Report: Study linking vaccines to autism was fraud

January 6, 2011 7:19:14 AM PST
A new report says a widely discredited paper claiming a link to autism included altered data.

The conclusions of a 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the Lancet medical journal where it was published.

Now, a new examination claims Wakefield and colleagues altered facts about patients in the study.

The analysis was published is in this week's British Medical Journal. And in an accompanying editorial the editor of the BMJ calls the study an "elaborate fraud".

Even though many researchers around the world have called the report a scam, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents. Vaccine rates dropped.

Pediatrician Scott Goldstein hopes this latest report and editorial will once and for all end the debate.

"In the medical field, there has never been any controversy in relation between vaccine and autism. This just perpetuates even more that there is no link but we always knew all along there was no link," said Dr. Goldstein.

Last May, Wakefield was stripped of his right to practice medicine in Britain. He could not be reached for comment.

Many other published studies have shown no connection between the MMR vaccine and autism.