For years, the media has mischaracterized Wakefield's work as implicating the MMR vaccine in the autism epidemic. This was never true, as Wakefield himself wrote in the conclusion to his paper:
"We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described."
Disintegrative psychosis is recognized as a sequel to measles encephalitis, although in most cases no cause is ever identified.14 Viral encephalitis can give rise to autistic disorders, particularly when it occurs early in life.15 Rubella virus is associated with autism and the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine (rather than monovalent measles vaccine) has also been implicated. Fuldenberg16 noted that for 15 of 20 autistic children, the first symptoms developed within a week of vaccination. Gupta17 commented on the striking association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination and the onset of behavioural symptoms in all the children that he had investigated for regressive autism. Measles virus18,19 and measles vaccination20 have both been implicated as risk factors for Crohn's disease and persistent measles vaccine-strain virus infection has been found in children with autoimmune hepatitis.21
We did not prove an association between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described. Virological studies are underway that may help to resolve this issue.
If there is a causal link between measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine and this syndrome, a rising incidence might be anticipated after the introduction of this vaccine in the UC in 1988. Published evidence is inadequate to show whether there is a change in incidence22 or a link with measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine. 23 ...
We could solve much of the wrongness problem, Ioannidis says, if the world simply stopped expecting scientists to be right. That’s because being wrong in science is fine, and even necessary—as long as scientists recognize that they blew it, report their mistake openly instead of disguising it as a success, and then move on to the next thing, until they come up with the very occasional genuine breakthrough.
But honestly, the mythical "big pharma" and the cohort of avaricious corporations, consortiums and hegemonic interests share a big part of the blame.
Trading was to be fronted by Carmel Healthcare Ltd—named after Wakefield’s wife. Firmly rooted in Barr’s lawsuit, which eventually paid Wakefield £435 643, plus expenses, the business was to be launched off the back of the vaccine scare, diagnosing a purported—and still unsubstantiated—“new syndrome.” This, Wakefield claimed, comprised both brain and bowel diseases, which, after Crohn’s disease was not found in any of the Lancet children, he dubbed “autistic enterocolitis.”
“It is estimated that the initial market for the diagnostic will be litigation driven testing of patients with AE [autistic enterocolitis] from both the UK and the USA,” said a 35 page “private and confidential” prospectus, which was passed to me by a recipient. It aimed at raising an initial £700 000 from investors and forecast extraordinary revenues. “It is estimated that by year 3, income from this testing could be about £3 300 000 rising to about £28 000 000 as diagnostic testing in support of therapeutic regimes come on stream.”
I had assumed that when I finished Horton would say that an investigation was needed to untangle these complex matters. There were at least three strands: possible research fraud, unethical treatment of vulnerable children, and Wakefield’s conflict of interest through the lawyer. But within 48 hours, and working with the paper’s three senior authors, the journal was to publish a 5000 word avalanche of denials, in statements, unretracted to this day.
The VICP uses a no-fault system for resolving vaccine injury claims. Compensation covers medical and legal expenses, loss of future earning capacity, and up to $250,000 for pain and suffering; a death benefit of up to $250,000 is also available. If certain minimal requirements are met, legal expenses are compensated even for unsuccessful claims. Since 1988, the program has been funded by an excise tax of 75 cents on every purchased dose of covered vaccine.
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