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January 6th, 2011
11:08 AM ET

Reporter: Autism study motivated by 'money'

(CNN) - A physician accused of an "elaborate fraud" in a now-retracted British study that linked autism to childhood vaccines is defending himself, telling CNN his work has been "grossly distorted."

Speaking on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Dr. Andrew Wakefield said Wednesday he has been the target of "a ruthless, pragmatic attempt to crush any attempt to investigate valid vaccine safety concerns."

An investigation published by the British medical journal BMJ concludes Wakefield misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients whose cases formed the basis of the 1998 study - and that there was "no doubt" Wakefield was responsible.

The journalist who authored the report for BMJ, Brian Deer, tells Kiran Chetry and TJ Holmes on American Morning that his motivation was purely journalistic while saying that Dr. Wakefield's motivation was "to make money."

Filed under: Health
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Jeraldine

    When Anderson Cooper asked Brian Deer if he indeed spoke to the parents of the children in the study Brian closed his eyes and was very non-specific in his answer, basically giving the appearance of a liar. Why don't reporters actually read Dr. Wakefield's book and check the facts instead of just listening to Brian Deer and the BMJ? There is no giant conspiracy – just the drug companies lying to doctors and parents to protect their financial interests. Dr. Wakefield's work has highlighted the fact that there are no studies showing vaccine safety (especially with multiple vaccines given at the same time.) Not to mention that the public is lied to everytime reporters say thimersol as been removed from chidrens vaccines. It hasn't been removed from ALL. This fact is also easy to check. Watch Dr. Wakefield's interview with Dr. Mercola to get the full story. Keep it honest!

    January 7, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  2. Ahmed

    I watched the interview with Dr. Wakefield in AC360 and am really shocked. Being a parent of an autistic son I used to believe the connection between vaccination (Murcury) and autism, but not anymore. However, it is not just Dr. Wakefiled, but there are lots of doctors even in US (Dr. Buttar championed the connection between Murcury and autism) and proposed miracle treatment TD-DMPS (chelation) for the cure, which may/may not work. Many doctors around the world are exploiting the parents sentiments and selling these so called cure for a very high price. Could you please investigate on these.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
  3. Sara D

    Brian Deer accepted money by the BMJ to write the opinion and find Wakefield fraudulent. His study has been reproduced. These kids are sick and all the media is reporting is an OPINION piece. No wonder why parents don't trust the vaccine schedule anymore.

    [i] Clinical Presentation and Histologic Findings at Ileocolonoscopy in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Chronic Gastrointestinal Symptoms, Arthur Krigsman, MD, et al, New York University School of Medicine, Autism Insights, 27 Jan 2010

    [ii] Endoscopic and Histological Characteristics of the Digestive Mucosa in Autistic Children with gastro-Intestinal Symptoms.Gonzalez L, et al. ArchVenez Pueric Pediatr, 2005;69:19-25.

    [iii] Panenteric IBD-like disease in a patient with regressive autism shown for the first time by wireless capsulenteroscopy: Another piece in the jig-saw of the gut-brain syndrome? Balzola F, et al. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2005. 100(4):979-981.

    [iv] Childhood autism and eosinophilic colitis. Chen B, Girgis S, El-Matary W.. Digestion. 2010;81:127-9. Epub 2010 Jan 9].

    [v] Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals With ASDs: A Consensus Report, Timothy Buie, MD, et al, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School Pediatrics, Vol. 125 Supplement January 2010

    January 6, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  4. D. Saldana

    We, the parents of children with autism don't know what to really believe. Everything is possible, Dr. Wakefield's version and the "medicine experts". But we are forgetting the most important characters in all this drama... Our kids. They are the ones who are struggling day by day with the effects of this unknown disorder. We need to focus our attention and even the air time to what's really important, fundraising and researching of the real cause and cure of autism. Our kids need a cure... Our kids deserve a cure.
    We don't really care if Dr. Wakefield was right or wrong. We care about our children. We need a cure, and I'm saying this not with a bad attitude but with all due respect to your profession but specially with all the love and all the hope I have for my son.

    January 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  5. dannyboy

    It is beyond belief that ONLY 12 patients were in the study. Anybody on the planet can cherry pick and find 12 patients that have anything.

    The scientific community is derelict in their duty to even accept this small number of patients as scientific proof of anything.

    Another black eye for the scientific EXPERTS well deserved case of chasing the money tree around and giving people exactly what they want to hear FOR GOVT MONEY.

    Scientists are even with the politicians who promise people the moon to get elected and then blame others when the other peoples money runs out.

    January 6, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
  6. Bill Leonard

    It's long been known that the Wakefield study was a fraud. Chasing that as well as focusing on the MMR/Autism link are red herrings. The issue is whether the CDC vaccine schedule itself is safe or not (the large number of shots given close together and, often, many given at the same time). The fact is that the CDC schedule itself has NEVER been tested (the bill, HR 2832, was meant to do just that: get the NIH to test the CDC schedule but ... it floundered in 2007). There are legitimate concerns with respect to vaccines with many mainstream researchers theorizing that there's a subset of the population that is susceptible to environmental triggers for autism, and one of these triggers is vaccines. Studies show a transitive correlation (correlation does NOT mean cause/effect but it does mean there's need for further study) between over-stimulation of the Th2 side of the immune system and autism. Vaccines over-stimulate the Th2 side of the immune system (which undermines the APA's own pamphlet that suggests multi-shot safety by trying to suggest that giving multiple vaccines at once is safe because the immune system successfully handles thousands of antigens daily; again, environmental antigens do NOT over-stimulate the Th2 side of the immune system). A prudent approach until we all know what's going on is: a) separate every shot when possible; b) to avoid extra shots, check for titres; c) go to a knowledgeable pediatrician who will select the vaccine from the manufacturer with the least amount of junk in it; and d) potentially exclude some of the CDC shots (e.g. check out The Vaccine Book). We go to Dr. Lawrence Rosen in NJ who helps us with this...

    January 6, 2011 at 1:34 pm |