Numerous scientific studies have debunked the theory that vaccines cause autism, but nothing has been more shocking -- and relevant to the debate -- than the news that the original study linking the two was revealed to be "an elaborate fraud."
The originally 1998 study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield, published in the Lancet, theorized that the measles mumps rubella vaccine (MMR) triggered changes that resulted in autistic behaviors. But the British Medical Journal (BMJ)’s January 2011 issue says that Dr. Wakefield falsified the information in it -- deliberately. An editorial in BMJ states the news "should now close the door on this damaging vaccine scare." (Learn more about the news here.)
"We've already proved [Wakefield's] hypothesis was false," says pediatrician Ari Brown, M.D., spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics and the author of Baby 411 and Expecting 411. "Hopefully it will influence public opinion though, and teach parents never to base their decisions on the results of one study. Good science, like a good recipe, can be repeated with the same results."