New research from New York University School of Medicine has added
further support for the earlier findings of British gastro-enterologist
The original research, reported in The Lancet in 1998, had detected traces of
the measles virus in the guts of 12 children with autism. This latest study,
which involved 275 children with both bowel disease and regressive autism, found
signs of the strain of measles virus that is used in the MMR vaccine in 85% of
82 children who had tissue biopsies taken from their gut.
The new study does not demonstrate that the measles virus causes autism, or even
that it causes bowel disease, but it does reinforce the fact that there is a
strong association between the MMR vaccine and autistic children with bowel disease.
The research was presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research in
Montreal in May 2006.
The Department of Health has dismissed these latest findings, insisting
that the study has no validity because control groups were not
used. The official line is still, therefore, that ‘...there
remains no convincing epidemiological or virological evidence for
MMR playing a part in causing autism.’
Criticism from within
However, shortly before this latest study was released, one of the
British Government's own former medical officers spoke out about
what he believes to be the Government's ‘utterly inexplicable
complacency’ over the MMR triple vaccine for children.
Dr Peter Fletcher has had a distinguished 40-year career in science and medicine
in Britain, Europe and the US and was Chief Scientific Officer at the Department
of Health, where he was responsible for deciding whether medicines are safe.
In the course of fulfilling a new role as an expert witness for parents' lawyers,
Dr Fletcher has received and studied thousands of documents which he believes
the public has a right to see. However, this material may never come to light
unless parents can force the government to restore legal aid, which was terminated
2003 for parents of allegedly vaccine-damaged children - ‘a monstrous injustice’.
There is now far too much evidence to ignore, according to Dr Fletcher: ‘Clinical
and scientific data... that the live measles virus in MMR can cause
brain, gut and immune system damage in a subset of vulnerable children.’ However,
the government health authorities appear determined to ignore this,
perhaps because ‘there are very powerful people in positions
of great authority in Britain and elsewhere who have staked their
reputations and careers on the safety of MMR and they are willing
to do almost anything to protect themselves’.
Concerns raised in 2001
Dr Fletcher first raised concerns about MMR in 2001, maintaining
that safety trials before the vaccine's introduction in this country
were inadequate. Now he says that, if it is proven that the vaccine
does cause autism, ‘...the refusal of the government to evaluate
the risks properly will make this one of the greatest scandals in
The interview with Dr Fletcher was published in the Mail on Sunday and reported
online, along with readers' comments - click
here to read.
Protecting their backs
Anyone who doubts the assertion that there are individuals in positions
of great authority who will do almost anything to protect their
own interests in respect of the MMR vaccine, might like to consider
the fact that the General Medical Council has been investigating
Dr Wakefield for the past two years and has recently announced
that it intends to bring charges against him in respect of his
GMC lawyers are apparently formulating a case involving four charges: that Dr
Wakefield published inadequately founded research, failed to obtain ethical committee
approval for the work, obtained funding for it improperly and subjected children
to ‘unnecessary and invasive investigations’. These charges are expected
to be presented in the autumn of 2006, with a public hearing expected in 2007.
Of course, there have been and continue to be many other studies that could be
accused of the same failings and much worse, but which are never even investigated,
so why, one wonders, is the GMC so intent on pursuing Dr Wakefield? Could it
be that the General Medical Council are hoping that it will make the whole MMR
controversy go away if it can discredit Dr Wakefield?
First published in 2006
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