Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

British Medical Journal declares MMR study 'an elaborate fraud' -- autism claims likened to 'Piltdown man' hoax

Date:
January 6, 2011
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
The British Medical Journal has declared the 1998 Lancet paper that implied a link between the MMR vaccine and autism "an elaborate fraud." Dr. Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor in Chief, says "the MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud" and that such "clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare."

The British Medical Journal has declared the 1998 Lancet paper that implied a link between the MMR vaccine and autism "an elaborate fraud."

Dr Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor in Chief says "the MMR scare was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud" and that such "clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare."

She is struck by a comparison between researcher Andrew Wakefield's fraud and Piltdown man, that great paleontological hoax that led people to believe for 40 years that the missing link between man and ape had been found.

She also questions the veracity of Wakefield's other publications and calls for an investigation "to decide whether any others should be retracted."

A series of three articles starting this week reveal the true extent of the scam behind the scare. The series is based on interviews, documents and data, collected during seven years of inquiries by award-winning investigative journalist Brian Deer.

Thanks to the recent publication of the General Medical Council's six million word transcript, the BMJ was able to peer-review and check Deer's findings and confirm extensive falsification in the Lancet paper.

In an editorial, Dr Godlee, together with deputy BMJ editor Jane Smith, and leading paediatrician and associate BMJ editor Harvey Marcovitch, conclude that there is "no doubt" that it was Wakefield who perpetrated this fraud. They say: "A great deal of thought and effort must have gone into drafting the paper to achieve the results he wanted: the discrepancies all led in one direction; misreporting was gross."

Yet he has repeatedly denied doing anything wrong at all, they add. "Instead, although now disgraced and stripped of his clinical and academic credentials, he continues to push his views. Meanwhile the damage to public health continues."

"Science is based on trust," concludes Dr Godlee. "Such a breach of trust is deeply shocking. And even though almost certainly rare on this scale, it raises important questions about how this could happen, what could have been done to uncover it earlier, what further inquiry is now needed, and what can be done to prevent something like this happening again."

The BMJ will explore these and other questions over the next two weeks.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. F. Godlee, J. Smith, H. Marcovitch. Wakefield's article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent. BMJ, 2011; 342 (jan05 1): c7452 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c7452
  2. B. Deer. How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed. BMJ, 2011; 342 (jan05 1): c5347 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.c5347

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "British Medical Journal declares MMR study 'an elaborate fraud' -- autism claims likened to 'Piltdown man' hoax." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106145438.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2011, January 6). British Medical Journal declares MMR study 'an elaborate fraud' -- autism claims likened to 'Piltdown man' hoax. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106145438.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "British Medical Journal declares MMR study 'an elaborate fraud' -- autism claims likened to 'Piltdown man' hoax." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110106145438.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins