Lancet retracts Wakefield’s 1998 study

After twelve years of solid debunking, the Lancet, a leading UK professional medical research journal, has finally decided to officially retract Andrew Wakefield’s disastrous fake study that is almost single-handedly responsible for the modern anti-vaccination movement and for a massive decline in MMR vaccinations as well as all other vaccinations.

From the BBC:

The medical journal which originally published the discredited research linking autism and MMR has now issued a full retraction of the paper.

The Lancet said it now accepted claims made by the researchers were “false”. It comes after Dr Andrew Wakefield, the lead researcher in the 1998 paper, was ruled last week to have broken research rules by the General Medical Council.

The publication caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles.

…Last week, the GMC ruled Dr Wakefield had shown a “callous disregard” for children and acted “dishonestly” while he carried out his research. It will decide later whether to strike him off the medical register.

And from the Lancet editorial itself:

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.

Of course the anti-vaccinationists over at Age of Autism such as David Kirby, are insisting the retraction means nothing as they continue to focus their efforts EXCLUSIVELY on defending their messiah. Apparently, news that’s actually related to autism isn’t important enough to warrant coverage during The Martyrdom of St. Andy, as Orac put it. Kirby even uses the George W. Bush mantra of declaring that while disgraced now, Wakefield will be more warmly received by future generations. Yeah, keep dreaming, David.

You know, at the very beginning of January, in light of Barbara Loe Fisher’s horribly ill-conceived libel suit against Amy Wallace, Paul Offit, and Conde Nast, I expressed my feelings that it was beginning to look like the anti-vaccine movement has peeked and is finally going to begin a decline as they’ve continued to make bad decisions and the media has begun to catch onto just how crazy they are. January has been a devastating month for them and now February has already proven far worse. Now I’m not about to say it’s all over yet, but like with $cientology, lately all the relevant news has been squarely against them. So yeah, I think they’re in trouble. As much as they want to continue to preach Wakefield’s innocence, the fact is that he’s in so deep that he’ll never clear his name. And while he should be able to make a decent living out of giving lectures to fellow anti-vaccinationists and maybe even a few organizations that failed to do the proper research before agreeing to let him speak, let’s face it. No real hospital would hire someone with his reputation. His medical career (at least as far as real medicine is concerned) is officially over.

Add that to our continuing understanding of the genetic nature of autism, the possible collapse of the Australian Vaccination Network,   and the almost inevitable Dover-like outcome of Barbara Loe Fisher’s libel suit (too bad she couldn’t sue in the UK), and we’ve got a critical mass of negative publicity coming their way.So yeah, I think there’s good reason for critics of the anti-vaccine movement to look forward to the coming year.

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