For the Discerning Journalist: 8 Wakefield Myths Deconstructed

May 24, 2018

Every time there’s an outbreak of measles or mumps, the media brings up Dr. Andrew Wakefield and a certain 1998 scientific paper. The problem is that the majority of mainstream coverage gets virtually everything about this wrong. This false narrative is being used to justify drastic public policy initiatives, so it’s more important than ever that accurate information be available. Below are 8 myths repeated ad nauseum by the mainstream media, along with the facts which paint a truer picture.

Myth #1: The 1998 paper coauthored by Dr. Wakefield claimed to show proof of an autism/vaccine link.

In 1998 Dr. Wakefield coauthored (with a dozen other doctors and scientists) a small study describing 12 children with inflammatory bowel disease and developmental delay, most of them diagnosed with autism. The principle finding of the study was “chronic enterocolitis in children that may be related to neuropsychiatric dysfunction.”

The paper accurately stated that parents of 8 out of the 12 children reported that their children’s digestive and developmental issues began soon after receipt of the MMR vaccine. The paper specifically stated that a link with the MMR had not been proven, but called for further research. Here is the paper: “Ileal-Lymphoid-Nodular Hyperplasia, Non-specific Colitis, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder in Children.”

Very reasonable conclusion, and the response should have been further research and scientific debate, instead of prosecution and persecution.

Some have criticized this paper for being too small for statistical significance. But this paper did not need statistical significance. It was a case series, an in-depth description of a group of patients. It was not epidemiology, not comparing rates of symptoms between various populations.

Myth #2: This small paper is the source of all vaccine concerns, and has caused measles outbreaks.

Many claim that this paper is the whole reason for the so-called “anti-vaccine movement.” This is ridiculous. This small paper would not have had “legs” were it not that thousands of parents have reported adverse reactions to vaccines followed by autism and bowel disease. This paper described a problem and responded to parental concerns.

So many parents started out with complete faith in the vaccine program, vaccinated their children, and witnessed adverse reactions, sometimes followed by regression into autism, sometimes accompanied by inflammatory bowel disease. These stories are told in many places, including Hear This Well: Breaking the Silence on Vaccine Injury.

Here is an account of a suspected vaccine-autism link from 1976: “Autistic Syndrome (Kanner) and Vaccination against Smallpox.” People were noticing this link even before Dr. Wakefield and Jenny McCarthy! Dr. Wakefield does not have superhuman powers of hypnosis transcending time and space.

Vaccine-induced autism (often with bowel disease) has been documented in books, court cases, movies, periodicals, scientific studies, and many other sources which are independent of Dr. Wakefield.

One group that has been hit particularly hard by vaccine-induced autism is the Somali-American community in Minnesota. Dr. Andrew Wakefield has been accused of causing fear of vaccines among Somali-Americans, but this is false—putting the cart before the horse. See this article by Robert F. Kennedy Jr: “Somali Parents’ Rational Concerns About Vaccine Safety.”

Dr. Edward Yazbak studied the question of whether the 1998 Lancet paper caused an increase in measles cases in England, and concluded

The evidence presented here is clear: According to official UK Government reports, the number of notified measles cases decreased from 1998 to 1999 to 2000 to 2001 and there were fewer cases of the disease during the ten years that followed the Wakefield paper than in the previous ten years . . . . According to HPA statistics, there was no ‘Wakefield Factor’.


Advertisement for The Pathological Optimist, a documentary about controversial doctor Andrew Wakefield

Myth #3: Dr. Wakefield committed fraud and professional misconduct.

We hear over and over that this paper was fraudulent or contained fraudulent data. This is false. Even the British General Medical Council (GMC), after years of investigation, did not find fraudulent data. Only reporter Brian Deer made that allegation (see Myth #8 below). For a review of the GMC charges against Dr. Wakefield see Mary Holland’s summary here: “Who Is Dr. Andrew Wakefield?” (Chapter 25, Vaccine Epidemic)

The GMC filed charges against three of the coauthors: Andrew Wakefield, Simon Murch, and John Walker-Smith. After years of hearings, the GMC convicted both Wakefield and Walker-Smith of professional misconduct, and took away their licenses to practice medicine.

Almost all of the charges filed against Wakefield and Walker-Smith were the same. Dr. Walker-Smith was able to get funding to appeal his conviction. A British court completely overturned the GMC’s ruling and restored Walker-Smith’s license to practice medicine. After thorough review of the children’s medical files, the court stated:

It is in its findings on the clinical issues in the individual cases of the Lancet children that the most numerous and significant inadequacies and errors in the determination of the panel occur. In no individual case in which the panel made a finding adverse to Professor Walker-Smith did it address the expert evidence led for him, except to misstate it. The issues to which this evidence went were of fundamental importance to the case against him. Universal inadequacies and some errors in the panel’s determination accordingly go to the heart of the case. They are not curable . . . .


For the reasons given above, both on general issues and the Lancet paper and in relation to individual children, the panel’s overall conclusion that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct was flawed, in two respects: inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion . . . . The end result is that the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure are both quashed.

See also:

Myth #4: These doctors did not have authorization to do research.

It’s inaccurate to state that the research did not have authorization. Dr. Walker-Smith  had authorization to allow extra tissue samples taken in the course of medically necessary procedures to be used for research. This was the authorization they used in the course of the Lancet study. Ethical approval 162-95 – giving Walker-Smith generic approval to take two additional tissue samples for research from children undergoing clinical colonoscopy – applied to the paper. The GMC was mistaken in applying Project 172-96, which would have required Ethics Committee approval: “The Lancet should Reinstate the Andrew Wakefield Paper,” by Martin Hewitt.

Advertisement for the Wakefield documentary Vaxxed: From Cover-up to Catastrophe about allegations made by William Thompson, PhD.

Myth #5: Dr. Wakefield conducted unnecessary invasive medical procedures.

World-renowned pediatric gastroenterologist John Walker-Smith  was actually in charge of the children’s medical treatment. It’s absurd that some allege Dr. Wakefield performed unnecessary medical procedures, as he did not order or perform procedures. His role was to coordinate the science. Moreover, in the court decision linked to in Myth #3 above, the judge confirmed that the procedures were properly ordered for the purpose of evaluation and treatment of the children.

The parents have stood by these doctors, saying that the treatments helped their children and that they were treated with professionalism, courtesy, and kindness.

As Jim Carrey said, “The problem is the problem.” These children were ill, suffering, and needed treatment.

Myth #6: The other 12 coauthors renounced the paper.

The other authors of the paper have stood by the actual findings, even though ten of them retracted the interpretation of a link with the MMR. The retraction stated:

The main thrust of this paper was the first description of an unexpected intestinal lesion in the children reported. Further evidence has been forthcoming in studies from the Royal Free Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology and other groups to support and extend these findings. While much uncertainty remains about the nature of these changes, we believe it important that such work continues, as autistic children can potentially be helped by recognition and treatment of gastrointestinal problems.

We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent.

Three coauthors of the paper wrote about why they still believed it was important to publish this study:

We welcome the response from Keith Lindley and Peter Milla, as we too had been concerned that the main thrust of the report—the detection of a consistent pattern of mucosal abnormality in children within the autistic spectrum—had been rather lost in the emotionally charged debate about a potential role for MMR vaccine in its pathogenesis. Their points about the absence of hard data supporting the link with MMR were made both within the paper, and forcefully by ourselves at the press conference accompanying publication. . . .

Should we have published? We believe that it was correct to do so, for two major reasons. First, this mucosal abnormality has been apparent in 47/50 children within the autistic spectrum, whether or not there is any perceived link with immunisation. Thus the lymphoid hyperplasia/ microscopic colitis changes were found in over 90% of the autistic children studied. . . .

Second, we have noted important behavioural responses in several of the children when their intestinal pathology is treated. . . . Most parents note a honeymoon period of behavioural improvement after the bowel preparation for colonoscopy and this is maintained if recurrent constipation can be prevented. Further cognitive improvement has occurred in response to aminosalicylates, provided that constipation is prevented.

Thus, we believe the report to be aimed at those involved in the care of autistic children, as a further indication that the intestine is involved; this is not apparent unless hunted for specifically by investigation, as simple as plain abdominal radiography or as invasive as colonoscopy. We re-emphasise the fact that there is a consistent pattern of gut inflammation in a high proportion of children within the broad autistic spectrum. Understanding the link between the bowel and the brain in autism may allow new insights into this devastating illness. We suggest that the accompanying commentary was not the only saving grace for The Lancet.

In other words, this study was done for the purpose of helping children with serious health conditions.

In addition, pathologists Amar Dhillon and Susan Davies have spoken out to defend their work on this paper.

Advertisement for the heartbreaking Wakefield documentary about a teenager with autism and inflammatory bowel disease who didn’t get the medical help he needed.

Myth #7: There’s no link between autism and bowel disease

Studies have confirmed that inflammatory bowel disease is common in autism.

Many parents report severe GI symptoms in their autistic children, including copious diarrhea and/or severe constipation, abdominal pain, and more. These are issues that need to be addressed.

Below is a link to a brief video showing how a life can be changed with proper treatment of GI issues. This English boy with autism and bowel disease could not get treatment in England. English pediatricians had continually declared that there was nothing wrong with this boy. He was flown to New York where he was treated by Dr. Arthur Krigsman.

Myth #8: Brian Deer is a heroic and brilliant crusader for truth.

Although the parents and coauthors stood by these Royal Free Hospital doctors, and even the GMC did not allege fraudulent data, for some reason the news media gave reporter Brian Deer a lot of air time, and thus credibility, as the one person alleging fraud. Deer got ahold of prior medical records that he was not even authorized to have, and that the Royal Free Hospital doctors had not seen, and compared them with the Lancet paper’s accounts of the children, claiming as falsification any small discrepancies or variances in interpretation that he could manufacture. If journalists did their homework, they would know that there are very good reasons for doubting Brian Deer’s credibility, as outlined by J. B. Handley in “Keeping Anderson Cooper Honest: Is Brian Deer the Fraud?”

Also see Dan Olmsted’s series on Age of Autism: “An Elaborate Fraud Series: Brian Deer, BMJ, Murdoch, Dr. Andrew Wakefield.” (Scroll down past the Laura Hayes and Teresa Conrick sections. Dan’s is the third series.)

See Brian Deer and hear what parents have to say in the following video: “Selective Hearing: Brian Deer and The GMC.”

In this video, a mother shows Deer a photo of her son’s belly with a colostomy bag hanging out of it, and Deer says, “That’s not bowel disease; that’s diarrhea.” Another mother shows Deer a scan showing her son’s grapefruit-sized ball of impacted poop, and Deer says, “That’s not bowel disease; that’s constipation.”

Parents also describe their children’s adverse reactions to the MMR in the video. It should be noted that in England during the 1990s, the MMR vaccine contained the Urabe strain of the mumps virus. The Urabe strain is known to cause serious adverse reactions, and its use had been discontinued in Japan. Problems have arisen due to the occurrence of meningitis associated with vaccines containing the Urabe mumps strain. No wonder so many parents were seeking help for their children at that time and place.

In the U.S., the MMR contains the Jeryl Lynn strain of mumps vaccine, which is currently showing diminishing effectiveness but is less reactive than the Urabe strain.

Dr. Wakefield’s suggestion was to vaccinate with the individual vaccines for measles, mumps, and rubella, instead of giving the triple vaccine, while these apparent injuries were studied further. When he made this recommendation, the individual vaccinations were still available, but soon after that the British government removed the import licenses for single vaccines, for unknown reasons.


In summary, Dr. Wakefield is a person of integrity and a very qualified professional. He did not falsify data. He studied sick children in an effort to help them.

And he is not the cause of the “anti-vaccine movement.” He responded to parents’ concerns; he did not cause those concerns. He does not have powers of mass hypnosis. Vaccine concerns existed then and still exist now independent of him.

The question of whether the MMR causes autism and inflammatory bowel disease needs further study, not suppression via disparagement and scapegoating of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Journalists need to do their jobs, scratch beneath the surface, and look at the facts instead of simply parroting talking points.

~ Twilight

For more by Twilight, click here

For further information, see this lengthy detailed account:

L’affaire Wakefield: Shades of Dreyfus & BMJ’s Descent into Tabloid Science.”

Dr. Wakefield speaks eloquently for himself in various videos, including this one:

Andrew Wakefield, MD Speaks to Association of American Physicians and Surgeons.”

A more recent video:

Dr. Andrew Wakefield Deals with Allegations.”

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49 Responses to For the Discerning Journalist: 8 Wakefield Myths Deconstructed

  1. John Collins says:

    Professor, and others, while I don’t have a child whose health declined temporally related to vaccines, I have seen too many whose health was compromised by what even the most strident of anti-vaccination supporter would acknowledge as preventable disease – the college student with meningitis, the pregnant woman who died from chicken pox, the child born with rubella syndrome and an unimmunized mother, the early 20’s young woman with advanced cervical cancer, and so on.

    I would hope you could acknowledge that for all the evils attributed to modern medicine, there are some advantages, as well.

    If you believe that alternative medicine is more effective, by all means use it (see the above sponsors of this blog site), but please don’t rally about their lack of science and make wild claims – homeopathy depends on “water memory”? Please. Would whomever considers himself/herself a scientist because of an undergraduate physics degree, but disparages Physicians, most of whom studied significant amounts of chemistry, biology, and physics, as well, please comment on the science behind homeopathy?

    We live in a badly polluted world, from Flint, Michigan, to the impending Love Canals, which are only going to get worse in the next few years. Our children and their children are facing a world of incredible harm.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      You might be surprised at what “strident anti-vaccination supporters” (really? How do you “support” “anti,” much less stridently?) think about your “preventable” disease. Have you read the inserts and pink papers on meningitis vaccines? I have. The number of meningitis cases they could conceivably prevent are very small indeed (less than a few hundred per year in the entire country), while the vaccines have a serious adverse event rate of 1% or more. That means that with the vaccine the number of people who get seriously ill will be MUCH larger than without it, about 40,000 per year. Is the illness potentially deadly? Certainly, but it is also affected by lifestyle factors and is treatable with antibiotics if caught early.

      I would be very surprised if you actually knew a pregnant woman who died from chicken pox as chicken pox is rarely deadly, even in adults for whom it is worse. When chickenpox was endemic, most people were immune long before they reached adulthood. If a woman made it to pregnancy without being immune, chances are very, very good that she was immunocompromised in the first place and susceptible to ANY infection whatsoever. If she had had the chicken pox vaccine, she would be susceptible to shingles, which is known to be MUCH more deadly than chicken pox.

      I would also be surprised if you actually knew any children who were born with rubella syndrome because that pretty much ended in the 1960s. And it’s interesting that you should mention rubella because maternal rubella infection is a KNOWN cause of autism. And yet, back in the 1960s when they first knew it, there were VERY few cases of autism. Now, when there is virtually no MATERNAL rubella infection (but widespread use of MMR in toddlers), autism is rampant. Go figure.

      And the only woman I know who had advanced cervical cancer in her early 20s got the HPV vaccine the year before during Gardasil’s clinical trials. When it came back even more virulent than it was in the first place and mainstream medicine told her there was nothing further they could do, she abandoned the system that had nearly killed her and went “alternative.” Fortunately, she is alive and well, no thanks to your so-called “prevention.” The same of course cannot be said for Emily Tarsell’s daughter Christina who was killed by the HPV vaccine.

      I do not claim to be a scientist and never have, even though I HAVE done the lab work for published scientific papers. What I DO claim is an understanding of science that far outclasses that of most of the MDs I have ever met, including Dr. Richard Besser who briefly led the CDC. He and I both went to Williams College where he did NOT major in science. (By the way, I do not disparage “physicians” in general, just the ones arrogant enough to believe that because they went to medical school they know everything there is to know. Many of the “alternative medicine” providers who are doing wonderful things are physicians with standard medical degrees, but they have incorporated the evidence they gathered in their practice of medicine with further scientific reading and gone far beyond what they were taught in school.)

      If YOU had a real background in science, you would know that just because the current state of science cannot adequately describe or predict a phenomenon does not mean the phenomenon is not real. It simply means that the science has not advanced far enough. As far as homeopathy is concerned, its healing properties (which are very real indeed) appear to be due to quantum effects that have been largely ignored by biologists to date. If you’re truly interested in the topic, you might want to read The Field, by Lynne McTaggart, which explores modern theoretical physics and the experiments that support it. Modern physics can and does explain many phenomena that so-called “skeptics” have problems with.

      • John Collins says:

        Actually, I do know a woman who died from varicella during pregnancy, and the literature suggests up to 20% MORTALITY in those circumstances. While I am not a proponent of the varicella vaccination in childhood (shocking, I know), it does reduce the chance of getting chicken pox, and, later, shingles, to less than 1%. I don’t espouse the “shingles” vaccine, either, nor did I encourage Lyme immunization.

        Despite what you might think, I did know a number of post-rubella children, most with hearing loss, vision problems, and some with mental retardation. I also knew some with polio, and, later post-polio syndrome. Unfortunately, I have seen women with HPV preventable disease, mainly because their parents couldn’t imagine their daughters being sexually active before marriage, and were dead wrong.

        I do have a real background in science, despite not going to Williams, but since my beliefs don’t always parallel yours, I must be one of the great unwashed. However, I have done, and published peer-reviewed research, so maybe I have a scintilla of credibility.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Varicella vaccination does indeed reduce the chance of getting chicken pox in childhood, but you are mistaken as to its reduction in the risk of shingles. People whose only exposure to varicella was through the vaccine can also develop shingles. We know that because shingles cases are being reported in CHILDREN who have received the varicella vaccine. Yes, you read that right, children.

        I’m intrigued by your definition of “HPV preventable disease” in women who were apparently quite young. As I’m sure you are aware, the vast majority of cervical cancer is due to long-term untreated HPV infections and the average age of onset is late 40s. Serious HPV-related disease is quite rare in young women. And, again I would challenge your assumption of its being “preventable” as it is clear that it did not prevent it in my friend and may even have caused it. In addition, there are many types of HPV, only a few of which even appear in a vaccine. If we increase incidence of some types, that could clear the ground for replacement by even more virulent types. Indeed, there is some evidence that type replacement is already underway.

        You may be surprised to learn that I don’t consider people who don’t have a real background in science to be beneath me in any way, much less part of “the great unwashed.” I do, however, confess to a certain impatience with people who claim scientific understanding but then evince extremely unscientific attitudes about phenomena they do not understand. You might also be surprised that I do not consider a lack of scientific understanding to be the greatest drawback of most mainstream physicians. Their greatest drawback is that they exhibit so little understanding of or even curiosity about how healing happens.

      • John Collins says:

        Shingles is rare in childhood, especially in immunocompetent children. In adults, shingles affects around one third of adults by age 80, when immunity from the disease has waned. There is insufficient experience with the varicella vaccine in childhood yet, but it is hard to posit a high incidence of shingles after the vaccination in childhood, without some mitigating factor(s).

        Glad I don’t have to be considered substandard because I don’t always agree with you.

        Your thoughts cited above on homeopathy certainly don’t concur with most physicists or physical chemists, but we know with the current attitudes towards climate science that what the majority of trained scientists think is, apparently, meaningless.

      • John Collins says:

        My hat is off to Professor TMR – physics major at Williams, Electrical Engineer, IT professional, and careers in the arts. However, none of her training is in the biological sciences, and her advisory board (Pathways) is top heavy with chiropractor and naturopath types whose training ing in the sciences is spotty at best. I would hope that all who read and post can discern what is factual and what is the result of a financial opportunity.

        Also, look up DK effect, far too prevalent.

        Somewhere on the spectrum between no immunizations and slavishly following CDC guidelines is the answer. Hope no one suffers harm as a consequence of whatever choices they make.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        “Her advisory board”? What are you talking about? TMR doesn’t have an “advisory board,” much less one filled with chiropractors and naturopaths (which, by the way, often do excellent work with regard to HEALING). This might be a good moment to reveal that the only reason why I don’t have “training” in the biological sciences is because I could not make myself do the dissection required. As a vegetarian empath, everything in me balks at the idea. Fortunately there is no dissection required to READ biological science, however. 😉

        And shock of all shocks, we’re all familiar with the Dunning-Kruger effect and would agree that, yes, it is in fact “far too prevalent.”

        Glad you think “slavishly following CDC guidelines” is not wise. That’s exactly what we want our readers to understand. We also hope that no one suffers harm as a consequence of whatever choices they make, but we are unfortunately apprised of situations where it happens every day. That’s why we do what we do.

      • John Collins says:

        Depending on your age, virtual dissection is available (as my kids, like me vegetarians, found out).

        I was referring to your advisory board on Pathways which has a lot of non-traditional “providers” listed.

        I would be interested in the “healing” of individuals with documentation of disease – eg. Malignancy, insulin dependent diabetes, COPD, renal failure, etc., rather than chronic fatigue, chronic Lyme, fibromyalgia, etc. which are subject to soft biases. Don’t know too many people who have recovered from serious disease from alternative treatment alone, but then i’m not as attuned to the alternative community.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Are you talking about the magazine Pathways? I have nothing to do with it beyond the fact that they republished an article or two of mine. Whatever its advisory board may be, it can certainly not be considered “mine” in any way.

        Did you miss the mention of the friend with recurrent invasive cervical cancer in her 20s who is alive and well despite being utterly written off by mainstream medicine? There are many more like her. It’s not just chronic illnesses like ME, Lyme, fibromyalgia, and autoimmune disease that can be healed through more “alternative” means.

      • John Collins says:

        The professor was listed as associated with pathways; I apologize if this was in error.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Just out of curiosity, what did you mean by “I would hope that all who read and post can discern what is factual and what is the result of a financial opportunity.”? Are you implying that this website provides some sort of “financial opportunity” to me? If so, I should probably set you straight immediately. Overall, I would say that my involvement in the Thinking Moms’ Revolution, while providing SOME income (in the range of about $1,000 per year) has probably COST me more money than I have received. In addition, the time I have spent writing, fact-checking, and editing for this blog has significantly reduced the time I have available to spend on more money-making activities AND probably reduced my employability in a city that is highly dependent upon the patronage of large corporations that include companies like Pfizer. In other words, “financial opportunity” does not figure into the work I do for TMR.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Unfortunately, virtual dissection was not an option when I chose not to take AP Biology back in 1978 (much to the disgust of my tenth-grade biology teacher who had been hoping to be thanked in my Nobel Prize speech). Nor was it offered to my 19-year-old daughter who recently took biology at a NYC specialized high school. Ah, well.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        By the way, you might be surprised to find that you sound an awful lot like that wild-eyed, crazy “anti-vaxxer,” JB Handley, who founded Generation Rescue:

        “Do you remember 1985? I do. It wasn’t the Dark Ages, and the world didn’t end with way fewer vaccines and way lower vaccination rates. In fact, the hysterical world we now live in where every outbreak of disease is called an epidemic is more recent than you even think. (By the way, people will characterize this blog post as ‘anti-vaccine.’ I heartily endorse a return to the 1985 vaccination schedule. Does that make me ‘anti-vaccine’ or just prudent?”

      • Twilight says:

        Reminds me of this article by J.B. where he looked at the congressional record surrounding the passing of the 1986 vaccine law.

        “Not once, in any of the dozens of articles I read on the bill, did anyone even hint that our kids were in trouble unless many more vaccines were introduced. Waxman and others were focused solely on keeping the handful of vaccines we did have from disappearing — the bill’s purpose was to save the existing vaccine program, not create a foundation for tripling the number of shots given to our kids.”

    • Anon says:

      John Collins—you wrote….” I would hope that all who read and post can discern what is factual and what is the result of a financial opportunity.”===Seems to me you finally hit the nail on the head. Certainly Pharma has huge financial opportunity. HUGE. Have you heard that Bayer recently bought out Monsanto (and intends to change the name)…

      • John Collins says:

        Monsanto is everything l incarnate, no doubt, but I was initially alluding to the “alternate medicine” sponsors whose ads appear on this site.

  2. Twilight says:

    Anyone who doubts whether the huge increase in autism is real should see this recent interview with a professor who has been gathering data for the CDC since 2000.

  3. Hans Litten says:

    Thousands of people in Warsaw took part in a protest against compulsory vaccination for children.

    The demonstration was organised within the framework of the
    “International Day Against Vaccinations.”

    • Twilight says:

      Thank you so much for publicizing this huge demonstration, especially since mass media is ignoring it!

  4. Meg says:

    First, let me say I appreciate and respect Dr. Wakefield and his work. However, you didn’t address one of the most important accusations against him and one that I’ve heard several times from “pro vaxxers” and that is the conflict of interest accusations. It’s alleged that prior to the original study he was involved in a class action case attempting to prove the vaccine was not safe and that he was paid for his participation. It is also alleged that at the time of the study he held a patent for a competing vaccine. I’ve read arguments against both of these accusations but it’s a pretty big elephant to leave out of an article about Wakefield myths deconstructed. Since this issue is completely ignored in this article, if I were a pro vaxxer, I would be left to assume that Dr. Wakefield’s alleged conflicts of interest are not, in fact, myths. I think it’s important to address these allegations.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      This article does not purport to be the be-all and end-all of information regarding Andrew Wakefield. It was meant to be a quick primer in basic facts, to indicate to anyone who reads it that the story they have gotten from the mainstream media is anything but the truth. The conflict of interest accusations, while just as “mythical” as the points covered in the article, are complex and varied and would require a lot more digital “ink” to understand, making the article anything but a quick read. Those accusations are dealt with extensively in L’Affaire Wakefield, a very long and exhaustively sourced piece linked at the end of the article.

    • Twilight says:

      One of the primary allegations of conflict of interest are addressed in Mary Holland’s piece “Who is Dr. Andrew Wakefield?”, linked to under Myth # 3:

      “Dr. Wakefield accepted 55,000 pounds to conduct a study for the class action suit regarding vaccines and autism. This was a research grant from which Dr. Wakefield personally received no compensation. Dr. Wakefield did not start this study until after the case series for the Lancet 12 had been submitted. Legal documents prove that Dr. Wakefield’s hospital knew about this study and knew about the amount of money he received, most of which went to pay the salary of a designated laboratory technician. Documents further demonstrate that Dr. Wakefield disclosed in a national newspaper over one year before publication of the 1998 article that he was working with the litigators. Dr. Horton, editor of The Lancet, had been informed and should have been well aware of Dr. Wakefield’s role in the vaccine-related litigation before the publication of the 1998 article.”
      — p. 226

      The alleged conflicts of interest are part of the alleged “professional misconduct”.

      As ProfessorTMR mentioned, Vera Sharave explores the alleged conflicts of interest accusations in depth, as well as the actual conflicts of interest on the other side, in her article “L’affaire Wakefield…” linked to at the end of my article above.

      In the video of Dr. Wakefield speaking, he addresses some of the COIs as well.

      There’s a lot more worth covering besides these 8 myths, but the hope is to provide a readable introduction to this chicanery, with links to more in depth information.

      • Jan T says:

        Here is two great sources showing both sides of the issue. The first is the Documentary made by Deer that the British saw and would have been the only source most would see to form an opinion on Wakefield.
        The second video is a recent interview of Wakefield and his side of the story with some supporting documents. Both cover the items you mentioned, conflicts of interest and the competing vaccine.
        Watch both, who do you believe? Deer Wakefield
        You need two hours as you have to watch everything. I would watch the Deer one first.

    • Twilight says:

      P.S. Mary Holland also addresses another of the primary COI allegations on p. 227 of the article linked to in Myth #3:

      “Deer alleged that Dr. Wakefield had a pending patent application for a separate measles vaccine and hoped to ‘cash in’ by urging parents to forego the MMR for separate measles vaccines. The evidence proves that Dr. Wakefield was not a patent holder for a separate measles vaccine. St. Mary’s Hospital held a patent for a therapeutic single measles vaccine using the beneficial immune properties of transfer factor, intended for people already infected with the measles virus. This measles vaccine was not a preventive product for people unexposed to the virus; in other words, there was no possible financial competition between the MMR vaccine and the single measles vaccine for which the hospital, and not Dr. Wakefield, held a patent.24”

    • John Collins says:

      What’s left unsaid is often the most important.

  5. Jan T says:

    Isn’t it Brian Deer not Wakefield that caused the media frenzy, the huge public controversy over autism and MMR, and the loss of public confidence in the MMR vaccine
    If not for Deer the public would never have heard of this tiny study.

  6. John Collins says:

    So, Susan (or Ms. Welch, if you prefer), a few thoughts. I don’t think the incidence (or prevalence) of autism has ever been as low as 1:10,000, but it was, at one time, as low as 1:2,500, according to the literature I have reviewed. I certainly agree that the prevalence of autism, and spectrum disorders, is increasing. Part of this is due to awareness, and some of it to broader diagnostic categories (look at earlier editions of the DSM) since 1943. This is, of course, true with many diseases. 50 years ago, autism was relatively unknown; adults were typically thought of asocial or “odd”, and may have become physicists, engineers, pathologists and radiologists if they went into the sciences, or artists if so inclined.

    There are many more diagnostic tools available, so studies of mitochondrial disease, functional MRI and PET scans, genetic analyses, etc. can be performed. I have no doubt that there are significant environmental factors; look at the diagnostic rates in different states, not all of which is attributable to better or poorer diagnostic abilities. Autism does occur in non-immunized populations, of course, but considering the horrendous lack of regard for air/water/soil/food quality, and the likelihood that with the current mood in Washington pollution will get worse, I sadly believe that the diagnosis of autism will increase.

    Having said this, I will repeat my comments from above anent what immunizations, if any, you would recommend for your child, and what ones, if any, you would propose for a population?

    • henry says:

      > what immunizations, if any, you would recommend for your child, and what ones, if any, you would propose for a population?

      I would propose no immunization. I would propose instead strict hygiene. Yes, there would still be a few cases of kids who catch contagious diseases and die from them, and that’s sad, but that’s nature. We are not all born supermen. Nature filters out the unfit. That’s what it does and has always done. A child born with a weak immune system is kind of doomed anyway. You don’t want to vaccinate a child with a weak immune system anyway.
      There are enough reports out there from pediatricians who state that unvaxed kids are in much better health. I want to believe vaccines are for the greater good. That’s not what we see/read/hear however.

      Anecdotally, the 2 parents I know who didn’t vaccinate their kids, their now teenage kids have never been sick. When my in-laws visited me recently, father in law took the flu jab to be safe. He had good intentions. The day he landed, I got a bad flu that got me (together with my 40weeks pregnant wife) stuck to bed for 2 long weeks. I never got such a bad flu in my life. I never took the flu jab either. This got me extremely upset, for myself, and mostly for my wife who was about to deliver the baby. She was still sick during labour. Needless to say, I’m not about to take that flu jab shit anytime soon. BTW, why do you think all medical practices offer it for free ? If it’s given at no cost, maybe it’s because it’s worth zero.

      • John Collins says:

        No immunization indeed. You may be too young to recall when smallpox ravaged the world, leaving hundreds of millions dead, or recall the scourge of polio, both of which have been eradicated from the first world.

        Nature filters out the unfit. Yup, social Darwinism. Would you recommend not treating those whose problems can be cured or managed by medicine or surgery? Don’t think eugenics worked too well in the 20th century?

        The plural of anecdote isn’t data.

        The Medical practices offer flu immunizations for free because it’s a public health measure. Flu shots aren’t 100% effective; nothing is, but both the incidence and severity are reduced.

        Hope no one you know and love gets ill from a vaccine-preventable Disease.

    • Michael Wolff says:

      “What, if any immunizations would you recommend for your child?” Very good question John and that is how the vaccine schedule should be determined…according to that specific child’s needs. Not according to the CDC Schedule.
      My children will receive no more vaccines because of these questions:
      1. Where is the safety data for aluminum?
      2. Where is the safety data for the multiple shots given in one shot i.e. MMR, Dtap etc?
      3. Where is the safety data for the CDC schedule?
      4. If vaccines are so safe why do the drug companies and the doctors have zero liability for the product?

      • John Collins says:

        In reverse order – they have negotiated the “no liability” clause so that there would be less financial risk to the manufacture of vaccines. There are, certainly, some individuals harmed by immunizations, but if you review the allegations of some of the lawsuits brought, you would understand why they might want protection.

        The safety data for the CDC data likely comes from consensus conference, not rigorous to be sure, but SWAG. There is no research specifically for these questions, partly due to complexity of design, and partly due to lack of funding. Ditto to the question for multiple shots, with the added consideration of balancing fewer office visits with improved efficacy.

        Anent aluminum – we cook with aluminum pots and pans, and while it is not established, there has been speculation relating it to Alzheimer’s dementia. Used as an adjuvant in some immunizations, it provides a minuscule amount, far better this than thimerasol, a mercury containing substance.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        Clearly, it is perfectly okay with you that safety is anything but established for vaccines. It is also clear that you did not see a loved one’s health tank shortly after a round of vaccines, unlike many of our readers. If you had, the lack of safety data might be a little more disturbing to you. It is also okay with you that vaccine manufacturers have ZERO liability for the harm done by vaccines on the childhood vaccine schedule, and that said childhood vaccine schedule EXPLODED since the law was passed removing that liability. In one fell swoop, vaccines went from being a liability for their manufacturers to being the hottest new profit sector for a group of companies that have ALL paid high fines for deceptive business practices that indicate a callous disregard for the lives of their customers. It may shock you to know that many people find those facts far less than reassuring.

        You also might find it interesting that only about 0.3% of ingested aluminum is absorbed, and by the time it is absorbed into the bloodstream it is has a different biochemical effect than injected aluminum has. Injected aluminum is engulfed by macrophages which have no problem making their way into the brain, especially brains that are already inflamed, causing a vicious circle. It has also been shown that LARGE amounts of injected aluminum are usually blocked off by the body in “granulomas” that are at least temporarily protective. Smaller doses, however, find their way into the bloodstream immediately and can be more harmful.

        If you are truly interested in what aluminum is doing in your body, covers the science quite well. Click the “articles” tab, and you will get a list of articles on aluminum that provide a great overview of the mountain of science available. A little bit of reading should make it clear to you that your understanding of the potential harm caused by injection of aluminum adjuvant is woefully inadequate. Of course, vaccine manufacturers don’t want you to know that, so you will find virtually none of the science honestly discussed in mainstream media.

  7. john says:

    I read about an established connection between autism and a bowel disorder well before the MSM exposed Andrew Wakefield. At the time, no one was mentioning about vaccines. People mentioned about antibiotics as a cause of this disorder. BTW, to this day, no GP prescribes antibiotics to a very young child who feels sick. There’s a reason for this.

    In his report, A.W. tries to find a link between the injection of the MMR and the bowel disorder. If I understand correctly, he doesn’t explicitly states that the MMR is responsible for autism.

    Now, why did they not seek other causes for the bowel disorders ? If it’s not the MMR, then it has to be something else. If A.W.’s analysis was heading the wrong way, it should have been easy to point whatever else is responsible for the bowel disorder. All the MSM did was to start a war against A.W. and call him names.

    Is it really a surprise there are so many skeptics today ? I myself have lost faith in modern medicine. I went from blindly trusting whatever my GP would tell me, to being very skeptical, doing my own research online, and looking for alternative natural treatments.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      He didn’t even “try to find a link” in the paper. They merely reported that parents of eight of the children told the doctors at the Royal Free that their children’s symptoms began after the MMR vaccine (NOT after antibiotics, though antibiotics do have a well-known connection to bowel disturbances, and are also implicated in the etiology of a large percentage of autism cases). When some of the other doctors questioned putting it in the paper out of fear of exactly the sorts of reactions they did get, Wakefield asked them if they would feel comfortable leaving out any other exposure that was specifically implicated in such a large percentage of cases. The consensus was that leaving out such information would be irresponsible science.

      And, yes, mainstream medicine didn’t seek other answers; they explicitly (like Brian Deer) pretended that these children did not have bowel disease, until ethical mainstream scientists confirmed it repeatedly. And then, in what may be the most outrageous example of spin I’ve ever seen, Emily Willingham and Forbes tried to blame Wakefield–the person who first brought major media attention to the link between autism and bowel disorders–for the fact that mainstream medicine actively ignored that link for so long when it should be obvious to all that Wakefield is virtually the only person who ISN’T to blame for that. Willingham herself is certainly among the culpable.

    • John Collins says:

      Alternative medical treatments that work are called medicine, not homeopathy, not essential oils, not pseudoscience, not therapy from a distance. Too bad so many have lost faith in Medical Science, but it’s the best we have.

      • Michael Wolff says:

        “Alternative medical treatments that work are called medicine”

        Oh John Collins that is cute that you think that way or really sad if you are a medical professional.

      • Colie says:

        Sorry John but that’s a load of rubbish. Any alternative medicine that worked is not now called medicine. It’s whatever could be patented which is a massively different. That’s why cannabis and cbd are now being attempted to be patented. Cannabis hasn’t killed anyone throughout its entire existence… once it’s patented and sold as medicine you’ll have your first death not too long after. Western medicine is far from the best we got. By a long shot.

  8. Jeannette Bishop says:

    The false and widely accepted version of the events around the Lancet paper and Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues is demonstrable of the culture that props of up vaccination and widespread vaccine injury, IMO. Anytime someone asks how “we believe” there is this “grand conspiracy” to “poison all the children in the world,” we could try to point out that in reality there is rather this grand unquestioning spoon-feeding and regurgitating, where even individuals skeptical of some aspect or other of pharma can be found parroting the mythological version of the Wakefield story, as if it’s well-established fact. It would only take a few hours to falsify one or more aspects of the story, perhaps a few days of concerted effort to get most of the picture, but few undertake the task.

    With the mass state of unwellness in our youth today and hundreds of new vaccines and likely many mandates on the horizon, I would hope more would have plenty of incentive to undertake that task now, and make real efforts to determine how much vaccination contributes to the former and how important it is to implement truly healthy practices for disease mortality and morbidity prevention going forward.

  9. Nancy says:

    Age of autism is a must-read. Dr. Wakefield has got to be one of the most humble kind , compassionate, intelligent human beings I’ve never met. I hope one day to meet him in person. Dan Olmsted is an amazing person as well. I had the pleasure of speaking with him via text as he comes from the same area I grew up in. He’s also an amazing man who I admire greatly. Both of my sons who are diagnosed with autism have gastro issues. My youngest son who is 18 is an absolute myth number 7. He is heading for a feeding tube as he weighs 106 lb and is close to 6 ft tall. To say he is thin is an understatement, to say he has gastro issues is also an understatement. He is also nonverbal, to think we have the possibility to bring some shred of life and no pain for this little boy of mine thrills me beyond all comprehension.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but it sounds as if you may not know that Dan passed away in early 2017. Dan was a wonderful man, and the autism community owes him a tremendous debt.

  10. Great post and really excellent points made. The paper was censored for daring to scrutinize the vaccine at all, as the GMC decision against Wakefield makes clear (p. 43):

    “b. You knew or ought to have known that your reporting in the Lancet paper of a temporal link between the syndrome you described and the MMR vaccination, Admitted and found proved i. had major public health implications, Admitted and found proved ii. would attract intense public and media interest, Admitted and found proved”

  11. Anon says:

    Sigh…just read this article..Sure felt sad. As mentioned previously, many(most?) doctors in Canada have very little actual grounding/classes in Science/Chemistry. Would be interested to know what this Dr’s background is in this.

    “B.C.’s top doctor says there are “huge potential harms” connected to a homeopathic treatment based on the unfounded claim that vaccines cause most cases of autism.

    CEASE therapy — “complete elimination of autism spectrum expression.”

    Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told CBC News she was concerned to learn that CEASE is being offered in B.C.

    “It’s certainly not based on science. It’s based on a belief system,” Henry said. “My big concern is that it really misleads parents into believing that immunizations are a cause of their child’s autism.”

    Well, …big sigh…

  12. susan welch says:

    Oops! I should have said ‘interested’ in my first sentence.

  13. John Collins says:

    So, what are the end results of what you believe? No immunizations, fewer immunizations, more spaced out immunizations? If you were planning a schedule for a population, what would it consist of?

    Assume for a moment that 75% of cases of autism, however you define it, are directly due to immunizations/vaccinations, and that in an unimmunized population, no external factors could be identified, what conclusions would you draw?

    Oh, and why two myth #4, and no myth #6?😊

    What research would you suggest, and whom do you expect to fund it?

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      The myths were reordered prior to publication. Sorry for the typo.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      I’m not going to speak for Twilight, but I think we should stop “planning a schedule” of medical interventions intended to be given to every HEALTHY child, when there is a huge amount of variability in a child’s immune systems’ capability of handling such interventions and many are permanently harmed. We need to stop pretending that there is a “one size” that “fits all” children. We have abundant evidence that this is not the case and never will be.

      A number of OTHER “external factors” have ALREADY been identified, so your hypothetical could never happen. But if you’re asking would there be a background low level of autism even in a perfect non-toxic world, the answer is probably. There are genes that make autism MUCH more likely, even in the absence of environmental insults, but they account for only a small percentage of the autism population. As severe “Kanner” autism wasn’t described in medical literature until 1943, and thus is likely to be due to environmental interactions with genetic predispositions, it’s unlikely that we would see much of that. It is possible, however, that permanent genetic changes or epigenetic alterations may have already occurred in some people that would make it more likely.

      As far as research, I would suggest putting James Lyons-Weiler, author of The Environmental and Genetic Causes of Autism in charge, because he is the single person with the best understanding of what the science already implies and how to design studies to further reveal the truth. In fact, he already has a reasonable plan. I don’t care who funds it, but it seems like something that the National Institutes of Health should be able to get right if no one with conflicts of interest is directing who gets funding.

    • susan welch says:

      I would be interest to know, John Collins, what your solution to the autism problem would be. It has gone from 1;10,000 to at least 1:50 over the last 3 decades and that cannot all be put down to better diagnosis.

      You ask who should fund it, but millions of dollars have already been spent looking for a genetic cause. Therefore, perhaps those who have funded this useless research could put their dollars to better use and start looking at environmental causes.

    • Twilight says:

      I’m not qualified to say which vaccines anyone should receive. All I can say is:

      – We are giving too many too soon, without regard for the unintended consequences.

      – Alleged adverse reactions need to be studied, not just with a bit of number crunching but in depth study of individuals to determine mechanisms of injury, susceptibility factors, and effective treatments.

      – Alleged adverse reactions need to be much better track. Reporting to VAERS should be mandatory.

      – I agree with everything that ProfessorTMR said.

      – Individuals must have the right to make choices on vaccines, for themselves and their minor children.

      – My generation growing up in the 1960s with far fewer vaccines was healthier than today’s younger generation. We had far lower rates of immune and nervous system disorders such as autism, asthma, diabetes, food allergies, bipolar, seizures, IBD, and more.

      – I’m glad we were protected from polio and smallpox, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe to give an infant several vaccines at once, two dozen during the first 18 months of life.

      – We don’t vaccinate against smallpox anymore, so don’t imply that varying from the CDC schedule will cause smallpox outbreaks.

      This isn’t just a choice between all vaccines and no vaccines. Even if the current schedule were the best of all possible worlds (which it isn’t) we need to understand how to treat the injured veterans of our war on germs.

      Some doctors who recommend slower sparser vaccine schedules report lower rates of autism among their patients, such as Dr. Paul Thomas.

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