder/preschooler friends, possibly unvaccinated, coming over to the house and exposing baby...

It's the same as the evangelicals. Just different side of the aisle (and actually a lot of these views come out of the early evangelical movement - those smallpox scars being the sign of the beast). There's really little point in trying to disprove these things scientifically, because they're not going to listen. Science isn't to be trusted.

This is some of the oldest and most tested medical technology out there. We've had vaccines since around the revolutionary war, and the ideas go back much farther. But we're also talking about the sort of people likely to eschew an epidural for pain control - worried about a drugged out baby, but willing to drink "tinctures".

Marjorie is right.

Vaccinations don't ensure that the vaccinated person will not get the disease, merely lessens the likelyhood. That means that if an outbreak starts occurring it should not blaze through the population as the infection rate should not reach epidemic levels and will in most cases be easily containable.

Being a leftie or hippie is no excuse for being dumb or not being able to interpret medical or statistical data. If you can't you have to defer judgement to professionals. Like your doctors.
Dr. Wakefield should be held personally accountable for any outbreak or death that occurs due to his faked data.

It has come to light many times in the past, I've looked at some of his data and research methods because my hippie, homeopath sister in law did not have her children vaccinated and tried to pressure my wife into same. Needless to say, after reviewing the data both my children are vaccinated.

Oh, and forgot to mention that as a liberal (bleeding heart, if I were in USA, quite relaxed and close to center of the political spectrum elsewhere) I resent those people labeling themselves as such. One of the main tenets of leftism is concern for the community, big picture thinking. This sort of dumbness completely disregards your own good (suposedly for your good, but only if you consider Popular Science a scientific magazine), and completely disregards the community on purpose.
Even most right wingers are more community oriented thatn that.

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