Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield?

8 Jan

People have been questioning the necessity of these latest revelations about Andrew Wakefield and suggesting that enough is enough or maybe that all this latest round of publicity will do nothing except make him a heroic martyr. This is possible.

However, for a number of reasons I really feel it is vitally important that not only is there some response but that that response comes at least partly from the autism community.

Firstly, I believe it is necessary for there to be a response full stop. These might be the same set of _facts_ that were uncovered during the GMC hearing but the difference here is that for the first time it has been established that the facts against Andrew Wakefield came about through what the BMJ refer to as fraudulent. This is a huge difference. Up until now it could’ve been argued that Andrew Wakefield simply made a mistake. After the events of the last two days, that can never be honestly argued again.

Secondly, there are a set of people who have been at the rough end of Wakefield’s fraud for the last 13 years. A set of people who have struggled to make new parents understand that there is no risk of autism from the MMR vaccine. Doctors. Particularly paediatricians and GP’s. It is vital that by establishing what Wakefield has done as fraud, the media ensure that the message is spread far and wide. They (the media) have something to atone for in this respect, being the original spreaders of the message that the MMR caused or contributed to autism. They now need to recognise their role in the past and help the medical establishment by ensuring Wakefield can never again spread his fraudulent claims via their auspices.

Thirdly, there is another set of people who have been at an even rougher end of Wakefield’s fraud. The sufferers of the falling vaccination rates of MMR. Its been well documented in numerous places, including this blog how people – particularly children – have been injured and died in the UK and US. The concept of herd immunity, no matter what some might claim is a real concept and when it falls, the level of protection falls. When it falls to far then the people who suffer are the very young, the very old and those who for genuine medical reasons cannot be vaccinated. Wakefield’s fraud needs to be spread far and wide in order for people to realise what he is, what he tried to do and what the consequences were in order to have some confidence in the MMR jab.

Fourthly, there is another set of people who have suffered heavily. This set of people are the silent victims of Wakefield’s perfidy. Autistic people. Wakefield and his supporters, TACA, NAA, Generation Rescue, SafeMinds, Treating Autism et al have turned autism into a circus. The aim of the last decade amongst serious autism researchers and advocates has been to

a) Raise awareness
b) Find evidence-based therapies that will help the life course and independence of autistic people
c) Protect the educational rights of autistic people

and getting research monies to meet these aims is long, hard and slow. Andrew Wakefield and his hardcore of scientifically illiterate supporters have actively derailed that process, dragging research monies away from these principled activities and towards their core aim of degrading vaccines and ‘proving’ vaccines cause autism. Wakefield himself has taken over US$750,000 worth of money to pursue a legal battle against the UK Gvmt. Just think of how that money could have enriched the life of just one autistic person.

However, this same set of people claim to be representative of the autism community. They write nonsense books about autism. They hold celebrity studded fundraisers for autism. They participate in rant-filled rally’s for autism. But none of them are really about autism. What they’re about is anti-vaccinationism.

Every one of these activities denigrate autism and autistic people. They take attention away from where it is needed.

We, the true autism community, made up of parents, autistic people, professionals of autistic people need to do two things. Firstly, we need to wrest back control of the autism agenda from these one-note people. Secondly, we need to speak to society at large and say ‘yes, some members of the autism community believed the fraudulence of Andrew Wakefield but not all of us did. Please don’t tar us all with one brush.’

What Andrew Wakefield has done has impacted everyone. We need to make sure that he and people like him can never affect us all in this way again. To do that we need to speak out about him, loudly and as long as it takes.

69 Responses to “Why does it matter what happens to Andrew Wakefield?”

  1. Kent Adams January 8, 2011 at 21:51 #

    It only matters to you, your small contingent of followers and the Age of Autism crowd. For the rest of us, we focus on our local community and children.

    • Kev January 8, 2011 at 21:56 #

      Except Kent, here you are commenting on it…hmmm…methinks the lady doth protest too much 😉

  2. lilandtedsmum January 8, 2011 at 22:18 #

    Kent,
    Unfortunately, because of Wakefield and his greed fuelled fraud, there are children in MY community attending school with MY children who have not been vaccinated and therefore pose a threat.

    I wonder what your reaction would be if YOUR precious community suffered an outbreak of pertussis. I wonder then would you be looking outside for answers and assistance?

    Thankfully, the majority of people in this world are not as selfish and insular as you.

  3. Joseph January 8, 2011 at 22:31 #

    I also matters in a general scientific sense. You can’t have researchers running around fudging data.

    That’s why there should be some punishment for Wakefield, beyond just the collapse of his reputation. It would send a message to researchers that if you commit scientific fraud, you’ll be found out, and you will suffer the consequences.

    Anyone who says scientific fraud doesn’t matter is obviously talking nonsense. It’s practically a crime against humanity.

  4. meg January 9, 2011 at 01:44 #

    Has anyone ever done a study on the kids who weren’t vaccinated? Some of those kids should be old enough now to determine if any of them developed autisim, dispite not having been vaccinated. Just a thought

  5. Chris January 9, 2011 at 01:59 #

    Yes, meg. They were included in several large
    epidemiological studies in several countries on three continents.
    The level of autism between the groups were the same. Several are
    discussed in the archives here and at ScienceBasedMedicine and
    elsewhere. If you are going on about what JB Handley said, I
    suggest you read here.

  6. meg January 10, 2011 at 20:48 #

    Actually Chris, I didn’t intend to “go on” about what anybody said, I was simply asking if studies were ever done of the “no vaccinine” group re: developing autism. You answered my question but I cannot access the site you gave me for some reason.

  7. Chris January 10, 2011 at 22:32 #

    OOps, massive HTML failure, sorry: http://lizditz.typepad.com/i_speak_of_dreams/2011/01/the-issues-in-undertaking-a-vaccinated-vs-unvaccinated-study.html … Liz has a link to a pdf describing many of the studies that have been done, including the large epidemiological ones done in several countries.

    There were vax/unvax studies done before the 1970s. They were often done in institutions where disabled children were warehoused like Willowbrook and overseas, like in Africa.

  8. cynthia parker January 11, 2011 at 04:14 #

    Brian Deer has now been revealed to be the fraud, lying about working for the Sunday Times of London to conceal his true employer, obtaining the medical records of the children illegally and against the will of the parents, bringing the charge against Wakefield himself since there was no aggrieved party among Wakefield’s patients. Does it make no difference to you that the vaccine industry was attempting to crush an honest compassionate doctor for telling the truth about the measles vaccine virus in the intestines of children who had bowel disease and autism? That’s all he has done, and I admire him for it.

    • Sullivan January 11, 2011 at 06:48 #

      Cynthia Parker,

      There is so much in your comment that is wrong. You are aware that the data showing measles virus in the guts of autistic children was fatally flawed, right? That the lab used (which Mr Wakefield was a director of) was using methods that made it impossible to make accurate assessments? That his own lab at the royal free showed the guts didn’t have measles virus? That he misreported the facts of the children in the lancet?

  9. Chris January 11, 2011 at 04:37 #

    Cynthia, post the evidence from a reliable source, or we will assume you are just making it up. Hint: that means it should not be from the childhealthsafety, ageofautism or whale.to!

    Why the need to defend Wakefield so much? That poorly done paper of just twelve case studies should not have been a reason to demonize the MMR vaccine, even without the deliberate fraud. Especially since the children had two completely different vaccines.

  10. Julian Frost January 11, 2011 at 06:31 #

    Dear deluded Cynthia Parker,
    The Medical records were shown at the GMC fitness to practice hearing of no-longer-a-doctor Wakefield. Deer didn’t steal them or gain access to them fraudulently. Secondly, Deer didn’t bring the complaint against Wakefield; the GMC did so itself. As for Wakefield being an “honest, compassionate doctor”, compassionate doctors don’t subject vulnerable children to unnecessary and invasive tests, and honest people don’t fake their data. Wakefield did both.

  11. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 00:13 #

    60 Lab Studies Now Confirm Cancer Link to a Vaccine You Probably Had as a Child
    http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2011/02/18/60-lab-studies-now-confirm-cancer-link-to-a-vaccine-you-probably-had-as-a-child/

    • Sullivan March 2, 2011 at 00:23 #

      Since when did we become the place for others to advertise their blogs? This has nothing to do with autism and is merely a blog post about some conjecture of Joe Mercola. If you are trying to prove that bad science still exists, I can find it on my own.

  12. stanley seigler March 2, 2011 at 04:11 #

    [Kent Adams say] It only matters to you, your small contingent of followers and the Age of Autism crowd. For the rest of us, we focus on our local community and children.

    have no idea how small the contingent…may have mentioned on other LBRB threads…opine: community support is more important than wakefield…has wakefield become a personal vice issues discussion…seems issue is resolved.

    stanley seigler

  13. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 13:45 #

    Its not just some blog post open your eyes and look further and lighten up some of you on here either need to get laid or get out of bed the right side

  14. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 13:49 #

    The International Medical Council on Vaccination is an association of medical doctors, registered nurses and other qualified medical professionals whose purpose is to counter the messages asserted by pharmaceutical companies, the government and medical agencies that vaccines are safe, effective and harmless. Our conclusions have been reached individually by each member of the Council, after thousands of hours of personal research, study and observation.

  15. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 13:50 #

    Principles and Findings
    •We are profoundly critical of the practice of vaccination. Vaccination is an unacceptable risk to every member of society, regardless of age.
    •As medical professionals, Council members have observed first-hand the health of vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated. We find the latter group to be robust, healthy and drug-free compared to the former group.
    •We have reviewed published studies in support of vaccines and have found them wanting in both substance and science.
    •We have brought out into the open hundreds of peer-reviewed, published medical articles that document the damage and the diseases caused by vaccines.
    •We find the premise of herd immunity to be a faulty theory.
    •We encourage intelligent debate about vaccination.
    •We expect individuals to take responsibility for their health and the health of their children by investigating the problems due to vaccination prior to subjecting their children, or themselves, to this medical procedure.
    •We believe that refusing vaccination is a personal right that should be legislatively guaranteed.

    • Sullivan March 2, 2011 at 19:46 #

      “•We find the premise of herd immunity to be a faulty theory.”

      when people believe things that are just plainly false, they lose my respect.

  16. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 13:53 #

    Board of Directors

    Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH
    Sherri Tenpenny, DO
    Suzanne Humphries, MD
    Board of Advisors
    Alexander Kotok, MD, PhD
    Demetra Vagias, MD, ND
    Harold Buttram, MD
    Jayne Donegan, MBBS
    Juan Manuel Martinez Mendez, MD
    Kris Gaublomme, MD
    Robert Davidson, MD, PhD
    President
    Nick Haas
    Regional Chapters

  17. Interverbal March 2, 2011 at 15:24 #

    “We are profoundly critical of the practice of vaccination. Vaccination is an unacceptable risk to every member of society, regardless of age.”

    Don’t any of you dare call them anti-vax. And don’t call people who cite or link to their message anti-vax either. AoA has made it clear that to do so is wildly incorrect.

    • Sullivan March 2, 2011 at 19:48 #

      “We are profoundly critical of the practice of vaccination. Vaccination is an unacceptable risk to every member of society, regardless of age.”

      Don’t any of you dare call them anti-vax. And don’t call people who cite or link to their message anti-vax either. AoA has made it clear that to do so is wildly incorrect.

      Interverbal,

      I agree, that’s a pretty amazing statement to make. Amazingly wrong.

  18. Kev March 2, 2011 at 16:26 #

    Autism Mom, thanks for the link to that misbegotten piece of crap that masquerades as a legitimate organisation. Now I know I can avoid it whenever possible.

  19. Chris March 2, 2011 at 16:32 #

    Autism Mom:

    The International Medical Council on Vaccination is an association of medical doctors, registered nurses and other qualified medical professionals

    It is a silly place: Vaccine Council of Vaccination, and in audio form here.

    Oh, look, the board of directors includes a guy, Buttram, who defended the child murderer Alan Yurko. Not exactly what I would call a stellar group.

  20. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 16:40 #

    There is no need to be so rude about it i can tell your from wiltshire

  21. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 16:50 #

    Most of the members on this site attack the ones that believe that vaccines causes autism sad bunch you are

  22. Kev March 2, 2011 at 17:15 #

    We don’t attack people, we attack their ideas. Was there something you wanted to debate here?

  23. Dedj March 2, 2011 at 20:02 #

    If someone calls people a ‘sad bunch’, implies they only have the viewpoints they have due to being sexually frustrated, and tries to invalidate any opposition as crankiness due to lack of sleep……

    although that person may not have sworn or been aggressive, they certainly have been condescending and insulting and are not in any posistion to criticise others.

    That person is Autism Mom.

  24. Autism Mom March 2, 2011 at 23:41 #

    You guys are well known to being aggressive when you dont like another persons opinion and that is sad
    You should respect each others opinion but you dont.
    I know that at one time kev used to believe that vaccines caused autism himself .
    People should work together to find a cure for autism or better treatment not work against each other that is not going to help
    our children at all

  25. Chris March 3, 2011 at 00:27 #

    Autism Mom:

    People should work together to find a cure for autism or better treatment not work against each other that is not going to help our children at all

    Do you even read this blog? Have you missed the posts about autism research funding, the IACC strategic plans and the education laws? What we want is to stop putting money into fruitless pursuits, and towards real research and supports.

  26. stanley seigler March 3, 2011 at 04:00 #

    [Joseph say] Anyone who says scientific fraud doesn’t matter is obviously talking nonsense. It’s practically a crime against humanity.

    does this apply to ABA promotional science…see dawson: THE MISBEHAVIOUR OF BEHAVIOURISTS http://www.sentex.net/~nexus23/naa_aba.html

    stanley seigler

  27. John Fryer Chemist March 9, 2011 at 17:47 #

    Money into fruitless pursuits?

    It would be good to test the safety of a vaccine and not assume because they work they must be safe.

    In the MMR vaccine is a component that is teratogenic, kills cells and demyelinates nerve cells.

    Is this good to inject into 12 month infants?

  28. Chris March 9, 2011 at 23:13 #

    Mr. Fryer:

    In the MMR vaccine is a component that is teratogenic, kills cells and demyelinates nerve cells.

    You just made that up out of thin air!

  29. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 10, 2011 at 00:49 #

    no. it fell out of his bum. no effort needed.

  30. John Fryer Chemist March 10, 2011 at 18:16 #

    Hi Chris

    No, I am learning about MMR vaccines and to find components in their that show the same properties as mercury is quite a revelation.

    David N Andrews Your comment is a reflection of your own personality.

    Look up the work of Norman Gregg who in 1941 showed the teratogenic property of rubella.

    Recent research shows little difference between vaccine strians of the virus and that found wild.

    Normal contact with this virus used to be in childhood and the use of vaccines in little babies still developing is something that needs proof of safety.

    The efficacy is NOT at question but where are the safety tests?

    Only today vaccine live viruses have been detected for up to a month after vaccines causing huge problems to those who are unable to get vaccinated for whatever reason.

    People with cancer or the like can suffer from those newly vaccinated passing the virus from saliva.

    Rubella kills cells

    Rubella demyelinates nerve cells

    And of course it is a teratogen.

  31. Chris March 10, 2011 at 21:03 #

    Rubella is dangerous to the growing fetus, which happened during an epidemic in the 1960s. Which is why Sense, the deafblind charity, exists. The reduction of Congenital Rubella Syndrome started to decrease in the USA with the introduction of the MMR in 1971. From the CDC data there were between 45000 to 55000 cases of rubella per year before 1971 to just about 2300 cases by 1981, with a similar reduction in both deaths and congenital rubella syndrome.

    Unfortunately, due to fact free scaremongering the number of cases as never been “0”, and there are still affected babies.

    Remember, your ramblings will be considered fiction unless you can back them up with real and relevant evidence.

  32. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 10, 2011 at 23:36 #

    “David N Andrews Your comment is a reflection of your own personality.”

    Nope.

    It’s a reflection of what you bring out in people…

  33. John Fryer Chemist March 11, 2011 at 16:09 #

    Chris and David

    I don’t admit to knowing too much about rubella vaccine and am trying to build up a picture of its benefits and pitfalls.

    As a chemist I am aware of the brain destroying property of mercury for a long time and its unnecessary addition to finished vaccines.

    My present interest is in the work of Andrew Wakefield and his finding of autism with gut problems with vaccines not really part of this work except that parents described problems after vaccines and not just before them.

    Rubella vaccine interests me as it is part of MMR and it is a mild illness for the most part when normal children get it.

    The introduction of live virus before development is at the time when many normal illnesses can have dangerous outcomes.

    The points I made on rubella vaccine are not mine but those of science and to me I can see no sense in injecting such material into babies down to 6 months of age and by known transmission patterns to the fetus or baby even younger.

    Rubella virus

    1 Kills cells

    2 Demyelinates nerve cells

    3 Is teratogenic

    Please address these points;

    I wholeheartedly agree vaccines are powerful but from this very power comes the need to assess problems from injecting into previously healthy babies.

    I am not convinced that a rubella vaccine is safe when given at such an early age.

    In England the rubella vaccine was very successfully used for teenage girls until the commencement of the autism wave when they began injecting babies with it.

    CRS includes autism and this has not decreased, so one aspect of CRS has multiplied 100 fold.

    The mentality of the faith in vaccines is to such an extent that people like you would agree to cyanide injections of they were introduced.

    We have in the western world a problem with autism and general health that needs answers not denials.

  34. Chris March 11, 2011 at 17:29 #

    Mr. Fryer, just vaccinating young girls for rubella was not successful in the UK. There were still boys and young girls infecting pregnant women:

    During the 1970s and 1980s cases of rubella in pregnancy continued to occur, albeit at a reduced rate. Often susceptible women acquired the rubella infection from their own or their friends’ children.

    Look at this table, are the numbers of rubella cases going up, down or staying the same since the introduction of the MMR? How does that jive with your claim that CRS has increased 100 fold?

    Please stop re-writing history. Please stop changing facts, because six-month old babies are not given the MMR. And please remember everything you say will be considered a bold faced lie unless you can back them up with real information.

  35. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 11, 2011 at 18:36 #

    “The mentality of the faith in vaccines is to such an extent that people like you would agree to cyanide injections of they were introduced.”

    Crass comment. Piss off, Fryer.

    Chris: “And please remember everything you say will be considered a bold faced lie unless you can back them up with real information.”

    It’s best we try to get it so this guy can go shit elsewhere away from this blog, yeh?

    Blog owners, is that possible? Fryer doesn’t add anything here.

  36. sharon March 12, 2011 at 01:08 #

    I’m beginning to think My Fryer is not a formally trained chemist. Or perhaps undertook his training many, many, many moons ago. Or is an excellent troll?

    I wonder John Fryer why you assume that only the “Western” world has “a problem with autism and general health”?

  37. Chris March 12, 2011 at 01:43 #

    I believe Mr. Fryer is experiencing a form of age related dementia.

  38. sharon March 12, 2011 at 03:34 #

    @Chris, in all seriousness I have considered the same. But wasnt sure if a comment along such lines would pass moderation.

  39. Dedj March 12, 2011 at 04:13 #

    Although Mr Fryers writings do exhibit multiple signs of dementia, it is probably not beneficial to speculate at this time.

    There may be multiple other reasons why his writing requires significant structural work and is generally lacking in consistent external world reference and appropriate logical sequencing.

  40. John Fryer Chemist March 12, 2011 at 18:25 #

    HI The comments show the mentality of those that write them.

    David Andrews shows a particularly vicious streak countered by his wanting to inject anything the government demands into children.

    I support vaccines but the fact that rubella vaccine live virus is a teratogen needs addressing.

    When you inject a vaccine live virus you are injecting an illness that doesnt normally show symptoms of illness.

    But you are introducing an illness that can transfer to other children and pregnant mothers causing CRS that authorities need to prove does not happen.

    Rather than address venom at me showing the worth of you as a person involved in debate why not address the issues I put forward?

    Rubella virus

    1 Kills cells

    2 Demyelinates nerve cells

    3 Is teratogenic

    Please address these points.

  41. Chris March 13, 2011 at 00:13 #

    Dedj:

    Although Mr Fryers writings do exhibit multiple signs of dementia, it is probably not beneficial to speculate at this time.</blockquote.

    Perhaps I should be nicer, but he should be reminded when the data are contrary to his statements, and that he does need to support them with real evidence. There is some interesting discussion in the comments of this article.

  42. sharon March 13, 2011 at 00:40 #

    @Chris I agree with the comments suggesting the author doesn’t understand the motivation of a troll.

    Slightly related, see this brilliant response.
    http://skepchick.org/2011/03/that-feeling-youre-feeling/

  43. John Fryer Chemist March 13, 2011 at 09:07 #

    Thanks for the comments on trolling but still absolutely no addressing the issues.

    The vaccine rubella uses a live virus.

    As such it can be passed on to pregnant mothers.

    The vaccine strain is symptomless in normal circumstance.

    If it induces CRS including abortions and autism then a calculation tells us that in all probability that the current level of 1 boy in 50 with autism is likely to be the maximum and cannot rise any higher.

    It would be good to get a reference to UK numbers to match the fall of rubella in UK to see if there is an inverse relation.

    But the Wakefield factor is not there.

    A maximum nuber of cases of 1700 from 2000 to date and a minimum number of cases of 6000 in the years before Wakefield’s paper.

    Hardly a case for accusing Andrew of causing unnecessary illness if you can call rubella serious for the age group normally getting it.

  44. John Fryer Chemist March 13, 2011 at 09:17 #

    Hi Chris and Sharon

    I note a St Paul conversion in at least one of you.

    Progress comes out of those with open minds not closed minds.

    Looking at a programme on Einstein shows how his knowledge was built on other and in association with others.

    Autism is a big evil in the Western World and may be everywhere.

    From tiny numbers to those of today has made USA child health in advanced cxountries go from the top to the bottom in a generation.

    Rubella vaccine, a live symptomless virus in the ubiqitious world of modern USA is a source of contamination for rubella susceptible or rubella sensitive mothers.

    The knowledge of teratogenicity goes back at least to 1941 from Australian researchers and knowledge of harm from my own knowledge base to 1943 when people contaminated with rubella had damaged children.

    The only bright sign in all this is the fact that virus induced illness is reversible and recovery of any damaged from rubella vaccine live virus is completely possible and research could easily help the sub group with this type of injury.

    At present something like 20 to 25 per cent of autism people do recover in time.

    But it is not the only source of the illness as rubella live virus is expected to target preferentially girls.

  45. Chris March 13, 2011 at 17:20 #

    Mr. Fryer, please stop with the fact free verse. We are not interested. You are need of help, which you will not find here, but at your closest senior health center.

  46. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. March 13, 2011 at 18:37 #

    “Autism is a big evil in the Western World and may be everywhere.”

    I am autistic. My daughter is autistic. Her mother is, too. Autism is no big evil.

    So, just for your having said that, Fryer, my last words to you are: Fryer, go fuck yourself.

  47. John Fryer Chemist March 13, 2011 at 21:29 #

    Hi Chris

    My nearest medical centre?

    What makes you think I have faith in them?

    If you read my posts and understand you might realise that the vaccine policy is a policy to make money for Merck not make USA the most healthy of nations.

    While I condemn Andrew Wakefield for his money and non declaration I am horrified to see Merck take over both the BMJ and Lancet in the last 3 years.

    Where was the declaration for this and the attacks by them on Andrew Wakefield.

    My points on rubella vaccine virus being a teratogen and inappropriate for the 12 month baby are not going to be answered by you.

    Look at any news of serious events and look for the language of no harm coming from them when there is evidence of mismanagement at the highest levels.

    I am interested in looking for potential cause for autism and how to reverse the numbers from one in 50 for boys back to those of pre 1943 days.

    You seem interested in denying, denigrating and implying in others what I see clearly in you.

    If you have faith in these medical centres I would love to know how many vaccines you take while insisting that every little infant gets his whack of them.

    I had my vaccines as a child of 5 years to 14 years not less than 5 days to less than 14 months when unable to cope.

    A rubella vaccine has a 25 per cent chance of serious adverse reactions for a woman and yet miraculously is completely safe for any 12 month infant in almost any health state.

    This is of course a licence to kill and maim.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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