Lancet formally retracts Wakesfield paper

By Grant Jacobs 03/02/2010

Heading the home page of medical journal The Lancet is an announcement of the formal retraction of the Wakefield paper that in part sparked the MMR vaccination scare in the UK and elsewhere. (I write ‘in part’ as other factors, such as Wakesfield’s public addresses and uncritical media coverage have their role in the saga.)

The retraction statement reads:

Following the judgment of the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel on Jan 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation. In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were “consecutively referred” and that investigations were “approved” by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore we fully retract this paper from the published [record.]

Scibling Peter Giffin’s article from earlier this week reports on the findings of the UK’s General Medical Council with respect to Wakesfield’s work. I’ve earlier written about autism and it’s proported links to vaccination.

Addendum: Also worth reading for some wider context are any number of articles about autism and parent’s hopes of a “treatment”, like this article by Liane Carter in the New York Times.

Update (19-Feb-2010): It would seem that Wakefield has resigned from Thoughtful House.

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