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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Wakefield’

Timing really is everything. Last night, after a full day of talking to the media about the British Medical Journal story which deemed Wakefield’s original 1998 study an “elaborate fraud”, the Autism Science Foundation hosted a celebration launch of Dr. Paul Offit’s new book “Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All” with a reception and book signing at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

There were lots of members of the press there, many of whom we’d spoken with earlier in the day, as well as plenty of friends and family.  There couldn’t have been a more appropriate time to talk about how the anti-vaccine movement has wreaked havoc with our public health system and how the erroneous conclusion that vaccines cause autism has put so many children’s lives at risk. Later this month we’ll host events in New York, Philadelphia and Boston.

If you haven’t read this book yet, we urge you to get a copy. All royalties are being donated to the Autism Science Foundation so that we can fund studies to uncover what really DOES cause autism. Our thanks to everyone who attended last night’s event and, as always, enormous thanks to Dr. Offit and his family for his unwavering dedication to children’s health.

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We highly recommend PBS’s “The Vaccine War” which aired last night on PBS. In a rare display of tv news common sense, one side is simply declared to be wrong. The science is very clear; vaccines do not cause autism and it’s time to move on from this well debunked myth and find out what does.

 
The show features interviews with ASF Board Member Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Arthur Caplan, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Cynthia Cristofani, Dr. Anders Hviid & Dr. Eric Fombonne, as well as with actress Jenny McCarthy and JB Handley of Generation Rescue. 
 
“Scientifically, I think the matter is settled,” says Anders Hviid, an epidemiologist at the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark. In one of the largest and most comprehensive epidemiological studies available, Hviid and colleagues analyzed data on more than a half million children and found no link between the MMR “triple shot” for measles, mumps and rubella and an increased rate of autism — a link that’s been strongly asserted for years by anti-vaccine activists. Similar epidemiological studies in Denmark also failed to reveal a link between the mercury preservative thimerosal and autism. In fact, around the world, peer-reviewed epidemiological studies have found no link between autism and either the MMR shot or thimerosal.
 
You can watch the full episode online or check local listings, as we’re told by PBS that the show will air multiple times this week.  

View scientific studies regarding autism and vaccines here

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The award winning “Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine and the Search for a Cure” by Dr. Paul Offit, was released today in paperback. 
 
Opponents of vaccines have taken the autism story hostage,” Dr. Offit says. “They don’t speak for all parents of autistic kids, they use fringe scientists and celebrities, they’ve set up cottage industries of false hope, and they’re hurting kids. Parents pay out of their pockets for dangerous treatments, they take out second mortgages to buy hyperbaric oxygen chambers. It’s just unconscionable.”
 
The paperback edition includes a great new preface by Dr. Offit in which he describes parent reaction to the book. “After publication-an event that I thought would only galvanize those who disliked me-I received hundreds and hundreds of letters and emails from parents of children with autism thanking me. Some had been on the fence and were now convinced by the science presented in the book. But many never believed that vaccines had caused their children’s autism and were angry at those who did. “Jenny McCarthy presumes to represent me,” one mom wrote, “but she doesn’t.” They were the Silent Majority of autism parents-a group that the media had consistently ignored.” 
 
If you haven’t read this book yet you need to! And if you have, order a lightweight paperback copy or give one as a gift, because Dr Offit, who serves on ASF’s board of directors, has generously agreed to donate all royalties from this book to the Autism Science Foundation.  Order yours today! 

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By Shannon Des Roches Rosa, BlogHer

Have you ever wondered why, exactly, vaccines are erroneously associated with autism? I’ll tell you: In 1998, Dr. Andrew Wakefield held a press conference to announce that his research had revealed a possible link between the MMR vaccine and autism. He published his findings in the respected independent medical journal The Lancet, and spent the next few years promoting his vaccine-autism “concerns” through media outlets like the TV news magazine 60 Minutes. 

The result was panic, a vaccination rates nosedive, and the resurrection of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles.

In 2004, it was revealed that Wakefield had also been conducting a separate, simultaneous study funded by lawyers seeking compensation for clients who claimed their children suffered from vaccine damage. Ten of Wakefield’s twelve original paper co-authors, horrified by Wakefield’s conflict of interest as well as the public health crisis they’d help cause, issued an official retraction in The Lancet [PDF], stating, “We wish to make it clear that in [Wakefield’s] paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient.”

Read more at:  http://www.blogher.com/verdict-vaccination-boogeyman

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By Alison Singer
President, Autism Science Foundation

The week, the British General Medical Council (GMC) ruled that Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who first proposed a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, acted “dishonestly and irresponsibly” when he published his research and showed a ‘callous disregard’ for the suffering of children.

The GMC decision came after the longest and most expensive hearing in its 148-year history.  The hearing focused on a small study of a dozen children by Dr Wakefield and 12 doctors which linked the MMR with autism and bowel problems.  It was published in the Lancet, the highly respected medical journal, in 1998. At a press conference following the publication, Wakefield said there were “sufficient anxieties for a case to be made” to give the three vaccines separately.  Numerous other studies, including one involving three million children, failed to make the link.  But that didn’t prevent MMR vaccination rates from plummeting by 12% in Great Britain after Wakefield’s report. And in 2006 a 13-year-old boy died from measles. More death followed.

Eventually Wakefield’s collaborators withdrew their names from the Lancet paper and the paper itself was eventually retracted. Later it was revealed that Wakefield had received funds from lawyers representing the children enrolled in his study. And now the GMC has spoken in clear and convincing terms. And let’s not forget that the hearing itself was not even about the science; it was about Wakefield’s methods. The science has been in for some time now. No study has shown a link between autism and MMR. To read the studies visit www.autismsciencefoundation.org/autismandvaccines.html

But will this be the end of the controversy. I doubt it.

Once you put an idea in people’s head, even in the presence of clear and convincing science, it is very hard to unscare them.  Anti vaccine autism advocates continue to see Wakefield as a hero who remains willing to take on the establishment and fight for their children.  In the meantime, Wakefield’s actions have had a lasting negative effect on children’s health in that some people are still afraid of immunizations. In some cases, the younger siblings of children with autism are being denied life saving vaccines. This population of baby siblings, already at higher risk for developing autism, is now also being placed at risk for life threatening, vaccine preventable disease, despite mountains of scientific evidence indicating no link between vaccines and autism. This is the Wakefield legacy.

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UK Daily Mail Online

The doctor at the centre of the MMR controversy ‘failed in his duties as a responsible consultant’,  and went against the interests of children in his care, a disciplinary panel ruled today.

Dr Andrew Wakefield also acted dishonestly and was misleading and irresponsible in the way he described research which was later published in The Lancet medical journal, the General Medical Council (GMC) said.

In the late 1990s, Dr Wakefield and two other doctors said they believed they had uncovered a link between the jab and bowel disease and autism.

Today’s ruling will be a setback to campaigners who back Dr Wakefield’s claims but will fuel fears that the controversial doctor has been the victim of a sustained witch-hunt.

Dr Wakefield was absent from today’s hearing but parents who believe their children were damaged by the MMR jab heckled the GMC panel of experts as they delivered their findings.

The hearing – which was the longest and most complex case ever held by the GMC – has sat for 148 days over a two-and-a-half-year period.

Thirty-six witnesses gave evidence at the hearing, which has reportedly cost more than £1 million.

It centred around Dr Wakefield’s study, which sparked a massive drop in the number of children given the triple jab for measles, mumps and rubella.

During the mid 1990s, uptake of the MMR vaccination had stood at 92 per cent, but five years after The Lancet paper, the vaccination level had fallen below 70 per cent in some places. Measles cases in Britain rose from 56 in 1998 to 1,370 in 2008.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1246775/Doctor-centre-MMR-controversy-failed-duties-responsible-consultant-rules-GMC.html#ixzz0dvDPwLQl

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