How the Lancet reviewed the 1998 Wakefield Lancet paper

28 Jan

A recent discussion here on LeftBrainRightBrain involved the peer review process and, in specific, how the 1998 Lancet paper by Wakefield and coworkers was reviewed. As I prepared a response I saw that (a) the response was getting long and (b) this gives a discussion of the peer review process in general, which could be of interest to some readers. So I decided to blog yet again about Mr. Wakefield. So, with apologies to those who have tired of Andrew Wakefied:

Here is Richard Horton being questioned about the general process of peer review of papers for The Lancet (from Day 16 of the GMC hearing). Note that it was typical for 3 referees to be engaged. It has been reported that the Wakefield Lancet paper used 6 reviewers. If so, it is very interesting. Why would the Lancet have gone after extra reviewers?

Lower down, you will find a discussion of the process involved in the Wakefield et al. Lancet paper.

Q Once that process is complete, they have seen the paper and written reports on it, what happens next?
A Those reports back in 1997 would have been sent in my mail, collated by the editor and, when all the reports were available, then he or she would present the paper plus the peer review comments at the Thursday afternoon editorial meeting and the debate would ensue.

Q Is it customary for people who have reviewed the paper to say critical things as well as positive things?
A Extremely, yes, very much so.

Q How do you handle those as far as the authors of the paper are concerned?
A We have two separate components. They say things that they are happy to be transmitted to the authors and they also provide confidential comments that they say they report to the editors, which often presents us with a tricky situation because they are frequently very polite to authors and somewhat less polite when they are discussing a paper in front of us privately.

Q On those parts that they are happy to have relayed to the authors, do you discuss any criticisms that have been made?
A On the Thursday afternoon meetings?

Q Or at all?
A We certainly debate all the pros and cons of the paper at the manuscript meeting and make a decision then whether we are going to reject the paper, seek further opinion or open negotiations with the authors.

Q Will there be, at that state, any general discussion about other matters which might be relevant to publication?
A Certainly we will be discussing whether the paper has aspects of it that might cause controversy and should be considered in judging a paper, whether there are any conflicts of interest that should be taken into account in considering the paper or any other aspects of the work that might have cause for concern.

Q At the end of that meeting, do you then make a final decision as to whether you are going to reject the paper or admit it for publication?
A Three options: either to reject, to open negotiations or to seek further opinion.

Q Can you tell us what open negotiations means?
A That means that if there are questions raised by one or more of the peer reviewers that we think require explanation or further elucidation in a revised manuscript by the authors, then we will go back to the authors and say please can you take a look at your paper, in the light of these reviewers’ comments, and make the necessary adjustments. They hopefully will take account of those questions, submit a revised version of the paper and then we go back into a Thursday afternoon discussion to decide whether that is acceptable or not.

Q The third option you said was to seek a further opinion. Is that over and above the peer reviews you have already had done?
A Yes, that is right. Particularly I would say now that is quite a common option but back in 1997 it was less common.

And here is a discussion of the Wakefield et al. 1998 Lancet paper:

Q Do you have any recollection or are you assuming that it would have been the norm as far as the number of others who were concerned?
A Yes, it would have been the norm to have sent it to three external advisers and a statistical reviewer.

Q Do you have any recollection of the nature of the reviews that were received?
A From what I can recall, there were two aspects that were most important. The first was that all of the reviewers remarked on the original nature of the description of the syndrome and felt that this was something that merited consideration for a general medical journal but there was concern about the reporting of the parents’ testimony relating to a possible temporal link with MMR vaccine.

Q We have the log book for when the paper was first discussed. I think it is right, I should say, so the Panel is clear, the actual reviews are no longer available?
A I am afraid that is so.

Q We do have the log book. If you look in the same volume, page 637, we see, in the middle of the page, the left-hand number is a manuscript number, is that correct?
A Correct. That would have meant it was submitted in November, so the first two digits reflect the month, then the next set of digits the simple sequence with which it was entered up by our office.

Q We are about ten figures down at 11096 “new GI syndrome in children”, is that correct?
A Correct, and JB refers to John Bignall under “Ed”.

Q What is the last column?
A The last column is about the decision about the paper. You can see we received two papers: one describing a new G I syndrome in children, and then a second attempting to define the cause of that syndrome. Both papers were taken through peer review by Dr Bignall. The first one, PP means put points, so a set of manuscript reviewer points were put to the authors, and the second paper was rejected after peer review.

Q As far as the title “A new G I syndrome in children” was that of any legal relevance, the title you have given it there?
A This has been a source of much discussion in the past eight or nine years. Many people have focused on the fact or asked the question was The Lancet in some way supporting the linking of MMR vaccination with this syndrome. From our point of view, when we first received the paper, the parental testimony was actually incidental. The central thrust of the paper was this new syndrome. This is not an uncommon kind of report. If you read any text book of epidemiology, the very first description of any new syndrome often comes with either a case report or a case series. If you go back and look in history at, for example, the first reports of HIV and Aids, the first reports of variant CJD, they all began with a simple case series very much like this one. Then it is quite typical for the investigators to ask, and it is their obligation to ask, the families or the patients “Do you have any thoughts yourself about any behaviours or activities you might have done that might have precipitated this syndrome?” For example, if you go back and look at the first reported series of Aids or variant CJD you see questions like that raised and the answers are very speculative. In this case, again, the answers were very speculative. Eight of the 12 families put potential temporal link with MMR vaccination was made. That was very much supplemental to the major theme of the paper which was this new syndrome.

Q Before I turn you to another page, I just wanted to complete things. As far as the second paper, which you rejected, was concerned, did that come from the same research group?
A It did come from the same research group although I cannot recall, and I do not have a record, of exactly what the authorship of that paper was. I do not recollect.

Q Can you help us as to its nature at all?
A From what I can remember, this was a laboratory study trying to identify what the possible cause of the new syndrome was. From what I can remember, this was an attempt to try to isolate a component of the MMR vaccine with this syndrome.

Q Without that paper, the paper with which we are concerned, the 11096 paper made only the temporal link, is that correct, with the MMR vaccine?
A That is exactly right. Not only did it only make the temporal link but it was made very clear in that paper that such a temporal link was not a proof of association, moreover that there was no published evidence to support any association between the vaccine and the new syndrome.

Q If you turn back to the paper, page 783 and go on to 787, the discussion session, we see, in the left-hand column:

“We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.

If there is a causal link between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UK in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to show whether there is a change in incidence or a link with measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.”

Then it goes on to the possibilities of a pre-disposition. Do you recall if that paper was, so far as you can remember, in the original submission, the paper originally submitted?
A Those sentences? I certainly remember that “we did not prove an association”, that sentence, was in the final accepted manuscript, yes.

Q When the paper was submitted to you and considered at the manuscript meeting and logged as we have seen with PP beside it, were various amendments then made to the paper in agreement with the authors?
A Yes, that is absolutely routine practice in peer review. Often quite substantial change to papers are made.

Q Then ultimately a decision has to be taken as to whether to publish with those amendments in place, is that correct?
A Correct.

Q If we go back to page 645 we see, the fourth entry down on that page, 11096, now called “new syndrome in children”, is that correct?
A Correct.

Q We see the editor initials JB and then “accepted as ER”, although it is cut off, is that right?
A Yes. ER stands for early report.

Q Rather than asking you to explain that, I would like to go back to look at a description which is given in a editorial which deals with writing for The Lancet, page 615, on the left-hand side, half-way down the page:

“Early reports may simply be preliminary, the first results from a study, whereas subsequent analysis is planned, for example, of an incidental interesting observation from a study set up with another purpose or they may be early in the sense of being well short of changing clinical practice. These papers will tend to be shorter than articles.”

Does that broadly sum up what is meant by early report?
A Yes. What we were trying to do then – and I should say we have dropped the section Early Reports in more recent years – was to offer the opportunity for researchers to identify something at a very early stage before we were absolutely cast solid certain that what was being reported was totally factual. It gave the opportunity for new ideas, for innovation, to be included in the medical literature which we thought was an extremely important function of a medical journal.

Q This report was categorised as an early report and indeed it appears at the top of the actual paper. Can you help us as to which category it fell into? We see here two categories: the first results from a study where a subsequent analysis is planned, or an incidental interesting observation from a study set up with another purpose. Did you have any need to analyse?
A You are very generous in crediting our categorisation in precise terms. The way we felt about early reports was: is this a preliminary observation; is this raising something that is completely original that requires more in-depth investigation to confirm whether it is absolutely true or not. What we were trying to do in instructions to authors, because you can never cover every eventuality in written guidelines, the closest it would come to would be may be early in the sense of being well short of changing clinical practice.

Q I think it is right that when it was actually published it was published with a commentary.
A Yes. There were several mechanisms that we tried to focus on for making sure that when this paper was published it would not cause an adverse public health impact: one was obviously the statement that was obvious already in the paper about no proof of causation or association; a second was making sure that this paper was identified as an early report; but third, and possibly most importantly, we wanted to have external respected experts in measles eradication and control to offer their view. For us the comments that we published was vital in trying to set the context, which was essentially look at this paper with an open mind but please remember that measles vaccination has saved many hundreds of thousands of children’s lives and in considering this first report do not let it have an adverse effect on measles vaccination.

Q Can I ask you, first of all, how common was it at that the time for you to commission this commentary? You commissioned this commentary, is that correct?
A Yes.

Q How common was it for you to commission a commentary to go with a paper that was being published?
A Not uncommon if we were concerned about the interpretation of a paper but much less common than it is today. I would say today in almost every case a research paper will have a comment running with it.

Q Is the comment sought from somebody wholly independent from The Lancet and the researchers?
A Independent of The Lancet certainly. It is very hard sometimes to have people who are completely independent of the investigators. They are often experts in the field and fields, even globally, are often quite small. They will almost certainly be aware of the research or be aware of the investigators. They may even know the investigators very well professionally but we hope they will give an independent judgment about the quality and meaning of the paper, yes.

Q Your commissioning of it in the context of this paper. You have told us that as far as you were concerned, the reference to the link with MMR was relatively tentatively expressed. Did you nonetheless have concerns about the impact it might have?
A We did have concerns. These concerns were raised by the reviewers of the paper and they were also raised by my colleagues and myself in discussion of the paper on a Thursday afternoon. It was clear that if we were going to move ahead and publish this paper, we had two options: either we erased or asked the authors to erase the parental testimony about the possible temporal association with MMR vaccine or, if we were going to publish, we keep that in, but we give as much context as we possibly can.

Q If we could look at the commentary at page 788, it was commissioned from Robert Chen and Frank DeStefano, who work at the Vaccine Safety and Development Activity National Immunisation Program in Atlanta, Georgia. Is that correct?
A Correct. I think just to clarify, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention is an internationally recognised centre for public health, based, as it is, in the United States, but with very strong global recognition.

Q If you do not mind bearing with me for a moment, just so the Panel can see what this is about – I am not going to read the whole of this, but if we can just run through it – we can see it says:

“Although immunisations rank among the most important public health measures, no vaccine is perfectly safe. Because vaccines are given to millions of healthy people, usually infants, extremely high standards for vaccine safety are demanded. It is therefore important to examine, critically and with an open mind, the report by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues of several children whose chronic bowel and behavioural abnormalities were linked by their parents and physicians to measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.”

Then it sets out the various ways that adverse events of a vaccine can be said to be caused:

“ .. if it is associated with a specific laboratory finding and a specific clinical syndrome or both. Alternatively, a clinical or epidemiological study is needed to find out whether the rate of a given syndrome in vaccinated individuals exceeds that expected among unvaccinated controls. Such studies require acquisition of data in an unbiased way. Because of the inherent methodological limitations of epidemiological studies, biological plausibility, consistency, strength and specificity of association must also be considered in inferring causation. How well then do the features of the association reported by Wakefield and colleagues fit with causality?”

Then they point out:

“First, hundreds of millions of people worldwide … have received measles-containing vaccine without developing either chronic bowel or behavioural problems sine the mid-1960s. This finding provides important negative evidence as well as an appropriate framework for the assessment of [the paper].”

It goes on:

“Is the syndrome reported today clinically unique? Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia is non-specific. Autism was known well before MMR vaccine became available. Are there unique laboratory features, including detection of vaccine viruses in clinical specimens where they would not be expected? Although Wakefield has reported the detection of these viruses in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), other investigators, using more sensitive and specific assays, have not been able to reproduce these findings.”

Then it refers to a negative report which was actually in the same copy of The Lancet. It goes on:

“There is no report of detection of vaccine viruses in the bowel, brain or other tissue of the patients … ”

Then they look at the epidemiological questions:

“Is there selection bias? The Wakefield report is based on cases referred to a group known to be specially interested in studying the relation of MMR vaccine with IBD, rather than a population-based study. A first dose of MMR is given to about 600,000 children every year in the UK, most during the second year of life, the time when autism first becomes manifest. Not surprisingly, therefore, some cases will follow MMR vaccination. Biased case-ascertainment, as in this study, will exaggerate the association.”

Then it says:

“Was there recall bias. It is usually difficult to date precisely the onset of a syndrome such as autism. Parents and others may attempt to relate its onset to an unusual event such as coincidental postvaccinal reaction. The clearest example of such an association was the link between infantile spasms and pertussis vaccine;”

That is, the whooping cough vaccine –

“ … the vaccine tends to unmask rather than cause the syndrome.

There are other reasons for doubt about the association reported by Wakefield and colleagues. They suggest that MMR immunisation may lead to IBD, which results in malabsorption, consequent neurological damage, and ‘autism’. However, behavioural changes preceded bowel symptoms in almost all their reported cases.”

They go on to say:

“Vaccine-safety concerns gain prominence whenever the incidence of vaccine-preventable diseases falls to negligible levels and when the number of vaccine adverse events, whether true reactions or those coincidental to the vaccination but falsely attributed to it … rises as a consequence of high vaccine coverage. False attribution usually occurs because many developmental abnormalities first manifest in the early years of life, which is also when several vaccines – which can cause crying, fever, and, occasionally, febrile seizures – are given.”

Then it underlines the need for effective and credible systems for the detection of vaccine associated adverse events and it ends, you may think, rather prophetically, by saying:

“Without such a system, vaccine-safety concerns such as that reported by Wakefield and colleagues may snowball into societal tragedies when the media and the public confuse association with causality and shun immunisation. This painful history was shared by the UK (among others) over pertussis in the 1970s after another similar case series was widely publicised, and it is likely to be repeated all too easily over MMR. This would be tragic because passion would then conquer reason and the facts again in the UK.”

You published that commentary in those terms, Dr Horton. Did you feel that that was a responsible way forward, given the concerns which you have expressed?
A At the time, most certainly we did.

Q As far as you were concerned, did it highlight the criticisms which could be made in relation to the paper which you were publishing?
A It highlighted the criticisms that, as I recall, were made at the peer review stage, the concerns about possible bias. It highlighted what we were most anxious about, which was any adverse effect which might follow on MMR vaccination, but it also, fairly, we thought at the time, said, “Treat this study with an open mind.”

Q Did the paper in fact result in a very significant amount of correspondence to The Lancet?
A I think you might say that!

Q You say it in that tone of voice. Tones of voice do not always come over in the transcript. Are you suggesting that it was exceptional?
A Well, remember the context. The context was that when the paper was published, it was not published in a medical journal; it was launched, I think would be an appropriate word, at a press conference where other statements were made which were radically different from the statements made in the paper.

Q As far as the press conference is concerned, I think it is right that you did not attend. Is that correct?
A That is correct.

Q But Dr Bignall, the editor directly involved, did attend.
A That is correct.

Q You obviously cannot tell us anything about the press conference, because you were not present, but what I would like you to deal with is this. Did The Lancet have anything to do with the arranging of that?
A No, it did not, sadly.

Q How usual is it as an occurrence for there to be a press briefing or conference prior to the publication of a scientific paper?
A It is not common, but it is increasingly so, because often institutions, funding bodies and authors themselves want to make a splash of their paper to get more publicity for it, especially if it has something important to say. That can be for wholly good reasons. If there is a concern about the efficacy of a treatment or the adverse effect of a treatment, then it is very important that that gets wide publicity.

Q We have in the bundle an example of some of the correspondence which was generated. If you go to page 818, please – I am not going to take you through all that correspondence, Dr Horton, because I am going to invite the Panel to take some time at the end of your evidence to read the documents which we are producing – but just dealing with it very briefly, from page 818, this is the March edition of The Lancet, the paper having been published in February, we see the first letter, for instance, from the Programme on Immunisation of the World Health Organisation, the second one is from the Department of Public Health at Barnsley Health Authority. Then we have a letter which seems to come from a personal address and then at page 819 one from the Scottish Centre for Infection and Environmental Health. Going over to page 820, one from the Institute of Child Health. Would it be fair for me to summarise it by saying that those letters were mainly concerned with concerns as to the public health implications of the paper?
A Oh, absolutely.

Q We see underneath that on page 821 a reply by Dr Wakefield. Again, would it be the norm for you to give publication room to the author of a paper, if that paper has been the subject of significant criticism?
A Yes, indeed. We would consider it a fair way to conduct the debate that there would be responses, but in the same issue allow the original author to respond or in this case, as you can see, the authors divided in their responses.

Q We see, as you say, one from Dr Wakefield and then one from Professor Murch,
Dr Thomson and Professor Walker-Smith. At the end, we see also your own reply:

“The Lancet has been quick to criticise scientific and journalistic exuberance about the release of data that might unduly aggravate public concern. By contrast with these past episodes and with the implied criticism in the letters we publish this week, the paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues is an example of how researchers, editors and those concerned with the public’s health can work together to present new evidence in a scientifically balanced and careful way. Wakefield et al informed the UK Department of Health of their findings in 1997 and supplied them with a final copy of their Lancet paper in advance of publication.”

You then say, “(Wakefield A.J, personal communication)” So this arose as a result of information which Dr Wakefield gave to you. Is that right?
A That is right, yes.

Q You say, “There are at least four parts to this story.”
A I should just say, I do not have the second page of that. It goes on.

Q I think that is the end of your reply in relation to the correspondence.
A I think I probably would have gone on to explain what the four parts of the story were. Otherwise it would have been an extremely negligent reply on my part.

64 Responses to “How the Lancet reviewed the 1998 Wakefield Lancet paper”

  1. Brian Deer January 28, 2011 at 12:38 #

    Dr Horton’s evidence is characteristically sly, although I’m sure he would say otherwise.

    The plain fact is that this paper’s first “finding” was about MMR. MMR was described in the paper as the “apparent precipitating event” prior to the onset of regressive autism (“precipitating” meaning causal). The patients families had for the most part come to the hospital precisely because Wakefield was investigating vaccines, and he had been retained by a lawyer to supply evidence against MMR.

    The alleged parental allegations were not left as mere anecdotal reports, but were adopted as fact for the paper’s tabulations, results, statistical calculations and in its concluding “interpretation”. The research was described in the hospital and medical school internal correspondence as “MMR research”. There was a press conference and video news release which were all about MMR. Wakefield four times called on the video for MMR to be suspended. The paper was published with a commissioned editorial by vaccine specialists, which was all about, well, yes, vaccines.

    Compare all this with the alleged bowel condition. The children’s presenting GI sign/symptom – constipation – was nowhere even mentioned. Ileal hyperplasia was not discussed or referenced anywhere in the paper. GI inflammatory markers (normal) were not reported. The wholesale changing of GI pathology was not revealed.

    True, the paper says that Wakefield did not “PROVE” that MMR caused autism, but this was expressed very much in the terms “we didn’t PROVE it, but…”. Or, put another way, in the same tone as the wife of another research cheat I caught, many years ago, when she goaded me in the garden of their villa: “You say that, but what can you PROVE.”

    That paper was about MMR alright. No doubt by 2007 Dr Horton would have wished it were otherwise.

  2. Sullivan January 29, 2011 at 04:56 #

    Brian Deer,

    I take it you are keying in on comments like “From our point of view, when we first received the paper, the parental testimony was actually incidental. The central thrust of the paper was this new syndrome.”

    Certainly, the paper put much emphasis on the vaccine. It wasn’t just a passing mention of parental testimony.

    Even without that, Andrew Wakefield went into full MMR mode in the press conference. How are parents supposed to react when the first author says it is a moral issue and that one more case of autism is too many? As Mr. Wakefield did.

    I found this section while searching for a source for how many reviewers were assigned to the paper. Are you aware of a source for that information? I recall reading that six reviewers were assigned, and four rejected.

  3. Brian Deer January 29, 2011 at 19:44 #

    The number of peer reviewers remains a mystery. Paul Offit has said there were six, but he has also said that there were only eight children in the study, so I’m not sure how close he has looked at this issue.

    I have learnt the names of two, and I think if there were six reviewers, then somebody would have remembered that – it being so unusual. Horton talks about a statistician usually being consulted. I don’t believe this would be the case here. Although there are some statistics, they are essentially percentages that an eight-year-old could work out.

    The paper was peer-reviewed with a second paper, which was rejected. The second paper was essentially immunohistochemistry and molecular biology, and was such crap that the work has never seen the light of day and Wakefield claimed to have destroyed his copy of it (which is, of course, what scientists do with their landmark research findings).

    The interesting question for me is whether a developmental paediatrician ever reviewed it. I suspect not.

  4. Dr Aust January 30, 2011 at 05:01 #

    I have wondered from time to time whether either Chen or DeStefano might have been a reviewer of the 1998 Lancet paper. Sometimes if an editor wants to publish something “controversial” which a reviewer has made strong objections to, the reviewer might be given a commentary to (in effect) put their misgivings on the record. However, Horton’s GMC testimony rather suggests not (though only by his not saying anything to that effect). And I suppose it is just as likely that Horton et al picked C & DeS because they were from outside the UK and thus possibly viewed as being more neutral vis-a-vis Wakefield than UK reviewers.

    Another reason for papers having “extra” reviewers can be if the first lot are very split. Some editors will then send it to one or more extra ones (“seek further opinion” as it is described in the GMC transpcript) to see if those ones “tips the balance”. Though that would presumably show up in the records had it happened.

    I do find the statement about the original referees’ reports being “no longer available” extraordinary. Why would you pulp the paperwork, and dump the files (since by 1998 a fair bit of reviewer stuff must have been arriving electronically), on one of the most controversial things you had ever printed? Conspiracy theorists would have a field day with that.

  5. Jen January 30, 2011 at 18:46 #

    How much do you know about what developmental paediatricians do, in regards to pervasive developmental disorders, Brian? How much do you know about how autism and other PDDs present in children, regressive or not?

    I have two autistic children and neither were regressive: they were autistic from very, very early on – birth, i maintain. The eldest lost language at 14 months, which was a red flag, but she had signs of autism much earlier than that. After her diagnosis age 3.5 years old, we then knew what autism looked like. When her sister came along, we were watching, keeping very detailed records and video from early on. I knew there was something ‘wrong’ at approximately 3 weeks old, and she was diagnosed age 25.5 months, which is very very early here in the UK. Thanks to family history, longitudinal data and record keeping on our behalves, repeated applications of the M-CHAT and parent interview, the developmental paed and the team at the CDC had an easy job really.

    Incidentally neither have ever received a vaccine, not even vitamin K, but that is our choice. Fortunately vaccination does not confound the issue or cloud anything by either causation or coincidental timing, in our case.

    My children are the type that need to be studied, and compared to vaccinated peers. When will that be done?

  6. Chris January 30, 2011 at 19:36 #

    So, Jen, do you know how many reviewers the retracted study had? That is actually the subject of the article, not whether or not certain children need to be studied.

    (Have you contacted Tony Bateson? I believe he would have a great deal of interest in your children’s records, but he needs you to present them at his door, he insists he there are no unvaxed autistic children because even though Kim Stagliano has one, he won’t believe it until they contact him personally.)

  7. daedalus2u January 30, 2011 at 20:31 #

    Dr. Aust, my guess is that they were stored in the same place as the original biopsy slides which are also all unavailable. Or maybe someone’s dog ate them?

  8. AWOL January 31, 2011 at 00:29 #

    “The pot calling the kettle black” above..

    Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarized articles–most of which presented data favorable to Merck products–that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship…

  9. Chris January 31, 2011 at 01:19 #

    Off topic comment is off topic.

  10. AWOL January 31, 2011 at 11:36 #

    Come Offit Chris:Chris a new word for you “transparency” the above Mercky, business is just one of the multitude of paid peer reviewed by pharma .

    Whilst Mr Deer and Sullivan are concerned who the 6 peer reviewers , were that peer reviewed Dr Wakefield’s paper ,I have great concern who peer reviewed Brian Deer’s incorrect paper in the BMJ … The statement by Deputy Editor Ms Tricia Groves says in effect that Mr Deer’s paper was peer reviewed and if anyone did not like it they should sue the BMJ. This it seems brings into serious question the standard of publishing in The British Medical Journal and the standards and quality of its “peer review”. Mr Deer and the BMJ also appears to put to high a value on “peer review” as his interest above clearly shows.

    Since Mr Deer is lurking ,would he care to share who in the BMJ ,peer reviewed his BMJ, papers as a matter of transparency?

  11. John Stone January 31, 2011 at 21:22 #

    But who peer reviewed Brian Deer’s BMJ articles, if anybody? In the name of transparency we should be told. Since BMJ are not permitting any critical comments in relation Deer’s data and its sources, and their only answer seems to be “sue”, this is scarcely in the spirit of ordinary academic openness, let alone special degree of openness being called for here.

    As to Horton his views on the conflict don’t stand up. In the first place it wasn’t the convention at that period to declare court work as a competing interest – note that when Private Eye called Elizabeth Miller over it in 2004 she started to scream blue murder. Moreover, the Lancet was fully informed about Wakefield’s involvement in the litigation from March 1997 when an MCA official wrote to Horton, although (1) he seems to have had a memory lapse,(2) failed to conduct a proper search before giving evidence under oath three-and-a-half years later.

  12. Chris January 31, 2011 at 21:52 #

    But who peer reviewed Brian Deer’s BMJ articles, if anybody?

    At a minimum at least one lawyer.

  13. John Stone January 31, 2011 at 21:58 #

    Is that the same lawyer that advised BMJ to take down Dr F Edward Yazbak’s remark “I must say I am troubled that Mr Deer was able to obtain the names and family backgrounds of the original 12 study patients” for legal reasons. I wonder which legal reasons?

  14. John Stone January 31, 2011 at 22:02 #

    PS Chris

    Are you saying there was no expert medical or scientific review of Deer’s articles?

  15. Chris January 31, 2011 at 22:12 #

    Not even close. With your country’s libel laws, that was a minimum.

    I am also saying I don’t care what you say, and now I will say I don’t care what Yazbak says. I only care about the data.

    At the present, the accumulated data from 1999 to the present show that Wakefield’s findings, even if he was honestly incompetent, were wrong. What Deer wrote does not matter (though it helps immensely), since even someone at the Royal Free showed that the data differed from Wakefield in 1999, and again in 2002.

    Now, on this planet, as opposed to your planet Htrae, the years 1999 and 2002 come before 2004. Which is before Deer was assigned the story.

  16. Joseph January 31, 2011 at 23:10 #

    Are you saying there was no expert medical or scientific review of Deer’s articles?

    Do you really think BMJ, a peer-reviewed journal, would be so reckless as to bypass any scientific review of articles that make point-blank accusations of scientific fraud? In the UK jurisdiction!?

    Your speculation is complete nonsense, John Stone.

  17. AWOL January 31, 2011 at 23:21 #

    “Do you really think BMJ, a peer-reviewed journal, would be so reckless as to bypass any scientific review of articles that make point-blank accusations of scientific fraud? In the UK jurisdiction!?”

    I DO!!!

    The BMJ and its writer Brian Deer have now been caught ignoring evidence and engaging in their own fraud gives credence to the idea that MMR vaccines may, indeed, not only be dangerous; but that they may be so dangerous that the top medical journals have to lie about the facts in order to protect them.

    What’s clear here is that the BMJ has strayed so far from the realm of evidence-based scientific thinking that it can no longer be called a reputable medical journal at all. Its callous disregard for the truth — and its politically-motivated witch hunt against a researcher who only sought to protect the health of children — exposes it as a danger to the scientific community and the world of conventional medicine

    • Sullivan January 31, 2011 at 23:59 #

      “Provenance and peer review: Commissioned; externally peer reviewed. ”

      I would assume that the BMJ editors reviewed Mr. Deer’s articles very closely. Given the obviously high level of public interest and the fact that Mr. Wakefield has tried at least twice to bring some sort of action against Mr. Deer, they clearly fact checked as much as they coould.

      They also sent the articles out for external peer review as indicates That would be independent of any legal counsel they had (as suggested above).

      Once again, I see people avoiding the issue at hand–Mr. Wakefield’s failings–and trying to make this a story about Brian Deer.

      For example, people pretend as though the BMJ editors did not themselves declare the research a fraud. Wakefield’s article linking MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent. Written by three BMJ editors.

      Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield. Is it possible that he was wrong, but not dishonest: that he was so incompetent that he was unable to fairly describe the project, or to report even one of the 12 children’s cases accurately? No. 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. Moreover, although the scale of the GMC’s 217 day hearing precluded additional charges focused directly on the fraud, the panel found him guilty of dishonesty concerning the study’s admissions criteria, its funding by the Legal Aid Board, and his statements about it afterwards

  18. John Stone January 31, 2011 at 23:46 #


    I didn’t speculate: I asked a question. As to a lawyer reading the material, although his ideas of legality may be somewhat curious it isn’t saying very much. That is routine for an article with legal issues: it isn’t peer review. Anyhow, if Deer is to be consistent he should let us know the names of his peer reviewers.

  19. John Stone January 31, 2011 at 23:47 #

    Of course, the lawyer may be a “her” as well – we shouldn’t neglect the fact.

  20. Chris February 1, 2011 at 00:03 #

    Mr. Stone, look up what the word “minimum” means. Then go up and read my now approved comment. Also tell me if 2004 comes before or after 1999 on your planet.

    Wakefield was already known to be completely wrong before 2004. Deer just answered the reason why his results did not coincide with reality. And yes, I know, where you live, Htrae, has different standards. But we don’t live on that cube shaped planet.

  21. AWOL February 1, 2011 at 00:33 #


    “Wakefield was already known to be completely wrong before 2004.”

    Anything peer reviewed to back this up??

  22. AWOL February 1, 2011 at 00:39 #

    Sulliavan ,

    “They also sent the articles out for external peer review as indicates That would be independent of any legal counsel they had (as suggested above).”

    Mr Deer is in the shadows why cant he explain?It is a reasonable request .If you and Deer are interested in transparency of Peer Review, why arent you Sullivan, interested in Peer review when it involves Brian Deer and Brian Deer isnt interested when it involves the BMJ?Were only interested in Peer Review when it involves Wakefield…thats what your saying??

    • Sullivan February 1, 2011 at 00:49 #


      stop already with the “Brian Deer is in the shadows” nonsense. We’ve wasted way too much time on that already, and I am not letting you take us down that rabbit hole again.

      Brian Deer has responded. He’s just not responding directly to blog comments by you, Clifford Miller, and a few others.

      I get it. We all get it. You guys are mad at Brian Deer. He went on one of the most Andrew Wakefield friendly radio shows and answered questions.

  23. AWOL February 1, 2011 at 00:54 #

    Sullivan ,fair enough but the Peer Review issue is a problem ,and to have one side calling fowl is a joke…Brian made a joke of himself if you listened to the follow up(Dr Wakefield et-al) of the radio show…you would see that..

    • Sullivan February 1, 2011 at 00:59 #


      the person who is silent is Andrew Wakefield. He has three real venues to respond: The BMJ, the press complaints commission and the UK courts. Until then, this is just public relations. I listened to Wakefield, Clifford Miller, et al., on the Gary Null show. Mr. Wakefield, Mr. Miller and Mr. Null all gave embarrassing performances.

  24. Joseph February 1, 2011 at 01:14 #

    Anyhow, if Deer is to be consistent he should let us know the names of his peer reviewers.

    Why? Peer review is anonymous for a reason. Indeed, Brian Deer might not know who exactly reviewed his manuscript.

    Besides, it’s clear that the 3 BMJ editors who put their names to the accusations of fraud must have — without question — reviewed all of the records in detail.

  25. John Stone February 1, 2011 at 01:15 #


    Yes, I should imagine you did the find them embarrassing.

  26. Chris February 1, 2011 at 01:16 #


    Anything peer reviewed to back this up??

    Yes, the two papers by Dr. Taylor I posted earlier, did you miss those? Those are the numbers 1999 and 2002 in red text. In addition to those are (and many more were added in 2004):

    No Evidence for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccine-Associated Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Autism in a 14-Year Prospective Study
    Authors: Peltola H, Patja A, Leinikki P, Valle M, Davidkin I, Paunio M
    Source: The Lancet, May 2, 1998, Vol. 35:1327-8

    Time Trends in Autism and in MMR Immunization Coverage in California
    Authors: Dales L, Hammer SJ, Smith NJ
    Source: Journal of American Medical Association, March 7, 2001, Vol. 285(9):1183-5

    Measles-Mumps-Rubella and Other Measles-Containing Vaccines Do Not Increase the Risk for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
    Authors: Davis RL, Kramarz P, Bohlke K, et al
    Source: Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, March 2001, Vol.155(3):354-359

    A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism
    Authors: Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, et al
    Source: New England Journal of Medicine, November 7, 2002, Vol. 347(19):1477-1482

  27. John Stone February 1, 2011 at 01:17 #


    Besides, it’s clear that the 3 BMJ editors who put their names to the accusations of fraud must have—without question—reviewed all of the records in detail.

    I shouldn’t count on it.

    • Sullivan February 1, 2011 at 01:22 #

      I shouldn’t count on it.

      Then show them wrong. Find the big mistakes. And not the document that Mr. Wakefield claims to have dug up recently. Find real, substantial mistakes. Submit your response to the BMJ and post a link afterwards.

      The BMJ editors put a lot on the line here. Unlike Andrew Wakefield circa 1998, they expect to be scrutinized.

  28. John Stone February 1, 2011 at 01:35 #



    Irrespective of the lack of merit in most of these studies you cannot as Bernardine Healy, former NIH director, pointed out use epidemiology to show that there are no affected sub-groups. Of all of these studies Cochrane only gave a good press to the one by Davis. However, it should be pointed out that Davies was funded and executed by the CDC, and then its data placed out of reach for all time. It is beset by conflict and opacity. If Mr Deer was serious he would certainly be asking questions about that too. But not in a million years.

  29. Chris February 1, 2011 at 01:40 #

    Mr. Stone, could you please translate that word salad into English? Or at least go to sleep, as the wee hours seem to have removed your grammar function.

  30. John Stone February 1, 2011 at 01:46 #


    There is no evidence that BMJ are allowing any open scrutiny: certainly not in their columns (they could scarcely prevent it elsewhere). They have allowed a certain amount of generalised discussion, but discussion of Deer’s presentation of data and issues like his access to sources they have never allowed to be broached. So, no they are plainly guilty of double standards.

    • Sullivan February 1, 2011 at 02:02 #

      John Stone,

      I don’t know what the BMJ are doing, as I am not with them. That said, I will say that if I were they, I would be closely watching the comments made to their site. They do not want to be in the position of hosting libelous statements.

      Surely an editor of the Age of Autism blog, like yourself, can’t be complaining that the BMJ is screening comments, can you? AoA clearly moderates heavily any dissenting voices.

  31. AWOL February 1, 2011 at 01:47 #

    “Yes, the two papers by Dr. Taylor I posted earlier, did you miss those? Those are the numbers 1999 and 2002 in red text. In addition to those are (and many more were added in 2004):”

    Yes, I saw those,and never wished to be insulting but,I can`t see why the papers would add to your argument, as Mr Stone clearly points out..

  32. Chris February 1, 2011 at 02:54 #

    I should add to the six peer reviewed papers before 2004 that showed Wakefield’s findings did not jive with reality, that medical doctors were also questioning why a series of a dozen case studies was getting so much notice and Wakefield’s evidence for saying to not use a vaccine that had been safely used elsewhere for almost twenty years.

    First is this piece by Dr. Michael Fitzpatric written 1998 (AWOL, please note the year is a URL link), and second is this review of the fictional television program “Hear the Silence” by Dr. Goldacre in 2003. As you can see, Dr. Goldacre’s article mentions several studies that dispute Wakefield, including a study in Finland.

  33. century February 1, 2011 at 08:38 #

    Chris really is grasping at straws.

    Bring something decent to the table – not Fitzy and Golden Ben!

  34. Science Mom February 1, 2011 at 15:10 #

    Chris, don’t forget Nicholas Chadwick’s findings in his PhD dissertation. Wakefield approved his dissertation, being his PhD advisor after all.

    No measles vaccine virus was present in any of the Lancet children.

  35. Chris February 1, 2011 at 19:39 #

    Thanks, Science Mom. I knew about Chadwick’s testimony in the Autism Omnibus proceedings, but I did not know about his PhD dissertation. Do you have a link to where it is discussed?

    Um, century, did you miss the six citations to peer reviewed papers? I even have links to the full papers by Brent Taylor who was also at the Royal Free Hospital. If you had read the first paragraph I even mention them.

    Here are two 2002 (see how that is before 2004?) papers on the Finnish results mentioned by Dr. Goldacre (I just put “Finland mmr autism” into PubMed):

    Neurologic disorders after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. (link to full paper!)
    Mäkelä A, Nuorti JP, Peltola H.
    Pediatrics. 2002 Nov;110(5):957-63.PMID: 12415036

    Measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, autism and inflammatory bowel disease: advising concerned parents.
    Elliman DA, Bedford HE.
    Paediatr Drugs. 2002;4(10):631-5. Review.PMID: 12269839

    • Sullivan February 1, 2011 at 19:45 #


      parts of Dr. Chadwick’s dissertation are on Brian Deer’s website. Note that this was dated Feb. 1998. That’s the same month as the Lancet paper.


      Hypothesis. i) Atypical exposure to measles virus is a factor in the aetiology of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). ii) Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination is a factor in the aetiology of autistic enteropathy.

      Aims. i) To compare a range of molecular techniques for measles RNA amplification. ii) To develop a sensitive and robust method for the detection of measles RNA. iii) To analyse clinical samples from IBD patients for the presence of measles RNA. iv) To analyse clinical samples from autistic enteropathy patients for the presence of measles, mumps and rubella RNA.

      Methods development. Three RNA amplification methods were compared in terms of their sensitivity and fidelity for the detection of measles RNA and nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA) was found to be the most sensitive. In a preliminary study, NASBA did not detect any measles RNA in a coded series of IBD and control intestinal tissues.

      In order to improve the detection sensitivity, the use of hybrid capture, using measles-specific oglionucleotides linked to paramagnetic solid phase supports, was investigated. Hybrid capture was found to increase the measles RNA detection sensitivity 100-fold when followed by RT-PCR. An internal modified transcript was developed which could be co-amplified with measles RNA as an internal positive control

      IBD samples. Resection samples from 20 IBD and control patients were used for measles hybrid capture followed by RT-PCR, in addition to peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 13 IBD and control patients.

      Autistic enteropathy samples. Biopsies, PBMCs and Vero/PBMC cocultures were analysed from 22 patients with autistic enteropathy and 6 controls.

      Results. Hybrid capture and RT-PCR could detect 104 molecules of a measles RNA transcript added to control tissue homogenates. The fidelity of NASBA, in terms of its nucleic acid error rates, was found to be comparable with that of RT-PCR. All samples were found to be positive for a housekeeping RNA species and internal modified positive control RNA. None of the samples tested positive for measles, mumps or rubella RNA, although viral RNA was successfully amplified in positive control samples.

      Conclusion. The results do not support previous data implicating persistent measles virus infection with the aetiology of IBD or autistic enteropathy.

  36. John Stone February 1, 2011 at 20:12 #

    Dr Elliman took it upon himself to be an expert witness and sole witness for the GMC prosecution in August 2007 in a three week case against a doctor accused of giving misleading evidence in reports to a Court. The outcome of the case included a legally highly unusual finding. The accused doctor’s defence was found proven to the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. It was a resounding success for the doctor following six years of a professional career blighted by the GMC’s actions in pursuing a worthless case.

    Here are extracts of the transcripts of the case dealing with Dr Elliman’s evidence against the Doctor being “quibbling”:-

    D4/23 – Dr Elliman cross-exam

    “Q You do not think that is a little bit quibbling?

    A You could argue that, yes. Yes, is the answer to your question.”


    D6/59 [Accused Doctor’s expert witness being asked about Dr Elliman’s evidence]

    Q ….. “Page 52, please, of your report, pages 36 and 37 of Dr Elliman, the bottom of page 37 and over to the top of page 37. In the last sentence of the middle paragraph you say, “Despite the purported success of this campaign…” and Dr Elliman in his report said, “’Despite’ is not an appropriate word in this context”, and again, unless he wishes to say anything, he agreed with the quibbling when I cross-examined him about it: “Q You do not think that is a little bit quibbling?

    A You could argue that, yes. Yes, is the answer to your question.”

    D9/55 – Closing Submissions – Accused Doctor’s Counsel

    “Page 37 at the end of the first paragraph. The point may not matter very much, but the point that Dr Elliman is making is that he is criticising Dr Donegan:

    “ ‘Despite’ is not an appropriate word in this context.”

    He agreed in cross-examination at D4/23B to C that this was quibbling. I asked in relation to both those two points that I have just made and, indeed, others as well, why it is that an expert who spends four and a half months preparing a report, has meetings with Counsel and no doubt numerous telephone calls and e-mails between him and the solicitors getting that report to the state which is put before you, that just in the face of no reason at all he decides to withdraw those points and accepts that the point he has been making is quibbling. That is not the appropriate basis, in my submission, to bring a professional person before their professional body on the basis of points that are subsequently withdrawn for whatever reason, or not pursued for whatever reason and are agreed to be quibbling.”



    ” …… At the foot of the page:

    “Some people develop nerve damage causing either muscle weakness or altered sensations.”

    This is the point I was making. Dr Elliman’s criticism is that where Dr Donegan says “some”, in fact the report says “rare”. He says leaving out the word “rarely” is misleading. In fact, you will remember when we looked at it the patient information leaflet actually says a few patients rather than some and rather than rarely. That is where she got it from. I have to say, in my respectful submission, that is on the quibbling side.”

  37. century February 1, 2011 at 23:50 #

    Chris wrote,

    “Um, century, did you miss the six citations to peer reviewed papers..”

    Oh, you are a wag Chris.

    This has been done soooo many times before…as you very well know.. that we don’t need to go there again.

    Please try to be original – yawn!!

    Yours, with regards


  38. Chris February 2, 2011 at 00:11 #

    century, I recognize the words as being part of the English language, but the way you arranged them makes no sense. You stated that I only had two reference, and you did not like either physician (for whatever reason, it does not matter). So I replied I had done included other actual peer reviewed studies.

    Did you, or did you not notice the six, now eight, peer reviewed citations I have included in this conversation?

    And notice that Sullivan quoted Chadwick’s paper that the samples from the children were negative for measles. Just like he testified in the US Autism Omnibus proceedings.

    Do try to keep up. (Are you a sockpuppet of AWOL?)

    John Stone: So what?

    Does it have anything to do with the Mäkelä paper? Or the Taylor papers? Or any of the others?

  39. AWOL February 2, 2011 at 01:36 #

    Dr Wakefield and his colleagues have been much derided by opponents such as Deer for doing his gut tests. The principle is called “integrity”. It is an alien concept to Deer and you Chris and in Departments of Health and certain areas of commerce. This is the area where science is lost to political or economic requirements.

    Chris you hold up “peer review ” on all your studies who did the peer review`s ?was it the three stooges? Well, in the words of Porky Pig “tha-tha-tha-tha-That’s all folks.” Speaking of Porky, do I smell bacon? is anyone going to enlighten us who peer reviewed Deers paper as well as your copy and pastes Chris?

    • Sullivan February 2, 2011 at 01:47 #

      If Mr. Wakefield defines “integrity” I am happy to be “alien”.

  40. Chris February 2, 2011 at 02:13 #

    AWOL, I don’t know, nor do I care who did the peer review. That is an honest answer. Unlike you never once answering my questions on the other closed thread.

    It has been established that Wakefield’s findings were shown to be wrong long before Deer came on to the scene. If Wakefield has a definition of integrity, I’ll be right there with Sullivan as an “alien.”

    (Well, technically we are both aliens to you, Mr. Stone, Dr. Wakefield and your sockpuppets. We live on Earth, and not Htrae where everyday is opposite day!)

  41. Chris February 2, 2011 at 05:07 #

    I just listened to this week’s “Are We Alone” podcast. The conversation with Bruce Alberts, editor-in-chief of Science, is directly relevant to this article, especially the peer review process.

  42. Geoff February 2, 2011 at 07:50 #

    John Stone’s problem, as always, is to try to punch well beyond his weight. It’s a pity in many ways that anti-vaxxers don’t have people of real ability and knowledge of public affairs to participate in the debate. That way it would all be more interesting.

    In the case of Dr Donegan, Mr Stone says: ‘The accused doctor’s defence was found proven to the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.’

    It’s such a pity that Mr Stone does not have a basic, schoolbook, grasp of legal process. Defendants’ cases are never found proven, whether to the suggested standard or otherwise. It is the prosecution which faces the burden of proving their case. In this case it failed to satisfy the panel to the requisite standard of ‘sureness’ (not ‘reasonable doubt’).

    One day Mr Stone might get something right. This was not that occasion.

  43. AWOL February 2, 2011 at 15:47 #


    You state below you “don’t care,” well you should, you have listed studies which are no more than pharma funded “ hatchet jobs” under the cloak of respectability of “Peer Reviews” designed to discredit AW.

    “January 31st, 2011
    But who peer reviewed Brian Deer’s BMJ articles, if anybody?

    At a minimum at least one lawyer”

    “February 2nd, 2011
    02:13:28AWOL, I don’t know, nor do I care who did the peer review. That is an honest answer.”

    Below considerations Peer reviewers have to take into consideration. No doubt,as you state Brian Deer’s “lawyer” at the BMJ, is completely clear of conflicts and meets the criteria below can you clarify your position on this?

    We ask peer reviewers to make every reasonable effort to ensure the following criteria are taken into account for those submitted manuscripts they have agreed to peer review.

    2.1. Although authors’ identities are normally anonymised, content within a manuscript may reveal an author’s identity, or aspects of identity. In such cases, a peer reviewer of a manuscript must give unbiased consideration to each manuscript submitted for consideration for publication, and should judge each on its merits, without regard to race, religion, nationality, sex, seniority, or institutional affiliation of the author(s).

    2.2. A peer reviewer should declare any conflict of interest when the manuscript under review is related to the peer reviewer’s own work. A peer reviewer should not evaluate a manuscript authored or co-authored by a person with whom the peer reviewer has a personal or professional connection if the relationship would bias judgment of the manuscript.

    2.3. A peer reviewer should treat the peer review process as entirely confidential, and neither the submitted manuscript, nor information about the submitted manuscript, nor correspondence related to their peer review should be shared or circulated to any person not engaged in the peer review process.

    2.4. A peer reviewer should provide a comprehensive, evidenced, and appropriately substantial peer review report.

    2.5. A peer reviewer should be alert to the failure of authors to cite relevant work by other scientists, and should call to the Journal Editor’s attention any significant similarity between the manuscript under consideration and any published paper or any manuscript submitted concurrently to another journal of which she or he is aware.

    2.6. A peer reviewer should make all reasonable effort to submit her or his report and recommendation in a timely manner.

    2.7. A peer reviewer must avoid making statements in submitted articles which might be construed as impugning any person’s reputation.

    2.8. An author must declare any potential conflict of interest that might be affected by publication of the results contained in a manuscript, and acknowledge funding.

  44. Chris February 2, 2011 at 16:24 #

    Really, AWOL, it all comes down to the “science” done by Wakefield. There wasn’t any, and we have known that for almost a decade. If you can prove his “findings” were independently replicated you might have an argument. Until then, you are just spitting into the wind.

  45. Julian Frost February 2, 2011 at 18:33 #

    More to the point AWOL,
    What proof do you have that the peer reviewers violated the principles that you listed above?

  46. AWOL February 2, 2011 at 19:38 #

    Chris your flying off at a tangent .Sullivan’s thread is about discussing Peer Review. To remind you, Sullivan and Brian Deer at the beginning of this thread , were more than interested to talk about Peer Review although as Sullivan states Brian Deer doesn’t want to talk to John Stone, Clifford Miller, me and others(whatever we did Brian and we think we know, were not sorry). When the subject matter was Dr Wakefield the posts were rolling in and from Mr Deer no less. Surprise to nobody; nobody wants to discuss Brian Deer’s peer reviewed, BMJ paper or discuss the peer reviewed frauds Big Pharma has had its fingers in.

    ..FWIW ,I can prove replication of Dr Wakefield’s in the click of a mouse, his work has been ,replicated recently, not a problem ..Lets stick to the subject matter which is Peer Review .Tell me, did your BMJ lawyer meet the criteria as detailed above? Can you give me the name of the lawyer? Could you supply me his e-mail?

    • Sullivan February 2, 2011 at 19:52 #

      I can prove replication of Dr Wakefield’s in the click of a mouse

      First, what is Mr. Wakefield’s research that has supposedly been replicated?

      Peer review…Brian Deer’s articles were sent out. BMJ, like most journals, does not make peer reviewers public.

      If there are substantial errors, Mr. Wakefield should write up his response and submit to the BMJ. Spinning our wheels on who peer reviewed Brian Deer is not very productive.

  47. AWOL February 2, 2011 at 19:41 #

    “More to the point AWOL,
    What proof do you have that the peer reviewers violated the principles that you listed above?”


    (NaturalNews) It’s being called the largest research fraud in medical history. Dr. Scott Reuben, a former member of Pfizer’s speakers’ bureau, has agreed to plead guilty to faking dozens of research studies that were published in medical journals.

    Now being reported across the mainstream media is the fact that Dr. Reuben accepted a $75,000 grant from Pfizer to study Celebrex in 2005. His research, which was published in a medical journal, has since been quoted by hundreds of other doctors and researchers as “proof” that Celebrex helped reduce pain during post-surgical recovery. There’s only one problem with all this: No patients were ever enrolled in the study!

    Learn more:

  48. Chris February 2, 2011 at 19:58 #


    .FWIW ,I can prove replication of Dr Wakefield’s in the click of a mouse, his work has been ,replicated recently, not a problem

    Oh, please do not post the over four year old Sally Beck story from the Daily Fail! It was a poster presentation, and not a published study.

  49. AWOL February 2, 2011 at 20:06 #

    Peer review…Brian Deer’s articles were sent out. BMJ, like most journals, does not make peer reviewers public.

    This is my point, if, the BMJ paper was “sent out” to a firm ,the said firm would probably be a firm that the BMJ trusted to return the goods approved which they did demonstrating that work ,was indeed good work and passed it. You know as well as I do Sullivan that, the BMJ paper is full of obvious mistakes apparent to a layperson, never mind a “lawyer” specialised in peer review .

    Brian Deer aside, it’s the BMJ and particularly Harvey Marcovitch that the buck stops with in this particular joke of a peer review.

  50. AWOL February 2, 2011 at 20:10 #

    Oh, please do not post the over four year old Sally Beck story from the Daily Fail! It was a poster presentation, and not a published study.

    Keep guessing…got it here..and another finishing in 4 months time an even bigger one.

    • Sullivan February 2, 2011 at 22:48 #

      Yes, please don’t waste our time with the Sally Beck story. AWOL, I was responding to someone else, you might notice.

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