Released yesterday by the British Medical Journal: Secrets of the MMR scare: How the case against the MMR vaccine was fixed. In this article Brian Deer details how the "facts" in the seminal paper linking Autism to MMR vaccinations do not match up with reality. Mr. Deer discovered that all 11 cases presented in the paper were altered from the available evidence. The evidence was largely the medical records of the 11 children of the study, but also included interviews with the parents of the these children. The article seems to point to deliberate fraud on the part of Andrew Wakefield (first author of the original study).
It is all about money.
Are we really surprised? The article points out Wakefield was on the payroll of some lawyers in the US who were putting together a case against the MMR vaccine manufacturer. He was on the payroll before he started the study.
In this day and age of medical research funded by drug companies (don't even get me started) and research fraud in all branches of science it is scary. Fraud not withstanding, how does a medical doctor discern the validity of these studies? Most medical doctors are not researchers. How do they evaluate the validity of a study? I suppose most doctors simply follow the official medical guidelines. But what about drugs? They have to trust the journal and trust the FDA to catch things before they get to the population. But how does the FDA regulate things like the GlaxoSmithKline debacle where drugs were being mixed together?
It sure is scary out there. I don't worry about me so much, but my kids... they are small and little problems in a drug can have big effects on their little, developing bodies.