MMR scare doctor: How I made link with autism

Dr Andrew Wakefield

Giving evidence: Dr Andrew Wakefield now works in America

The doctor at the centre of the MMR scare today revealed how he came to link the jab with autism.

Dr Andrew Wakefield said the case of a young mother whose child had developed autism after having the measles mumps and rubella vaccine prompted his research.

The doctor, who is facing misconduct charges over his findings, told a General Medical Council hearing that the woman had approached him after a press conference and insisted that her child's problems were a direct result of the vaccination.

He said: ¿We had been aware that the gut-brain link had been there all along. But we had no knowledge of the link with autism but this story was compelling.¿

Dr Wakefield said he referred the case of the woman ¿ known as ¿Mrs 2¿ ¿ to a colleague for investigation. Asked by his solicitor whether he regretted highlighting the case, he said: ¿Absolutely not.¿

He said that if he hadn't, he feared he would have been up before the GMC. Dr Wakefield and fellow researchers Professor Simon Murch and Professor John Walker-Smith face misconduct charges over their research, which raised doubts about the jab and suggested a link with autism and bowel disease.

It was published in the Lancet but denounced by the medical establishment.

The doctors, who worked at London's Royal Free Hospital Medical School, all deny the allegations.Dr Wakefield, who now works in America, headed up a special research team at the hospital investigating the cause of inflammatory bowel disease.

He told the hearing his research uncovered a significant association between exposure to the vaccine and inflammatory bowel disease.

But he admitted that in the early stages of his research there was no suggestion of a link between the vaccine and autism.

One of the allegations is he was being paid for advising solicitors on legal action by parents who believed their children had been harmed by MMR.

But Dr Wakefield said his role did not involve any clinical work or direct involvement with patients, although he did take part in ward rounds and discussions about research.

He said: ¿If information came to me then it was my duty to pass it on to clinicians.¿

The hearing continues.

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