Study Linking Vaccine To Autism Was Fraud, British Medical Journal Reports

Blasted almost as soon as it was published, a 1998 study linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism has still managed to scare off hordes of anxious parents from fully vaccinating their children. Now a new investigative report published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) goes further, saying that the study was not only rife with error, but outright fraud, committed for financial gain.

The new report shows how the study’s author altered facts about his patient’s medical histories so they would fit more neatly with his claims.

“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,” wrote BMJ in an accompanying editorial.

In one case, a child was included in the list of children who supposedly started displaying autistic symptoms 1-14 days after they got a MRR vaccine. The study said his showed up a week later. But when the child’s father was tracked down and medical records were checked, it turned out the child’s symptoms started showing up a month before he even received the vaccine.

This wasn’t only the first of several discrepancies found between the timing of symptoms on the medical records and what ended up in the published study. Also, the patients themselves that became part of the study were sent to the doctor by an anti-vaccine campaign called “JABS.”

Later the study’s author attempted to use it as a basis for a class action lawsuit against MMR makers. The lawyer working on his behalf ended up dropping it because he said it would fail on evidence. The study itself was retracted from the journal that published it, and the other 10 authors listed on it withdrew their support after it was published. The study’s author was also stripped of his medical license. The claims made by the study have never been able to be reproduced in any subsequent experiments.

Nonetheless the study’s effects linger, with vaccination rates down and infection rates up. In 2008, for the first time in 14 years, there was a declared measles endemic in England and Wales.

How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed [British Medical Journal]
Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and
pervasive developmental disorder in children
(original and ultimately retracted paper) (PDF)

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  1. Beeker26 says:

    Where is Jenny McCarthy when you really need her?

  2. mythago says:

    There are not enough swear words in English to describe Wakefield.

  3. dickgrogan says:

    You don’t say.

  4. tmitch says:

    Shocker.

  5. Reading_Comprehension says:

    If you needed this report to be convinced, you probably don’t believe in “evidence”

    • Mighty914 says:

      We’ve plenty of hearsay and conjecture. Those are kinds of evidence.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      The most reliable story on the internet is one your friend emails to you, swearing it is true and happened to someone who knows a friend of theirs in another city just last week.

      The ones that cite sources and provide evidence and proof are clearly lying.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    The authorities should look at who took large short positions in vaccine makers.

    • Anachronism says:

      Close.

      In 1997 Andrew Wakefield, the primary (and now license-stripped) doctor who completed the study in question, patented an alternative measles-only vaccine.

      Of course, there is no market for a single measles vaccine when there is a well-established MMR vaccine already on the market.

      The solution? Create a bogus, yet incredibly scary study that indicates the existing vaccine immediately gives kids autism.

      Helped by this is the fact that autism symptoms usually present themselves right around the time that this vaccine is given, so there is ample opportunity for people to mistake causality.

      I hear all the time “Autism cannot be genetic because my child was fine before two years old (substitute age here), and then he/she changed, so SOMETHING maust have caused it.”

      The something “causing it” was genetics. The recipe for people to go through changes during puberty is hard coded into our DNA- a girl does not have her first period because she drank the wrong flavor of Kool-Aid the week before.

      Such as it is with autism. It does seem that a significant number of autistics have a regressive event around 18 months/two years, some to the extent that some that were speaking before this event stopped and have not regained speech in their lifetimes. This does not mean something HAPPENED- this can be easily explained by genetics, just like puberty.

      Myself (who happens to be an autistic) had a regression at the same age- I started getting sensory defensensive and stopped responding to my parents like I had previously, including a backslide in language. Like many parents of autistic kids, my parents took me in for testing fearing I was deaf.

      Again, this doesn’t mean something happened (although to be perfectly fair, it doesn’t rule out something happening either). My frustration is that so many parents refuse to accept the idea that autism is genetic (and thus not something curable, and not something that can be blamed on others), despite the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence supporting the fact that autism has a genetic background (even if there are some other evironmental trigger, which I am not sold on).

      We keep looking for the smoking gun and somebody/something to blame, which diverts resources and effort away from focusing on individuals living with autism today that need help support, and research into proper therapies to maximize the quality of their lives.

      • indeeme says:

        Very often, genetic traits do require an environmental trigger to activate the trait. I don’t doubt that there’s a genetic component autism, especially the forms that were previously referred to as mental retardation or developmental delay before being lumped together into this faddish new autistic spectrum. However, in practice, speculation and conjecture, rather than genetic testing, is the far more preferred form of diagnosis among those tasked with making the diagnosis.

        • u1itn0w2day says:

          That’s what I’m thinking. A gentic predisposition that is more easily triggered or influenced by enviorment. I think it’s a combination of severa; things bombarding the body with so much it can’t keep up with ‘repairs’ so to speak.

  7. nopirates says:

    sad thing is that the Wakefield acolytes will NEVER believe that the study is a fruad. N-E-V-E-R.

    i understand the desire to make sense of autism and strive to determine its cause and identify possible preventative measures, but following lies hurts the cause of research.

    those who believe will not be convinced otherwise.

  8. alSeen says:

    What do you think the odds are that Jenny McCarthy will apologize for all the needless deaths to which she contributed.

  9. c!tizen says:

    Dr: What did he drink for lunch today?
    Parent: A Coke.
    Dr: Well it’s obvious the coke is to blame for his broken leg.
    Parent: But he broke his leg last week playing Basketball.
    Dr: Don’t argue with me, I do this for a living.

  10. pop top says:

    If only the people who believed that vaccinations caused autism were the kind of people who believed in “facts”.

  11. MamaBug says:

    I wonder if the dude who faked the vaccine-autism study can be held liable for murder. i smell a Law & Order episode.

  12. Megalomania says:

    It should be noted that the lead author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, was stripped of his medical license some time ago, and the co-authors removed their names from the study as well when it became clear that something was wrong; both he (Wakefield) and countless other researchers were unable to reproduce the results of the study when the claims of the autism/vaccination link was scrutinized.

    Long story short, while it is news that the study was fraudulent, the study itself has long been discredited. Unfortunately, that does (nor will this) stop various groups from claiming that MMR leads to autism and the damage that Wakefield has caused will continue to affect not just those foolish enough to continue to believe his fraud but their children, and the children who are put at risk by the weakening of herd immunity.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      the other researchers removed their names when it was discovered a conflict of interest Wakefield had with the study. Not irrefutable evidence of wrongdoing, however.

      • danic512 says:

        It is wrongdoing in the scientific world when conflicts of interest are not disclosed. It’s usually near the end where they list funding sources and the like.

    • Szleegs says:

      I wouldn’t say it’s “long been” discredited; it was only in February of last year that it was retracted from BMJ.

      • jebarringer says:

        But it HAS long been discredited. This study was known to be a sham for several years; it’s chock full of conflicts of interest and poor reporting. However it’s only now that the full extent of the wrongdoing is coming to light.

      • Megalomania says:

        The study has been discredited for years. Apart from the fraud now apparent, the fact that he attempted to draw such an unprecedented conclusion from a collection of what was essentially 12 anecdotes was ridiculous. No study afterwards was able to repeat his results, and with so many lives at stake, plenty of studies were conducted. That Wakefield’s claims and the study that started it all were not valid science has been well known in the medical community for the best part of a decade at least.

        Andrew Wakefield took money from a group of lawyers who specifically intended to sue vaccine manufacturers on the results of his study. The notion that a researcher could do this and maintain a shred of credibility is laughable. He is a man who intentionally mislead thousands of people into putting their children in harm’s way, as well as all children who were protected by herd immunity to infectious disease. Because of his actions, the fringe of parents who cling to his research because it allows them to blame someone for their child’s illness refuse to trust in good medicine and science, and the rest now have another example of someone in the medical research community acting unethically.

        To say that there is blood on his hands is an understatement, but still he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions and pretends to be a martyr.

  13. indeeme says:

    Part of the reason he was able to perpetuate this fraud for so long is because some of the “tests” for determining whether a child is autistic are no less subjective. Schools are making the diagnosis by pooling the results of checklists distributed to parents, doctors, and teachers. These checklists rate the degree and extent to which children exhibit many normal childish behaviors. The process is extremely vulnerable to personal bias, and often results in the label being slapped on any child expected to receive any kind of, you know, guidance from the adults they interact with.

    • Chigaimasmaro says:

      This is how ADD and ADHD is tackled as well. But I’ve actually know someone personally who has a child that was diagnosed with Autism and it wasn’t Autism at all, just vitamin deficiencies and needed some help focusing on class work.

    • botulismo says:

      That’s because schools generally get more funding if they can consider their students having a special need.

  14. u1itn0w2day says:

    I’m one of those that thinks there’s something to Wakefields claim but when you look at the percentages of executives and people who LIE on their resume it does not surprise in the least bit that a researcher might LIE about their academic work.

    • Anachronism says:

      I think there is a different in scope and scale between puffing up job duties on a resume and completely fabricating evidence in a scientific study.

  15. nosense22 says:

    If you still believed this, I have a bridge to sell you…

    There are numerous studies conducted by top researchers contradicting this original study (with something like 8 patients) yet these cannot be believed?

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    There’s a lot of clamoring on both sides. Why don’t we recreate the experiment and prove once and for all if there is a causation. Yelling about it and blaming each other does nothing.

    • Anachronism says:

      Um, did you miss the part where NOBODY has been able to replicate his results over 13 years? They have tried, over and over again.

      Furthermore, at this point, why in the world should they?

      When it has been conclusively shown that even the original study was bogus (and thus NO study has legitimately produced the claimed results), why should anybody attempt to recreate it?

    • BluePlastic says:

      There will never be any study that would convince these anti-vaccine fanatics. They read it, disagree with it, and declare that it must all be a conspiracy on the part of pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, no study, no matter how well designed, will ever convince them because they can refute it with the vague conspiracy claim. I’m not sure how you could prove to them that it wasn’t a conspiracy, so they will go on living in their deluded little world. Somehow, these same fanatics read books and websites written by the Dr. Wakefields of the world and declare them very credible and absolutely “the truth.”

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Because the experiment itself, in addition to being badly done- was done unethically. With children to boot.

    • jebarringer says:

      …it’s been established that there’s not a correlation. Everything about vaccines that anti-vaxxers claim cause autism has been shown time and time again not to cause it; anti-vaxxers then just move the goalposts and claim it’s something else. There really isn’t even a debate about vaccines anymore; we know that it’s some combination of genetics and environmental triggers. It’s just very hard to pin down, and anti-vaxxers don’t like that. So they invent false claims in some attempt to make themselves feel better.

    • newname says:

      There was no “experiment”. Doing an experiment would require giving some children placebo vaccines, which would be wildly unethical if not criminal.

      It was a study; Wakefield analyzed the data and reported his finding. It has been repeated; others have analyzed the data on these children and the results contradict Wakefield. Other studies have also been done, and againt the results contradict any correlation between vaccination and Autism.

      Contrary to all the weepy celebrities claiming they just want the issue to be taken seriously, it has been taken very seriously and studied in detail.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      It takes logic and discernment to see the facts. There is no support to the assertion. One more study will not fix it “once and for all.” You won’t believe it til it’s been “proven” false. Well, that is not how science works.

  17. Tim says:

    I read that the measles endemic he caused actually killed two people. He should be charged with murder for those two deaths.

  18. Terron says:

    http://www.generationrescue.org (Jenny McCarthy’s organization) denied the Lancet study, so I’m sure they will deny this too.

    • Anonymously says:

      Wow, it’s amazing how they just spun it. To paraphrase: “Wakefield never said MMR caused autism, therefore all of the press about it now is the ‘the message of a vaccine-industry funded media circus’. How come nobody is testing that not getting vaccinated doesn’t not cause Autism?”

  19. mister_roboto says:

    This whole anti vax thing is up there with Cheryl Crow saying bottled water gave her breast cancer.

    • AnthonyC says:

      Much worse, actually.
      At least a) Sheryl Crow is an adult making her own choices, and not a baby
      and b) Not drinking bottled water puts no one else at risk (as not getting vaccinated does- see herd immunity), has no detrimental effect to her own health, and actually does have some side benefits (environmental, not health, but still).

  20. jaya9581 says:

    This study aside, I’m not sure how so many people who do NOT believe in the correlation between vaccines and autism can do so given the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that after receiving certain vaccines children began to regress.

    This study may have been fraudulent, but I continue to believe there is some connection to autism and vaccines.

    • Anachronism says:

      Correlation does not equal causation

    • bhr says:

      based on what? The only thing to suggest a causal relationship is this study, which has long been discredited and is now proven fraudulent.

      Yes, Autism numbers are up, but much like learning disability and ADD spectrum disorders, how much of it is because of better identification practices. For example, I have an uncle in his 70s who would have been labeled autistic today, but in the 1940s was just considered shy and a bit thick.

      • psm321 says:

        There are a ton of reports from people (I don’t know where to find them… but I read some here in a previous article on vaccines/autism) who SAW their kids develop autism symptoms (and other severe more immediate reactions) very shortly after getting the vaccine. You can’t just keep discrediting every first person anecdote saying “it’s just an anecdote” like people try to do and expect people to actually buy it.

        • psm321 says:

          To be clear, I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that the vaccine does cause/trigger/contribute to autism. What I do think is that there is sufficient evidence (or anecdotes, if you’d prefer) out there that it can’t be a foregone conclusion that it DOESN’T either. Regardless, I also don’t think the risk is high enough to justify not getting the vaccine because the risk from not getting it seems much higher. I just hate people immediately dismissing all stories. If you dismiss every piece of evidence with some sort of excuse, where are you going to get evidence?

          • Mom says:

            The numerous studies that show no link between vaccines and autism don’t sway you then. Fine. Believe what you want, facts and evidence be damned.

            Like someone else in this thread said, “correlation does not equal causation”. And in this case, study after study has shown that there isn’t even correlation. The statistical link between the MMR vaccine and autism just isn’t there. The MMR vaccine just happens to be given at the age when signs of autism first show up, whether the kid has been vaccinated or not.

          • Erika'sPowerMinute says:

            “Stories” deserve to be dismissed as mere coincidences when the scientific process shows them to be just that.

        • AnthonyC says:

          The saw their child develop autism, yes.
          They saw their child get a vaccine, yes.
          These things happened within a short window of time, yes.
          Evidence of causality: zero. Not little, zero. When autism happens in unvaccinated children, it often happens at about the same age. That’s just when symptoms often start to appear or become noticeable.

          I ate stew for dinner. I woke up with a cold. I’m quite certain many people eat stew and then waking up with a cold. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that they are connected in any way.

          Another example: not long ago, it was common for children to be potty trained around their first birthday. Today, it typically happens much later. Over the same few decades, TV became popular. Does TV inhibit potty training? Of course not. It’s ridiculous. Early potty training is just less of a priority now that parents use disposable and not cloth diapers (less gross for the parent, less uncomfortable for the kid).

        • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

          If it’s a choice between blaming yourself(essentially, I mean, it’s your genes) or blaming someone/something, most people will blame the external source. There is also something called confirmation bias and a habit called remembering the hits/forgetting the misses. It’s when you see an outcome, and backtrack to find things that confirm it, but also forget things that don’t support your conclusion. It’s how psychics scam everyone. You remember the vague “hits” they see, and let those “misses” slip from your mind. Also, since you believe psychics are real, you use the hits to confirm your belief. A skeptic, however, would notice how vague the guesses are, and remember the misses, because they don’t have to validate their belief that the psychic is “magical”.

      • indeeme says:

        “how much of it is because of better identification practices.”

        Or worse identification practices…

    • Anonymously says:

      Let’s rephrase that statement with the easiest of targets: homeopathy

      “I’m not sure how so many people who do NOT believe in the correlation between homeopathy and healing can do so given the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that homeopathy heals people.”

      Or if that’s too sciency, what about demons?

      “I’m not sure how so many people who do NOT believe in the correlation between Ouija boards and demonic possession can do so given the overwhelming anecdotal evidence that after using a Ouija board players began to act as if being possessed by a demon.”

    • sir_eccles says:

      Problem is that most of that anecdotal evidence is confused by people not noticing or looking for signs that the regression actually started before the vaccine was given. If you actually read the BMJ article he talks to one of the fathers who clearly says that his child regressed before the vaccination.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      Every year as the weather gets colder, I notice the days getting shorter. Every year about midwinter, I build a giant bonfire, and then I see the days getting longer about the same time.

      Clearly my bonfire caused the days to start getting longer. Regardless of what “scientists” tell me about the tilt of the earth’s axis causing the variation, I continue to believe there is a connection between my bonfire and the lengthening of the days again.

    • jaya9581 says:

      Read everyone’s replies but don’t have time to answer each individually.

      I did not say “VACCINES CAUSE AUTISM”. I said that based on the evidence, it’s likely there is some link. Until science proves otherwise, I don’t see how anyone can say either way with certainty. Just because there may be studies involving children NOT developing autism after receiving vaccines doesn’t mean there isn’t still a link – after all, not every child has autism.

      I also don’t think you can discount the fact that shortly after receiving the vaccine, these children begin regressing. You can liken it to other situations all you want, but the question remains: what else, other than the vaccination, did these children have in common? Until you can pinpoint other potential causes you cannot rule out the vaccines. This is basic diagnostics.

      Just as there is no hard evidence that vaccines DO cause autism, there is no hard evidence that they do not. Until we have long-term, in-depth studies covering all angles, we may never know, but until then I personally will retain my belief that, while they may not CAUSE autism, they definitely can contribute to causing it.

      • Brontide says:

        Statistics FAIL. If you are going to make wild claims, you should really read up on these type of relationships.

        For decades coffee drinking was highly correlated to heart disease ( and the numbers were not fabricated ). There was a high probability that if you drank a lot of coffee you would have a heart attack and that was a fact. Turns out it was *NOT* the coffee, it was the smoking that often accompanied the coffee drinking. This would be called a hidden variable problem where it turns out that two, or more, things are correlated with each other you can misidentify the causative link.

        In this case the data was falsified, no correlation exists. There have been whole countries that have altered their vaccine schedules with no change in autism rates. Neither a positive or a negative correlation exists between the two events. To continue to make such a claim just makes you ignorant.

        • ktjamm says:

          Smoking is a good example of correlation. The tobacco industry held for years that smoking did not cause cancer, and there was no direct scientific evidence that it did. Still people saw the correlation and investigated it. It turned out that there was, despite the scientific community saying otherwise.

          Just because a direct link hasn’t been found, doesn’t mean there isn’t SOMETHING causing autism to manifest other than genetics.

      • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

        I don’t think you can discount the fact that shortly after my bonfire, the days DO start getting longer and warmer. While there may not be any proof that it’s the cause, there’s no proof that it’s NOT, either.

      • pot_roast says:

        There are also many children that have never been vaccinated that are still showing up as autistic.

    • botulismo says:

      A loud small group of people does not make scientific evidence. There is also overwhelming anecdotal evidence stating that every religion on earth is correct. Are they all correct? That’s the problem here. People like you continue to state, completely and openly disregarding scientific proof, that no matter what, autism is definitively linked to vaccines and that nothing can prove it otherwise.

      The reason why the “vaccines cause autism” debate doesn’t deserve to be heard as an “equal part of the debate” is because this is comparing apples to oranges. You are neither practicing nor speaking about science. You’re preaching dogma.

      This is not what is best for children. In fact, you’re putting them at risk for disease and death. This argument simply needs to be withdrawn rather than held on to by people who simply are afraid of acknowledging that the years of their lives campaigning against vaccines and the unnecessary risks placed on the shoulders of young children were all pointless. Which is worse, not admitting you’re wrong and propagating a message that harms children for no foreseeable gain, or having the courage to admit you’re wrong, and stopping this senseless crusade?

  21. evilpete says:

    This falsified study *KILLED* hundreds if not thousands children.

    and yet no one is accountable .

  22. jessiesgirl says:

    This has been a big issue for me since I had my daughter (she’s 4 now). I find the amount of vaccines given to children now to be beyond ridiculous, especially the HepB vaccine at BIRTH (which I refused). It’s not that I don’t believe in vaccines – yes, they DO prevent the spread of disease and save lives – but how do you find any UNBIASED information out there? As a parent, who do you believe? Big Pharma? The government? Doctors who get freebies from Big Pharma? Conspiracy nuts? Parents who truly believe their children were damaged by the vaccines? It just gives me a headache. On various other websites, I’ve read that “it’s a small price to pay for saving lives” but try telling that to a parent whose child has never been the same since receiving, for instance, the MMR vaccine. I would gladly have my daughter receive the vaccine if it was available separately (which Merck has no intention of producing), especially since her father is taking her to visit relatives in South America soon. I’m still not sure what to do about it. My daughter has received some vaccines, just on the modified schedule, so I’m not a total anti-vaccine nutcase. But the idea of taking that kind chance with my child scares the crap out of me. So yeah, I worry. I’m a mom… it’s my job!

    • sir_eccles says:

      “I find the amount of vaccines given to children now to be beyond ridiculous”

      Actually while the number of vaccines given may have increased, the total number of antigens in each shot is much lower than they used to be due to improvements in manufacture etc. Further compared to the millions of nasties a baby picks up on a daily basis from for example licking the floor, it is insignificant.

      • jessiesgirl says:

        Maybe that has something to do with more shots = more money?

        • Zowzers says:

          That’s just an inadvertent side effect to medicine developing immunizations to more and more diseases.

          We don’t go about creating new immunizations simply to make money, we create new immunizations so that we can protect our selves from more and more diseases.

          • jessiesgirl says:

            jebarringer – I didn’t say the doctors make money off vaccines, the pharmaceutical companies do.

            Zowzers – Last time I checked, Big Pharma wasn’t exactly non-profit. And your cat looks like mine. :)

            • Zowzers says:

              so you’re saying we should stop perusing preventative medicine simply because bigPharm makes money off of it?

              Sure, money is their incentive to developing more and more preventative vaccines, however our incentive in taking those vaccines is to be immune to more and more diseases.

              Seems like a win for them, and a bigger win for us.

        • jebarringer says:

          You couldn’t be more wrong. Doctors actually receive very little from vaccines.

          • MrEvil says:

            In fact the benefits to the public at large are so great that vaccines are *gasp* SOCIALIZED [cue scary music]. The government pays to develop and then often subsidizes their administration because the benefits of wide-spread use of vaccines outweigh the financial expense.

            Smallpox pretty much only exists in two cryogenic vaults in the world thanks completely to vaccination programs. Children no longer run the risk of paralysis from polio thanks to vaccination programs.

            It’s definitely not in big pharma’s best interest to make you immune to a disease for the rest of your life with a single injection. They’d much rather have your repeat business until you take the dirtnap taking pills that only manage your symptoms.

    • Anonymously says:

      I have a daughter. I have to trust her doctors.

      If I didn’t vaccinate her, I guaranteed her vulnerability to HepB. If I vaccinate her, I’m reducing that vulnerability for a very small amount of risk, and no chance of autism (according to her doctors).

      There are tons of scientists who would love to prove a link between vaccines and autism for a variety of reasons – whether it be anti-big pharma bias, or the pursuit of knowledge, or the pursuit of fame, or to save children. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, because any findings will be scrutinized by the scientific community.

      • jessiesgirl says:

        May I ask how old your daughter was when she received the MMR? Did she have any adverse reactions?

        • Anonymously says:

          She didn’t get that one yet (too young), she just got the 2nd HepB, RV, DTaP, Hib, PCV, IPV at 2 months. No adverse reactions.

          • u1itn0w2day says:

            I think the number of shots you just mentioned contributes to any potential problems. I wonder if making sure the child is totally healthy when getting or after those shots might have an effect. Throw in all the artificial toxins and enviormental conditions a child is exposed to it’s probably a combination triggering a gene. It’s probably as much as how and when the child is vaccinated as what they’re vaccinated with.

            • botulismo says:

              It sounds like you’re just grasping for straws trying to find some way to lay the blame on vaccines, rather than acknowledging that no link has ever been found.

              Diagnostic tests, access to mental health services, and the elimination of the mental health stigma has meant that parents are no longer as afraid of having their children diagnosed. Even 20 years ago, kids that I was growing up with who were diagnosed with autism had their parents refuse to acknowledge the diagnosis (and they especially refused to let the school district know) because they were afraid of their child carrying a permanent blemish of “autistic” for the rest of their lives.

              If anything, I’d be willing to accept that hormones and antibiotics in meat and dairy products and estrogens in plastics may be harmful to the mental and physical health of young children. But vaccines? No.

  23. tz says:

    I don’t think that all the fraud and cover-up in the global warming data and models will convince Al Gore that it isn’t happening either.

    That said, I don’t think the way we do massive vaccinations of newborns is without risk or side-effects. The Amish don’t have autism and they don’t get vaccines. It might be something else, but proving the study wrong doesn’t make the conclusion wrong, it makes it unknown.

    Further, there have been dozens of articles about trace amounts of far less toxic substances and how we should panic (BHP, lead) because some child might chew on the toy for several hours, yet we inject organic mercury directly into their bloodstream and expect nothing? Which is it? Are we overly concerned about trace amounts of toxins or should we be consistent and say we should avoid ANY toxin for really young children?

    For me it should be a fully informed choice of the parents – both the risks and benefits, and even how or when to get the vaccine. Is getting one vaccine every month so much worse than getting 12 in one month? Do they need HPV, HBV, and other STD vaccines before their first birthday?

    I would also note on a program, one of the guests had the Whooping cough because as AN ADULT she didn’t get her every decade or so booster. A few years ago when I was doing medical training – and mainly because of it – I got a battery of immunizations and boosters at my own cost. but it was my choice and I was healthy at the time.

    If tomorrow some chinese toy was found to have half the mercury a baby would get in an ordinary injection of a vaccine, you would be demanding an immediate recall, class action, damages, and broad new powers for the CSPC.

    But don’t let facts nor consistency get in the way of policy.

    • sir_eccles says:

      Talking of facts getting in the way, The Amish do vaccinate.

    • Zowzers says:

      your over generalizing mercury.

      organic mercury(Hg) is not what gets used in immunizations, Ethylmercury (C2H5Hg+) is.
      A there is a HUGE difference between how the body metabolizes Mercury the element (Hg), and Ethylmercury the molecule (C2H5Hg+).

      Try to not confuse the two in the future please. it just harms your argument.

      • zt says:

        In the spirit of having our facts correct: “organic mercury” is *not* Hg (the fun silvery liquid). Hg is elemental mercury. Thimerosal, the compound in question (mercury(II) with an ethyl ligand and thiosalicylate ligand), *is* an organomercury compound.

        But, however one might want to call it, thimerosal’s use as a preservative in vaccines is not dangerous.

    • Anonymously says:

      Are you arguing *for* or *against* vaccines or what? It’s hard to tell.

      * climate is a red herring
      * As others have pointed out, other scientific studies have been done to replicate the results without success. That’s as close to “the conclusion is wrong” as you’re going to get. You can’t prove a negative.
      * The Amish vaccinate
      http://autism.about.com/b/2008/04/23/do-the-amish-vaccinate-indeed-they-do-and-their-autism-rates-may-be-lower.htm
      * The Amish suffer from autism
      http://imfar.confex.com/imfar/2010/webprogram/Paper7336.html
      * Thimerosal is no longer used in vaccines for young children
      http://www.fda.gov/biologicsbloodvaccines/safetyavailability/vaccinesafety/ucm096228.htm
      * Eliminating all toxins is an “all or nothing” fallacy
      * It is already a choice for the parents, so I’m not sure what you’re arguing.
      * Toys / vaccines is a false equivalence

    • jebarringer says:

      Well you’re certainly not letting facts or consistency get in the way of your postings, that’s for sure. Other posters covered the mercury, but I’m wondering if you ever eat tuna or other sea fish? if so, you’re ingesting much more mercury than you get from vaccines. Regarding climate change, your’e buying into denialist hype. Climategate was a non-event, as several non-partisan panels concluded. The earth IS warming, it’s established fact. Any denying that means that you’re just choosing to ignore reality, and you’re believing there’s a conspiracy that every single scientific organization and governmental space program (from every country, mind you) is in on. And there is strong (not 100%, but pretty strong) evidence that it’s human activity that’s the main culprit.

    • BBG says:

      Inject organice mercury directly into their bloodtream? Have you ever had a vaccine? Here’s a pro tip; vaccines aren’t given intravenously. They’re not injected ‘directly into the bloodstream’. The injection would be intramuscular (if it’s not an oral vaccine). You fail science.

    • newname says:

      You’re raising legitimate questions, but apparently not looking for their answers.

      A) The Amish don’t have autism and they don’t get vaccines

      What source are you basing that on? The only one I could find has been partially debunked; it seems the Amish in question do vaccinate most of their children, and the rate of Autism among them is not clear.

      B) we inject organic mercury directly into their bloodstream

      Mercury has been dramatically reduced in recent years. So where is the corresponding drop in Autism?

      The evidence related to mercury and Autism is summed up here. It rigorously contradicts any link.

    • zt says:

      Yes, I agree, the decision to vaccinate should be a fully informed choice of the parents. If only that were the case, and parents really were informed, there would be none of this nonsense, and all children would be receiving vaccines.

  24. ventu587 says:

    I just saw this on Penn & Teller’s Bullshit just a few days ago. And of course they had Jenny on the show and I found it really funny that her son is “now cured” of autism. The people that were interviewed on there were the type of people that will NEVER look at any evidence because they have grabbed what bits and pieces they could find on the mighty internet and filled in personal beliefs to make the theories work. Any evidence that doesn’t support vaccinations give autism is quickly denied because it is a giant conspiracy theory that the drug manufacter’s have made up. Personally my son is getting all his shots. Even if there was a small chance that vaccines could cause autism, I would rather take that chance then to take the chance that my son would die from polio, measles, etc.

  25. Ben_Q2 says:

    Bull Fucken Shit! My daughter was right till she got the MMR shot.

    • Moosehawk says:

      I was perfectly healthy until I ate those tacos for lunch. I developed cold symptoms 6 hours later. Therefore, the tacos gave me a cold.

  26. KhaiJB says:

    you know. thanks to MamaKhai, I’ve had the vaccines for Polio, mumps, measles, smallpox, whooping cough, bubonic plague, creeping buboes, hopping on one leg while singing the french national anthem…

    if there was a vaccine on offer, she held my arm out!

  27. EverCynicalTHX says:

    So much for the billions of dollars in lawsuits..poor lawyers.

  28. JayPhat says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo97VouL0ls
    Thank you Penn and Teller.

  29. Not Again says:

    Those of you with kids who do not have autism will never understand. I know many families including my own son who shortly after getting the MMR, had a fever of 105 degrees plus,12 hours after taking the shot. Many of the kids had to be taken to the emergency room because none of the fever medications reduced it. There was a regression following the shots in terms of their personalities afterwards. Was their a direct link? Don’t know for sure, but very suspicious, indeed.

    It is not the Vaccine itself but the three vaccine given together at the same time, MMR, that is also a concern. My other kids received theirs separately. over a course of three months. all fine.
    In addition, mercury was used as a preservative up until not too long ago. Yeah, yeah, we get more mercury eating fish. But we are adults, not developing infants.

    Studies change, “facts” Change, and the outcome changes. Remember, smoking was not bad for you, way back when.

    • Joe_lovz_buying says:

      It seems that you do not understand either. The great benefit that is caused by vaccination far outweighs your particular childs autism. This sounds crass but it has been proven the vaccinations do not cause autism. Since vaccinations are so damn important they will CONTINUE to prove over and over again that they do not cause autism.

      No one is EVER going to cure autism because of this. They are far to busy disproving your theory again and again since vaccinations save millions a year and autism effects few.

      This is a great disservice to those who suffer from autism. You hurt them all.

      • Not Again says:

        You don’t understand either. I am not against vaccinations. As you fail to see with your desire to try to prove and win your argument so much that you fail to understand what I said. Did I not say I had all my kids vaccinated? It has not been “proven,” as you say. There are no facts here to prove or disprove the vaccination issue. Just studies done much like what the drug companies do; and like studies done on drugs, later on these same drugs that are deem to be safe are later found not to be. Which puts your vaccination side into the theory category, as well. Test studies and facts are not synonymous. Please educate yourself on the difference.

        There is also the issue that some babies immune systems might not be able to handle the impact of such a vast amount of vaccines all at once. It is not necessary to give the MMR. The MMR are three separate vaccines for three different things. Many people confuse it as just a vaccine for measles, as seems evident here by some of the comments. it is not. It can be administered over a three month period without any consequences.
        My “particular child” does not enter into this. It is too late for him, he is now a teen with severe autism, even if there was a cure now. Stop trying to prove and win your side so much that you do not read or see what and where people are saying or coming from their perspective.

        • Joe_lovz_buying says:

          As much as it can be proven in science vaccinations are not the cause of Autism. The studies done on vaccination are not the same as studies done for drugs. For one the intense scrutiny of the issue forced the tests to be repeated to a point that is not done for clinical drug trials. Secondly much of the testing was carried out by autism researches searching for the cause of autism. So the research was carried out with the goal of disease prevention not a for profit drug.

          Actually a LOT of the time and attention given to autism is devoted to vaccination research. Exactly because of ideas like yours. You are free to express your opinion but the connection between Autism and vaccination is one of the more thoroughly researched medical areas. It has been researched by people with all sorts of different agenda,Public safety, vaccine redesign and autism research. The research the supports the link was deemed to be a fraud.

          Even after fairly conclusive research that vaccination and various aspects are safe they have HAD to be redesigned because people still refuse to believe the research because the popular belief run along your line of thinking despite the proof and research that has been done. Literally millions of children have been examined and there is no statistically significant difference in the rates of autism between immunized and non-immunized children. Few drugs ever get that kind of rigorous investigation.

          Your basic argument is that the studies and tests that have been done are not to be trusted and that childrens immune systems are not able to handle the vaccination schedule that they are placed on.

          Those arguments have become popular belief and are holding back research into other areas of autism.

        • MrEvil says:

          I can’t help but notice you’re insinuating a profit motive in the pushing of vaccines. Let me ask you this though, what is more profitable?

          A single injection that makes you immune for the majority of your life (if not the entirety).

          *OR*

          Pills that a patient has to take every day for the rest of their life to manage symptoms.

          Even if the single shot cost $10,000 there still isn’t nearly as much money to be made by big pharma over a lifetime of pill-popping. I would wager a guess that its also a good reason we have yet to have a vaccine for AIDS. Research is being done in that area, but it doesn’t seem likely the private sector has much financial motivation to cure a disease that is managable not to mention more profitable with medication.

          Then you got to consider the fact that depending on the efficacy, a vaccine could render itself obsolete. So now big pharma has two problems, a product they spent a boatload creating that only needs to be taken once and THEN could eventually render itself obsolete (just like Smallpox and Polio have)

          To quote Jerry Maguire, SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    • sir_eccles says:

      Just so you are clear on the facts.

      The mercury based preservative thimerosal is not, has never been and can never have been used with the MMR vaccine. The MMR is a live vaccine so any preservative would have ruined it.

      • Not Again says:

        That is not totally true, Thimerosol was used in child vaccines up until 1999. I remember, asking my Physician about it, due to my concerns with my other children and him informing me that the thimerosol used would not be enough to cause any Neurological concerns. I also remember the Roto virus vaccine was a must have recommendation for all children, then two days later after my child received it it was suspended. I don’t recall the reason, but only that the doctors should no longer be giving it. I also recall that my daughter after the Roto virus vaccine had a long period of constipation of over a year. (excuse the “gross” term)

        Again, Studies come and go. Researches are done extensively on many things and outcomes change all the time. I’m not totally convinced either way. So caution is always the best advice.

  30. botulismo says:

    The most ridiculous assertion here that I’ve seen is that “I am a mother” as if this somehow imparts special wisdom about the causes of autism. “I am a mother” somehow means you have an excuse to irrationally make choices based on one or two anecdotal stories that you heard on a daytime talk show. “I am a mother” somehow means that no matter how much evidence is given to the contrary, that you will still find a reason to disbelieve that evidence by claiming the people producing it somehow had less than honorable motives. “I am a mother” also seems to mean that no matter what, you will make the choice that you’ve been made to fear the most, rather than the one that you’ve thought through and made logically. “I am a mother” also appears to mean here that no matter what, you are always correct, and that the lesser mortals cannot begin to comprehend life on your plane of existence.

    I understand you want to find a cause for autism if your child has it. But insisting on the disproved reason rather than exploring all the possible causes can only be harmful for the child. Certainly, as the person said above, wasting all this time and these resources on constantly disproving the vaccine autism link is focusing energy and attention away from finding a cure or more worthwhile treatment and from finding the real cause of autism.