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Wakefield Autism-Vaccine Study Revealed to be an 'Elaborate Fraud' - featured January 6, 2011

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[Source: Reuters]

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the-now disgraced British doctor who published studies linking vaccines with autism, committed an "elaborate fraud" by faking data, the British Medical Journal said on Wednesday.

The journal's editors said it was not possible that Wakefield made a mistake but must have falsified the data for his study, which convinced thousands of parents that vaccines are dangerous and which is blamed for ongoing outbreaks of measles and mumps.

The journal, commonly nicknamed the BMJ, supported its position with a series of articles by a journalist who used medical records and interviews to show that Wakefield falsified data.

For instance, the reports found that Wakefield, who included data from only 12 children in his report, studied at least 13 and that several showed symptoms of autism before having been vaccinated.

Fears that vaccines might cause autism have not only caused parents to skip vaccinating their children, but have forced costly reformulations of many vaccines.

"Who perpetrated this fraud? There is no doubt that it was Wakefield," BMJ editor Dr. Fiona Godlee and colleagues wrote in a commentary, available online here.

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Tags: News of the Week Autism Newsletter 7 January 2011