Report Claims Discredited Study That Linked Vaccines To Autism Wasn't Just A Mistake, But An Outright Fraud
from the hide-your-kids,-hide-your-wife dept
Last year, Wakefield lost his license to practice medicine in the UK, after he was found guilty of "serious professional misconduct." That was because of serious ethical lapses in how he conducted the study. He apparently did invasive tests that were unnecessary and without the proper permission. He also tested a new vaccine -- which was going to be sold by a company Wakefield had set up -- on a child, without telling the child's doctor, or mentioning the test in the child's medical notes. And the kicker: "He was also found to have unethically arranged for his son's friends to have blood samples taken from them during his birthday party -- for which he paid them £5 each."
The latest news is that a study of the original research has concluded that the problems with the original report do not appear to have been mere mistakes, but were almost certainly fraud. The report states that there is clear evidence that the data was falsified. The report does not beat around the bush:
Deer unearthed clear evidence of falsification. He found that not one of the 12 cases reported in the 1998 Lancet paper was free of misrepresentation or undisclosed alteration, and that in no single case could the medical records be fully reconciled with the descriptions, diagnoses, or histories published in the journal.The report also notes that Wakefield has never been able to replicate his findings. However, Wakefield is still standing by the original research, even as his co-authors have disavowed it and given all of the problems associated with it. That link goes to CNN and is a perfect example of what Jay Rosen refers to as "the view from nowhere" journalism. It seems to bend over backwards to let "both sides" weigh in on the story with some people supporting Wakefield, and others disagreeing, but appears to do nothing to help establish what is factual and what is not.
Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield. Is it possible that he was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 childrenís cases accurately? No. A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results he wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross.