Study linking MMR vaccine and autism is retracted
If you’ve followed the debate as to whether vaccines cause autism then you have probably come upon a study published in the journal The Lancet in 1998 that purported to show just that. Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s work was held up by thousands of parents who believed that a combination of childhood vaccines was the reason their children contracted autism. But for the past decade, most every other researcher in the field disputed Wakefield’s findings, and pointed out that there were ethical conflicts with Wakefield, his study’s subjects and the pharmaceutical industry.
In the scientific community, the study was long ago discredited. But because of the internet, it lived on, convincing the likes of Jenny McCarthy (shown here with husband Jim Carrey) and others that vaccines were harmful to the children they are meant to protect. Dozens of further studies have failed to show any link whatsoever between the preservatives in vaccines with increased incidence of autism.
Well, now, in an unusual move, The Lancet has issued a full retraction of the article and its findings.
It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect… Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published record.
Wakefield himself may be stricken from Britain’s medical register. But will the pernicious notion that the MMR vaccine causes autism be fully put to rest?