Study linking autism to vaccines retracted - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Study linking autism to vaccines retracted

By Jeff Angileri

MADISON (WKOW) -- British medical journal The Lancet is retracting a study suggesting a link between autism and the measles, mumps, rubella vaccine.

The General Medical Council, which registers and regulates doctors in the United Kingdom, says the study's authors acted "dishonestly" and "irresponsibly" in their research.

The retraction means the study will no longer be a part of official medical literature.

After twelve years of controversy, family physicians are calling it vaccine vindication.

"Vaccines are safe, they're proven, and they prevent diseases that are pretty bad," said Dean Health pediatrician Thomas Murwin, M.D. "We don't see them because we immunize against them and keep them at bay."

Murwin said many people clung to the 1998 study, because they were desperate to find answers about what causes autism.

"We don't know if it's a virus, or a reaction to the virus, or part of their immune system," he said.

For parents of autistic children, the retraction means losing a potential piece of the autism puzzle.

"I'm frustrated," said Jackie Moen, of McFarland.

Moen's twin boys are living with different degrees of autism. She's hoping the community puts more effort into research and funding, to find a cause, treatments, and eventually a cure.

"I don't think there's any disputing there's a genetic component to this, but I think most of us feel there has to be some kind of environmental trigger that gets pulled," Moen said. "If the vaccine link is disputed, than what is it?"

The author of the 1998 study, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, is defending his research, but in light of the ruling, he and two of his colleagues could be stripped of their right to practice medicine in Britain.

The Lancet has only retracted about 10-15 studies in its 186-year history.


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