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Autism and the MMR Vaccine:Was Wakefield Confirmed by Wake Forest University School of Medicine Study?

Posted Sep 18 2011 7:37am

UPDATE: The question in my comment title was answered, to some extent, by information passed to me that this study was reported in 2007. I have no idea why it shows up on the Daily Mail online with today's date at the top of the page and with no internal story dates to indicate it is not current. It also shows up in Google News.  


I did a web search by the author's name and found the same article published in different places on the web on different dates. What I haven't found is what happened to the Wake Forest study?  If anyone knows feel free to offer your information. HLD


According to a report in the UK Daily Mail, Scientists fear MMR link to autism ,  a study led by Dr. Stephen Walker of  the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina appears to confirm findings in the much maligned 1998 study by Dr. Andrew Wakefield. The research team are examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease and,  of 82 tested so far,  70 prove positive for the vaccine strain, not the wild strain, of the measles virus. The report also indicates that the this is the second study including the O'Leary 2001 study to confirm the Wakefield findings:

"Last night the team's leader, Dr Stephen Walker, said: 'Of the handful of results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.
'This research proves that in the gastrointestinal tract of a number of children who have been diagnosed with regressive autism, there is evidence of measles virus.
'What it means is that the study done earlier by Dr Wakefield and published in 1998 is correct. That study didn’t draw any conclusions about specifically what it means to find measles virus in the gut, but the implication is it may be coming from the MMR vaccine. If that’s the case, and this live virus is residing in the gastrointestinal tract of some children, and then they have GI inflammation and other problems, it may be related to the MMR.'
The 1998 study by Dr Wakefield, then a reader in gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in North London, and 12 other doctors claimed to have found a new bowel disease, autism enterocolitis.
At the time, Dr Wakefield said that although they had not proved a link between MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) and autism, there was cause for concern and the Government should offer the option single vaccines - instead of only MMRs - until more research had been done.
The paper - and the confused interpretation of its findings - caused uproar and led to many parents withdrawing their co-operation for the triple jab. Ten of the paper's authors also signed retractions on the interpretation but stood by the science.
This is the second independent study to back up Dr Wakefield. In 2001 John O'Leary, Professor of Pathology at St James's Hospital and Trinity College, Dublin, replicated his findings.
Last night Dr Wakefield said: 'This new study confirms what we found in British children and again with Professor O'Leary. The only exposure these children have had to measles is through the MMR vaccine.
'They were developing normally until they regressed. They now suffer autism and bowel disease."'The Department of Health and some of the media wanted to dismiss our research as insignificant. The excuse was that no one else had the same findings as us. What they didn't say is that no one else had looked."
This study will be subjected to very close scrutiny.  Not just because it might implicate vaccines in some instances of autism, and should be examined closely as part of the scientific method,  but also because a war has been waged on Dr. Andrew Wakefield.  Those who have waged that war have much to lose if the information reported by the Daily Mail is confirmed.  Their own reputations are now on the line. They  can not,  and will not,  accept any study or information which calls into question their efforts to discredit Wakefield and his study. 
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