October 28, 2012

Dr. Wakefield’s study on MMR vaccine and autism was never wrong

Oho...  So my letter, “Vaccines: Heading UK study did not claim a link to autism” (28 October, 2012) got published in the New Straits Times today.

They hardly changed a word I wrote. However, by judicious removal of large chunks of my words, they managed to make ‘me’ say the complete opposite instead - that vaccines do NOT cause autism. Fantastic. You gotta love Malaysian editors. It’s an art, putting words in people’s mouths, changing people’s words to say what THEY want said.

Here is my original letter in full. With the truth they censored. Why? Cos should people know the truth and refuse the government’s “free” vaccines, they can no longer purchase so many vaccines at overinflated prices from the pharma companies that they and their cronies own.

The UK government is exactly the same. Well, you decide who’s telling the truth in this story. Your child’s life depends on it.


I am writing in response to your article, “Dispelling Fear of Vaccinations (14 October, 2012)”. Your article contains several factual errors.

You quoted paediatrician Dr. Sanjay Woodhull, who said, “Parents are generally concerned about the risk or side-effects of vaccinations, with some fearing that they cause autism. This came about as a result of a fraudulent study published in a reputable medical journal in 2004 suggesting a possible link between autism and the MMR vaccine. This led to many parents around the world opting not to vaccinate their children.”

The said study, by Dr. Andrew Wakefield and Dr. John Walker-Smith was published in the Lancet in 1998, not 2004. (Free full text here.) Dr. John Walker-Smith was the top paediatric gastroenterologist in the world and the head of the department of Paediatric Gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in the UK at that time. The Royal Free is a “last-stop” hospital, the most expert of experts that you go to after all other doctors have failed.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield

Dr. John Walker-Smith

These top specialists examined 12 very ill children who were referred to them with severe bowel disease, who had also been diagnosed with autism. Their mothers reported that they regressed into autism within 24 hours to 1 month of receiving their measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination.

After performing the necessary examinations, the doctors found chronic inflammation and damage to the walls of the intestines of the children. They wrote, “Measles virus and measles vaccination have both been implicated as risk factors for Crohn’s disease [chronic inflammation of the intestines] and persistent measles vaccine-strain virus infection has been found in children with autoimmune hepatitis.” They also found “abnormal intestinal permeability in 43% of a group of autistic children with no gastrointestinal symptoms, but not in matched controls. These studies... including evidence of anaemia and IgA deficiency in some children, would support the hypothesis that the consequences of an inflamed or dysfunctional intestine may play a part in behavioural changes in some children.

Another study explains it thus: “Right behind the gut epithelium [inner lining of the gut], lie cells of the intestinal immune system, the biggest immune system of the body. It detects the invading bacteria or viruses and generates a strong immune response to fight off the invaders. In the process, the immune cells secrete a cocktail of signals that bring about the symptoms of inflammation. Inflammatory signals reach the epithelial cells that are very sensitive to them and die. The death of more epithelial cells creates bigger gaps in the gut lining so that more bacteria can enter. The result is a constant immune response and a chronic inflammation.”

Live-virus vaccines like the MMR can damage the bowels by causing the body to create chronic inflammation (where the immune system is not strong enough to eliminate the virus), and thus the body ends up destroying itself.

Wakefield cites other studies that have been done before his: “In the context of susceptibility to infection, a genetic association with autism... 24C4B-gene products are crucial for the activation of the complement pathway and protection against infection: individuals inheriting one or two C4B null alleles may not handle certain viruses appropriately, possibly including attenuated strains.” Translation: People with certain genetic defects cannot handle even the weak viruses in vaccines and will succumb to the virus in the vaccine.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder [otherwise known as regressive autism, where a child develops normally, then suddenly loses all previously gained skills such as the ability to talk, walk, and control of bowels] is recognised as a sequel to measles encephalitis [brain inflammation from measles], although in most cases, no cause is ever identified. Viral encephalitis can give rise to autistic disorders, particularly when it occurs early in life. Rubella virus is associated with autism, and the combined MMR vaccine (rather than single measles vaccine) has also been implicated. Fudenberg noted that for 15 of 20 autistic children, the first symptoms developed within a week of vaccination. Gupta commented on the striking association between the MMR vaccination and the onset of behavioural symptoms in all the children that he had investigated for regressive autism.”

The childrens symptoms and diagnoses

This study was certainly not the first (nor the last) to note a regression into autism after an MMR vaccination. However, no-one had a problem with ALL the other previous studies. By the end of the paper, the authors had examined 40 patients, 39 of whom had autism. While they hinted that the MMR vaccine caused gut disease which then caused autism, they also clearly stated, “We did NOT prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.”

[Rightly so, because this is not a study. A study is an experiment in which one group is given the vaccine and the other is given a saline injection, and then the results are compared to determine causation. This is merely an observational paper in which two events are observed to occur together. You cannot infer that one caused the other because there was no control group to compare it with. So the authors were absolutely right in saying that it did not PROVE anything - because no study was conducted.]

Brian Deer
After the publication of this paper, parents drew their own conclusions and vaccine sales fell sharply. After 6 years of constantly declining vaccine sales, in 2004, up popped writer-aka-pharma-shill, Brian Deer, who accused Dr. Wakefield and Walker-Smith of fraud and reported them to the General Medical Council (GMC). Their crime? Their usage of colonoscopies to examine the children’s colons and the tests done to determine the cause of their pain were entirely unnecessary – essentially, the doctors were ripping the parents off. Mr. Deer unhelpfully did not share his esteemed knowledge on what would be a more economical method of examining colons. I’m sure the #1 paediatric gastroenterologist in the world (Dr. Walker-Smith) could learn a thing or two from him.

This is what Dr. Wakefield and Walker-Smith found. This child’s terminal ileum (the last section of the small intestine) was covered in nodules big and small (pictures A and B), compared to a normal one (C). This is the first time that any gastroenterologist had scoped this far down into the colon -- all previous doctors that the children had seen had missed this and thus were unable to determine the cause of the children’s pain. See, this is why Dr. Walker-Smith is #1 in the world.

Brian Deer says this procedure was unnecessary.

Mr. Deer also conveniently failed to disclose that he was being paid to do this by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (Source).

He also failed to declare a conflict of interest--that the Lancet (the journal that the study was published in) was owned by the publishing company, Reed Elsevier, and that in 2003, the CEO of Reed Elsevier, Crispin Davis, was also appointed a director of GlaxoSmithKline, a maker of the MMR vaccine. A few months after Davis’s appointment (a coincidence?), Brian Deer came out with his accusations.

Sir Crispin Davis

Elsevier instructed the editor of the Lancet to announce a partial retraction, but the editor did not agree because he said he stood by the integrity of the journal’s peer-review process. Under pressure, ten of the paper’s 13 authors signed retractions on the interpretation but stood by the science.

But what was most interesting in all of this was that the very parents who supposedly got ripped off did not have any complaints whatsoever. On the contrary, they stood firmly behind the doctors and had nothing but high praise for them, thanking them profusely for the correct diagnosis that finally saved their children’s lives when all other doctors had failed. Do they sound like disgruntled customers? They had no complaints but Brian Deer (who was being paid by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries) did.

As a result of Deer’s complaint, the GMC (General Medical Council) convened a panel in 2010 to judge this case. Who were the experts called on to pass judgement? Fellow gastroenterologists who might know whether colonoscopies were necessary for examining colons? Nope... Two laypersons (like you or me or the next person on the bus), a general practitioner (have you ever heard of a ‘clinic doctor’ who does colonoscopies? Not me!), an adult psychiatrist (not a child psychiatrist), and a geriatrician (not a paediatrician). This bunch of unqualified jokers then judged that the examinations that Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Walker-Smith carried out were unnecessary, and so the GMC revoked their licences. The chairman of the General Medical Council panel, Dr. Surendra Kumar, struck them off the medical register. Dr. Kumar also failed to disclose his own conflict of interest - that he too was a shareowner of GlaxoSmithKline, an MMR vaccine manufacturer (Source).

Dr. Surendra Kumar, GMC chairman + shareholder of GSK

Following the GMC’s ruling, the Lancet fully retracted their article. The paper was never fraudulent - the writers (allegedly) were.

Dr. Walker-Smith appealed and in March 2012, the British High Court overturned the GMC’s finding of professional misconduct and reinstated Dr. Walker-Smith’s license. The judge had some withering words for the GMC’s disgraceful handling of Walker-Smith’s case: “It would be a misfortune if this were to happen again.”

Dr. Wakefield did not file the appeal with Dr. Walker-Smith due to lack of funds and also because he had moved to the US and did not wish to return to practise in the UK ever again. He has, however, filed a defamation suit against Brian Deer, Fiona Godlee (editor the British Medical Journal), and the British Medical Journal for falsely accusing him of fraud (by publishing Brian Deer’s opinion piece).

So, in conclusion, this study had never been fraudulent and the doctors have never been fraudulent. Since 1998, there have been many other studies that have been carried out that confirm the connection between MMR and autism. Here are 28 other journal articles (scroll down).

Medical journal articles written and reviewed by the top experts in the field cannot all be believed, you say? Well then, how about a word from the vaccine manufacturers themselves?

In the list of negative side effects printed in the insert of the FluMist H1N1 vaccine from MedImmune (July 2012): “The following events have been spontaneously reported during post-approval use of FluMist: Pericarditis [inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart], exacerbation of symptoms of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy (Leigh syndrome) [brain damage caused by mitochondria damage, or autism in plain English (read more here)], Guillain-Barré syndrome [autoimmune disease that destroys the myelin sheath around nerves], Bell’s Palsy [facial paralysis], meningitis, and vaccine-associated encephalitis [vaccine-associated brain inflammation].”

In the Tripedia diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine from Sanofi Pasteur, (Dec 2005): “Adverse events reported during post-approval use of Tripedia vaccine include idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura [low platelet count], SIDS [cot death], anaphylactic reaction, autism, convulsion/grand mal convulsion, encephalopathy [brain damage], hypotonia [loss of muscle tone], neuropathy [nerve damage], somnolence [sleeping for unusually long periods] and apnea [abnormal stops in breathing].”

You can get a hold of the inserts from a vaccine packaging from your doctor, or look it up on the FDA’s website.

Are negative reactions to vaccines rare occurrences? You can look up the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Reactions database for actual numbers of deaths, hospitalisation and permanent disabilities on their database. [To use, for #1, choose “Event Category”. #3 - choose which vaccine/s you want to look at. Ctrl-click to select multiple (sometimes the same thing appears in similar names). Then Send.] Please note that these numbers represent less than 1% of reported cases in the US, so to get a more realistic figure, multiply by 100. Or maybe 10,000. Questions to ask yourself: Are these numbers higher than the incidence of the disease itself? Are the effects of the vaccine worse than the effects of the disease itself?

What is the incidence of measles in Malaysia? 1 in 18,200 (2011). Deaths? None. The rate of autism in Malaysia? 1 in 110 (2006), and the National Autism Society of Malaysia estimates it increases 30% every year. Sounds about right. If the incidence of cancer increased by 30% every year, would you be concerned? In our not-too-distant neighbour, South Korea, autism now averages 1 in 38 children (2011).

Parents, doctors and the Health Ministry of Malaysia would do well to do some research and weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether to vaccinate or not. Whatever you decide, always make a fully informed decision after having heard both sides of the story.

See also:

Why Wakefield Had to be Silenced: 14-Monkey Study that Proved the Hepatitis B Vaccine Causes Autism

Big Pharma Admits that Vaccines Cause Autism

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  1. A great read. I'm posting it on Topix Autism Forum. Come by and ad your thoughts.

  2. This truly trivializes my own autism. I can assure you, my autism was NOT caused by my MMR shots.

    1. It doesn't matter what you say here, it wont change their minds.
      Believing in this utterly mad conspiracy gives them a feeling of empowerment that they actually know something the rest of us don't, and their enemy is in plain sight.
      I know this as I used to enjoy conspiracies (although none as dangerous and stupid as anti-vax). I know get empowerment from critical thinking and evaluating. Until these conspiracy nuts decide to get their kicks from something productive you are never going to convince them that they are wrong.

    2. Anon #1 - It is estimated that 10% of cases of autism are caused by the MMR vaccine. If you are of the other 90%, then do keep looking for the cause until you find it.

  3. I thought the only Dr who had any evidence that Vaccines caused Autism had spent time in jail for practicing without a livense plus a whole barrage of other offenses.
    Is this, truly, who you're basing your facts on?

    1. You mean Dr. Laura Hewitson? Nope, she has always had a license and never went to jail.


  4. Dr. Wakefield’s work was not just scientifically flawed but “an elaborate fraud.”




    1. Old news. Did you actually read the article before commenting? The High Court overturned the decision and reinstated Walker-Smith's license in March 2012. Do read the newspaper once in a few years before trolling.


  5. I don't really mind that people really believes these kinds of stuff and enforce it on their child. There's too many humans on the planet and if they volunteered to reduce the numbers I am up to that.