Lancet journal retracts Andrew Wakefield MMR scare paper

This is a major blow to anti-vaccine nutters. David Rose in the Times of London:

Wakefildfile185x360_678251a A leading medical journal has officially retracted the discredited study which sparked a health scare over the MMR vaccine.

The Lancet said it now accepted claims made by the researchers which linked MMR to bowel disorders and autism, were “false”.

It comes after Andrew Wakefield, the lead researcher in the 1998 paper, was ruled last week to have been irresponsible and dishonest in carrying out the original study on 12 children.

MMR is the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine which was introduced in 1988. The fall-out from the research, first published in February 1998, caused vaccination rates to plummet and has been blamed for a resurgence of measles in Britain.

The General Medical Council (GMC) ruled last week that Wakefield showed a “callous disregard” for the suffering of children and that two fellow authors of the paper also “failed in their duties” as responsible doctors in carrying out the study.

More here. And see also Peter Lipson in Forbes:

Yesterday, Matthew Herper discussed the latest watermark in the Andrew Wakefield Affair. Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor, ran a small, unethical study which ignited the modern anti-vaccination movement. Vaccines, which have done more for public health than anything besides clean water and good sewers, have been under attack from activists such as Jenny McCarthy (with her degree from Google U), and by some medical and scientific professionals, such as Wakefield and others, many of whom also promote and sell “alternative” vaccine programs and dangerous and disproved autism treatments, such as chelation and hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Wakefield's disgrace will do little to stop the hardcore believers in the failed vaccine-autism hypothesis, but while the denialists at Age of Autism, Huffington Post, and other outlets whine to each other about the evils of vaccines, real scientists are helping real people.

More here.