Study linking vaccines to autism debunked

A new investigation has revealed that an infamous study linking autism in children to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine was conducted fraudulently.

The original study, authored in 1998 by Andrew Wakefield, was renounced and much maligned by colleagues when it was first published in the British medical journal the Lancet, but the suggestion that autism was linked to a common vaccine scared parents worldwide, according to Time.

The new investigation was conducted by comparing the hospital records of patients used in the study with those Wakefield used. The result shows that investigators found that Wakefield and his colleagues must have altered facts about the patients, Time reports.

The analysis, conducted by British journalist Brian Deer, found that, despite the study’s claim that none of the 12 children were autistic before being given the vaccine, five had previously documented developmental problems. The data found that all the cases were misrepresented when compared with data from the hospital and parents.

Wakefield has defended his work publicly. He is currently living in the United States, where he maintains a vocal following, according to Time. Last May, he was stripped of his right to practice medicine in the United Kingdom.

Deer’s article was sponsored by the Sunday Times of London and Britain’s Channel 4. It was published in the medical journal BMJ.