Anyone who wants to believe that vaccines cause autism — and there are, sadly, many of these conspiracy theorists, all too willing to risk their kids’ lives and other people’s kids’ lives on real communicable diseases out of ignorant fear of a well-debunked link between vaccines and autism — won’t be swayed by this news, but I share it anyway. From Bloomberg:
The Lancet medical journal formally retracted a study that linked a routine childhood vaccine to autism and bowel disease after a U.K. investigation found flaws in the original 1998 paper.
“It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation,” the editors of the Lancet wrote in a statement today. “In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were ‘consecutively referred’ and that the investigations were ‘approved’ by the local ethics committee have proven to be false,” they said.
The paper was retracted from the published record, stripping it of its scientific claims.
Mumps, measles, rubella, pertussis, polio and more — these are real dangers that vaccines prevent. Vaccines do not cause autism. Get your kids immunized, for their own good and for the good of the innocent kids with compromised immune systems (those on chemotherapy, for example) who can’t get immunized and rely on everyone else doing the right thing so that they won’t die of easily avoidable communicable diseases.
Update Feb. 12, 2010:
Another Wakefield study has just been withdrawn: The journal NeuroToxicology is distancing itself from a 2009 study entitled Delayed acquisition of neonatal reflexes in newborn primates receiving a thimerosal-containing Hepatitis B vaccine: Influence of gestational age and birth weight. In its apparently boilerplate withdrawal notice, the publisher says:
Withdrawn Articles in Press are proofs of articles which have been peer reviewed and initially accepted, but have since been withdrawn before being published in this journal. Reasons for withdrawal may be due to a decision by the author and/or editor, accidental duplication of an article elsewhere, or because the content contravenes the Elsevier publishing policy in some way. Withdrawn Articles in Press are only visible to users when following an external link, e.g., an end user following a PubMed or DOI link. Such Withdrawn Articles in Press are not searchable or otherwise available in ScienceDirect.