Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Brood of Vipers Falsify Autism Research

Power Line posted today on this CNN report of a story in the British Medical Journal.
CNN describes it this way:

A now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines was an "elaborate fraud" that has done long-lasting damage to public health, a leading medical publication reported Wednesday.

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.

"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, told 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.

Why on earth would a physician, a medical researcher, falsify data? Power Line's John Hinderaker explains:

There is a lot of blame to go around here; the media deserve some of it for repeating fraudulent claims uncritically. But the genesis of the hoax had a straightforward motive: money. Plaintiffs' lawyers who hoped to make a fortune by suing the manufacturers of vaccines funded the fraudulent research...

Most people don't realize it, but many of the scientific "studies" that have given rise to consumer hysteria and product liability litigation have been funded by plaintiffs' lawyers. The strategy has worked, I believe, more often than not. It is disturbing to understand that scientists can be bought; that, in fact, it is often not particularly difficult to buy them.

The misdirection caused false hope and false anger. And it resulted in a lot of unvaccinated children as well, followed by an increase in measles cases both in Britain and the US. Autism research, meanwhile, may have found more promising avenues if efforts hadn't been sent in the wrong direction by Wakefield's study.

It's repulsive that plaintiffs' lawers have been funding bogus "studies" for their own gain, but it's even more repulsive that there are "scientists" willing to go along.


Christina said...

I am certain this "study" has done great harm rather than good.

We are already seeing a rise in some previously almost erradicated whooping cough and measles.

It puts us all, and especially our children who might be too young initially for the vaccines, at risk.

Delta said...

As the parent of one with autism, I've been fighting the stigma of valid and needed vaccinations for years. Now, I feel validated and vindicated. But - there are parents out there who will continue to believe this study is valid. And some doctors who will milk them for every dime they have with the promise of a "cure". Jenny McCarthy helped no one with her claims - for sure. That's IMHO.

Malott said...

So Wakefield lost his license... What about the lawyers involved? Who was paying Wakefield?

SkyePuppy said...


As far as I know, the lawyers are still licensed vipers.