Thursday, June 24, 2010

Discredited doctor comes to Phoenix

British former surgeon Andrew Wakefield, whose discredited and abusive research was responsible for the resurgence of measles outbreaks in the UK and the U.S., is not just coming to Phoenix this Saturday, he is being celebrated by the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.  Wakefield's 1998 paper in The Lancet reported symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease in twelve children with autism, and speculated that the cause was the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine.  What it didn't report was that Wakefield had a financial interest in his own alternative vaccine, that he had been paid by attorneys who were trying to prove that MMR vaccines were harmful, that his test subjects were recruited by those attorneys from among their plaintiffs, or that Wakefield engaged in unnecessary colonoscopies, colon biopsies, and spinal taps on children in his study.  Ten of Wakefield's 12 co-authors published a retraction of his interpretation of the paper, and the original paper was withdrawn by the journal this year.  Wakefield's name has been struck from the register of British medical doctors as a result of his unethical behavior.

The publication of his paper was responsible for a significant drop in UK vaccination rates due to fear of a link to autism, which was accompanied by a rise in measles outbreaks (but no drop in autism diagnosis rates).

It is a pity that the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix is promoting an unethical, discredited quack.

1 comment:

Jerry said...

Ir's Arizona, after all - run by tea-party nut jobs through and through.