Wakefield finding: Pro & con

As most readers probably know, the UK General Medical Council censured Dr. Andrew Wakefield for his research that supposedly shows a link between immunization with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism. The Autism corner of the blogosphere has been rife with discussion (more than what I can up with keep). However, Liz Ditz has been maintaining a catalog of notes pro and con regarding the finding. For those who are interested, read Andrew Wakefield: Dishonesty, Misleading Conduct, and Serious Professional Misconduct: Blog Posts Critical of Verdict; Blog Posts Approving of Verdict

Also see theBBC news coverage, MMR scare doctor ‘acted unethically’ panel finds, and the UK Telegraph story, “GMC brands Dr Andrew Wakefield ‘dishonest, irresponsible and callous’.”

I want to note that readers should understand that the GMC investigation, though very important, did not expressly examine the scientific basis of Dr. Wakefield’s case. The findings discuss whether he was qualified to do the work and followed procedures in seeking approval for it. The scientific strength of the findings from the study in question have been examined extensively by well-qualified researchers and found wanting, though (see, for example, Hornig et al., 2008).

1 Response to “Wakefield finding: Pro & con”

  • Thanks for the shout-out, John.

    Your readers may also be interested in Brian Deer’s account of the announcement of the findings, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/article7009882.ece

    Deer is the investigative reporter who did the background work that lead to the GMC hearing.

    Anthony Cox, a UK academic and pharmacovigilance pharmacist, explains Deer’s background (and some of the slurs against him) at http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2010/01/oh-deer/

    What I find curious is how relatively silent the anti-vaccination folk have been about the ruling. There were a flurry of posts at Age of Autism, but besides that there have been only seven blog posts defending Wakefield.

    A great many of the pro-GMC-findings posts are from other than the usual suspects (the science-based wing of the autism community and the skeptics). There were several moving posts from parents who agonized over the decision to give their children the MMR vaccine and are furious at Wakefield’s dishonest conduct.

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