Monday, 24 May 2010

MMR and ex-Doctor Wakefield

This is perhaps one of the clearest cases of unethical behaviour in medical research. It also had devastating consequences for the vaccination program in the UK -Times article on the consequences (note the comments in support of Wakefield). There is also an article in the Telegraph on MMR and autism

Andrew Wakefield carried out a study which was published in the Lancet (and later retracted by the journal) that showed a link between giving children the MMR vaccine and autism. Finally after finding Wakefield guilty of conducting unethical medical treatment, fabricating results and not-declaring conflicting interests today was sentencing day by the General Medical Council and Wakefield was struck-off the medical register.
BBC report

A nice cartoon summary of the case sums up the most important points by the Tall Guy.

One of the lead campaigners in the UK against the vaccination deniers is Ben Goldacre who has reported on the case extensively in his Blog as well as in his book Bad Science.
The media's MMR hoax
Goldacre's comments on a Today Programme interview with Wakefield

David Aaronovich's Tweet comments on the Today Programme interview.

  • Peculiar opening question to Wakefield. If you had known how much fuss it would cause would you have spoken out?
  • Wakefield says 'let us have an open debate' unchallenged with the fact of the overwhelming evidence. Now on 'choice' theme.
  • Wakefield's dishonest red herring on single vaccine unchallenged. Simply challenged on drop in MMR uptake.
  • Getting better as he's forced to admit he didn't have proof, then told he didn't actually have evidence. Now he's evading and eliding.
  • Now the point about his egregious conflict of interest. And the amount Wakefield was paid as expert in litigation.
  • He 'has no idea' how much money he received for involvement with litigation. Is allowed self-serving last word. Too short.
  • Remarkable that, on the day that he is struck off, the Today programme tweets that Wakefield "defends his investigation". Still not got!
BMJ article by Dr Evan Harris - about who else is responsible.
Guardian Article - Importance of Ethics in Science

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