Alicia PhD

Alicia PhD
New Hampshire, United States
September 08
Alicia has a PhD in Experimental Pathology and, after having worked in a genetics lab for her dissertation, now edits scientific manuscripts full-time from the comfort of the White Mountains. Alicia is also a writer, contributing health commentary and articles on disease and anatomy to many online publishers. She upkeeps a number of blogs devoted to her interests in public health and science.


MAY 24, 2010 3:36PM

Wakefield stripped of medical license

Rate: 8 Flag

The doctor that started the autism-vaccine connection has been stripped of his medical license by the UK after a 2 and half year investigation. In January, the General Medical Council ruled that Andrew Wakefield had acted in an unethical manner in regards to his 1998 paper claiming that the MMR vaccine causes autism (30 counts of unethical behavior ranging from paying the kids for blood samples without parental consent to conflicting financial interests and scientific fraud). Also early this year, the paper was officially retracted by The Lancet (finally) - the results have not been duplicated by other researchers despite more than a decade and and tons of money. Time and money that could've been spent finding real information out about autism.

In addition, the vaccine scare prompted decreased vaccination rates that have resulted in resurges in Measles and whooping cough, two very unpleasant and potentially fatal diseases that were nearly wiped out in the U.S. by the 1990s. Measles kills nearly 200,000 children a year worldwide. And this guy told parents to boycott the only thing that can protect them from this highly contagious viral infection for no reason except his own professional and financial gain.

Yeah, I don't have anything nice to say about this guy, so I'll just leave you with those facts. The BBC covered other details, including two colleagues who were also found guilty of professional misconduct in the case.

Author tags:

quacks, autism, wakefield

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The whole thing is absolutely astounding. Unfortunately, the damage has already been done, and will be lasting.
Thanks for the update.
fine, this is just a scientific lynch mob. now can you point me to the study that clearly refutes any vaccine/autism link. and proof that mercury-related adjuvants are not toxic to neurons or otherwise.
the truth is that science is very lame in identifying the longterm effects of all the crazy/exotic chemicals that have been invented in the last 50yrs.. its a serious health issue, and do you hear many scientists addressing it?
vzn, there have been hundreds of studies attempting to identify a link between vaccines and autism because of Wakefield, none of them have found one or a physiological mechanism by which MMR or its components affect the brain
In addition to that, even while vaccine use has gone down and mercury-related adjuvants were removed from the MMR vaccine as a precaution a decade plus ago, autism rates have gone up.

No, it's not a lynch mob, it's taking a look at the real facts instead of the ones made up by a quack. You're worried about how well science is addressing things, and yet when it actually addresses the issues within science (ethical conduct, proper research conduct) it's a "lynch mob" because it's a guy you support.

Yes, all medical interventions have side effects - you have to weigh the risks and benefits. For the MMR vaccine, there are far more benefits and very few side effects. For every 1000 children who get measles, 1-2 die. For every million children vaccinated, one has a serious or allergic reaction.

Questioning a new vaccine or drug is expected, but the MMR vaccine has been used and investigated for decades - its track record speaks for itself, but there is study upon study that wasted time and money taking your angle. Go peddle your uninformed fear somewhere else.
This is what frustrates me about the vaccine-autism theorists. They want to have someone prove that their hypothesis is wrong. They don't want to do on-line research (a simple Googling of CDC vaccine safety autism will get you a few clicks away from references to plenty of scientific studies which you can pay to read).

Many, many studies have been done and no connection between vaccines and autism have been found, nor between thimerisol in vaccines and autism --- when the science has been done well.

When science has been done badly or fraudulently or not at all, then, yeah, all sorts of conclusions have been found.

I did a post on this, Good Science, Bad Science, No Science and Autism. You can read it.

By wasting money and resources on disproving a crackpot theory, we are not finding a cause or cure for autism.
She did write about autism and vaccines back in February. It's good to read someone who hasn't been unhinged by the experience of a devastating personal experience with the subject.
Great post, Alicia. Thanks for sharing this significant update.
Retrospective studies done in the Danish health system (a national database going on over 40 years) did not show any indication of a correlation between rise an autism, thimerosol present, thimerosol absent, vaccine. You can't do a study that proves or disproves, just analyze the data that shows strong correlation or not.
As a naturopath, we naturally have a disinclination to doing the massive amount of vaccination going on today, but for most people it is totally reasonable to vaccinate because they are not going to keep their children isolated from others or the necessary 24/7 care that would be required for a sick child.
We do know that some kids have a strong immune response to vaccination, that may lead to subsequent behavior changes, though we haven't necessarily figured out the MOA. Understanding what a vaccine is for, when it's useful and when it's overdone is more important. Eating a healthy diet when you are pregnant may be as important as well, since that can go a long way to "priming" the child's immune system. Lots left to learn and studies can only be done retrospectively.