In 1998 an article was published in the famous British medical journal "The Lancet", which still has consequences today. Andrew Wakefield and colleagues published a study describing a supposed link between the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine (MMR) and autism.
After a while they remained silent, but later in the United Kingdom there was a considerable media outbreak that in the long run upset many people and as a result the MMR vaccination coverage increased from 92% (1996) to 84% (2002 ). has decreased. Even today, vaccine opponents regularly quote the study – although they do not meet the scientific criteria and the Lancet withdraw in 2010.
The study, published by a team of 13 scientists led by Wakefield under the title "Ilenal Lymphoid Nodular Hyperplasia, Nonspecific Colitis and Perivental Developmental Disorder in Children," analyzed twelve cases of children born in London from 1996 to 1997. The Royal Free "Was treated. All of them suffered from bowel disease and had developmental disturbances (autism spectrum disorders).
Wakefield believes that bowel disease is a new syndrome – later called "autistic enterocolitis" – and recommends further research into its potential causes, particularly MMR vaccination. The study suggests such a link, as behavioral anomalies were observed in eight of the twelve cases shortly after vaccination with MMR.
However, the causal link between vaccination and autistic disturbances can not be derived from it; There was no statistical information on how often such a time connection exists. The survey is still not broad enough. However, Wakefield used the press conference before publishing the study to disable the use of the combined MMR vaccine and instead recommended single vaccines.
Criticism and allegations
The results of the Wakefield study can not be reproduced by independent scientists – in other words, they failed to give the same results and found no link between MMR vaccination and autism.
Not enough: British journalist Brian Dear has been able to prove to Wakefield several inconsistencies. In 2004, for example, it became known that the doctor had received GBP 55,000 (equivalent to about £ 71,700) before publishing the study – without the knowledge of his co-authors or magazines. One of the reviewers, who then studied the "Lancet" study, should have previously received £ 40,000.
The money comes from a law firm acting on behalf of the parents of five autistic children mentioned in the study. They were interested in finding a link between vaccine and autism to sue the vaccine manufacturer. The fact made ten of Wakefield's twelve co-authors distance themselves from the study.
In 2006, Wakefield was charged with another lawyer, which amounted to £ 435,643 (about £ 569,000). A total of £ 3.5 million (CHF 4.6 million) for assessments, consultancy and research tasks for doctors and scientists came to the combined vaccine.
One possible reason for the humiliating vaccine against Wakefield is that he himself filed a patent for a measles vaccine nine months before the publication of his study. This was also revealed by journalist Brian Dear. In the British Medical Journal BMJ, he accuses Wakefield of January 2011, he is trying to win a marketing test for the alleged gain of autism associated with the vaccine.
Article withdrawal and professional ban
Due to continued claims against Wakefield in 2007, the British Medical Association, the Joint Medical Council, became active. The panel looked at Wakefield's machines and research for two and a half years, and in January 2010 said the doctor had used "unethical methods of research." So he had eleven childhood methods of over-treatment as subjected to lumbar puncture or colonoscopy that were not clinically shown. He also presented his findings in a "dishonest" and "irresponsible" way; the magazine was deceived.
In February 2010, The Lancet completely withdrew the Wakefield article. Already in 2004, Wakefield had a "fatal conflict of interest," which testifies and describes his study as "insufficient," but they have not retreated. In May 2010, the Wakefield Medical Association issued a ban on health at work in the UK. Among other things, the camera accused the doctor of taking blood samples for money from his friends on his son's birthday.
However, Wakefield has already left his job at the Royal Free Hospital in 2001. He leaves the UK and is currently working for the controversial private clinic in the United States. In 2016 he shot the vaccine-skeptical documentary "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," in which the American health authority, CDC, is accused of concealing the alleged link between vaccination and autism. Among many opponents of inoculation, Wakefield is now considered a martyr.
Despite the Wakefield ban, despite the withdrawal of his study, the rumor continues that the MMR vaccine may cause autism. Even today's US President Donald Trump, who was scanned in 2016 with Wakefield, spread it several times via Twitter, for example in 2014:
In 2008, according to a study of one in four Americans, it is believed that vaccinations poison children. Last but not least, the efforts of organizations like autism that feed the fear of vaccination. It is understandable that the parents of children with autism are often those who see the evil in the vaccine. In fact, many have experienced that the developmental disorder occurs shortly after vaccination. And temporal proximity involves a causal relationship – so it must have been the vaccine that caused autism. However, autism is very often only between the ages of 18 and 24 months in which children receive many vaccinations.
Another reason why the supposed connection between vaccination and autism may seem plausible is that the number of cases of autism in the last decades in which the MMR vaccine has also been used is steadily increasing. The reason for the increase is unclear, but at least in part due to an improved diagnostic methodology.
Perhaps nothing will clear the rumor that vaccinations can cause autism. Even the results of the largest study published so far in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for 2015 are unlikely to change that. On behalf of the American health authorities, Anjali Jain and her team from the Lewin group searched for a huge health record for over 95,000 children. The authors conclude: "In accordance with previous studies, we have not found any link between MMR vaccine and the increased risk of autism."