Original Evidence Linking Vaccines to Autism Were Part of ‘Elaborate Fraud,’ Study Says

January 6, 2011

(ChattahBox Science News)—For years, parents of children with autism have pointed to a 1998 paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield showing a link between vaccines and autism as a reason to withhold vaccines, but a new analysis shows that the claims were based on doctored information, CBS News reports.

Wakefield’s original research suggested that the MMR shot triggered autism, but was later renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and was retracted by the medical journal Lancet, CBS News notes. However, the link between autism and vaccines became pervasive thereafter, giving Wakefield a huge following among parents of autistic children and creating a large group of parents who refused to allow their children to get vaccinated.

A new study performed in Britain and published in the medical journal BMJ shows that Wakefield’s paper misrepresented all 12 children studied in his original paper and that he altered patient facts, CBS News notes. BMJ’s editor Fiona Godlee refers to Wakefield’s study as “an elaborate fraud.”


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