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 July 24, 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
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