Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Don't Believe What You're Hearing About the Safety of the MMR and the Recklessness of Dr. Wakefiled
We all know what the media can do to a story and even NPR, a station I usually respect has this one wrong! You see Dr. Andrew Wakefield is a smart, pediatric gastroenterologist surgeon, who while working at the Royal Free Hospital in London over a decade ago encountered several parents who made the observation that after their child received the MMR, they developed severe bowel issues and later were diagnosed with autism. Now Wakefield mind you was a traditionalist. He was not into natural healing of any sort. He did have one or two things going for him however. The guy is brilliant, articulate and oh yes, he actually listens to parents. It was this last trait that got him into trouble and is at the route of his 12 year personal and professional hell. Because not only did he listen to these desperate parents and try to help the affected children, he coauthored a paper with several other researchers that was published (later retracted) in the Lancet suggesting that in a subset of children with autism, there was a distinct inflammation in their bowel which he hypothesized could be related to the measles virus and may be connected to symptoms of autism. (By the way, a version of this theory (the connection between bowel issues and autism was just published on January 4,2010 in the prestigious journal Pediatrics.) But back to Wakefield's villification: So subsequent to his research, at a 1998 press conference, he suggested that it might be wise if parents and pediatricians considered separating out the Measles, Mumps and Rubella components of the vaccine for some children. That's when all hell broke lose! From that day forward he has been hounded and tortured by the UK media and many in his own profession believe he is a medical heretic. I wouldn't be such a defender of Dr. Wakefield if 1. I didn't have the highest regard for him professionally and 2. if as a pediatric registered nurse for 33 years I hadn't witnessed children deteriorating physically and mentally after vaccines (not always the MMR, but often enough) So this recent decision by the UKs General Medical Council's to discredit Wakefield is meant to send a strong message to any other researcher out there who dares to challenge the medical orthodoxy. The message is: If anyone attempts to unravel the mystery as to why we are experiencing an autism epidemic and in the process points a finger at the Holy Grail of the medical system (vaccines), then you too will be persecuted. Parents, researchers, clinicians and others from around the world support Wakefield's theory. So although the media is doing a fine smear campaign, this well funded propaganda driven machine hasn't fully comprehended that many of us are taking the persecution of Andrew Wakefield very personally. And this groundswell of resistance is not going away until the unbiased research that either proves or disproves his theory is allowed to take place.