Saturday, January 8, 2011

Journal: Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Was Fraud

I'm not sure we have room for any additional nails in this coffin, and I have covered this story in the past here and here, but once again we find yet another study which proves that Andrew Wakefield and his fabricated science is nothing short of blatant fraud.

Read on:

Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud

LONDON – The first study to link a childhood vaccine to
autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.

The analysis, by British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in Wakefield's paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children's parents.
Wakefield could not be reached for comment despite repeated calls and requests to the publisher of his recent book, which claims there is a connection between vaccines and autism that has been ignored by the medical establishment. Wakefield now lives in the U.S. where he enjoys a vocal following including celebrity supporters like Jenny McCarthy.

Deer's article was paid for by the Sunday Times of London and Britain's Channel 4 television network. It was published online Thursday in the medical journal, BMJ.

In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee and colleagues called Wakefield's study "an elaborate fraud." They said Wakefield's work in other journals should be examined to see if it should be retracted.

Last May, Wakefield was stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. Many other published studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccination and autism.

But measles has surged since Wakefield's paper was published and there are sporadic outbreaks in Europe and the U.S. In 2008, measles was deemed endemic in England and Wales.


Now there are a few very key facts related to this story that bear repeating.  First, we know now - 13 years after this study was originally published, that Wakefield's science was not only shoddy, but outright fraudulent.  That said, it should not come as a surprise to anyone to learn that vaccine conspiracy theorists like Mr. Hubbs are still professing Wakefield's innocence and claiming the original study was accurate.  They claim Wakefield's conclusions were sound and that he is merely being picked on for daring to question the medical establishment.

However, as time has shown us, even though the rates of MMR vaccination have dropped significantly since Wakefield originally perpetuated his fraud onto the innocent public, the rates of autism have gone relatively unchanged.  In fact according to recent data, rates of autism have actually INCREASED during this period which is the exact inverse of what Wakefield, Mr. Hubbs, and all other anti-vaxxers would want us to believe.

However, during this same period of time we have seen numerous outbreaks of measles.  The World Health Organization (WHO), has stated that more than 20 million people worldwide are affected by measles each year and it is the single leading cause of vaccine-preventable deaths among young children, resulting in 164,000 deaths globally in 2008.  Therefore, by publishing his fraudulent study, Andrew Wakefield has actually led to increase risk, and thus increased number of deaths, of children that are no longer being vaccinated. 

Thankfully Wakefield's fraud has had very little impact within the US, therefore for the most part due to the continual usage of the MMR vaccine within our population, we have not seen major outbreaks across the nation.  However in the United Kingdom where people followed Wakefield's work more closely (and where his study effectively went unchallenged the first few years after publication), they have actually witnessed outbreaks in both England and Wales. There was also the first measles related deathreported in the UK in over 14 years, and it was due to a young boy being unprotected from the measles virus because he did not receive the MMR vaccine. 

So even though we have not witnessed a decrease in the rates of autism (as Wakefield would have us believe would be the case with fewer children receiving the MMR vaccine) we have seen outbreaks of measles which have been proven to lead to death.  The lesson we can take from this is that not only do the actions of the anti-vaxxers not actually solve the autism issue, but in fact they lead to higher rates of viral infections which can result in pain, long-term side effects, and even loss of life.

So what does Mr. Hubbs think of all this?  Well according to his most recent statements, and in spite of the mountain of evidence which has proven Wakefield to be nothing short of a charlatan, Mr. Hubbs still supports Wakefield 100% and even continues to post information about Wakefield's study on his silly website.  In fact, Mr. Hubbs has even signed an online letter of support for Wakefield and he continues to make excuses in a vain attempt to paint Wakefield as the victim.

Sorry Mr. Hubbs, but the real victims are those children who are now suffering due to their parents (unsubstantiated) fears of having autistic children which due in large part to the fraud that is one Andrew Wakefield, led them to bypass the proven safety which comes along with the MMR vaccine.  The real victims are those 164,000 humans who die each year from measles which equates to 450 deaths each and every day or 18 deaths every hour! 

Wakefield himself is not and has never been a victim, but the damage he has done will last decades, and for that we have no one to blame other than Wakefield himself and his loyal troop of ignorant followers such as Mr. Hubbs who overlook science and instead believe this is all some vast conspiracy to protect profits of the drug companies.

Is it any wonder that Mr. Hubbs and his fellow anti-vaxxers have never been able to come up with one single peer-reviewed study which has proven there is even a remote link between autism and the MMR vaccine?  They have a lot of excuses, but at the end of the day they are still left with zero science.

So this leads us to the next point - the fact that Wakefield actually doctored information and altered facts about his patients.  Wakefield even went so far as to make claims about these children which have now been proven to be factually incorrect such as his claim that the children were "normal" prior to receiving the MMR vaccine (whereas in reality at least five of the 12 children referenced had documented developmental problems).

This is the type of person that Mr. Hubbs considers to be an expert... a man which has been proven to falsify data, to manipulate findings, to change information, to distort historical fact, and even one who engaged in unethical behavior by paying children at a birthday party $5 to take samples of their blood.  This is a man who has had his license to practice medicine revoked, his studies retracted, and who has been found of numerous ethical violations and professional misconduct.

The problem here is that Mr. Hubbs' standard list of excuses won't work here.  The fact is Wakefield did originally publish his work, so the conspiracy theory employed by Mr. Hubbs that nobody is ever allowed to publish work which calls into question actions taken by drug companies, "big pharma", or mainstream medicine has been proven to be factually incorrect.

Even though the study has since been proven to be nothing more than a fraud, the simple truth is for over a decade Wakefield's study was published and available, which proves that anyone can publish a study if they actually take the time to perform the research (or in Wakefield's case take the time to fabricate and manipulate the research).  This minor fact seems to go a long way to call into question why Mr. Hubbs' other laundry list of "experts" have never bothered to publish any of their nonsense, but that is an issue we have addressed previously (and likely will do so again in the future).

Another common excuse from the convoluted mind of Mr. Hubbs is that drug companies or medical agencies such as the CDC, FDA, or AMA seek to destroy anyone who dares speak out against them.  However, once again we see this excuse has more holes in it than a box of Cheerios.  First, the particular article cited above was paid for not by a drug company nor a medical agency, but actually by a newspaper (the Sunday Times of London) as well as a television channel (Britain's Channel 4).  Thus unless Mr. Hubbs wishes to add investigative journalists and media outlets to his list of people who are in on this vast conspiracy, there really isn't anything to this one.

The facts continue to pile up against Wakefield, and against conspiracy theorists like Mr. Hubbs, although perhaps the most damning statements and admission of guilt comes from Mr. Hubbs himself:

"noone [sic] said anything about that the [...] studies PROVED a vaccine link to autism.” ~Lowell Hubbs
Therein lies the problem.  While Mr. Hubbs is out there attempting to defend snakeoil salesman and ethically challenged "experts", he ignores the true goal of science which is to find proof.  This all just goes to show that in a mind of a conspiracy theorist it isn't important to determine fact or to discover the truth.  No - in the mind of a conspiracy theorist the one and only true goal is to challenge authority and deny reality.

Is it any wonder why anti-vaxxers like Mr. Hubbs can never be taken seriously?


  1. The facts are in not only in the UK but here in the US. He is banned from practicing medicine in both. Wakefield isn't trusted anymore than those people who pretend to be doctors on television to sell weight loss pills.

    Even most of the people he has worked with in the past have distanced themselves from him and his questionable antics and aside from his retracted MMR / Autism report there are more questions about some of his other work. He has actually had more than one study pulled including one where he was working with monkeys. This guy uses shoddy methods and sloppy science and therefore has no credibility in the scientific community. His findings are worthless, his opinions and assumptions discredited, and his conclusions flawed. He has even been proven to have lied in his study an on his other research. That isn't stretching the struth or acting unethically that is flat out fabrication and lying.

    That is why he has had his medical license yanked and can no longer practice medicine. People need to remember this guy is guilty of dozens of charges not just one or two and he should be behind bars! Also, in the UK they have directly linked two deaths to Wakefield due to children that didn't receive the MMR vaccine and later died as a result of the measles. His actions directly contributed to those deaths, and if this Hubbs or others like him wish to continue to act like Wakefield is a martyr, they need to wake up. He also caused permanent injury to some of his patiences and has had to pay compensation.

    Wakefield went after anyone who dared to question him too, but eventually he was forced to drop the lawsuits because there was so much evidence against him, and he had former associates and research assistants coming out of the woodwork explaining how he was ignoring data when it went against his opinion and manipulating data to fit his goal. He even had to pay for the legal fees for those he tried to sue and to make matters worse it eventually came out that he was being funded by a group that specifically wanted to link MMR to autism. So much for being an unbiased researcher!

    Keep in mind this guy is still inked to that idiot playmate Jenny McCarthy and Generation Rescue. They know he is a fraud, but if they admitted it they would also be in the same boat since most of their crazy ideas come straight from Wakefield. Rumor has it that was the primary reason that Jim Carrey dumped McCarthy because she wouldn't acknowledge that new science continues to pour in which shows there is no link between MMR and autism, but she refuses to believe it and still puts her faith in Wakefield.

    Just goes to show you can prove something to an antivaxxer and they continue to ignore it because it doesn't fit their dogma. These people need help.

  2. If Lowell is half as smart as he thinks he is, he should realize that Wakefield is a fraud. Yes it took a number of years, but peer reviews and sctual science helped debunk Wakefield's "study." Hence the importance of peer-reviewed studies. The hilarious thing is that this study was done in Britain and not paid for by anyone affiliated with medicine! I am sure Lowell will have the standard rhetoric, but this is pretty tough to refute.

    Lastly, if this were good science and a good study, why was Wakefield not available for comments? Ultimately, it doesn't matter who does the study, how it is funded, or where it is and facts speak for themselves.


  3. Well said to both of the previous comments. And to BD - I might have to devote a future post to the fraud that is Jenny McCarthy. Unfortunately she has used her "fame" to draw attention to an issue which cannot even be proven with science.

    Oh yea - and doctors (plural) who worked with her son have come out publicly and stated he never had autism to begin with, so when McCarthy says she "cured her son" she is taking credit for nothing. He kid may have been developmentally delayed, and he might be a tad slower than average, but he never had autism, so therein lies the rub.

  4. Why do you have a redirecting hack link in your second subtitle link: Journal: Study Linking Vaccine to Autism Was Fraud? Oh, I bet you didn't know about that, right? Must of been an accident? Even the fact that there is no link there to the actual titled article; is anyone to believe you simply failed or screwed up in providing the correct link to the article? How hard would be to link to that?

  5. Mr. Hubbs - the link had a print flag on the end of it which linked to the print version of the story (which formatted the story to print properly without embedded ads etc). If you think that is a "redirectly hack link" you are an even bigger moron than I thought.

    If you actually bothered to look at the link, you could have removed the print flag and it would have worked just fine. I didn't realize the print flag wouldn't work properly in all browsers, so I have corrected it.

    Does that have anything to do with hacking? No, but it sure helps prove my point that you are an imbecile.

    As to the rest of your comment, I removed it as it wasn't relevant. Maybe once you stop posting all of your dozens and dozens of comments as "anonymous" I'll think of posting more of them... but not today.

  6. And where is the complete proof, with medical records that Evan McCarthy never had autism? Of course they are going to try and discredit it any way they can. Where is his medical diagnosis of Landau–Kleffner syndrome; and at what facility?

  7. I'm going to explain this one more time and I suggest you read it slower this time since you obviously have trouble understanding simple concepts.

    Number one, it is not my duty (nor the duty of anyone else) to prove Evan McCarthy DID NOT have autism. Rather it is Jenny McCarty's duty to prove he did. That is how debate works Mr. Hubbs, and as many times as I have explained it to you I would think you might actually start understanding the concept of burden of proof.

    Aparently not. You're still a moron.

    By the way, do you have any idea about HIPPA privacy laws? The only way anyone can post Evan McCarthy's medical records would be if his idiot mother allowed it. Funny that she is so convinced of his condition yet she hasn't made those records public. Could it be she has something to hide? Probably something like a LACK of an autism diagnosis?

    Sorry Hubbs, I'd rather take the real doctors' word for it rather than a former playmate that has zero medical training or scientific background beyond her experience having multiple breast augmentations and her continually and admitted usage of botox.

    Yea vaccines are bad, but if you can inject some botchulism toxin in your face to make you look younger it is perfectly acceptable. So not only is she an uneducated idiot (much like her followers), she is a hypocrite as well.

  8. It is a resounding testimony to Lowell's ignorance and lack of education that he would continue to defend Wakefiled and this "study." If Lowell truly is the self-proclaimed "TruthStorm" and "Vaccine Warrior," he would be bothered by the fact that Wakefield manipulated data. Lowell should be bothered my the fact that the appropriate scientific methods were not followed in this study, and he should realize that because of this, the study is fraudulent and the data is wrong.

    In true character, Lowell continues to defend Wakefield as seen in his mind-numbing "counter blog" that nobody in their right mind would ever read.

    How sad is it when someone resorts to using Jenny McCarthy to prove a point? The person who learned everything from the University of Google (her words, not mine)? That is applicable? Wow...I think we all know the answer to that one.

    I think he should change his name to Stu Pidaso.



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