Several months ago I posted this little gem sounding off on my intense dislike for the whole "vaccines causes autism!" movement. Today an article appeared on CNN in which the Lancet, the renowned British medical journal, announced that it had retracted the Wakefield et al study from 1998 in which Dr. Andrew Wakefield and friends suggested that there was a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccination and autism.
The paper was retracted, the Lancet said, because the patients that Wakefield et al used for the study were not randomly selected and because his "conduct in this regard was dishonest and irresponsible" per the General Medical Counsel in Britain (if you read the CNN article, he apparently paid kids at his son's birthday party to draw their blood...I'm not sure what to believe on that other than WTF?!). Being in market research, it is imperative that studies, whether they be medical or not, use randomly selected respondents in order to get a good cross section of the population as well as to ensure that the results cannot be manipulated.
His reputation being torn to shreds notwithstanding, I have to give Wakefield credit. He never stated "vaccines cause autism," he merely suggested that the vaccine caused certain GI disorders which then permeated the membrane of the intestine, leaking into the bloodstream and caused autism. Regardless of what he said though, the paper he published is the top source cited by those who support that movement despite the numerous other studies conducted proving otherwise. I'm not sure what proponents of the "vaccines cause autism" theory will do or how they will respond to this. While I don't have an autistic child, I know that as a mom, when something is wrong with my daughter, I want to know why. I would not be surprised if there were some parents who were hoping that this was the explanation (if not partial) for their child's autism.
I think this move by the Lancet also highlights something that all parents should think about; that as parents, we need to be continually educating ourselves about the choices we have to make for our kids. Technology is changing every year, every month, every DAY, and we should do our best to keep abreast of it and make judgments only after we have taken time to review everything in it's entirety. I think too, this is an excellent reminder that as parents, we can try and do everything right, and yet still be wrong. All we can do is our best and hope it will all be ok.
And on that note, I am reminded now that I need to call my daughter's pedi and have her 2 year well check scheduled! I believe it is time for another round of vaccinations. Billa is going to LOVE that...