The second was by Anderson Cooper who interviewed Andy Wakefield about the BMJ editorial on AC360°. Wakefield was clearly unnerved and uncharacteristically frenzied by Mr. Cooper's direct questioning about his fraud, conflicts of interest and associations with the legal aid supporting the Lancet study. True to form, Wakefield lied and stated he declared his conflicts of interest, did not receive any money from the MMR litigation team and that his work, "has been replicated in five countries around the world".
Brian Deer's feature article was followed up by another scathing editorial by the editors of BMJ.
In a series of articles starting this week, and seven years after first looking into the MMR scare, journalist Brian Deer now shows the extent of Wakefield’s fraud and how it was perpetrated (doi:10.1136/bmj.c5347). Drawing on interviews, documents, and data made public at the GMC hearings, Deer shows how Wakefield altered numerous facts about the patients’ medical histories in order to support his claim to have identified a new syndrome; how his institution, the Royal Free Hospital and Medical School in London, supported him as he sought to exploit the ensuing MMR scare for financial gain; and how key players failed to investigate thoroughly in the public interest when Deer first raised his concerns.11Wakefield altered medical records of the 'Lancet 12' to the extent that none of the children's reported results were concordant with their medical records as summed up here:
How the link was fixed
The Lancet paper was a case series of 12 child patients; it reported a proposed “new syndrome” of enterocolitis and regressive autism and associated this with MMR as an “apparent precipitating event.” But in fact:
Three of nine children reported with regressive autism did not have autism diagnosed at all. Only one child clearly had regressive autism
Despite the paper claiming that all 12 children were “previously normal,” five had documented pre-existing developmental concerns
Some children were reported to have experienced first behavioural symptoms within days of MMR, but the records documented these as starting some months after vaccination
In nine cases, unremarkable colonic histopathology results—noting no or minimal fluctuations in inflammatory cell populations—were changed after a medical school “research review” to “non-specific colitis”
The parents of eight children were reported as blaming MMR, but 11 families made this allegation at the hospital. The exclusion of three allegations—all giving times to onset of problems in months—helped to create the appearance of a 14 day temporal link
Patients were recruited through anti-MMR campaigners, and the study was commissioned and funded for planned litigation
The MMR-autism scare is based upon verifiable, scientific fraud. Millions of dollars and countless hours have been consumed to investigate this claim and none has been found. Then again, it's rather difficult to find evidence of causation when the original claim was completely and utterly falsified for personal and financial gain. Any practitioner who would still perpetuate Wakefield's claim and support him should be viewed as dubious, at best and a charlatan, at worst.