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article imageScientists Retract Study on Positive Autism - Vaccine Link

By Carol Forsloff     Feb 2, 2010 in Health
Many people believe autism is caused by vaccines. They cite a scientific study as evidence. The group that originally published the story now retracts it. But has the damage already been done?
CBS reported today that the British medical journal The Lancet has retracted their research results on the link between vaccinations and autism because it says the mechanics of the research were flawed in how population samples were taken.. Objectivity and certain scientific statistical standards are required for research to be valid. The original study looked at several vaccines, including those for measles, mumps and rubella, determining thosechildren who had these vaccines were more vulnerable to autism than those who had not had the vaccines
The original study by Andrew Wakefield was published 11 years ago. Since that time the rate of certain childhood diseases such as measles and rubella have increased as some parents refused to have their children vaccinated.. These diseases were among those listed in the study where prevention vaccines were said to cause autism. This parental fear of vaccines even as study after study following Lancet's report revealed no link between vaccines and autism.. For example in 2008 CNN reported follow-up research on the autism - vaccination link showed no evidence there was a link between vaccinations for such diseases as measles, mumps and rubella and children becoming autistic.
The debate over the autism - vaccination link has been serious enough for major scientists studying immunization to be publicly vilified. Wired took a look at what happened to one of these scientists. Paul Offit is the co-inventor of a rotavirus vaccine that could save many thousands of children's lives, yet he has been vilified publicly by such celebrities as the actor Jim Carrey and John F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy called Offit a "biostitute" for being in league with the pharmaceutical company. Carrey's girlfriend, Jenny McCarthy, who has an autistic child, has been a major player in getting parents to stop vaccinating their children and has singled out Offit's vaccine as well as his work. Jim Carrey was quoted in reference to childhood vaccinations as a process of "grab 'em and stab 'em.
Thousands of people have participated at rallies where Offit has been the target. He has had death threats as well, and many people target him on the Internet with abusive language. One of them said, "I will hang you by your neck until you are dead."
One parent in an online publication on parenting observes how risky it is for parents to believe everything they read or hear without examining follow-up investigations, especially when it comes to the health of their children.
The serious consequences of this original study and now its restraction, according to experts, is that many parents won't examine follow up material, and retraction of the original story supporting the autism - vaccination link might never be read or believed.. Many children will continue not bo be vaccinated because of their parent's fear of the link between autism and vaccinations, that has even influenced some parents' decisions not to have teenage girls vaccinated against HPV.
The summation of critics on medical research is how important validity and the right scientific principles be applied to research so results can be trusted. Without having trusted results, there will still be people, as CNN pointed out this morning, who won't change their behavior with regard to vaccines and as a consequence puts children at risk.
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