Wakefield changed and misreported results

By AnthonyLast updated: Sunday, February 8, 2009 • Save & Share3 Comments

Brian Deer has been investigating Andrew Wakefield, again.

THE doctor who sparked the scare over the safety of the MMR vaccine for children changed and misreported results in his research, creating the appearance of a possible link with autism, a Sunday Times investigation has found.

Confidential medical documents and interviews with witnesses have established that Andrew Wakefield manipulated patients’ data, which triggered fears that the MMR triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella was linked to the condition.
our investigation, confirmed by evidence presented to the General Medical Council (GMC), reveals that: In most of the 12 cases, the children’s ailments as described in The Lancet were different from their hospital and GP records. Although the research paper claimed that problems came on within days of the jab, in only one case did medical records suggest this was true, and in many of the cases medical concerns had been raised before the children were vaccinated. Hospital pathologists, looking for inflammatory bowel disease, reported in the majority of cases that the gut was normal. This was then reviewed and the Lancet paper showed them as abnormal.

More details of the allegations are here, and The Times have a nice timeline which neatly shows Wakefield’s trajectory prior to the 1998 paper and the unveiling of his hoax theory concerning autism and MMR vaccine.

October 1988 MMR triple vaccine starts in UK after use in America since 1971

February 1996 A solicitor, Richard Barr, hires Andrew Wakefield at £150 per hour to support a legal attack on MMR makers as some parents raise concerns over the vaccine

June 1996 Wakefield and Barr ask Legal Aid Board to fund research to show a link between MMR and autism. The board grants them £55,000

July 1996 First autistic child admitted to Royal Free hospital for research project. Of the 12 in the study, 11 will turn out to be litigants

June 1997 Wakefield files for patent on “safer” single measles jab and for products to treat autism

Here’s Mike Dunford’s view of Wakefield’s position.

Wakefield has done far more than his share to stir up and maintain the anti-vaccination hysteria. I suspect (although I’m not a lawyer) that it’s unlikely that there’s any way he can be held legally accountable for the drop in vaccinations, climb in measles rates, or any resultant fatalities. But there is no doubt in my mind that if the accusations are remotely true, if Wakefield committed either gross malpractice or outright fraud, there is blood on his hands.

There’s more on this at the Bad Astronomy, and masses more at Holfordwatch, which has elicited this comment:

I feel like I’ve been part of a pyramid scheme no-one told me about.

I bought into all this.

Has this taken so long to come out because Andrew Wakefield resigned and went to Texas rather than open up his research files when there were questions at the Royal Free.

I’m angry at Wakefield but more angry with myself for being such a dupe.

Perhaps everyone who paid for single vaccines ought to send Wakefield an invoice?

Filed in Ethics, MMR, Quackery

3 Responses to “Wakefield changed and misreported results”

Comment from Liz Ditz
Time 9/2/2009 at 5:10 am

I’ve done another round-up post — who is saying what about the Deer articles on Wakefield in the London Times. I’ve included this post.

11 years on, Wakefield Manufactured Data showing MMR-Autism Link?

Comment from John Stone
Time 11/2/2009 at 11:12 pm

Hi Anthony, I thought you ought to consider these:




Comment from Anthony
Time 12/2/2009 at 2:21 am

1.Ridiculous attempt to deflect attention onto Deer. Have you not considered that some parents might have talked to Deer?

2. Revelation that Deer drew attention to Wakefield’s other failings leading to GMC case. Big deal.So what? I note it draws attention to Deer asking for money to support his work. Wow. I thought he was in a big pharm conspiracy John, now you’re telling me he asking for donations from readers. Shocking stuff.

3. She’s completely bonkers. Stop wasting your life on this fruitless quest.