Wednesday, February 03, 2010

It took this long?

Everyone has heard the rather bizarre claim that 'vaccines cause autism', which has fostered an almost rabid anti-vaccine movement. It was based on a single study, which has been debunked thoroughly over the last few years as being invalid. Despite the claims of the anti-vac crowd, there is absolutely no, none, zero, zip, nada connection between autism and vaccines.

Well, the Lancet has finally completed disavowed the study and come out a report that the author of the study, Andrew Wakefield, falsified the data and manipulated medical records to make his study give specific results. The study is completely, utterly, wrong. The methodology and data aren't even valid. Wakefield is accused of unethical behavior, on top of it all.

Of course, the damage has already been done. People continue to believe the thoroughly disproven results. The study was flawed from the beginning, but it apparently said something that made True Believers out of a lot of people -- someone to blame, something to point at as a cause for autism. I can only imagine that for parents with children who are autistic, it was something to cling to. But for the thousands of people who refuse to vaccinate their kids? Hey, idiots -- herd immunity only works when 95% of the population is vaccinated...and this ridiculous campaign has dropped that to less than 80% in some areas. Measles is back the US because of this. It's likely the resurgence of Whooping Cough is probably related.

I'm just surprised that it took this long to come out formally against the paper, and sad that for most people, it probably won't make any difference.

No comments: