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A deer in the headlights

Monday, 16th February 2009


Eleven days ago, Brian Deer renewed his onslaught against Andrew Wakefield in the Sunday Times. I wrote about it here and made the point that, since Deer’s allegations sparked the General Medical Council case against Wakefield which would not have occurred without his involvement, he was effectively a principal player in the story he was reporting — a clear conflict of interest and breach of journalistic standards.

After I noted this, an American TV show last week accused Deer of journalistic misconduct in reporting a story in which he was a major player without acknowledging this fact. Deer has been trying to deny this ever since.

First he threatened to sue the TV station, denying that he had laid the initial complaint which formed the bulk of the GMC inquiry and claiming instead that the GMC had approached him for information about Wakefield following his stories:

I did not lay the initial complaint against Wakefield. This allegation is a fabrication, albeit rather a small one in the MMR issue. The GMC asked me for my journalistic evidence arising from published stories. It was my public duty to supply my findings to this statutory regulator.

Well, various people did think that Brian Deer’s complaint was the trigger for the GMC inquiry. One of those people, it appears, was Brian Deer. Screenshots record that, on his website, Deer previously boasted that he had instigated the GMC hearing. In May 2007, his website noted:

GMC inquiry: After submissions by Brian Deer to the UK General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulatory body announced a public inquiry in to the affair. Sunday Times December 12 2004.

By last week, however, the wording had been changed to:

GMC inquiry: After Brian Deer’s reports, the UK General Medical Council, the doctors’ regulatory body, announced a public inquiry into the affair. The Sunday Times, December 12 2004.

In May 2007, he wrote on his website:

Pending a General Medical Council [GMC] fitness to practice panel hearing - arising from the investigation set out on this page... (my emphasis)

Those highlighted words have now vanished from the website, which uses instead this  formulation:

Following Brian Deer’s investigation, and charges laid against Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch by the General Medical Council...

The perception that the GMC was investigating Deer's complaints about Wakefield was shared by no less a person than a High Court judge. In a libel ruling in November 2006 arising from a Channel 4 Dispatches programme about the Wakefield affair, Mr Justice Eady noted that:

Well before the programme was broadcast [Mr Deer] had made a complaint to the GMC about the Claimant. His communications were made on 25 February, 12 March and 1 July 2004. In due course, on 27 August of the same year, the GMC sent the Claimant a letter notifying him of the information against him.

Last week, Deer claimed that Eady was ‘mistaken’ and that he had not been the ‘complainant’ in the GMC hearing. In the current narrative of the affair posted on his website, after noting that on March 6 2004 some of the authors of the original Lancet paper ‘retracted’ the interpretation that had been placed upon it, he goes on:

Shortly before this retraction [for the retracted “interpretation” text, check the opening abstract of the Lancet paper], the General Medical Council announced its own investigation into the affair, which it said raised questions over Wakefield’s fitness to practice medicine. GMC officials then approached Brian Deer and asked if, in the public interest, he would pass them his findings, and later requested him to supply his research materials - including pivotal documents - to the council’s retained lawyers, at the firm of Field Fisher Waterhouse [FFW] in London. Deer, however, is not the complainant in the case - which was brought on the GMC’s own initiative - and his information has been compounded with submissions, including complaints, from dozens of other sources, including parents directly involved.

To prove that he was not the complainant, he cites a letter written to him in May 2005 by the GMC’s lawyers, Field Fisher Waterhouse. This ran as follows:

I write further to your telephone conversation with Peter Swain last Thursday seeking clarification in relation to your role in the above General Medical Council (“GMC”) proceedings.

I have now had the opportunity to review the GMC’s files. My understanding is that further to your articles appearing in the Sunday Times in February 2004 in relation to your investigation into Dr Andrew Wakefield and the MMR vaccine, you were approached by GMC case officer Tim Cox-Brown, who asked you to supply the GMC with further information regarding this matter.

Your situation as a journalist who has carried out an investigation into the conduct of the practitioners in question is unusual for the GMC. I note from the GMC and FFW’s correspondence files that there does appear to have been some confusion in relation to your role in these proceedings.

In GMC ‘complainant’ cases an individual will have approached the GMC with a complaint against a particular practitioner. If the GMC decides to hold an inquiry, legal representation is offered to the complainant for preparation and presentation of the case before the Professional Conduct Committee.

As stated in Peter Swain’s letter to you dated 16 December 2004, your role in this matter is that of ‘informant’ rather than ‘complainant’. This is due to the fact that the conduct of the practitioners in question has not affected you directly and clearly involves issues of a wider public interest...

But what Deer does not reveal is that on February 25, 2004, three days after his article attacking Wakefield had been published in the Sunday Times, he had written to the GMC in these terms:

Following an extensive inquiry for the Sunday Times into the origins of the public panic over MMR, I write to ask your permission to lay before you an outline of evidence that you may consider worthy of evaluation with respect of the possibility of serious professional misconduct on the part of the above named registered medical practitioners. [Andrew Wakefield, John Walker Smith and Simon Murch.]

If Deer had previously been approached by the GMC for this information -- presumably in the two days that elapsed between publication of his article and this letter -- this was a strange form of words. For he made no mention that it had thus approached him. Instead, he asked the GMC for permission to lay out his evidence before it. So how can this apparently direct contradiction be explained?

One possibility is that Deer had not previously been approached by the GMC, and that there was some other explanation for its lawyers’ letter to him (it does not say, for example, precisely when its case officer had asked him for further information).

But if the GMC had indeed already approached Deer before he wrote to it, then it follows that his form of words was highly disingenuous – purportedly asking for permission to present his information while concealing the fact that it had already asked him to do so. And if this was the case, the GMC would seem to have been complicit in this contrived fiction.

Then consider the timing of all this. Deer says the GMC approached him for information after it had announced its own investigation into Wakefield and his colleagues.  Deer’s Sunday Times article appeared on February 22 2004.  On February 23, the Times reported:

Investigators for the GMC would speak to Dr Wakefield before deciding what action to take. A GMC spokesman said: ‘We are concerned by the allegations’.

On February 24 the Daily Mail reported that the GMC

said it would be considering what action may be necessary.

On February 25, Deer wrote his letter to the GMC accusing Wakefield and his colleagues of serious professional misconduct. At that stage, the GMC had merely said it was considering what action to take. So whether the GMC approached him before he wrote that letter or not, it was Deer whose complaint was fundamental to the eventual GMC hearing and whose allegations – reinforced by two further letters of complaint to the GMC during 2004 —  have formed the bulk of, if not all, the matters it has been investigating.

The GMC itself said Deer’s role was confusing; indeed, its lawyers’ letter to him was apparently in response to his appeal to clear up the confusion.  But the question of who actually made the first approach to whom is surely beside the point — as is the distinction between ‘complainant’ and ‘informant’, which is clearly a technicality resulting solely from the fact that Deer was not himself personally involved with these doctors. By any standard, his letter of February 25 was a complaint to the GMC.

The overwhelmingly important point — reinforced by these letters —remains that Deer was absolutely central to the GMC’s investigation. Deer did not merely supply information.  His letter laid before the GMC allegations of serious professional misconduct. Moreover, whatever its technical status in the eyes of the GMC it was presented as a formal complaint, giving the full names of the doctors and their registered medical practitioner numbers and phrased in officialese. The GMC lawyers’ letter refers to further meetings with him on 24 February 2005 and 7 March 2005. None of this involvement was mentioned in his story in last week’s Sunday Times.

But what about the GMC’s own use of Brian Deer? In his book MMR Science and Fiction: Exploring the Vaccine Crisis, the Lancet editor Richard Horton provides the following startling cameo from the political crisis that engulfed the GMC in February 2004 when, during the weekend of  Deer’s Sunday Times article and the denunciation of Wakefield by the Lancet, the then Health Secretary Dr John Reid demanded the GMC hold an inquiry into the Wakefield affair:

Indeed, the GMC seemed nonplussed by Reid’s intervention. The best their spokeswoman could say was: ‘We are concerned by these allegations and will be looking at what action, if any, may be necessary’. In truth, they had not a clue where to begin. At a dinner I attended on 23 February, one medical regulator and I discussed the Wakefield case. He seemed unsure of how the Council could play a useful part in resolving the confusion. As we talked over coffee while the other dinner guests were departing, he scribbled down some possible lines of investigation, and passed me his card, suggesting that I contact him directly if anything sprang to mind. He seemed keen to pursue Wakefield, especially given ministerial interest. Here was professionally led regulation of doctors in action — notes exchanged over liqueurs in a beautifully panelled room of one of medicine’s most venerable institutions.

Two days after this reported exchange, Deer wrote to the GMC asking permission to lay out his allegations before it. So if, as Deer maintains, the GMC had previously approached him for his information, then from Horton’s account it looks as if the GMC found in his claims a way to respond to the pressure from Reid for an inquiry. This pressure had itself been occasioned by the Lancet’s denunciation, which had in turn been provoked by Deer’s allegations.  So if this version of events is correct, the GMC solicited Deer’s allegations — while purporting to be their passive recipient — to provide it with the means to throw the book at Wakefield et al and thus pacify the Health Secretary. If that is true, then the GMC was party to a deception in the pursuit of a politically driven attack.

Now here’s another strange thing. Last week there was a big vaccine damage judgement in the US – the ‘Cedillo’ case – in which the court said the Wakefield theory about MMR was out to lunch in la-la land. This is what Deer posted on the Left Brain Right Brain website in the wake of that case:

That said, I’m also very proud that, like the GMC, the US government sought my help in mounting its case in Cedillo, copiously borrowing pages of evidence from my website and displaying some in court. I was surprised by this. I assumed that they would have sophisticated contacts with other governments and with industry, and could pretty much get what they wanted. However, on a number of occasions I would come home, find an email from the department of justice asking me for a document, and see that the next day it was being run in court. Bit of a seat of the pants job by the DoJ (brought about by the plaintiffs changing their case at the last minute). Indeed, I recall supplying a key document on the O’Leary lab business, which the DoJ didn’t seem to know about just weeks before the hearing. Hence the late surfacing of Bustin and Chadwick. It was me wot done that, and I’m glad. I don’t say these things to boast, only perhaps to wonder why — if there are all kinds of grand conspiracies behind the defence of vaccine safety — governments and regulators are so untogether that a mere journalist can get ahead of them in the game.

If his boast is true, it would seem that the US court — whose ruling looks pretty thin to me — arrived at its conclusion based on Deer’s allegations. In other words, two major quasi-legal hearings relating to Andrew Wakefield’s theory, one of which is being reported by Deer, have depended significantly or wholly upon a journalist’s own allegations.

He also posted up on the same site a bizarre and incoherent riposte to the critics who have been hammering away at him on the blogs:

If I am as central to the GMC’s case as the cranks and liars say, why would I publish a front page and two inside pages story which wasn’t true? Indeed, if it wasn’t substantially true it would be a very serious libel indeed, and bound to be found out. It would amount to professional suicide.

If what I published is misleading (and it isn’t) the GMC panel (two lay members and three doctors) would see that I had published a baseless story. They, after all, have the children’s medical records (at least for 11 of them). Given the number of times they have reviewed this material, the data probably stalks their dreams.

Why would I put my name to something that would defeat myself? Obviously I wouldn’t. Although there is no risk of prejudice to the hearing (GMC panels are deemed by the court of appeal to be beyond prejudice, providing they are properly advised), there could be no possible explanation as to why I would publish gross falsehoods that are open to such intense scrutiny by the panel of a statutory inquiry.

The Sunday Times might be well advised to take a very hard look at its ‘objective’ reporter and his involvement in his own story. And the GMC has some questions to answer too.


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Gert

February 16th, 2009 6:19pm

Oh Mel, for chrissake, give it a rest, why don't you?
Wakefield and his wacky MMR theory are both dead in the water. Thoroughly discredited.

You're dissecting the stinking corpse of a past controversy here. You backed the wrong horse. When in a hole, stop digging. Move on, dear.

Neil

February 16th, 2009 6:54pm

It's sad that you stoop to smearing Deer, Melanie.

But it matters little. The MMR vaccination is safe. Frankly, if you don't have your children vaccinated you're at best irresponsible and at worst a complete idiot.

Vaccinate your kids. Don't run the risk of congenital rubella syndrome.

badsteve

February 16th, 2009 7:03pm

This seems like a personal tragedy to me. Mel is quite thoughtful on some issues but on MMR is incapable of contemplating the fact she might be wrong since the consequence - that she played a part in the needless suffering of children - is literally unthinkable.
Mel, you weren't the only one to be fooled. I was a news editor (and from my professional point of view, this guy Deer has a lot of questions to answer) and I ran anti-MMR stories, something I now bitterly regret. We can't do anything about the damage done or the guilt, Mel. But we can let the matter drop. Please.

Shaun Pilkington

February 16th, 2009 7:04pm

Seriously - go to Bad Science and look at an actual practising, skeptical, medical doctor's read of this. Also, please pay attention to the possibly fatal consequences of the mumps/measels outbreaks now sweeping the country.

In matters of science, science > humanities.

John Stone

February 16th, 2009 7:15pm

Gert: It is not Melanie who is in a hole - wouldn't you just like to believe it? You have used the first resort of the politician under pressure: "Time to move on". Well, there is still plenty of unfinished business. There are many questions here that still need answering, and there are now lots of very fed up people on both sides of the Atlantic, who are not going to go away.

James

February 16th, 2009 7:21pm

Give this one a rest, please, Mel.As a repository of common sense in this maddening left leaning world, you give me a good read and refuge each day after my work. Your credibility is not sustained or enhanced by beating this drum for a wacky theory.

Meh

February 16th, 2009 7:26pm

Shaun Pilkington. Suggesting that Melanie Phillips is indicative of the humanities is thoroughly offensive, I request that you take this slander back immediately.

Valentinus

February 16th, 2009 7:31pm

This is actually indicative of the new dogmatism that has deprived Melanie Phillips of the independence of mind that once made her a commentator of note. There is a lesson in discourse analysis on all of these recent pieces, whether its MMR, Global Warming or Israel: not that here is a journalist with an interesting, novel assessment of a controversial issue, but here is the definitive, conclusive, indisputable truth, sweeping away all contrary evidence and labelling opponents variously as knaves, liars or antisemites. Of all of the controversies she has adopted as personal crusades, this is the most revealing. With infinitely more proof than global warming could ever hope to command, study after study has comprehensively refuted the Wakefield MMR-autism hypothesis, yet Melanie tastelessly maintains her contrarian position. She doesn't seem to realise how revealing this is and how much damage it has inflicted on her defence of her other favourite causes. I agree with those who lament this personal and professional lapse of judgement. Instead of refreshingly adversarial, she now just looks silly. Which is a great shame.

Steve Walters

February 16th, 2009 7:43pm

A very interesting story! Thanks for this. I hope you just ignore those ignorant and personal attacks on you Melanie - it's because they don't have any serious arguments, and are unable to respond to points you've made.

nhokkanen

February 16th, 2009 7:45pm

The permanent disability of vaccine-induced autism is sweeping many countries because well-intentioned public health administrators find it "literally unthinkable." Look at all the vaccine injury cases and symptoms -- encephalopathy, mitochondrial dysfunction, gastrointestinal lesions. The argument isn't "no vaccines," it's for SAFE vaccines for ALL children. No children should be written off as collateral damage in the war on disease. Public confidence could be restored by treating these "little soldiers" honestly and ethically.

Sylvia

February 16th, 2009 7:53pm

Brian Deer certainly seems like a loose cannon who has crossed the line. Not only completely unethical, but quite un-hinged as well.

Jenny

February 16th, 2009 8:00pm

I know it hurts Mel's detractors that she's exposed what's going on here, but that's just tough, folks.

The only person who Brian Deer has got to moan at is himself. It's like watching someone pour petrol on a bonfire and saying "ooh look, have you seen this?"

All that Mr Deer had to do was flag up in his Sunday Times story the fact that he has played such an active role in all this. Why is he so shy of doing that?

It is extraordinary in the first place that a reporter writing on a tribunal is the person who instigated the tribunal (especially when it's not a journalistic tribunal), but to then not flag it up in that story last week makes him look downright devious. As for going on to his website and airbrushing out words he no longer seems to find useful to him, that's just the behaviour of a

JJS

February 16th, 2009 8:12pm

There is a fundamental dishonesty here (Deer's) but no-one is talking about that. Is nobody actually capable of seeing that any longer? What has happened to our powers of objective reasoning?

SIV

February 16th, 2009 8:20pm

Sorry for those on this website who have had to make excuses for Brian Deer's seemingly unethical actions and behavior- which deserve far more inquiry than Dr. Wakefield's noble intentions. You can shuck and jive to avoid the facts, but until vaccinations are actually proven to be safe and effective, using rational pharmaceutical protocol and testing reflective of sound science, we will continue to go through this argument. Many children have been damaged by thimerosal, by the MMR, by HBV, etc. These are all documented. Why not just review the information on http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html; http://www.whale.to/vaccines/mmr.html;
or www.NVIC.org. What has not been documented and sufficiently tested is the safety and efficacy of the individual vaccines or the protocol used, especially on infants, many of whom are injected before a bloodbrain barrier is formed. The fact that those who wish to push vaccines on infants with, in some cases, hazardous waste levels of toxins such as mercury without testing are scared to death of a study of the vaccinated vs. the unvaccinated because many of those same individuals know such testing will reveal tremendous damage to the children with scant evidence and proof of actual prophylactic effect from the vaccines, perhaps ushering in the death knell of the apparent fanatacism and witchcraft with which some of them appear to ply their trade. Until good pharmaceutical practice fully supports the injection of toxins into babies, this discussion will continue and more and more families will choose to avoid vaccinations until the child is older or perhaps forever.
Kudos to Wakefield- a big raspberry to Deer. At least Wakefield can sleep at night knowing that he attempted to held children damaged by vaccines.
That said, can Brian Deer even sleep? And if he can, what does that say about Brian Deer?

David Taylor

February 16th, 2009 8:24pm

Mel--thanks for an excellent report and please ignore the name-calling, polemics and demagoguery. Regardless of where one comes down on Wakefield, the MMR, safe vaccines, one-size-fits-all immunization schedules, you have brought to light an important journalistic and ethical issue regarding Brian Deer. Thank you for it.

John Stone

February 16th, 2009 8:27pm

Neil suggests that Melanie "has stooped" to smearing Deer, but all she has done ever so carefully is point to the anomalies in the record.

I recommend that people take a look at the Child HealthSafety report too: http://tinyurl.com/d5o2fh

Nehama

February 16th, 2009 8:38pm

Oh, for crying out loud you lot!!! Mel's story isn't about the MMR vaccine, or even Wakefield or his theories as such, it's about the fact a journalist is reporting on a story he himself created, and is a key player in. Don't you get it?

Laura

February 16th, 2009 8:41pm

My, my, look what the cat dragged in, folks.

Are any of these waifs and strays Brian Deer’s colleagues at all?

Where have Gert, Neil, badsteve, James and Valentius all come from?

And what’s Ms Phillips’ crime today? Oh, same as it ever was: laying the evidence before the jury. And what’s the evidence. Changing the words on his own website! That’s not ‘dogmatism’ Valentius, that’s just some half-baked reporter making himself look like a fool. There’s no dogma at all. Just fact.

You say Melanie Phillips likes ‘sweeping away all contrary evidence’, but all she ever does is produce the evidence she finds. Should we not worry ourselves that this man sees fit to start tweaking crucial wording on his website? This is outrageous behaviour given what Deer said about that TV station.

And why didn’t declare his role in this story last week?

‘Of all of the controversies she has adopted as personal crusades, this is the most revealing.’ Oooh! ‘With infinitely more proof than global warming could ever hope to command, study after study has comprehensively refuted the Wakefield MMR-autism hypothesis, yet Melanie tastelessly maintains her contrarian position.’

Well, that’s really going to hide this man changing the words on his website. Why should all the hundreds who visit this website every day bother ourselves with the evidence here when you start howling because this man fiddles with his website? Where have you been all our lives, Valentius?

‘She doesn't seem to realise how revealing this is and how much damage it has inflicted on her defence of her other favourite causes.’ Oh, so she’s caught this fellow out with his website and that’s supposed to reduce our opinion of her other writing.

‘I agree with those who lament this personal and professional lapse of judgement.’ Valentius, I think this is the speech you meant to give to Mr Deer. It’s very nice of you to rehearse it all in front of us and I know someone’s going to have to speak to this man Deer about all this in due course, but we’re really 100% not interested in this man’s folly. He just stew in his own juice, once he’s finished re-writing what’s on his website.

Gert

February 16th, 2009 8:42pm

@John Stone:
"Gert: It is not Melanie who is in a hole - wouldn't you just like to believe it? You have used the first resort of the politician under pressure: "Time to move on". Well, there is still plenty of unfinished business."
Get real. I'm not a politician. And yes, it is time to move on. This is the 'non-story' of this year. The fact that the MMR-autism theory has been resoundingly refuted makes it necessary to move on. Anything else is spiteful bitterness, especially since as it comes from a person (Mel) who has no possibility of carrying out any research on the topic anyway and is now reduced to reheating old peripheral 'arguments'. Those who still want to 'weigh things up' are wasting their time and possibly putting their children's lives at risk.
She's sounding more like a defeated 9/11 truther than anything else. But hey, John, you keep staring at your navel if it makes you happy!

fellow traveller

February 16th, 2009 8:55pm

nhokkanen: "The permanent disability of vaccine-induced autism is sweeping many countries"

Which ones? How many? Since when? Children are not "little soldiers" and no one is "writing anyone off", on either side. The arguments on both sides are to try to make sure as many children are as healthy as possible.

It's very, very sad that the debate can sink into this pointless "who said what to who". It really doesn't matter very much.

On the other hand, what matters very much is how to make sure that important scientific debates like this one are more responsibly reported in future.

This blog is, I fear, not a good start down that road.

Richard

February 16th, 2009 8:56pm

Deer is in clear breech of journalistic standards.He made the initial complaint to the GMC and yet continues to try to influence the outcome of that enquiry.

Tony Jackson

February 16th, 2009 9:06pm

I find it odd that Mel spends so much time and effort droning on about what Deer did or didn’t do. Maybe she thinks that if she can prove Deer lied, then that vindicates Wakefield’s stand on MMR. But of course it doesn’t!

Personally, I couldn’t care less who said what to whom. All the shenanigans at the GMC are utterly beside the point. The central issue is whether there is any evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism. That will not be decided by the pronouncements of lawyers.

As many others have pointed out, after ten years of intensive work there isn’t a shred of evidence for the Wakefield hypothesis. None. Zip. Nada.

That’s it really, end of story. Time to move on. Mel should just shut up.

kaley

February 16th, 2009 9:07pm

thank you for a very unbiased and honest article. This is something hard to find these days. keep up the good work!

Dave

February 16th, 2009 9:08pm

Investigative journalist lays results of research before authorities.
And your problem with this is?

London postdoc

February 16th, 2009 9:15pm

Nhokkanen:

I've spent eight years as a postdoctoral research scientist researching the molecular basis of mitochondrial dysfunction (at University College London, thanks for asking). Most of my work has centred around the cytochrome bc1 complex, but I've looked at NADH:ubiquinone oxidoreductase too. In a nutshell I study the enzymology and assembly of the dysfunctional respiratory complexes from patient biopsy samples, using a combination of steady-state kinetics, UV/vis-spectrophotometry, Western blot analysis, molecular modelling and FTIR spectroscopy.

To suggest that an exogenous antigen (such as those found in the MMR vaccine) can somehow trigger or exacerbate mitochondrial myopathies is laughable. Firstly, such disorders are exceptionally rare (around 1 in 50,000 people are affected) and there's no physiological mechanism by which such an interaction could occur.

I'd post a link to my publication record on this matter, but I don't want the green-ink brigade getting my contact details (or harrassing my employer).

TD Shang

February 16th, 2009 9:25pm

I do not think that anyone is against vaccinations. What we are against are the poisons within the vaccines. Clean them up. Get rid of the heavy metals, aborted fetal and animal dna and all other toxins. Then perhaps people will not be afraid to give the vaccinations to their little ones.

I would love to see Mr. Deer volunteer to be injected with the equivalent of what an infant receives in these vaccines. Is he willing to put his money where his mouth is. Probably not nor are any of the others who would have you believe that vaccines are safe.

The fact is they don't know. The studies are inadequate. There are no long term studies showing the effects of these vaccine cocktails. There are no studies of nonvax vs vax children. The only proof we have that the vaccinations are safe comes from a shady source of people who stand to profit from the continued sell of vaccines.

I would also like to know why the list of vaccinations continue to grow when the list of communicable disease has not?

I would also like to point out that this is not just about Vaccines. This is about our individual rights. If we give the government the right to force vaccination what is next? Forced sterilizations for the poor or others deem unfit to bear children? Do you really want the government to have this kind of power? You better stop and think before you jump on the bandwagon here and criticize those who choose not to vaccinate their children be it for religious, medical or other reasons. No matter what side of the Vaccine Issue you stand on .. you must agree that the individual must maintain the right to make such decisions.

PJ Carroll

February 16th, 2009 9:29pm

Melanie - This is brilliant! The fact that this ridiculous inquisition against Dr. Wakefield has gone as far as it has would be laughable - if it weren't for the thousands of children who continue to be killed or disabled by the MMR.

Seany

February 16th, 2009 9:30pm

"The Sunday Times might be well advised to take a very hard look at its ‘objective’ reporter and his involvement in his own story."

The Spectator might well be advised to look at its 'scientifically illiterate and demonstrably wrong' columnist and her embarrassing and dangerous outpourings on this non-story.

Clive

February 16th, 2009 10:06pm

Yes, give it a rest please Melanie. This guy is well dodgy. You do yourself no favours with this article, it worries me that you are so misguided.

MinorityView

February 16th, 2009 10:18pm

Melanie, I'm impressed with your calm, thoughtful analysis of this story. There are obviously a lot of people who would like you to shut up. Thanks for hanging in there.

Bugs

February 16th, 2009 10:19pm

Melanie, Wakefield's nonsense is now costing lives, a small outbreak of measles (1700 cases) in 2006 in Germany, 2 died, current outbreak in Vaud in Switzerland, 12 year old French girl died recently, if you want proof of the dangers of not vaccinating look at the statistics of cases in vaccinated and unvaccinated. Want to go back to the good ol' days prevaccination Melanie, 100 to 150 kids a year were dying of measles in the UK, Oh yes lets go back to those good old measles party days.
A main plank in Wakefield's original science has been discredited, his work claiming to have found an association between measles virus and samples from autistic kids was contamination, why, because the lab in Dublin happened to miss out a key enzyme in the assay, reverse transcriptase, so it was impossible for the assay to work. This is all in the public domain, suggest you check your facts advice some other pundits might care to take. Wakefield's data has not been repeated & now his myths are costing lives, look at the current Swiss Vaud outbreak they're now exporting measles to the US.
This is dangerous nonsense, just because he disagrees with 99.9% of scientific & medical opinion doesn't make him a freethinker, maybe he's just plain wrong.

MinorityView

February 16th, 2009 10:21pm

I'd be more impressed with people who are concerned with the suffering of children, if these same people would ever acknowledge the suffering of the children who may be enduring vaccine damage. The same people who are throwing fits over the hypothetical possibility that some children may get measles, that some of the children who get measles may have complications and that some of the children who have complications from the measles may have serious outcomes...these same people can read an account of a child suffering year after year with intestinal pain and not blink an eye. There only response is to say something snotty like: anecdotes don't count! I'm not convinced these guys are humanitarian idealists who care about children. Some children just don't count...

Maurine Meleck

February 16th, 2009 10:25pm

For those of you who think we are moving on-think again. With every loss we soldier on for more battles. We are never going away because we saw our perfectly normal children regress into autism following vaccinations. Thank you Melanie for this article.

Seonaid

February 16th, 2009 10:30pm

It strikes me that Mel's article today is not so much about vaccine safety - but rather about the extremely questionable behaviour of Brian Deer. Coming out with statements - then going back and changing past blog entries to ensure they corroborate his new stance? How can anyone take seriously a journalist who is found to be doing this? Could this come under the label ‘Fraud’ or ‘perjury’? .
It’s all very well saying ‘give it a rest’ or asking her to stop ‘smearing’ Deer, or pouring scorn and derision on what she is reporting. Isn’t that exactly what Deer has been doing to the Royal Free doctors for some time now? OK for one – but not for the other? Change the rules depending on how things are going?
How about some justification for what Deer has been up to recently? Or isn’t there any?

Dosra Dave

February 16th, 2009 10:36pm

What the shame is that people seem to be more interesting in defending somebody who willfully harmed children in his testing of his dubious hypothesis. That's really, really sad. And would we have known it without Deer...maybe...no thanks to commentators like Mel however...

Sheri Nakken

February 16th, 2009 10:37pm

PS - please support Melanie with comments

http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/3362116/a-deer-in-the-headlights.thtml#comments

Jacob

February 16th, 2009 10:40pm

Brian Deer and his tireless Deerites are all showing symptoms of Swine fever (characterized by high fever, lack of appetite, diarrhea, and lethargy). The majority of which, are spending more time on blogs, than actually doing anything of real significance. Certainly not, encompassing caring individuals. They also don’t realise the numbers affected over the MMR issue, totally underestimate them, they only offer suppositions of harm and misleading of the masses (their own doing), They also think if Wakefield et al go down it will finish people off, lol. Wakefield’s doing alright; he’s not exactly in the gutter is he. He is still endeavouring to find answer’s which is more than many others can say. A massive waste of time and money thrown in a direction which is stonewalling progress on any front in the pursuit to discover causation to many disabilities and Brian Deer seems pleased as punch with himself. If anything he has succeeded in making Wakefield a martyr too many.

Stan

February 16th, 2009 10:46pm

In all this, I have yet to see anyone comment on the claim that back at the beginning of this whole kerfuffle, Brian Deer was commissioned by an editor at the Sunday Times named Paul Nuki, who happens to be the son of a Professor George Nuki, who sat on the committee oversighting the safety of the MMR (which safety testing has been criticized by a former official in the DoH, whose name I can't locate just right now).

There would appear to be a conflict of interest going on here. I think it would be helpful to hear from anyone who has any info on this matter.

In any event, I have read of too many parents who are not dumb, and who know from their child's experience CLEARLY that the MMR shot was involved in their subsequent descent into autism (perhaps in conjunction with other vaccines, and perhaps at least one of those containing thimerosal or aluminium), to believe that population studies conducted by people with a conflict of interest in this matter are the only, or even best, source of info regarding it.

And for any naysayers: please explain the presence of antibodies to MBP found in kids with damaged guts and symptoms of ASD (see, eg, Singh et al), which could come from the chick embryo cells that the measles component of the MMR jab is cultured on, for a legitimate biochemical link here between it and ASD.

Millie

February 16th, 2009 10:51pm

Melanie - thanks for being the only mainstream columnist who, in writing about the MMR controversy and, now, the contemptible Deer, takes the trouble to look at the facts and report the truth. Tragically, although The GMC is needing 2+ years to sort out this complex and painful affair, many journalists see the issue as an opportunity to opine and condemn on the basis of 15 minutes research on the web. Thanks for keeping your head and continuing to stick your neck out.

fellow traveller

February 16th, 2009 10:53pm

PJ: "if it weren't for the thousands of children who continue to be killed or disabled by the MMR"

Which children? How many? Where? It would be laughable but they're being exposed to a bigger health risk because people actually believe what you say.

DW

February 16th, 2009 10:54pm

This is the issue MMRhas not been proven one way or the other , Brian Deer has made many mistakes in his pieces for the Times can thousands of parents be wrong about vaccines im not wrong i have a child who regressed into Autism and has a bowel condition , i saw that happen in front of my own eyes , there is something in this vaccine that is damageing children , and i call for more research

Ray Gallup

February 16th, 2009 10:56pm

Excellent article. I hope there is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by lawyers (involved with the 3 cases recently adjucated at the US Federal Court)on any and all correspondence between Brian Deer and the US Dept of Justice and US Dept of HHS involving the MMR vaccine and autism.

Ray Gallup
Lake Hiawatha, NJ USA
Parent of 24 year-old son who was born normal but regressed into autism after the MMR vaccine

AutismNewsBeat

February 16th, 2009 10:59pm

Mel, you are conflating two different definitions of "complaint". The initial, formal, administrative complaint against Wakefield was filed by the GMC. That's the name on the complaint - GMC. Deer is an investigative journalist whose work led to the filing of a formal complaint. What is so earth shattering about that? Were Woodward and Bernstein in violation of journalistic standards for covering the US House of Representative's investigation of Richard Nixon? It would seem so by your vapid analysis.

Margaret

February 16th, 2009 11:14pm

Dave, February 16th, 2009 9:08pm, says: 'Investigative journalist lays results of research before authorities.
And your problem with this is?'

You haven’t worked it out yet, Dave? Ask Brian Deer, Dave. He’s the one who’s been rehashing what’s on his website, he seems to know the reasons for doing that well enough.

Seonaid

February 16th, 2009 11:20pm

As a matter of interest...
Anyone able to answer these questions?

Why do some autistic children suffer such constant pain from impacted bowels?
Why do some autistic children with bowel disorders require to have part, or several parts or their entire bowel removed?
Why do some autistic children need regular hospitalisation to have their bowels ‘flushed out’?
Why do some autistic children end up vomiting faeces because there is nowhere else for waste material to go?
What exactly is in those secret MMR files?
Why do 50% of health workers avoid vaccination for their own children?
Why so quiet, the fact that over 900 families have been paid compensation for vaccine damage in uk?
Why is compensation not allowable for vaccine damage resulting from vaccines administered under the age of 2 years?

Valentinus

February 16th, 2009 11:30pm

Stan. Here is all the science you are looking for, rather than the anecdote and conspiracy you cite. You must know that, logically, no parent can know that MMR was implicated in their children's autism. All they can do is point to a correlation, like saying I caught a cold after eating weetabix. Its the correlation that is then investigated for a causal relation. That has been done with MMR, over and over. No causal connection has been found. But wait a minute. Lo and behold, no statistically significant correlation has been found either, outside of Wakefield's study.. For this see:
Madsen KM et al. (2002). N Engl J Med 347 (19): 1477–82 - No correlation
Jefferson T et al. (2003). Vaccine 21 (25-26): 3954–60. - *Meta analysis* correlation is "unlikely"
DeStefano F et al. (2004). Pediatrics 113 (2): 259–66. - No correlation
Smeeth L et al. (2004). Lancet 364 (9438): 963–9. - Non significant negative correlation (ie MMR shown protective)
Barbaresi WJ et al. (2005). Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 159 (1): 37–44. - Autism reporting rates are up but do not correlate with MMR.
Honda H et al. (2005). J Child Psychol Psychiatry 46 (6): 572–9. - withdrawl of MMR in Japan results in no change to autism rates. (n=30,000)
Demicheli V et al.(2005). Cochrane Database Syst Rev 19 (4). -Cochrane Library meta analysis of 31 studies. No correlation.
Fombonne E et al. (2006). Pediatrics 118 (1): e139–50. -no correlation (n=27,749)
Taylor B (2006). Child Care Health Dev 32 (5): 511–9.
D'Souza Y, Fombonne E, Ward BJ (2006). Pediatrics 118 (4): 1664–75.
Richler J, Luyster R, Risi S et al. (2006). J Autism Dev Disord 36 (3): 299–316.
Uchiyama T, Kurosawa M, Inaba Y (2007). J Autism Dev Disord 37 (2): 210–7. - An update of the situation in Japan. Still no correlation.
Cox AR, Kirkham H (2007). Drug Saf 30 (10): 831–6. PMID 17867721.
DeStefano F (2007).Clin Pharmacol Ther 82 (6): 756–9.
Hornig M, Briese T, Buie T et al. (2008). PLoS ONE 3 (9): e3140.

Notice the data sets here: not 'my child definitely got autism after MMR', but studies with average samples of 25-30000 children. No correlation. No causal connection. No case to answer. What information do you have that trumps this?

Pete

February 16th, 2009 11:38pm

The more vitriolic the 'Deer' crowd get, the more I grin - its obviously starting to worry them.

The Truth will prevail in this matter, Deer will be shown for what he is and the government will realise that they should not have messed with our children for this long. That was and remains stupid.

If they spent all that taxpayers money investigating MMR safety instead of trying to destroy a Wakefields reputation, I would have some faith in them. It must have seemed like the cheaper option at the time. Again, stupid.

slippinaway

February 16th, 2009 11:44pm

Bugs, what are you on about? Current WHO reported vaccine coverage (through 2007) for Germany is 94% or greater since 2001 and greater than 90% since 1994. Still, your 1700 cases in 2006 in Germany is pittance compared to the ~ 90,000 cases in the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Romania and Turkey all with reported vaccine coverage rates of 95% or greater for quite some time.
And the Swiss WHO reported measles coverage averages around 80%, but has gone up since the "big scare" in 1998/1999 from 83/81 percent respectively to its peak at 86 percent in 2007.
Then the BBC article talking about measles in the U.S. and it mentioned the state of Colorado getting down to 75% vaccine coverage...weird thing here, is that there aren't cases in Colorado????????
Now, let's try and talk death and debilitation from vaccine reactions. Oh, that's hard isn't it as they are always either: 1)coincidental, 2)ignored, 3)denied, 4)vilified if enquired into etc.
But let's not forget how well Melanie has put forth Deer's and the GMC's shenanigans.
Thank you Melanie! Thank you Dr. Wakefield!

Deborah Nash

February 16th, 2009 11:45pm

Brilliant Melanie. What more can I say but thank you!

CliveM

February 17th, 2009 12:00am

Since I have previously contributed on other posts using the the name 'Clive', I want to assure Melanie that my namesake here does not speak for me!

Over the last few years I have read enough about vaccines in general to make me wary enough not to touch ANY of them with a barge pole!

Pam

February 17th, 2009 12:24am

Melanie - brilliant work!
Deer's influence over the GMC and USA Court Actions MUST be investigated thoroughly. Never have we seen a drive to 'get' someone, as with Wakefield, on TV and in press BEFORE the result of an inquiry - which seems more and more like a fit up. Who and why? - must be very important.

Lee Jakeman

February 17th, 2009 12:32am

"Oh Mel, for chrissake, give it a rest, why don't you?
Wakefield and his wacky MMR theory are both dead in the water. Thoroughly discredited.
You're dissecting the stinking corpse of a past controversy here. You backed the wrong horse. When in a hole, stop digging. Move on, dear."

Well - it would be a lot easier to "move on" were it not for the fact that the persecution of Dr. Wakefield continues unabated. For as long as Dr. Wakefield is being demonised and harrassed, Melanie is right to stick with it. This issue isn't "dead and buried" because Dr. Wakefield's detractors won't allow it to be.

Corin

February 17th, 2009 12:47am

I notice that those who say Melanie is wrong provide no evidence whatsoever.

Frank P

February 17th, 2009 1:08am

Stan

Very interesting; I've been waiting for something to emerge about who may have set the Deer running; this could go Nuki-lar.
Lets hope Melanie has him in her sights.

Joan

February 17th, 2009 1:12am

Many thanks Melanie for sticking to your guns and writing another great article. Excellent heading by the way.

Frank P

February 17th, 2009 1:15am

Further to Stan's comment, see:
http://www.whale.to/a/nuki_h.html

digger

February 17th, 2009 1:40am

London postdoc

Firstly, such disorders are exceptionally rare (around 1 in 50,000 people are affected) and there's no physiological mechanism by which such an interaction could occur.

It doe's seem you have not kept up, London postdoc last numbers for the public having the nuclear DNA for mitochondria disfuntion disorder may be as high as 1 in 50

1-in-50 GENETIC RISK?On the call, speculation on the prevalence of a genetic mutation that could confer mild mitochondrial dysfunction in the general population ranged from about 1-in-400, to a staggering 1-in-50, or 2% of all Americans. This was also

being discussed ( The potential implications for autism, then, are staggering. )

All thirty children also displayed normal, healthy development until about 18-24 months of age, ( My thoughts not Davids, that is when kids get several vaccines ) when they quickly regressed into clinically diagnosed autism (and not merely "features of autism"), following some type of unusual trigger,(My thoughts Thimerosal turns into Inorganic mercury in the brain of the child and Inorganic mercury is the most damaging to the mitochondria and depletes the glutathione the most efficient and depleted glutathione is what we are seeing in our kids with regressive autism) or stress, placed on their immune system.Researchers explained on the call that some data show that mitochondrial dysfunction can convert into autism "in numbers that make it not a rare occurrence," one participant told me. They explained this as "a distinct syndrome; not a mixed bag at all. Every kid had mild mitochondria dysfunction and autistic regression."

"Vaccines, in some cases, can cause an unusually heightened immune reaction, fever, and even mild illness," one participant said. "A normal vaccine reaction in most kids would be very different in a kid with a metabolic disorder. We know it happened to at least two kids in this study, and I'm certain there are many more Hannahs out there."One theory currently in circulation about what happened to Hannah and other children like her, is an apparent "triple domino effect." According to this hypothesis, it takes three steps and two triggers to get to some types of autism, and it goes like this:STEP ONE: Child is conceived and born healthy, but with an underlying nuclear DNA genetic susceptibility to mitochondrial dysfunction, inherited from dad.TRIGGER ONE: An early environmental "adversity" occurs in the womb or during the neonatal period, perhaps caused by prenatal exposure to heavy metals, pollutants, pesticides and medicines. Or, it occurs in early infancy, through environmental toxins, thimerosal exposure, or even the Hepatitis B vaccine "birth dose." This trigger results in:STEP TWO: Child develops mild, usually asymptomatic mitochondrial dysfunction (though I wonder if the ear infections and eczema so common in these cases might also be symptoms of mito problems).TRIGGER TWO: Child, now with an underlying mitochondrial dysfunction, suffers over-stimulation of the immune system beyond the capacity of his or her metabolic reserves. This stress is either via a viral febrile infection, or from multiple vaccinations, as in the Poling case. This trigger results in:STEP THREE: Acute illness, seizures, encephalopathy, developmental regression, autism. Such a scenario might help explain why autism has increased right along with the addition of more vaccines to the national schedule. And it might help explain why autism rates are not plummeting now that thimerosal levels have been significantly reduced in most childhood vaccines. It's possible that exposures from the flu shot, and residual mercury left over in other vaccines -- perhaps in synergistic effect with aluminum used as an "adjuvant" to boost the immune response - might "contribute to the toxic mix that causes childhood mitochondrial dysfunction in the first place," one of the doctors said

Diana

February 17th, 2009 1:48am

As an individual who personally attended the US Governmental Reform and IOM Autism/Thimerosal Hearings, there isn't a chance in HELL I would give this vaccine to my child. Hey Melanie, great investigative reporting, how would you like to write an expose on the connection between Eli Lilly (thimerosal) and the Bush Family? It's trial I've been waiting to attend. It's also my only explanation for the CDC and US Federal Court findings.

Kelli Ann Davis

February 17th, 2009 3:06am

“What the shame is that people seem to be more interesting in defending somebody who willfully harmed children in his testing of his dubious hypothesis.”

No, Dorsa Dave -- what’s really shameful is the hypocrisy surrounding the baseless accusation in regards to the “unethical testing” of children.

If the General Medical Council was REALLY interested in the welfare of these children and wanted to go after "unscrupulous" doctors who have “traumatized” them, maybe they should be looking into the thousands of medical professionals who have continually turned a "blind eye" to the obvious PHYSICAL ailments of our children and who have refused to run the simple tests that would give them the medical evidence that they need in order to treat them properly.

Instead, they “dismiss” their ailments as PSYCHOLOGICAL and refer them to psychologists.

Now THAT, in my opinion, is “willfully harming children” and is a charge worthy of examination.

Kelli Ann Davis
D.C. Political Liaison for Generation Rescue

Lavender

February 17th, 2009 3:29am

This is ludicrous. There are now so many reasons to doubt the validity of Wakefield's claims, and so little reason to believe in them (if the science you are reading seems to support Wakefield, then your reading is either blinkered or you are not understanding it correctly; if you are not reading the science on this (merely the regurgitations of other people), then you are un-iformed).

The ethics of Deer can and are being discussed, but whatever that all amounts to, in the end it does NOT change the fact that the hypothesised autism-MMR link now has NO credible support for it. I am sorry for those children who are affected by autism. I am also very sorry that autism research is so hampered by these ill-informed agendas.

Ms Phillips, you seem like a smart woman, are you able to take a deep breath, set aside the personalities involved in all this, and take a fresh look at the research base?

Personally go to a scientist who is an acknowledged expert in this area, and discuss with them whatever it is makes you think that Wakefield could have been right. You are a prominent writer, you owe your readership the courtesy of being well-informed on the science, and I think you've dropped the ball on this one.

jen

February 17th, 2009 5:19am

Mel, thanks for digging. Brian Deer will be exposed for the idiot that he is. Give me a break, people, vaccines have now cost us more than the the actual diseases ever would have. Chicken pox vaccine? Laughable. Hep b at birth? (yes, in the U.S. they actually give newborn babies bep b vaccine- and again at 2 and 4 months!!) Criminal. How many more diseases do you think can be safely crammed into the vaccination schedule? The answer is we've already gone too far. We have now entered the era of frankenscience.
We need more reporters like you who dare to tell the truth

William Critchley

February 17th, 2009 8:09am

Thank you, Melanie, for a brave piece of good work.

Neil Foster

February 17th, 2009 8:34am

Melanie Phillips is a Creationist (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/columnists/article-496394/The-real-nutters-fanatics-despise-religious-belief.html)

This, of course, raises credibility issues when she discusses scientific matters.

Wesley

February 17th, 2009 9:18am

I hope you lot don't come to South Africa with your antivax rubbish. You live till you 80. You don't die because there is no medicine to treat you. And you get doctors for free. Yet you still question the things that make your life so comfortable.
If you don't like MMR vaccines. If you think your doctors are deliberately poisoning you, then please send them over here. We will send our sangomas, witchdoctors and various other con-artist to join Wakefield, your pagan wiccas and homeopaths. If you want to be ignorant and live till you are 40, like us, then go right ahead.

Andrew

February 17th, 2009 9:18am

Stan - I think you are referring to Dr Peter Fletcher, who was Chief Scientific Officer at the Department of Health, here is the link: see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-376203/Former-science-chief-MMR-fears-coming-true.html

Valentus - "This is actually indicative of the new dogmatism that has deprived Melanie Phillips of the independence of mind that once made her a commentator of note." Since when did the pursuit of truth and genuine scientific rigour become dogmatism? Your assertion is truly Orwellian.

"With infinitely more proof than global warming could ever hope to command, study after study has comprehensively refuted the Wakefield MMR-autism hypothesis..." Yes, there is irrefutable evidence that the planet has been warming up, the problem is that the warming started in the early 19th century - long before CO2 emmissions were significant. Likewise, the IPCC's own figures show that the planet has not warmed for the last 10 years (see http://www.newstatesman.com/scitech/2007/12/global-warming-temperature), despite the dramatically increased CO2 emissions form India and China in recent years. The media may not want to admit it, but there is no scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming - 650 leading climate scientists publicly rebuked the IPCC at the Poznan conference in December 2008, and there are now around 31,000 signatures at http://www.petitionproject.org .

As for MMR, for you to think "study after study has comprehensively refuted the Wakefield MMR-autism hypothesis" just demonstrates your ignorance of this subject. The Wakefield hypothesis has never been refuted because no similar studies have ever been conducted on autistic childen - the studies you allude to were epidemiological / population studies which can be easily manipulated to conclude what ever the funders would like. As Melanie has pointed out in an earlier piece:

"one of the lead authors of the Cochrane review left no doubt as to his true feelings when he said, “The safety studies of MMR vaccine are crap. They’re the best crap we have but they’re still crap” - http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/archive/2009/February/

Why after 20 years has there never been a study on vaccinated verses unvaccinated childen? Something to hide? The fact is that MMR is as dodgy as the corrupted corporate science used to assert it's safety. And there are just as many questions regarding the therimosal (mercury) that was the main preservative in childhood vaccines until 2004)

Kudos to Melanie for her independence of mind and perservence with this issue. Many thousands of children have been damaged by vaccines, and at the very least they and their parents deserve genuine scientific investigation of vaccine safety, honesty from the medical authorities and government, and ideally justice in the courts. The rest of the media should hang their heads their head in shame for swallowing the official line on MMR (and global warming).

Gert ("She's sounding more like a defeated 9/11 truther than anything else. ") Since you have mentioned 9/11, perhaps you coud refute the very solid physics which questions the official explanation behind the mysteriously free-fall collapse of building 7? - http://911blogger.com/taxonomy/term/10934 .

As I science graduate with an open mind, it is clear to me that (at least on the issues of vaccine safety, global warming, and 9/11) many within the scientific community have been totally corrupted by corporate and political interests, and sadly the mainstream media are complicit in this promulgating this fraud.

Dr Rita Pal

February 17th, 2009 9:40am

The Medical Act 1983 and the Investigation Manual dictates that there does not have to be a complaint for the matter to be taken up by the General Medical Council. They can do so on their own volition and in the public interest.

Dr Rita Pal
http://www.nhsexposedblog.blogspot.com

Anthony Cox

February 17th, 2009 10:20am

It is interesting that one commentator suggests we all trapse over to look at whale.to for information about vaccines.

http://www.whale.to/vaccines.html

I strongly recommend that people do visit this site in order to see the conspiracy-based thought processes of the anti-vaccine movement (who often refer to this site).

Given Melanie's other current journalistic interests, she may be interested to learn that whale.to also contains anti-semitic material such as the Protocol of Zion forgery:

http://www.whale.to/b/protocols.html

And other conspiracy material. Who knew this? The hospice movement is part of a Jesuit conspiracy:

"The Knights of Malta have an ancient history of running drugs and in administering mind altering drugs in their hospitals instead of giving medicine. This ancient activity was carried forth into modern times when their St. Christopher’s hospital in London began giving patients Brompton Mixture until they died. Brompton Mixture consists of heroin, cocaine, alcohol, tranquilizers, and chloroform water. This mixture is given in the Knights of Malta hospitals to patients every three hours until they die. Euthanasia, or "mercy killing" may seem like a merciful idea, until a person finds out how the people at the top of the Euthanasia movement view things. They view things similar to the Satanist Adolf Hitler. This view is that it is merciful to get rid of unwanted people."

There is no link between MMR vaccine and autism.

Anthony Cox

February 17th, 2009 10:22am

Andrew's comment about 911 proves the point that Melanie is going through the looking glass on this issue.

tommy

February 17th, 2009 10:32am

Thankyou Melanie-Whether I agree or not with the efficacy of treatment is immaterial.
This is a simple case of manipulation by mixing fact and fiction to make a case. I believe in technical police terms its called "Fitting up"the suspect or cutting the cloth to fit the dummy
I suppose the next thing will be "Doctors Jollies" from the drugs companies regarded as bribery- I mean just how low can we sink

Mel Anderson

February 17th, 2009 10:45am

It seems to me that there are 2 issues here: the MMR issue, and the extreme polarization of the two sides.

This polarization has led to the unseemly, and vehement, ad hominem attacks from both sides in this blog, journals and papers. In itself, it is as interesting (and disturbing) a phenomenon as the MMR issue.

Both sides seem to be passionately interested in childrens' health. This emotional involvement, whilst understandable, has led to sloppy thinking and boorish behaviour on both sides.

This is not to say that both sides have equivalent merit in their arguments. The MMR vaccine has been proven to be safe in many independent, controlled studies. It is interesting that the MMR "controversy" is an issue only in the USA and the UK; elsewhere in the world it is a non-issue. Measles has been wiped out in Australia, with the occasional flare-up caused by foreign (unvaccinated) visitors.

This is not a freedom of speech issue: there is a body count associated with misinformation on public health. I'm afraid you don't get to vote on the laws of epidemiology.

I understand that many parents of these tragically afflicted children are desperately seeking for a cause, but the fact is that we don't know the cause. If it was MMR, or thimerosal, this would have been beyond dispute by now. The evidence, objectively and stringently gathered, just does not support this hypothesis. Alison Singer, the executive VP of Autism Speaks, resigned stating that "Dozens of credible scientific studies have
exonerated vaccines as a cause of autism. I believe we must devote limited funding to more promising areas of autism research.”

The whole point of scientific endavour is to find out the facts. Can we please refrain from the conspiracy theories, accusations of underhandedness, and find the real cause of this horrible affliction.

Yellowriver

February 17th, 2009 10:47am

Re: Wakefield Attack: Worldwide Autism Organisations Call for Formal Enquiry

Five years after launching a campaign to discredit the work of Dr Andrew
Wakefield, freelance journalist Brian Deer and the Sunday Times in the UK
made additional allegations on Sunday 8th February 2009. Three pages of
articles while offering no new evidence accused Dr Wakefield of having
'fixed' research data. These allegations have no basis in fact and have been
fully addressed during Dr Wakefield's response to the GMC prosecution, now
well into its second year.

We join worldwide autism organisations in endorsing a petition calling for a
formal enquiry into the activities of this freelance journalist.

Please go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/wakefield to view the full
text of the petition and sign to show your support.

With many thanks

Valentinus

February 17th, 2009 11:16am

Andrew. If you are a science graduate then you show precious little understanding of the scientific method. Repeatedly, you and others demand evidence. Repeatedly the evidence is furnished from study after study, but because it does not confirm your prejudices, it's been 'manipulated' (what? All of it? Seriously? As a science graduate you believe that?). You are quite wrong to suggest that Wakefield's etiological claims have not been investigated. This point came up in the US courts last week. They have been scientifically examined. His causal hypothesis is biologically bogus.

The 'Deerites', whoever they are, are not scared by any of this, simply bemused by the scale of irrationalism that grips people here whose historically unprecedented levels of public health are the fruits of the science (and the vaccination campaigns) they now habitually spurn. Meanwhile....24-fold increase in measles in the UK....steep decline in MMR....surprise, surprise, no decline in autism reporting.

Joan

February 17th, 2009 12:17pm

A tremendous read and very emotive

The Denial of Vaccine Damage by Government,
Corporations and the Media.
Written by the parents.
In July 2007 the General Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors in Britain, began a ‘trial’ of Dr Andrew Wakefield,Professor John Walker-Smith and Professor Simon Murch. The three doctors were charged under some seventy headings after having published the conclusion of research and clinical practice that suggested a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease and regressive autism in some children.

The complainant is a pro-MMR journalist. The GMC took almost four years to produce the evidence and the hearing itself is expected to last around two years, making it one of the longest proceedings in British history.

The parents of MMR vaccine damaged children have not been allowed a voice in the GMC hearing. This book is written almost entirely by these parents and for the first time it gives voice to the injustice that has been done to them and their children.

Price £8.00 plus postage and packaging.
For more information, or to purchase the book, click here.
www.cryshame.co.uk

Randy Crawford

February 17th, 2009 12:24pm

Saying that Deer can't criticize because it makes him a player in the drama would apply equally to Melanie Phillips or any other journalist. It would mean that newspapers couldn't criticize anyone, and would have to be restricted to issuing only good news. Here's some good news: MMR is harmless. I've had dozens and dozens of doses of it over the past 4 years to alleviate autoimmune disease. Our ancestors faced these viruses numerous times per generation over millions of years. If they were bad, we wouldn't be here, and the vaccines merely incorporate wimply attentuated viruses. Per evolutionary common sense, my own experience, and the ruling of the U.S. Federal Vaccine Court, MMR and similar vaccines are harmless. Vaccinophobes can pander to the paranoid element all they wish, but there's nothing there past a disproven sensationalistic hallucination. More details by googling "randy crawford mmr"

Maria

February 17th, 2009 12:36pm

So "a journalist is reporting on a story he himself created, and is a key player in". So what? What matters, surely, is whether what he says is true or not. As someone who began reading up on this controversy with no axe to grind for one side or the other, what I see is (1) a mountain of evidence that exposes Wakefield as a liar and a fraud who's primary interest is in lining his own pockets; (2) not one iota of evidence that MMR causes any kind of autism and (3) children suffering a from a potentially very dangerous infectious disease that should have been eliminated from the UK by now. I hold Wakefield, Melanie Phillips and the other irresponsible journalists and public figures like them for this sorry state of affairs.

yellowriver

February 17th, 2009 12:56pm

As far as I can see it has not been both sides of the debate that have been nasty or insulting. I know and believe that my son was damaged by the MMR and the parents have been very emotive with their comments and not nasty at all.

Ali

February 17th, 2009 2:01pm

I find it fascinating that those on the side of Brian Deer have comments like, "give it a rest," "stop smearing Deere," and the inevitable "vaccines are safe."

None of them address any of the FACTS she has pointed out.

And those facts completely erode any credibility of Brian Deer. Those facts are far more significant of wrong-doing than any of the trumped-up charges against Wakefield. (They're fussing about his being paid the going rate for medical testimony???What about the millions paid for medical testimony for the pharmaceutical industry?!)

Obviously, those who STILL think vaccines are safe for all have not looked at the FACTS, but only at what the dishonest media has put out. I would remind them that for many decades, the tobacco industry insisted that cigarettes didn't cause cancer; they buried evidence of harm, too, and paid all kinds of "experts" to support them.

Sound familiar?

Thank you, Melanie Phillips, for daring to point out that the emperor has no clothes.

analyse this

February 17th, 2009 6:21pm

It must be the carrots, or perhaps the cauliflower.
It cannot be vaccines containing numerous chemicals causing problems. How could injecting chemicals be of concern. I reckon it is the carrots. And to prove so, I am going out now to shoot up my youngest who has not had a shot for at least 3 weeks. This one's going to contain some aborted foetus too. On ya - chew ya carrots - donkey.

smcc

February 17th, 2009 7:52pm

As a retired GP who spent nearly 40 years in practice I have carried out thousands of immunisations and have never seen any serious reaction. When Andrew Wakefield published his original paper, in which he has now admitted he falsified the evidence, I could not believe the furore it caused and the anti-MMR campaign that was run by several newspapers, including, if I remember correctly, the Sunday Times. Since then, no evidence has been produced to substantiate the claim that that MMR causes autism.
I am reminded of the problem caused in the 1970s when an eccentric Professor of Public Health at Glasgow University claimed that pertussis vaccine was responsible for brain damage in children. This led to a drop in vaccination against pertussis, as did Wakefield's claims did for MMR vaccination.
Melanie Phillips, and lots of others, have a "bee in their bunnet" about MMR vaccine and no amount of evidence will convince them otherwise.
I decide many years ago to ignore them, and the world contiues to go round.

John Stone

February 17th, 2009 7:53pm

One of the absurdities of many of the comments here has gone unremarked upon: that for the last five years in the context of the mainstream media, only the accusations have ever been reported, never the defence. And actually we are being shouted down by people who simply do not want to know, and only mean to be unfair.

There are accounts of the hearing - relatively succinct by myself - on Age of Autism:

http://tinyurl.com/daj6ws

http://tinyurl.com/9bdm45

and more extensive by Martin J Walker on Cryshame.com, and while it will no doubt be pointed out that we are in the Wakefield camp, but then what is the point of having an opinion if you haven't bothered to find out in the first place?

ATG

February 17th, 2009 10:24pm

Great reporting and many thanks. Deer is coming off more and more like a really vicious version of Ignatius J. Reilly from "A Confederacy of Dunces", only there's very little that's funny about the whole thing-- except maybe Deer's pathological lying. Instead of just wreaking havoc within a corrupt medical and judicial system, this Ignatius is being embraced by the "confederacy".

God, Deer even writes like Ignatius.

Antaeus Feldspar

February 18th, 2009 1:00am

"I find it fascinating that those on the side of Brian Deer have comments like, "give it a rest," "stop smearing Deere," and the inevitable "vaccines are safe."

None of them address any of the FACTS she has pointed out."

Funny thing, that, Ali! The fact is, it's Wakefield that's accused of the far more serious wrongdoing here.

Yet I don't see any of Wakefield's defenders trying to deny that the twelve children in Wakefield's study were in fact all referred through lawyers planning anti-vaccine suits.

I don't see any of Wakefield's defenders here trying to deny that Wakefield was in fact taking money to pursue lawsuits based on the theory of "a new syndrome" before encountering even one of the children whose data supposedly indicated the existence of the "new syndrome".

No, Wakefield's defenders here are all trying to smear Deer and pretend that the natural consequence of an investigative reporter doing his job well -- namely, that the authorities will look into what that reporter has brought to light and hold those who are guilty of wrongdoing responsible -- is that reporter has suddenly become a "principal player" in whatever action the authorities decide to initiate and henceforth is immediately enjoined from pursuing his reporting any further. The notion is absurd and about the only people who could believe such a notion would be those who are desperate to believe Wakefield's claims and can only do so by refusing to look.

anonimouse

February 18th, 2009 2:58am

Melanie,

Your treatise would have been fascinating if it had been the least bit true, or Andrew Wakefield's theory had the slightest shred of validity.

John Stone

February 18th, 2009 8:10am

I think Antenaeus Feldspar very well makes my point that defence has never been reported, on the other hand he even makes allegations never exactly made by Deer (as far as I know).

And then he makes claims about other people smearing. I don't think we are smearing, we are asking for transparency.

John Fryer

February 18th, 2009 11:07am

Hi

The issue is what CAUSES autism.

Until we know the cause or causes then EVERYTHING must rest under SUSPICION.

Looking at various countries and their vaccine policies it is CLEAR to me that those countries who vaccinate later or who vaccinate less have LESS autism.

What is the RATIONALE here?

Is it just a coincidence?

France is particularly good in that it is not the custom to vaccinate for HEP B saving the vaccine at age 1 day and repeated many times in the first few months of life.

France like Denmark and the Scandinavian countries has autism at a rate almost zero in comparison to the 1 in 50 rate quoted for USA.

Further Dr Wakefield recommends the measles SINGLE vaccine.

This means one vaccination SUFFICES and there is no need for the infant to be subjected to TENFOLD the levels of viruses that are in the multiple vaccine and IMPORTANTLY the infant does not have to organise PROPHYLAXIS to many viruses at one time causing more work for the immune system.

In addition, in a real case scenario with single vaccines the medical authorised opinion was to leave the other vaccine components of MMR to a MORE SUITABLE time frame.

The inference being that to give a vaccine where protection is IMPERATIVE at possibly 18 years is rather SILLY at 18 months.

Michael B Schachter MD,CNS, FACAM

February 18th, 2009 11:43am

Thanks for your excellent article exposing the well documented truths about Brian Deer. I find it hard to understand the remarks of your critics on this blog. The evidence that MMR contributes to autism in many cases is overwhelming to me. The severe conflicts of interest involving any Govt both promoting vaccines while supposedly evaluating their safety at the same time is so obvious and yet largely ignored. The US cases tell us nothing because of the deep conflicts of interest. Also, we need to follow the money if we hope to understand anything about the relationship of vaccines to autism and other health conditions.
Michael B Schachter MD,CNS

Frank P

February 18th, 2009 3:24pm

Anthony Cox

I'm not sure what you are suggesting in your comment of 10.20am 17th Feb.

Are you asserting that the relationship between Paul Nuki and George Nuki is a fiction, and their credentials are a fiction too? It would be interesting to know the answer to that - regardless of the 'Protocols of Zion', which Melanie's detractors often seem to wish to interpolate on her post's regardless of what is being discussed.

If a relative of Prof George Nuki (who is an interested party in this controversy Stan avers) named Paul Nuki commissioned the article, isn't that some cause for concern? It would certainly be an interesting angle to pursue. If he didn't, then perhaps a denial might be in order to clear the air. I was not suggesting that the 'whale.to' link was a good source, merely pointing it out as a link that I googled that seemed to relate to Stan's comment at 10.46 (Feb 16).

Having read this debate with interest and having wondered why Deer got a bug up his ass about this in the first place, Stan at least posited a possible reason. Which is worth discussing and investigating, perhaps? Or would you rather talk about ant-Semitism or grand Zionist conspiracies? If so there are many threads on Melanie's blog that would accommodate your interest. Can any of Melanie's or Wakefild's critics address this point? Can Melanie herself perhaps post on this issue and apprise us of any knowledge. or absence thereof, on the Nuki connection, bearing in mind her wise policy to avoid the fray of the commentariat hereupon.

Frank P

February 18th, 2009 4:08pm

Dr Schachter

You have cut to the chase and after all the frenetic kerfaffle above you make very good sense in one paragraph, that includes two key axioms: "The severe conflicts of interest involving any Govt" and "follow the money". The great Machine of State rolls over the weak or the uncompliant on both sides of the Pond. You are a wise man. But the question remains - what are parents do? A second opinion, as concise as the one above, please?

Some Medics, in their ivory towers,
Are really wicked quacks and fakes
They usurp nature's healing powers
A quickly bury their mistakes.

Autism Grandma

February 18th, 2009 6:03pm

As the grandmother of an autistic child, I have been driven to non stop research for the last year and ahalf since my grandson developed regressive autism IMMEDIATELY after vaccines. My grandson is but one of many thousands who have experienced the same exact vaccine damages. And yet the WITNESSES to this horrific damage are not permitted to provide their EYE WITNESS TESTIMONY to the GMC court. This fact alone tells us that something is horribly wrong with this so called "justice system".

Yes, the evidence exists in the scientific and medical studies confirming the myriad of vaccine damages. I am not a doctor or scientist, but I can certainly read what many other doctors and scientists have researched. The total evidence which verifies vaccine damages, including autism, weighs much heavier in the scales of justice than the "evidence" being used to support the "safety of vaccines." This has become painfully clear to many thousands of families with autistic children.

But what about the OBVIOUS correlation between low autistism rates in countries where vaccines are much more limited in use...France, Denmark, Scandanavia, as John Fryer mentions above. WHAT ABOUT THE AMISH, who have always refused vaccines due to their religious beliefs. Autism is non-existant in their large U.S. communities, and yet this OBVIOUS FACT is totally ignored by a pharmaceutical and medical system which has an OBVIOUS conflict of interest. It is demonstrated in the statistics that increase in vaccines has produced increase in Autism. It is also demonstrated in the financial statistics, that the massive increase in vaccines has resulted in a massive increase in medical and pharmaceutical profits, including the resulting medical treatments required for autism, and the many other health damages shown to be directly connected to vaccines. So what about the OBVIOUS?

One "side effect" of vaccines has always been DEATH, but these innocent children have always been simply "Collateral Damages". Yes, there is a multitude of evidence regarding SIDS as a major result of vaccines. Japan verified this research when they discontinued vaccines until age 2, and the SIDS rate immediately dropped to almost ZERO. But none of this is "Valid Evidence" of this fact??!!!

Unfortunately for myself and 99% of the population, we don't do the research until after we have witnessed the vaccine damages in our own families. Many of the doctors who have abandoned thier regular medical practices in order to research Autism causes and therapies, have only done so as a result of witnessing their own child regress into autism. These doctors have been forced by their own child's suffering to seek out the truth which is in direct opposition to their extensive medical training.

All things considered and in consideration of the OBVIOUS, vaccines are the primary cause of autism. However, for the many supporters of vaccines, who knowingly or unknowingly insult our intelligence, how many of you would do an about face if you witnessed your own child regress into autism immediately after vaccines? Is this what it is going to take to get your attention? The statistics are in your favor that it could indeed happen to your own child. In the future many of you will join our ranks in regretting for the rest of your life that you walked into the doctor's office with your beloved child and trusted that the vaccines were "safe".

For those many of you who are still blinded by the medical propaganda, and wish to futher attempt to convince us that we are the ones who cannot see the OBVIOUS TRUTH, "Remove the rafter from your own eye before attempting to remove the speck from your brother's eye".

FlatFish

February 18th, 2009 6:16pm

The sad thing about much of this is that it is diverting so much attention away from looking for the real cause for autism. I agree with comments that everything should be considered causative until proven otherwise, and the only thing I would add to the 'proven otherwise' list is MMR - how many times do you have to sail around the earth to prove that it is not flat?

John Stone

February 18th, 2009 8:04pm

Flat Fish: False analogy. The earth was never flat (and people didn't even believe that in ancient times). The hypothesis which is being tested is whether a pharmaceutical product can cause damage - and providing you persecute any doctor who looks at the issue, hang the families out to dry, and fund hundreds of studies designed to give negative results you will get whatever scientific view you pay for.

Gabby

February 18th, 2009 8:41pm

MUST WATCH THIS... An eye opener!!!

http://www.jdeclanflynn.com/uploads/mercury-autism-final.wmv

Gabby

February 18th, 2009 8:43pm

THANK YOU MELANIE!!!
God bless your socks off!!!

Jackie Fletcher

February 18th, 2009 9:04pm

Antaeus Feldspar clearly has little knowledge about the facts and attempts to spin a little more fiction to defend the biggest medical scandal in history. He stated: "Yet I don't see any of Wakefield's defenders trying to deny that the twelve children in Wakefield's study were in fact all referred through lawyers planning anti-vaccine suits." Sorry but not so. The 12 children were referred in the proper way to the experts in the Royal Free Hospital because of clinical need.

Here is an extract from an open letter sent to the GMC from parents:

'....Among the many allegations made are the suggestions that the doctors acted inappropriately regarding our children, that Dr Wakefield "solicited them for research purposes" and that our children had not been referred in the usual way by their own GPs. It is also claimed that our children were given unnecessary and invasive investigations for the purpose of research, and not in their interest. We know this was not so. All of our children were referred to Professor Walker-Smith in the proper way in order that their severe, long-standing and distressing gastroenterological symptoms could be fully investigated and treated by the foremost paediatric gastroenterologists in the UK. Many of us had been to several other doctors in our quest to get help for our children but not until we saw Professor Walker-Smith and his colleagues were full investigations undertaken. We were all treated with utmost professionalism and respect by all three of these doctors. Throughout our children's care at the Royal Free Hospital we were kept fully informed about the investigations recommended and the treatment plans which evolved. All of the investigations were carried out without distress to our children, many of whom made great improvements on treatment so that for the first time in years they were finally pain-free....'

As one of the parents interviewed by the Sunday Times journalist (not one of The Lancet twelve) I was surprised that he chose to ignore the real scandal that deserved to be investigated in depth: the inadequate pre-licence trials; an ineffective vaccine damage reporting scheme - an important issue that was raised in the House of Commons 35 years ago and criticised for being ineffective which in effect left the UK vaccination programme with extremely poor vaccine safety data. The very same criticism can be levelled today.

In October 1997 (before the publication of The Lancet paper) the parents from JABS and their legal team provided the Health Minister, Chief Medical Officer and Principal Medical Officer with a list of 1200 children at a meeting. The parents believed their children had reacted to MMR/MR vaccines and wanted clinical investigations to determine if there was any causal association with the severe adverse reactions/serious long term problems as reported by the vaccine manufacturers in their own product information sheets. The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Kenneth Calman, came out of the meeting and assured the media that he continued to endorse MMR and stated that the minor side effects were well documented. Would parents have been given an hour with the Health Minister and her most senior health advisors to discuss minor side effects? This was the start of the spin against the doctors and the parents - if you don't like the message, kill the messengers.

I'm sure Antaeus you will recall that the The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation discussed prior to the launch of the MMR campaign in October 1988 the known serious neurological complications associated with the MMR vaccines. Even with this prior knowledge the committee members chose to endorse MMR. As in Canada and Japan, UK children began to have reactions to MMR from the first week of the opening campaign. The Government's Vaccine Damage Payment Unit acknowledged this and made awards to some children left brain damaged or dead following their vaccine injuries.

Do you know, Antaeus, that parents are making decisions and agreeing to vaccination procedures for their children based on biased/inaccurate government information about vaccine safety?

Do you know that if your child dies under the age of two years following a vaccine you cannot have it investigated by the Government's VDPU nor can you pursue a case through the courts against the manufacturers? UK babies and toddlers are routinely offered 25 vaccine components.

Do you know that if you draw attention to your child's suffering following a vaccine reaction, to try and improve his/her quality of life and make the vaccine programme safer you will be labelled as anti-vaccine?

Isn't this the bigger scandal worthy of the talents of a good investigative journalist?

And..by the way...rubella is already associated with autism. If a pregnant woman contracts rubella in the first trimester the child may be born autistic - medics have no problem making this link. Measles and mumps can both cause meningitis and encephalitis which can lead to a number of serious long-term problems such as brain damage, epilepsy, acquired autism. The vaccine viruses are capable of causing the same problems as the natural diseases. Read the manufacturers' product sheets.

Pot Head

February 18th, 2009 11:15pm

Mel re wrote her blog post on church burnings in Kenya.

John Scudamore

February 19th, 2009 4:23pm

Nice work Melanie

EC

February 19th, 2009 8:24pm

Frank P, Nice link. What's the odds on the composition of that particular CSM committee. About 73,000,000 to one?

FeFe

February 19th, 2009 10:52pm

Brilliant! You had me to the end. He is indeed profiting from his involvement in spearing someone. Don't let go now. You have this tiger by the tail.

Frank P

February 20th, 2009 2:04am

EC: Bwaahahahahah. Very droll! But on a serious note, I'm not at sure that Dr Meadows wasn't the victim of a miscarriage of justice too. A real witch hunt over one injudicious statistical remark, it seems to me. Too many lawyers involved in that scandal, too.

I note that Anthony Cox has not answered my follow-up query about the Nuki relationship (so to speak). And I still don't know whether Melanie is aware of this connection and the possible trigger for Deer's interest. Perhaps I missed it on other threads.

There is a shoal of red herrings in this controversy: it's so difficult to sort the fish from the foul. But Melanie's work on this has been pristine and lucid and as I noted above, Dr Schacther highlighted the real -er - lurkers in the woodpile: Government cover-up and vested interest - in cahoots. A deadly combination. In that situation attack is obviously the best form of defence and Wakefield seems to be the one in the barrel this time.

Governments, Pharmas and grant-gobbling research-quacks: what a combo! Btw; I was one of seven siblings and my father was one of thirteen. All my brothers, sisters and cousins contracted and survived measles, either rubella or rubeola. It was no big thing when I was a kid. In fact neighbours made sure all the kids got it early in life by allowing the nippers infected to play with each other and catch it and become immune so that they didn't catch it later in life when it was regarded even then as dangerous and more likely to lead to complications. They were savvy enough, though, even in those days to keep pregnant women away from measles cases. I sometimes wonder whether progress is good for us.

Anthony Cox

February 20th, 2009 1:38pm

"I'm not sure what you are suggesting in your comment of 10.20am 17th Feb."

I'm suggesting those that those who use the whale.to site as a reliable source of information are deluded.

Is that clear enough for you?

Frank P

February 20th, 2009 3:52pm

Anthony Cox. Are you refuting that the George Nuki/Paul Nuki/Deer connection is false? Is that a simple enough question for YOU to understand? If so, perhaps you could establish how your conclusion was reached? One often gets 24 carat info from dubious sources: it's a question of cross checking if the snitch has a bad rating (and I'll take your word for it for the sake of argument). I may well be deluded about many things but not about this particular killer whale which seems to have some real teeth - if it's true that is. And if Stan's assertion is correct then it is something to take into account in this debate; or do you wish to avoid all matters that would lend support to Dr Wakefield's defence? I'm a curious lurker in this debate, not a participant; and as an onlooker it seems that on evidence so far Melanie's case is ahead by a country mile and the stench around the scandal is not whaleshit, I assure you, It is the unmistakeable odour of Govt. and Pharma fear and corruption which my nostrils tend to detect several nautical miles upwind. But go ahead - the jury is still sitting and, I guess, is somewhat bewildered. Further and better particulars are therefore always welcome.

Anthony Cox

February 20th, 2009 4:16pm

Frank P,

I think you ought to stop looking for conspiracy's and look at the scientific evidence. There is no link between autism and MMR vaccine, regardless of any suggested links between individuals at the whale.to site. We know this through over 20 studies refuting the association, and also because of the clearly demonstrated failings of Wakefield's work.

EC

February 20th, 2009 7:37pm

Frank P, "There is a shoal of red herrings in this controversy: it's so difficult to sort the fish from the foul. But Melanie's work on this has been pristine and lucid and as I noted above."

Precisely! As I have said before none of her critics is addressing the points that Melanie has made. All the combatants here are doing is engaging in trench warfare. You, I and others, quite reasonably would like answers to questions that have been asked and I don't think that they are going to be forthcoming.

Some other random stuff:

I once resigned from an IT contract when, in order to please a client, I was asked to make a drug's prescription stats look better than they actually were.

I can relate to what you said about childhood illnesses. I got them all apart from chicken pox which my son passed on to me when I was 31. Oh how we laughed! Your generation was one of the last of the toughies - i.e. pre penicillin.

Red Herrings are one of the few fish upon which the EUSSR and NuLab hasn't imposed quotas.

Verity IS right about Common Purpose.

Meadows was the author of his own downfall. Scientists and Doctors dabbling in the Celeb and Politics arena are always going to come a cropper. Their necessary character traits become liabilties in the wider world. Crocodile infested waters!

Never argue with a dyslexic dwarf. It aint big, and it aint clever!

James Cole

February 20th, 2009 10:31pm

"WHAT ABOUT THE AMISH, who have always refused vaccines due to their religious beliefs."
Oh dear. That old canard.

"A written survey was mailed to all Amish households in the largest Amish community in Illinois inquiring about their vaccination status and that of their children. In this survey, the Amish do not universally reject vaccines, adequate vaccination coverage in Amish communities can be achieved, and Amish objections to vaccines might not be for religious reasons."
"A total of 189 (84%) households with children reported that all of their children had received vaccinations; 28 (12%) reported that some of their children had received vaccinations; and 8 (4%) reported that none of their children had received vaccinations."
"Among all respondents who knew their own vaccination status, 281/313 (90%) reported that they had received vaccinations as children"
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17133167

Dyson

February 20th, 2009 11:36pm

So what point is Melanie actually making? She says that a journalist who exposed evidence serious misconduct and conflict of interest by Wakefield "might" have been the person who made a complaint to the GMC about Wakefield's activities?
Great stuff Mel! Really a cause celebre this one.....
What would you have done Mel if you exposed such wrongdoing on such a grand scale in say a doctor who promoted vaccines? Keep quiet about it, and report it to noone? Or tip off the GMC? Be honest now will you?

@EC: The points Mel made are facile and irrelevant when compared to the real scandal, namely that of Wakefield.

Dyson

February 20th, 2009 11:45pm

Jackie Fletcher said: "I'm sure Antaeus you will recall that the The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation discussed prior to the launch of the MMR campaign in October 1988 the known serious neurological complications associated with the MMR vaccines. Even with this prior knowledge the committee members chose to endorse MMR."

Now Jackie. you are the head of an organisation that "campaigns" for vaccine safety, so it behoves you to be quite exact with your information. I take it you are referring to vaccine-related mumps meningitis from the Urabe strain of attenuated mumps virus which was used in the first version of the MMR vaccine. If so you are quite incorrect to call this a "serious neurological complication", since the meningitis concerned was both much milder and less frequent than the meningitis that is caused by natural rubella infection in the first place. You cannot have your cake and eat it with this one, I'm afraid. If you insist this complication was serious, then you will be forced to admit that the mumps itself ccan cause an even more serious complication, and what's more, can cause it in 10% of all those acquiring natural mumps. Quite an argument for giving the vaccine, I would have thought. Anyway, this is now irrelevant, since MMR II vaccine has a different strain of mumps in it which never causes meningitis as a complication.

It is this type of willful misrepresentation, lying and scaremongering by even the official antivax brigade which I find so appalling.

slippinaway

February 21st, 2009 3:57pm

Dyson ya might wanna update your mumps complication "facts"...
Cos as recent as 2006, there were some 6584 cases in the U.S. A vast majority amongst the twice vaccinated.
Now, here's the problem with the "secondary vaccine failure"...well that or we were ATTACKED (ooh that's scary isn't it) by a different strain (i.e. G genotype versus vaccines A genotype): there seems to be a shift in the age of onset to young adults and as you can clearly see (link to follow) the older they were, the much higher the risk of complications. For example in the graph showing age and sex with proprotion/percentage of ANY complication, you see that those under 12 years old had a mean ANY complication rate of ~ 0.4%; the 12 - 17 year olds had a mean ANY complication rate of ~ 2.0%; the 18 - 24 year olds jumped to a mean ANY complication rate of ~ 6.0%; and the highest age group was the 25 - 49 year olds with a mean ANY complication rate of ~ 7%.
Regarding sex, the males had the highest percentage of complications with a mean ANY complication rate of ~ 9% (primarily due to orchitis @ your figure of 10%--ouch). Whilst the female complication rate was ! 2.5%.
But, ok, let's talk about your "willful" misrepresentation, lying and scaremongering statistic 10% more serious complication, from wild mumps, of meningitis. Hmmm from this most recent rather large scale study, meningitis had a complication rate of less than 1.0%. Of the, again less then 1.0%, encephalitis complication, only one person was known to have longer term sequalae.
What about the, again, less than 1.0% complication rate of deafness? Well, looks like they were transient, and thus, resolved.
Here's the link:
http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/358/15/1580
Back to measles. Looks like the highly genetic diverse measles attacked (ooh that's scary) the Ukraine and Kazakhstahn in 2005 and 2006 for a vast majority of some 90,000 (ninety thousand) cases. If you do your research on this one, you'll find that a majority were vaccinated, most were older, and both of those nations have WHO reported vaccination coverage rates of > 95% for quite some time.
No Dyson, your unobjective faith in your "miracle" potions is what's appalling.
Now, you wanna discuss the pathetic tracking of adverse reactions to vaccines on the general population, external validity of vaccine trials to the general population etc. I know the adverse reactions (one near death and documented--the other gave life long disability covered up) in my immediate family were not reported to any passive surveillance system.
If you wanna trust Prof. Salisbury, who approved the first MMR (Urabe version) when there was scary info about encephalitis from other countries, and his pals with the next MMR II vaccine be my guest. Of course you will, cos as you say, it "never causes meningitis as a complication".
For me, I'll wait for the day they flag an adversely reacting patients chart in the way they/I do for any other prescribed drug.

slippinaway

February 21st, 2009 4:21pm

Let us not forget how much the flu vaccine studies design were left wanting and the bias of publication. Yet, the U.S. will recommend vaccinating all 6 month olds???
Duh:
http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/338/feb12_2/b354
And, from what I've seen, it certainly doesn't stop with flu vaccine.

Dyson

February 22nd, 2009 11:48am

Slippingaway- you might like to actually read what I wrote about mumps complications, rather than reflexley penning another of your rambling and incoherent posts. What has Flu vaccine to do with complications from mumps? Or measles cases in Kazhakstan? Absolutely Nothing. Perhaps you may have come up with a case series where complication rates from mumps were only 9% in males, and 2.5% in females as opposed to the 10% I mentioned..... What of it? Glad you admit mumps has complications, btw.

I will say again, as you clearly did not pay attention the first time. Mumps causes meningitis. This is mild, but frequent. Meningism (neck stiffness, light sensitivity, headache, fever) occurs in up to 15% of cases of mumps, and mumps virus is detectable in the cerebrospinal fluid of these cases, indicating aseptic meningitis.
References: Galbraith NS, Young SEJ, Pusey JJ et al. (1984) Mumps surveillance in England and Wales 1962–1981. Lancet 14: 91–4. Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (1985) Virus meningitis and encephalitis. BMJ 290: 921–2.

With the first MMR vaccine (Urabe mumps strain) meningism/meningitis also occurred as a complication but it was even less frequent and milder than was the meningitis that occurs with natural mumps.
The incidence was 1:11000 vaccine doses. With replacement of Urabe by Jeryl Lynn strain mumps, NO cases of mumps encephalitis or meningitis have been recorded following mumps/MMR vaccine. References: Makela A, Nuorti JP and Peltola H (2002) Neurologic disorders after measles-mumps-rubella vaccination. Pediatrics 110: 957–63; and see also:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8096942

For Jackie Fletcher to talk about the "serious neurological complications" of MMR when the current vaccine actually causes NO cases of this, and when the previous vaccine caused fewer and milder cases than did the natural infection, is a deliberate lie and amounts to scaremongering of the highest order (something the JABS brigade frequently do in order to put people off having vaccination. Responsibility for causing disease and death rests at the door of these people, but they will never admit it.

Dyson

February 22nd, 2009 11:54am

I still see no one willing to defend Wakefield's work or actions, only people like Melanie interested in trying to shoot the messenger (Brian Deer). Come on Melanie, tell us, would you alert the GMC if you uncovered unethical practice, financial conflicts of interest and downright fraud in a doctor's research work? We await your answer in breathless anticipation.....

Dean Morrison

February 22nd, 2009 12:06pm

@ Frank
"Dr Schachter

You have cut to the chase and after all the frenetic kerfaffle above you make very good sense in one paragraph, that includes two key axioms: "The severe conflicts of interest involving any Govt" and "follow the money"."

Would it be reasonable in that case to have a look at how exactly Dr Schacter makes his money - and the conflict of interest that might ensue form that?

Since he didn't declare this 'interest' here isn't he guilty of exactly the same thing that Ms Phillips is accusing Brian Deer of?

Ans since Melanie Phillips rejects science wholesale - and has declared war on biologists, climatologists, and of the related fields of science which provided evidence for global warming and evolution - shouldn't she declare her own interest in the matter.
Of course she's incapable of mounting a scientific argument - even if she did have any faith in that branch of human endeavour. However she does have enough journalistic skills to attempt to shoot the messenger.
This attack on Brian Deer seems rather desperate and entirely beside the point. Intellectual honest requires that the bigger story be addressed i.e that not only has the case against MMR completely collapsed - but it was based on fabricated material in the first place. Melanie attacks Deer for some supposed breach of journalistic ethics and conflict on interest. With what consequence? Seems like a big fuss over nothing compared to the alleged breach of medical ethics which has potentially resulted in death and suffering from children who have contracted measles.
I hope that Mel is open to the possibility that she just might be wrong on this one - and that if she ever realises that she devotes a column to apologising for her role in the affair.

slippinaway

February 22nd, 2009 6:49pm

Ok, Dyson, let's see how I "misread" your post:

Dyson talks about the menigitis from Urabe MMR being mild and then states that..."mumps itself ccan cause an even more serious complication, and what's more, can cause it in 10% of all those acquiring natural mumps"...
Looks like you're saying it's a serious complication of which I clearly refuted. At least more serious than your downplay of the Urabe version. But you've flipped in your recent post as now you claim..."Mumps causes meningitis. This is mild, but frequent."
Which is it Dyson? Mild, Moderate, Serious as in a little more scary than your Urabe friend?
Interesting that you think a review of six thousand five hundred cases is a "case series" though.
Sure mumps can have complications, Dyson, so can a stubbed toe, popped zit, hang-nail given the right circumstances and/or person. Ah hell, life is full of complications of which you apparently need a security blanket for. You clearly pick the "scariest" situation to scare people and then accuse Jackie Fletcher of "Responsibility for causing disease and death rests at the door of these people, but they will never admit it."
But if 6584 cases in 2006 is irrelevant and a case series, then I guess your 1300 cases is a singular case report.
And this is where the Ukraine and Kazakhstan data applies...you and ilk get all freaked out when vaccination coverage of MMR drops to like 80% and now there are 1300 cases. Well Dyson, that is pittance compared to some 90,000 in a WHO reported greater than 95% coverage. There are many other examples as well that contradict your drop in vaccine = rise in disease.
Ah hell, let's pull out another more recent mumps outbreak amongst people in the Republic of Moldova:
http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=8079
Data as of March 2008 claims 19,950 cases with no deaths reported. Looks like from available information, 96% had received at least one dose of mumps vaccine.
But keep on accusing people of causing disease and death whilst you and ilk ignore reports of vaccine induced disease and death.

slippinaway

February 22nd, 2009 7:09pm

Perhaps Dyson our in-house "expert" would like to explain a very interesting study done in Zimbabwe looking at measles from 1967 - 1989. I've got the full article, but here's the abstract link:
http://tropej.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/fmm093v1
It's quite interesting as death from measles dramatically decreased alongside death from malnutrition. Also at this same time, they instituted an additional policy to treat complicated measles cases by providing supplemental Vitamin A (a rather simple procedure). So, as the authors rightly say, "It was concluded that decline in rates of mortality among complicated measles cases, probably due to good management of such cases, and decline in rates of malnutrition among children aged <5 years may have contributed to the decline in measles case fatality rates." But they also found, as stated in the article..."No significant associations were observed between measles vaccine coverage rates, measles
incidence rates and rates of complications among cases on one hand and decline in measles case fatality rates on the other."
Huh, they must be crazy! Well, if you look at the info, shortly after the dramatic decline in measles mortality, vaccination commenced and did diddly squat, zip, nada to effect incidence or mortality.
Guess they aren't crazy after all. Just objective. Go figure.

Clifford G Miller

February 22nd, 2009 7:31pm

PS. As for mumps, this is what be British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain had to say:-

"Since mumps and its complications are very rarely serious there is little indication for the routine use of mumps vaccine": British National Formulary ('BNF') 1985 and 1986.

In the GMC's spectacularly failed witchhunt against Dr Jayne Donegan, this evidence from the BNF was put to the GMC's expert witnesses and accepted without a murmur. It is somewhat difficult evidence to contradict, bearing in mind the source.

See:-
http://tinyurl.com/69zkfx

Clifford G Miller

February 22nd, 2009 9:12pm

Like Zimbabwe USA and UK measles mortality fell dramatically with improved standards of nutrition [per slippinaway's comments Feb 22, 2009 7:09pm].
See here for the official statistics:-

"Measles - The Official UK Statistics"
http://tinyurl.com/bkwtdr

"US Measles Declined Without Vaccines"
http://tinyurl.com/bzfu7j

Dyson

February 22nd, 2009 11:30pm

Mr Miller, I am afraid your own concoction of twisted data does not amount to the "Official UK statistics". These can be found at the Health Protection Agency site (google for HPA, click on measles). Shouldn't be too hard, even for you.

Dyson

February 22nd, 2009 11:35pm

Slippingaway, I do suggest you read my posts more carefully. I described the meningitis caused by mumps as mild. It usually is. The meningitis caused by the 1st version of mumps vaccine in the MMR rarely (1:11000 doses) caused a milder meningitis. And that is precisely why I described the meningitis caused by natural mumps as being "more serious". (Come on, put a little effort into it would you, it's not that difficult to follow...) Jackie Fletcher described the vaccine as causing "serious neurological complications", which is a downright lie.

Dyson

February 22nd, 2009 11:44pm

Slippingaway, I am pleased that in Africa better management of measles cases and better nutrition can help reduce case fatality rates from levels of around 50%. This is irrelevant to the question of why Melanie Phillips feels Brian Deer is unjustified in exposing Wakefield's fraud and incompetence. By the way you try to distract everyone with your snippets of cherry picked data from totally unrelated issues, one would be forgiven that you also are unable to answer the questions that have been raised about him.

Yellowriver

February 23rd, 2009 1:44am

Deer has sunk to another level. Copied from his website. What has he against women!!

Wakefield wife backs smears as new findings challenge research

Dr Carmel O'Donovan, who has practised little medicine, but has enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with her husband Andrew Wakefield, appeals for signatures to a "hate mail" petition (left). In the petition, it is falsely and absurdly alleged that Brian Deer and The Sunday Times are connected and co-operate with "the vaccine industry". From the outset, Andrew Wakefield's campaign has been laced with such poisonous claims, fuelling the bitterness that many parents feel upon being told that their children are victims of a conspiracy. Parents have also been led to believe by Wakefield that it was their own fault that their children are autistic, for having made the mistake of agreeing to vaccination with MMR

We now have another petition going because the previous one dissapeared around the 2,200 signatures

New website for Dr Wakefield the gremlins got the old petition

Re http://www.wesupportandywakefield.com/

Our children need us now to take action against these uncompassionate individuals out there making up all this propaganda that the MMR and Dpt are 100% safe.

Yellowriver

February 23rd, 2009 1:48am

This interview was published some years ago, the interviewer is Jon Rappoport a well respected researcher and activist especially round the issue of HIV and AIDS. It's very revealing about vaccines and the industry approach to them.

http://www.wnho.net/jon_rappoport_researcher_interview.htm

slippinaway

February 23rd, 2009 2:05am

Dyson, with no demonstrable help from vaccines, the acute mortality rate from measles notifications in Zimbabwe dropped from 47% to 0%. It didn't drop 50%, it dropped 100%. And it is completely relevant in this MMR (everytime in the UK a measles case is displayed in the paper, Wakefield is secondarily accused) debate and Brian Deer as he claims Wakefield created the scare to: 1) create room for his "vaccine" which if anyone cares to read the patent was a drug to treat/mediate MMR induced disease--anyone with half a brain would realize that Wakefield needed MMR acceptance high to have any success with his transfer factor, 2) he had a legal aid conflict when if you read his response, Wakefield started treating these kids well before he even heard of Richard Barr and he donated the money, 3) Brian Deer has only made allegations that have yet to be substantiated (I don't trust Brian Deer's take on a medical chart--hell he can't even read a patent correctly--now if Deer had some outside help, then let's have some explanation, but then altered data still got past numerous co-authors and years of GMC hearings didn't find it) and 4) Wakefield's response to Deer's allegations are much more congruent with the research process and what has been displayed at the GMC (perhaps I'm wrong, but that is my stance at this point).
OK, now to Deer and Melanie's article. From what I can tell, Deer is the initial and primary complainant (the Judge Eady letters might help clear him, but Deer refuses to publish them). Perhaps Deer is some stooge in this process? Deer has a vested interest and thus a rather large conflict of interest....if Wakefield is proven innocent as he should be, Deer is a boneafide investigative loser, his career is kaput, he has a hen farm of egg on his face, he'll be working for, well, no-one as a journalist. On the other hand, if he's shown to be some hero, then his career takes off. If Deer has no conflict of interest (either direct or indirect), and has good intentions, then he simply provides the GMC with his "unearthed" info for the better of society. Instead, he gives Wakefield a two day notice and then smears him all over the Sunday Times.
P.S. ever read or seen any of the work or presentations being done at thoughtful house? I have and I'm pretty impressed.
P.P.S. a little off topic, but according to the "investigative" journalist Deer and his "experts", goat colostrum (as part of what Wakefield was working on) was nuts, but a quick pubmed search shows these folk don't know what they're talking about.
P.P.P.S. Deer has a huge conflict of interest in this mess, and from what I've seen put forth by people, he's broken the journalistic "code of ethics"
P.P.P.P.S. where's the Judge Eady letters Mr. Deer cos it looks like you made a complaint/allegation of serious professional misconduct against Dr. Wakefield at the outset.

Yellowriver

February 23rd, 2009 8:59am

7,000 children were diagnosed Autistic last year in Britain

The public and parents who see Brian Deer as their saviour are sadly conned and mis-guided by this person who is only out for himself. He has no compassion for children who have been damaged by the MMR. I am not an anti-vaxxer, sadly further from the truth.

And yes time will tell, whose telling the truth here.

Tom, Nutritionist

February 23rd, 2009 3:09pm

Good morning Melanie,

I am a nutritionist in the United States and it is amazing how little critical thinking ability your critics illustrate by their ignorant and uninformed comments. As it turns out, there is MUCH evidence to the dangers of MMR and other vaccines. Too bad, your critics are too busy sounding as if they know what they're talking about. They don't. Your perspicacity is clearly evident in the quality of your writing. Keep up the good work! For more on the dangers of vaccines, go to: http://www.morevaccinefacts.com. or http://www.vaccinenation.com.

Meanwhile answer this question: why don't the never vaccinated NATIVE Amish of Pennsylvania (35,000 children) have NO autism? Why did autism rates in Kuwait go from 1 in 10,000 BEFORE 1990 and 1 in 400 AFTER 1990, when the US forced mandatory vaccination on this population in exchange for economic aid? Stumped with these questions? Don't be! It's called evidence. But don't expect this from vaccine pushers. They've NEVER studied the rate of autism in vaccinated versus NON-vaccinated populations! Go figure!

Meanwhile, IF YOU can find a child with autism who was NEVER vaccinated, let me know! Happy hunting.

Remember, our minds are like parachutes...they only work when they're open!

Tom Petrie, http://tompetrie.net
Nutritionist, United States

Alyric

February 23rd, 2009 4:20pm

Slippinaway, you've got aw things wrong here haven't you?

1) create room for his "vaccine" which if anyone cares to read the patent was a drug to treat/mediate MMR induced disease--anyone with half a brain would realize that Wakefield needed MMR acceptance high to have any success with his transfer factor,"

He needed MMR to get gone so his planned single vaccines could be used? Those transfer factors are strictly hypothetical with no basis in reality.

2) he had a legal aid conflict when if you read his response, Wakefield started treating these kids well before he even heard of Richard Barr and he donated the money,"

So far Wakefield has given two conflicting accounts of where the money went. Originally he said it went to research. Later he said it was donated. There is no proof it ever left his pockets, all half a million pounds of it. Meanwhile he built a very big very expensive house on the block next door. This is a massive conflict of interest all right but it's more than that. A hospital researcher took legal aid money - that's bad - he did not disclose it to the Lancet or the Hospital - that's worse. This person has no ethics.

3) Brian Deer has only made allegations that have yet to be substantiated.

That's unlikely to be a probelm since Wakefield tried libel charges and lost the case completely - very expensive for him to pay all the fees. You will note that he hasn't tried that again.

The rest of your post is pretty much ad hominem, but again riddled with error. Deer's latest is not under consideration by the GMC. How could it be? It's a few weeks old. They may never deal with it.

Deer's involvement in GMC proceedings are minimal according to the GMC, so trying to tie him up to them is not going to help Wakefield. He's going to have to help himself and it's not going to be easy over the testimony in the Omnibus of Bustin, Chadwick, Rima, Fombonne and God knows how many experts. He and Krigsman came in for some very heavy duty criticism there, which I'm sure the GMC is very aware of.

Dyson

February 23rd, 2009 4:34pm

Perhaps Wakefield's accolytes could look at the summary of events as described here:
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2009/02/will_2009_be_a_very_bad_year_for_antivac.php#more

Mariah

February 25th, 2009 9:47pm

I have a question: if there was an afterlife, and in it you'd meet your baby, which do you think your child would be more happy about?
A) That he died of young age on disease that could have been prevented if he had been vaccined, but you were worried that the rumors - launched by a doctor only a few other doctors support - are true, so you didn't vaccinate

or

B) You did some research, came across credible explanations to what is really behind the rumor "vaccines cause autism", take a moment to think why the heck nobody can repeat this doctor's study, decide he's a fail and vaccinate your child so he can live happy long life?

Susan

March 15th, 2009 8:48pm

So who is really interested in this? Those who have been directly affected having watched a child regress after the MMR, those who can somehow benefit from punting a view that the MMR isn't linked to autism (nice easy money), parents who can't understand that it doesn't affect all children but think it hasn't affected mine therefore it must be safe. No vaccine is 100% safe and if you actually research back right from the beginning you will see you have been sold a pup on vaccines full stop they actually cause more loss of life and more disease than they prevent. Have a look at the child health safety site. To work out if there is substance to the studies on both sides I have found it beneficial having a Biology degree as it helped me to see the flaws in ALL the studies which claim there to be no link between the MMR and autism in fact all these studies have been statistical, how convienient. Wakefield and Singhs studies use physical evidence. One thing which appears again and again are the conflicts of interest. Not once has there been a geniune dismissal of the MMR/ autism link without there being a conflict of interest. Brian Deer's conflict of interest is one in a long line. Lets face it drug companies, people in government they are inseparable in this plus the opportunists who can see how they can make a quick buck by punting the dismissal of a link. Keep up the good work Melanie, we have to have faith that there are at least some people out there who have a conscience and want to do the right thing. Truth should be the winner it is unfortunate that there are so many prepared to lie.

Cate Crow

January 11th, 2011 9:56pm

Well done Melanie! I'm glad you exposed Deer and the GMC..not that it helped Wakefield in the end.

Marsha McClelland

January 22nd, 2011 7:49pm

Great article. Keep up the good work & wear as a badge of honor when those who are duped or shills come after you. We love you, Melanie.

Paul Shapiro

March 19th, 2011 2:48am

To Gert,
Just Wonderin'
Do you have conflicted interests that we on this board
should know about?

Janet

April 6th, 2011 12:15am

I have read Dr. Wakefield's book, and have no doubt Brian Deer was on a witch hunt. How a journalist with no medical training or scientific training in research has the audacity to scrutinize the research of renowned doctors - experts in their fields - and find fault in their methods....methods which had been reviewed by their medical boards every step of the way ...is absurd. The first question I asked myself when this whole situation was made public was this... were the parents of the children pleased with the treatment they received for their children....the answer was a resounding YES! This speaks volumes to me. The children received treatment they desperately needed. These doctors responded to a great need...under the ethical scrutiny of their medical board. Brian Deer has no medical training, no scientific training....he holds no weight with me. I only have to watch him...especially in his interactions with parents to see he is not someone who seems to have the least bit of compassion for the children. So, I wonder, if he is not complaining on behalf of the children....why on earth would he complain? Why on earth would he even care about this situation? Why would a reporter delve into a case where the patients and their parents were thrilled to be getting relief from conditions which they had been dealing with for far too long? It makes no sense unless you realize that he was complaining not on behalf of the parents and the children, but on behalf of the vaccine manufacturers...who, understandably did not want the findings of the doctors to pose ANY question as to the integrity of the vaccine protocol. Too much liability and too much money to be lost if we start to question the safety of vaccines......WOW....and it doesn't take a scientist to come to this conclusion. If no one is being hurt by the treatments and everyone involved has a positive outlook as to the ability of science to actually help these kids, why would any charges be brought against anyone? I thought that was what the medical profession was supposed to do...help kids. It seems it has another agenda entirely beyond that....to preserve the agenda...to preserve the vaccination protocol and to keep everyone lining up for the sacred shots no matter how many kids are harmed. It goes against the Hippocratic Oath to "Do no harm." Keep the agenda going...no matter how many people protest that vaccines are harming their children....it is very anti-health if you ask me. And I for one question where are all the other doctors out there who are seeing the autism rates rise from one in ten thousand to one in ninety-seven...where are they that they are not putting two and two together...are they all wearing blinders?

Melanie Phillips

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