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Retracted autism study an 'elaborate fraud,' British journal finds

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by JPV, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. JPV

    JPV Senior Member

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    I have absolutely no trust in the medical industry, so I really don't know what to make of this news.

    I would love to hear richvank's take on this. Maybe he can make some sense of it...

  2. alex3619

    alex3619 Senior Member

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    Hi, the journalist could be right, but then again he could be scapegoating. Its hard to say without good information, which is the point of scapegoating. Even if you are innocent, most will still doubt you, just in case. Bye, Alex
  3. Wayne

    Wayne Senior Member

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    I've read a fair amount of pros and cons on this issue, including a length 60-Minutes segment. Here's a current CNN segment. Though I'm no scientist (which might give me higher credentials LOL), I generally side with Wakefield on this one.

    I find the arguments against him as weak and inarticulate, while I find Wakefield's replies to be plausible and credible. His critics often come across to me as arrogant, angry and self-righteous. Wakefield comes across to me as quite humble. Just my take.
    However, it is hard to believe that a "leading British Medical Journal" could be wrong. ;):angel:

    Wayne
  4. Francelle

    Francelle Senior Member

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    Ya reckon Wayne??
  5. Rosemary

    Rosemary Senior Member

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    Perhaps it's just a coincidence ?

    However I find it interesting that Vaccine developer Paul Offit has just published a new book


    The Offit Index: Tracking a Patent Owner’s Ongoing Financial Interest in One Vaccine’s Sales

    By Mark Blaxill

    Vaccine developer Paul Offit has just published a new book, Deadly Choices, in which he turns up the volume and the rhetoric against what he likes to call “the anti-vaccine movement.” His target, he argues, has launched a dangerous assault on the public health, and its misguided disciples are everywhere, including people like you and me. Based on the advance description, I don’t plan on boosting his sales.

    http://www.ageofautism.com/2011/01/...financial-interest-in-one-vaccines-sales.html
  6. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

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    I think Anrew Wakefield is writing a rebuttal.

    Glynis
  7. Snow Leopard

    Snow Leopard Senior Member

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    Yes Wakefield's results were weak and later thoroughly debunked by the Danish study (where they actually compared those who had not received MMR with mercury and had a very large sample size). But that doesn't mean the guy was deliberately committing fraud.

    The conflict of interest is a problem - and that was the reason given for the original retraction of the article. But many of the UK psychiatrists publishing GET, CBT articles also have similar conflicts of interest - why aren't those articles being retracted too?

    I wonder why BMJ are being so vindictive?
    The result sadly is that the exposure might (ironically) lead to more people believing the mercury/MMR-Autism link. But I guess the people at the BMJ are ignorant of such effects.
  8. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Well yes. By the 'logic' in how Wakefield was treated and his co-authored paper CENSORED, this 'should' be done to probably thousands of papers, particularly the GET/CBT/ psychogenic explanations for CFS, and their authors censured, hauled before the GMC etc. etc.: whether its conflict of interest, weak results hyped up (unwittingly or deliberately?) making 'inappropriate' generalisations to the press etc. etc.

    It is amazing how Wakefield has been treated.
  9. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    Read the whole story. He was committing fraud, actively falsifying medical records and cherry-picking cases to make his fraudulent conclusions.

    What Wakefield has done should be beyond horrifying to everyone who believes in good, objective, honest science. As ME/CFS patients, I don't believe we should complain about the effects that bad science has had on the way we've been treated, and then turn around and defend this charlatan, whose fraudulent work has done nothing but mislead the public.
  10. richvank

    richvank Senior Member

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    Hi, JPV.

    I don't have firsthand information about this. I have heard Dr. Wakefield speak at conferences, and I have watched interviews with him. He strikes me as an honest person. He has admitted that he rewarded kids at his son's birthday party for giving blood samples to be used as controls in his research. That may not have been good judgment on his part, but no one has suggested that it did the kids any harm. Before reaching any conclusions about this, I think we should wait to see what Dr. Wakefield has to say.

    As far as the vaccine--autism link is concerned, as far as I know there has not yet been a good study of the effect of giving children so many vaccines at the same doctor visit, as is frequently done. I suspect that that could be too large an impact on their undeveloped immune systems. I would like to see such a study done.

    It's true that there is a lot of money involved in the vaccine business, and it's true that representatives of vaccine makers sit on the CDC committee that recommends the vaccine schedule for children. This seems to me to have the appearance of a conflict of interest.

    Whenever there is a lot of money on one side of an issue, I think we should be aware that the media in the U.S. is supported by advertising money, and it is likely that they will be sympathetic to those who support them financially. If they weren't, they wouldn't be in business very long. Unfortunately, medical journals are also subject to this kind of influence.

    I do agree that vaccines are very important from a public health standpoint, but I think that the number of vaccinations should be limited to the ones that are really needed from a health standpoint, apart from the business aspects. I also think that it would be wise to spread them out in time, so that the impact on the immune system would not be as great.

    I have heard many parents of autistic children report at conferences that their children were normal until right after they received certain vaccinations. I believe these parents. I think they are in the best position to know about what happened to their children, and I don't believe that they are lying in hopes of collecting some money in a legal settlement.

    I don't think that vaccines are responsible for all cases of autism, but I would say that combinations of them should be considered a major suspect for many of them. More careful and honest research needs to be done in this area.

    Best regards,

    Rich
  11. JPV

    JPV Senior Member

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    Thanks for your insight, Rich.
  12. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Well- I have kept abroad of as much of the 'story' as I can- and I am one of those who don't take any claims at face value. The various allegations made against Wakefield are -mm- problematic, and I for one have never been afraid to question and identify what's 'fact' and what is just ad hominem and appeals to authority (which don't scare me either, I should say).

    So I stand by my original statement here.

    If we went back to the original article, more of us may be able to make a more informed opinion. Well - wouldya look at that ? They've CENSORED it! (I have actually read the original article, by the way.)
  13. JPV

    JPV Senior Member

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    What article was censored?
  14. urbantravels

    urbantravels disjecta membra

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    http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.c5347.full

  15. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    The original Lancet article was 'retracted' but not by Wakefield.

    A J Wakefield, S H Murch, A Anthony, J Linnell, D M Casson, M Malik, M Berelowitz, A P Dhillon, M A Thomson,
    P Harvey, A Valentine, S E Davies, J A Walker-Smith 'Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children' THE LANCET • Vol 351 • February 28, 1998
  16. Glynis Steele

    Glynis Steele Senior Member

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    The worse thing, whether he was right or wrong is, is that it is just about impossible here in the UK for a referral to a GI, who will actively look at the bowels of these children. I only know of one GI in the UK, in London, and he has had to close his books to any fresh cases, as he was inundated when word got round that he would scope, if the symptoms indicated. As a lot of autistic kids cannot tell their parents when they are in pain, the nightmare continues. And guess what, kids who do get scoped and are found to have inflammation have first had to endure the whole shebang of "it's all behavioural" from psychologist's, when their parents have commented on posturing, and other indications of bowel problems. Here is a link to Dr Krigsman, who once worked with Andrew. Some pictures are not for the faint hearted!

    http://tinyurl.com/2ajeccq

    Glynis
  17. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member

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    so lets get this clear - the BMJ thinks it's wrong and damaging for Doctors in the UK to misrepresent and alter patients notes?

    really?
  18. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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    Ok- these allegations by Brian Deer are - full of problems. Issues of self-report by parents and instabilities in diagnoses from doctor to doctor would account for any of these APPARENT anomalies (we've only Deer's word for it here that they are actually those), and his way of writing places a certain spin with words like 'allegations' for parental attribution of MMR. And that's just for starters. He makes a lot of assertions that the reader has no way of checking up also. Those points made above (quoted by urbantravels) are not substantiated with first-hand evidence.

    If this wasn't a 'trial by Deer and the BMJ' and I was trying to ascertain what was fact and what was semantics and spin, I'd be asking for a lot more evidence than the assertions of this BMJ article.

    The original article really needs to be read, for one thing. First hand documentary evidence, re-interviews of parents? Consent for notes?

    However, this is not accessible to us. We are supposed to take on trust these vague allegations as 'bogus' and 'elaborate fraud'.

    That's pretty damn amazing. There are loads of doctors and researcher out there, who, with the right spin and ad hominem attacks on their intentions, could be dragged through the quagmire and subject to their reputation being trashed in this way.
  19. Angela Kennedy

    Angela Kennedy *****

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  20. floydguy

    floydguy Senior Member

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    Yes, I agree. Thanks for putting some analysis into this and not blindly accepting what BMJ and the media has to say. We should be very wary what is going on with autism because we see a lot of the same tactics being used on us. We might learn something from what's going on in the autism community and be better prepared to defend ourselves against the same type of tactics used on them.

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