Thursday, May 23, 2013

Irony at Work: Andrew Wakefield and Academic Integrity

A friend pointed me to a link showing the schedule of events for the AutismOne conference, and aside from the normal players like Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Eisenstein, and the father-son Geier duo, I couldn't help but notice that they have actually asked Andrew Wakefield to speak.

The best part?  The topic of his speech is "Defending Academic Integrity and Research".

Here is a summary of his little chat:

"Doctors and scientists working in the public interest and specifically for the wellbeing of their patients – particularly those involved in researching vaccine safety – are coming under attack as never before. This talk emphasizes the reasons why we should value the individual over the concept of a "herd," the importance of maintaining academic integrity, and the progress that has been made despite systematic oppression of scientific and medical enquiry."

That's rich.  A guy who was stripped of his medical license due to fraud, a man who failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest, and a man who was found to have manipulated and falsified data within a published study (which was subsequently retracted) is speaking about academic integrity.  

Let's keep in mind Wakefield is the same person who (among many other things) was found guilty of four counts of dishonesty and 12 counts involving the abuse of developmentally challenged children.  The sheer number of proven charges would boggle the mind... yet this is the type of person AutismOne invites to speak about academic integrity?

Sort of makes you wonder if they have Bernie Madoff scheduled to speak about Economic Ethics.


  1. Well, I believe that Mark Geier only has his license now in one state (the other 11(12?) have all suspended/revoked them). He's also managed to land some other physicians in hot water for having them write prescriptions for his 'therapy' for autistic kids.

    As for Wankerfield. He wouldn't know integrity if it bitchslapped him.

  2. Guys, I know a few anti-vaxers. This is my go to site for all comments to them. -- along with the question "How many people with polio do you know?". One thing I would like is a report on the results of communities where anti-vaxers thrive. I know polio is making a comeback in Africa for instance because of the belief that vaccines are our way of making Africans sterile, or some such crap. I think there's major outbreaks of measles in some of the western states. The anti-vaccination crusade is having some very tragic results in places. It would be nice to have a rundown. Anyway, thanks for this blog. It's very important work.

    1. There is some of the data about breakouts, but it is difficult to pinpoint hotspots for antivax-like behavior. What we often see if the types of people who are anti-vaccination are the same types who are home schooling their children and who like to stay out of the public eye. These are the same types of people who hold "pox parties" in an effort to infect their children with chickenpox and the very types who are less likely to take their child to a doctor if they actually catch the virus.

      In years past, some antivaxxers tried to tell us that the Amish don't vaccinate, and then they tried to suggest the Amish don't suffer from autism and therefore we should somehow draw a link between vaccines and autism. Unfortunately there was a problem with this theory... several in fact. First, some Amish do actually vaccinate. Second, there are autistic Amish. Third, there are enough conflicting reports to raise serious concerns about anyone who would make a blanket claim about the Amish not ever vaccinating or never dealing with autism.

      If we hear of future outbreaks of VPD (vaccine preventable disease), we will do our best to determine the source of the outbreak. However in the meantime take a look at some of the outbreaks of Measles in the UK after Wakefield published his non-study attempting to link the MMR shot with autism.

      What you will find is rather upsetting:


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