An elaborate fraud

Andrew Wakefield is the disgraced research who claimed to have found a link between vaccines and autism in a 1998 study. This resulted in many deaths, increased illness, and his removal from the medical register in the U.K. Now a little investigative journalism has found that Wakefield outright made up a lot of his data.

A new examination found, by comparing the reported diagnoses in the paper to hospital records, that Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in their study.

The analysis, by British journalist Brian Deer, found that despite the claim in Wakefield’s paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, five had previously documented developmental problems. Deer also found that all the cases were somehow misrepresented when he compared data from medical records and the children’s parents.

And then children died because of Andrew Wakefield. I wonder when the public will get an apology from the media for promoting this pure horseshit? I’m not holding my breath.

In an accompanying editorial, BMJ editor Fiona Godlee and colleagues called Wakefield’s study “an elaborate fraud.” They said Wakefield’s work in other journals should be examined to see if it should be retracted.

I only include this because I had a different original source, so I hadn’t read this part of the article when I made the title to this post. I guess it’s just the most accurate way of describing the work of Andrew Wakefield.

Update: via PZ, watch Anderson Cooper engage in some responsible journalism by not letting Wakefield off the hook.

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