"Clear evidence of falsification of data should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare," the editors of the journal wrote.
Why would Dr. Andrew Wakefield make up findings to prove that getting vaccines to help prevent diseases such as measles, mumps and rubella can cause higher rates of autism? According to the journal's editors, the reason was simple: money.
Wakefield is alleged to have received more than $674,000 from lawyers hoping to sue vaccine manufacturers, and the investigation into his work uncovered evidence that five of the 12 patients he studied had actually shown symptoms of autism before receiving the MMR vaccination, while three of the children turned out to have never actually suffered from the condition, though his study claimed otherwise.
"It's one thing to have a bad study, a study full of error, and for the authors then to admit that they made errors," Fiona Godlee, BMJ's editor-in-chief, said in an interview with CNN. "But in this case, we have a very different picture of what seems to be a deliberate attempt to create an impression that there was a link by falsifying the data."
Numerous other studies have shown no link whatsoever between vaccines and autism, but none has been able to replicate Wakefield's results.
Many vaccine skeptics posit that trace levels of mercury found in the preservative thimerosal are a possible cause of autism.
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