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Huge news in the vaccine debate: The initial study linking vaccines and autism, which caused international confusion about whether or not to immunize kids, has been exposed as fraudulent. The British Medical Journal (BMJ) released an editorial saying there's proof that the famous study included false, intentionally fabricated information.
Dr. Andrew Wakefield performed the 1998 study that blamed ingredients in the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine for causing autistic behaviors. In his study, he reported that, of 12 children he studied, eight developed autism and/or irritable bowel disease and that symptoms started days after receiving the MMR vaccine. The study changed many people's opinion on vaccines, prompting many moms to either stop immunizing their children or blame the vaccines for the autism their kids had developed.
In the new report however, investigative reporter Brian Deer compared the kids' medical records with Wakefield's reports and found plenty of discrepencies: Some didn't have autism at all, and others had symptoms before they were given the vaccine. Deer says a legal group trying to sue the vaccine makers paid Dr. Wakefield $750,000 to do the study -- and that could have been motivation for falsifying the information.
The truth comes just in time, as the National Committee for Quality Assurance recently reported that vaccination rates are dropping among kids with health insurance -- partly because of autism fear. Not being vaccinated puts kids at risk for contracting a serious illness. Proof: In 2008, there was a measles epidemic in Britain, which many attribute to a decline in immunizing against the virus.
Do you get your kids vaccinated? Does this make you less nervous about it? Chime in below!