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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Startling new revelations surrounding the autism study controversy.
The research that established a link between childhood vaccines and autism is now being called an elaborate fraud. This discredited research set off a tidal wave causing some parents to not get their children vaccinated, even though there is no credible scientific evidence that vaccines cause autism. The research had already been rejected, now comes the fraud charge.
Andrew Wakefield doctored information about the 12 children involved in his study that claimed vaccines could cause autism, according to the British Medical Journal.
It says he had a financial conflict of interest, and committed an elaborate fraud.
“It’s disappointing obviously when any scientist, a scientist in whom we put our trust, now has come to light fudged data,” said Dr. Paul Offit, an Infectious Disease Researcher at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
He has been challenging Wakefield’s claim for years, insisting vaccines don’t cause autism.
Dr. Offit’s newest book is called “Deadly Choices, How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.”
“There was a lot of harm done here, and it’s remarkable how much harm one person could do,” said Dr. Offit.
The Wakefield study, first published in 1998, quickly gained momentum and caused some parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated against measles, mumps, and rubella. There were then outbreaks of those diseases, that have been deadly.
“The fear persists, and that fear has done a lot of harm. It has caused children to be hospitalized to suffer and to die,” said Dr. Offit.
Wakefield continues to stand by his research, and says there’s a conspiracy against him. And there are organizations and parents groups who remained convinced that vaccines cause autism.
Stephanie Stahl reports…
Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3
British Medical Journal MMR Vaccine & Autism Article
Vaccine Information- http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/index.html, www.vaccine.chop.edu and http://www.historyofvaccines.org/
CDC Immunization Schedules
Dr. Paul Offit’s “Deadly Choices, How The Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All”