For those of you who havent already heard about this. Dr Andrew Wakefield is the Canadian trained British physician who published a report in 1998 'proving' a link between the Measles Mumps and Rhubella triple vaccine and various bowel disorders and even autism. His 'results' are now being questioned, and not just by those of us who know enough to identify shoddy research when we see it. Almost miraculously his research is now being questioned by the vox populi. The optimist in me wants to believe this indicates a massive step forward in the general intelligence of the masses.
The first issue with this chaps research I wish to raise is that he recieved fifty thousand pounds(a substantial amount even for a doctor) from a legal agency supporting patents of children with health conditions they would like to link to the MMR vaccine. I cant think of any reasons he would take the money that would allow him to remain unbias(an essential stance for any level of research). Interestingly the article makes a fairly small point of it. He also tried to patent a potential alternative to the MMR vaccine, had this gone through he would have been a very wealthy man, however success in this matter required the standing MMR vaccine to be discredited.
However the largest issue from my perspective is that this man presented his findings as fact when there was insufficient evidence to even found a credible theory, infact there was overwhelming contradictory evidence. As a result the number of parents vaccinating their children went from around 91% before his report to 70% following it. As a result there has been a massive resurgance of mumps(which can be fatal). I admit its largely the patents fault for not vaccinating their children but what choice did they have when the 'experts' told them it was too dangerous. I also dont understand why this increase has gone unreported by the media when so much fuss has been made over a few cases of swine flu. In my honest opinion I feel this 'doctor' and his colleagues should be charged with manslaughter.