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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wakefield Needs to Go Away

Andrew Wakefield has pissed me off for years. Why? He's responsible for the whole vaccines-cause-autism paranoia. 

Once upon a time, a researcher named Wakefield got paid by a legal team to help them in their case against the MMR vaccine. At the same time, and quite probably for the same reason, he decided to do a study on his hypothesis that autism was caused by measles lingering in the "leaky gut" of a subset of kids. He took 12 kids, some or all of whom had parents involved in the lawsuit by the legal team, and put them in his "study."  

"Why that would be unethical" you might say. Why yes, it would be. It would be even more unethical to give these children, ages 3-10, unnecessary medical procedures such as MRIs, colonoscopies, and spinal taps, now wouldn't it? Especially if you didn't quite actually have ethical approval for this study.  

And then it would be even more unethical if you were to not disclose your relationship with these children and the full source of all your funding and then publish your paper in the Lancet. And yet, that's exactly what he did. 

Oh, it gets better. He claims to have found measles in 8 out of 12 of those kids. His assistant didn't see it, but maybe his assistant just didn't want to believe as much as he did.  That's the sort of behavior that gets you brought up on charges of professional misconduct. Which he was.

Recently he's been brought into the spotlight again by accusations that he also outright falsified his data

But, oh, the poor Wakefield. Why won't Brian Deer leave him alone? Maybe because Wakefield's theories are totally bogus?

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