DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD AND THE MMR CONTROVERSY

Discussion in 'Health and medical' started by John, Feb 25, 2004.

  1. John

    John Guest

    DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD AND THE MMR CONTROVERSY

    By Nicholas Regush, RFD Editor

    It doesn't look very good for Dr. Andrew Wakefield, an English physician and researcher who has
    championed the need to investigate the potential relationship between the MMR (measles, mumps,
    rubella) vaccine and autism.

    Today, the scavengers of British journalism surfaced and attacked him and his work, and attempted to
    destroy whatever chance he may have to rescue his scientific reputation.

    And today, British mainstream medicine hit-men also surfaced to stick him with a knife and twist it
    round and round.

    I am not surprised by these events. It is what one can expect these days when a so-called "maverick"
    researcher dares to challenge the Medical Establishment. And it is certainly what one expects when
    the "maverick" runs against the drift of vaccine promotion and zealotry. And it is also what one
    expects of the mainstream press when someone has been wounded.

    Nor am I surprised that politics have now entered the fray. Tony Blair, undoubtedly still
    traumatized by his recent encounters with Iraqi realities, has stepped in to add his cent or two,
    calling for an end to the MMR vaccine debate. An end to the MMR vaccine debate? Really? But I
    suppose this is a fitting sophmoric intellectual stand for a British Prime Minister who
    desperately needs to remove attention from his own trials by stuffing his nose once again where it
    doesn't belong.

    As for Wakefield , let there be no doubt that he appears to have been caught in a vice of his own
    making. In 1998, his study (along with numerous colleagues) published in The Lancet, possibly
    linking bowel disease with autism and suggesting, however briefly, that the relationship may have
    been triggered by the three-in-one shot MMR vaccine, should have included a disclosure, indicating
    that he had received money from a legal aid group via a lawyer representing parents, to conduct a
    separate investigation of whether the MMR was linked to autism. The fact is, he reportedly didn't
    even bother to tell his research colleagues about this contract.

    At a time when conflict of interest issues were percolating in medicine (at long last), there was no
    excuse to not have this potential conflict foremost in mind. The Lancet might have regarded the
    science differently had it known about Wakefield 's financial relationship with attorneys who were
    seeking to prove an MMR-autism link. To say, as Wakefield has, that he had nothing to be embarrassed
    about – apparently the journal's simplistically-stated test at the time for conflict of interest –
    is to show a tremendous lack of smarts for what needs to be done to protect one's reputation and
    integrity in science. I'm assuming here, of course, that the timeline established in an
    investigative piece yesterday in the Sunday Times is accurate, namely that Wakefield had already
    received up to $55,000 pounds sterling from the legal aid group prior to publication of his study in
    The Lancet .

    There have been calls for an inquiry. Even Blair immediately knee-jerked in this direction,
    following others who want to see the General Medical Council investigate.

    Here is what Blair told the press: "There's absolutely no evidence to support this link between
    MMR and autism…If there was, I can assure you that any Government would be looking at it and
    trying to act on
    DS." If Blair actually believes what he said, he must either be loopy or very poorly briefed..

    A defiant Wakefield is also eager for a broad airing of the issues surrounding the 1998 study. By
    his expressed desire to participate in an investigation, one assumes that Wakefield either has
    something in his hip pocket that might dispel the conflict-of-interest accusation or that he
    believes he can make a strong case for the integrity of the science he produced. This will be a
    tall order because it is generally and rightly believed that a conflict of interest or the
    appearance of conflict taints a study, no matter how it may have been conducted. The issue is
    credibility and this is why conflict of interest rules are in place – to allow others to decide
    whether to look upon research seriously or not. Conducting science is not an objective enterprise.
    Human personality and desires enter the picture whether one realizes this or not. Too many doctors
    and researchers think they are somehow immune to this process. They actually believe they can
    withstand outside influence of any kind – if they wish to do so. How utterly foolish this is. What
    do they teach in medical school?

    When the Wakefield story first broke, my immediate reaction was that the hit-men of the Medical
    Establishment would exploit the opportunity to condemn the very idea that the MMR could be
    associated in some way with some cases of autism. This is what has happened.

    Imagine the so-called "top doctor" in Britain, Liam Donaldson, telling the press today that "Dr.
    Wakefield's original study was poor science...(and) independent experts and independent medical
    bodies around the world have criticized it." So what? Numbers win in science? Apparently yes. But
    here we also discover the type of hyperbole that appears to be political. Either that or Donaldson
    is blissfully uneducated about the scant research of value actually done on the MMR and the fact
    that there is insufficient evidence to rule out a relationship between the vaccine and autism. Top
    Doctor wouldn't have a prayer in a public forum on the issue with some intelligent researchers who
    understand the complexity and difficulty of researching vaccines. Donaldson also avoids, out of
    ignorance or stealth, the simple fact that there is some evidence produced elsewhere in the world
    that suggests that Wakefield may have been on a good track to get to the bottom of a major medical
    mystery. But more about that in another column.

    As for the other man on the hot seat, editor Richard Horton of The Lancet, he is also living on
    another planet. He's been quoted as stating that the MMR is safe. How revealing. And he is the
    editor of The Lancet? I think it's time for him to go. And How does he know that the MMR is safe?
    I'd give a tooth or two to be on a public stage with him. I thought he was a scientist, but
    apparently he is into some sort of crystal-ball gazing. Or worse.

    The simple fact is, Wakefield has raised some major issues about autism and vaccines and the entire
    area is begging to be investigated in great detail, and not in the shameful manner that drug
    companies and their drone researchers conduct business.

    The press. Well, what can one say that hasn't been said many, many times before? That ludicrous
    headlines trample on any attempt to get at the truth? No, that's often been said. That many
    health reporters show their ignorance of basic ethics and the fundamentals of research all too
    often when they tackle medical controversies? No, that's also been said many times. In other
    words, business as usual.

    The sad part of all this is that this sorry episode will likely drain further attempts to better
    determine if the MMR is safe. The conclusion that it is absolutely safe, now so strongly pushed by
    the Medical Establishment and the press, is a huge disservice to parents, children and the whole
    damn world.

    GO TO "HOT CONTROVERSIES" FOR MORE ON DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD AND THE MMR

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  2. Hcn

    Hcn Guest

  3. John

    John Guest

    Poor old Mr Spiked on line. His kid developed autism after MMR and I would say he is in
    chronic denial
     
  4. Hcn

    Hcn Guest

    "Mark Probert-February 25, 2004" <Mark [email protected]>
    wrote in message news:Zin%[email protected]...
    >
    > "HCN" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:0bg%[email protected]_s53...
    > >
    > > "john" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > news:[email protected]...
    > > > DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD AND THE MMR CONTROVERSY
    > > >
    > > > By Nicholas Regush, RFD Editor
    > > >
    > > ...
    > >
    > > This was more interesting: http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA40D.htm
    >
    > This article mentions that the money changed hands in 1996. When was Wakefield's first study done?
    >
    ...

    Good question... from this http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006D8F3.htm : "Dr Wakefield
    has a history of courting the press. As early as 1995 his photograph appears in a lengthy anti-MMR
    feature in the Sunday Times (London) magazine, in which his earlier (and subsequently discredited)
    thesis of a link between MMR and Crohn's disease is quoted."

    Which might (but I am not sure) be refering to this 1993 paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/-
    query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8492105&dopt=Abstract
     
  5. "HCN" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:Z4p%[email protected]_s51...
    >
    > "Mark Probert-February 25, 2004" <Mark [email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:Zin%[email protected]...
    > >
    > > "HCN" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:0bg%[email protected]_s53...
    > > >
    > > > "john" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > > > news:[email protected]...
    > > > > DR. ANDREW WAKEFIELD AND THE MMR CONTROVERSY
    > > > >
    > > > > By Nicholas Regush, RFD Editor
    > > > >
    > > > ...
    > > >
    > > > This was more interesting: http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/0000000CA40D.htm
    > >
    > > This article mentions that the money changed hands in 1996. When was Wakefield's first
    > > study done?
    > >
    > ...
    >
    > Good question... from this http://www.spiked-online.com/Articles/00000006D8F3.htm : "Dr Wakefield
    > has a history of courting the press. As early as 1995 his photograph appears in a lengthy anti-MMR
    > feature in the Sunday Times (London) magazine, in which his earlier (and subsequently discredited)
    > thesis of a link between MMR and Crohn's disease is quoted."
    >
    > Which might (but I am not sure) be refering to this 1993 paper:
    >
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=8492105&dopt=Abstract

    That study had nothing to do with autism. So, between 1993 and 1995 he came up with his so-
    called connection between the MMR and autism and was then approached by the lawyers who wanted
    to pay him more.

    I assume that he is fairly bright, and realized the money he could make off of such a connection.
     
  6. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    "john" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Poor old Mr Spiked on line. His kid developed autism after MMR and I would say he is in
    > chronic denial0

    I developed chicken pox one day after I ate breakfast. Does that mean I shouldn't eat breakfast?

    Because one thing comes after another does not mean that the first thing caused the second one.

    Jeff
     
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