In this interview, Dr. Andrew Wakefield shares his personal and professional insights into a number of topics, from the gut-brain connection so often seen in autistic children, to the safety of a number of childhood vaccines.
But most importantly, he sets the record straight on the harsh criticism he’s endured as the author of one of the most controversial vaccine-causing-autism studies ever done.
In addition to his hotly contested MMR study, published in the journal Lancet in 1998, he has published about 130-140 peer-reviewed papers looking at the mechanism and cause of inflammatory bowel disease, and has extensively investigated the brain-bowel connection in the context of children with developmental disorders such as autism.
As a gastrointestinal surgeon, Dr. Wakefield has investigated the connection between developmental disorders and bowel disease, and early exposure to vaccines. For example, in the beginning of our interview, he discusses the curious link between an unusual exposure to the measles virus and subsequent development of Crohn’s disease, and in many cases, autism.
One of the routes of this type of exposure is clearly vaccination.
One of the primary reasons for this interview was to discuss Dr. Wakefield’s recent media exposure, and allow him the opportunity to finally set the public record straight.
As you probably know, the scientific peer-review process is designed to ferret out the truth. But in some cases, such as the case of Dr. Wakefield, this process can become perverted by conflicts of interest.
There are tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars involved in the vaccine industry, and as a consequence there’s major pressure to suppress negative findings, such as the findings Dr. Wakefield uncovered.
In the last few months, he has been severely criticized in the media. Like every story there are always two sides and up until now he has not shared his due to advice he had received from his attorneys. That advice has now changed, and I wanted to provide him with the opportunity to tell his side of the story. In this interview, Dr. Wakefield opens up publicly for the first time.
If you have any interest in the vaccine controversy, I can strongly assure you that watching this fascinating video will be very rewarding.
Study Lands Dr. Wakefield in Hot Water
The story begins with the publication of a case series in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet, in February 1998.
A case series essentially tells the clinical story of a group of patients with a constellation of signs and symptoms that link them together. In this case, it was a group of autistic children with gastric problems, which led to the discovery of a novel bowel disease.
But rather than celebrating the discovery of a tangible, treatable problem that can help these children and others suffering with similar health issues, it became a hotly debated controversy in which Dr. Wakefield’s reputation was smeared.
Because part of the patients’ story included regression after a vaccine.
“… If those children had regressed after natural chickenpox, you and I would not be sitting here now. But they didn’t. They regressed after a vaccine,” says Wakefield.
The vaccine in question was the MMR vaccine.
Since then, Dr. Wakefield’s study -- which suggests there may be a link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease, and autism -- has remained one of the most controversial studies on the topic of vaccine safety.
He knew he was about to enter treacherous waters when it was published, and he knew he needed to be prepared for the inevitable backlash from the vaccine industry. Says Dr. Wakefield:
“… I decided that I was going to review all of the safety studies about measles and measles-containing vaccines because if I was going to challenge the status quo and say things that might have an adverse effect on vaccine uptake, I had to know what I was talking about.
So I read all the papers, and I was absolutely appalled with the quality of the safety studies of the single [measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines], and the combined MMR vaccine in particular.”
His research led him to write a 250-page report, concluding that he could not support the use of the combined three-in-one MMR vaccine.
It simply was not safe.
This recommendation was made public during a press conference in February of 1998, at which time single vaccines were still available in the UK. But in order to protect MMR vaccine policy, in September of that same year, the British government withdrew the importation license for the single measles vaccine, leaving parents without any choice – they either had to vaccinate their children with the triple MMR vaccine, or not vaccinate.
A decline in vaccination, and an increase in measles outbreaks… But rather than acknowledging the lack of safe options, Dr. Wakefield was singled out as an “anti-vaccine advocate” whose recommendations caused a decline in children being vaccinated, and hence responsible for the increase in measles.
“… it’s my opinion that it is entirely their responsibility that there has been a declining vaccine uptake in the UK, because they removed the option of the single vaccines and there have been outbreaks of infectious disease as a consequence.”
But that’s just the background of the story. Dr. Wakefield’s real media troubles had just barely begun.
Why are So Many Important Safety Studies Being Ignored?
As with most stories, a series of events took place, which recently catapulted Dr. Wakefield back into the media spotlight.
In the years after his initial controversial finding, linking the MMR vaccine to Crohn’s disease and autism, he published another 19 papers on the vaccine-induced disorder.
All were peer reviewed. However, strangely enough, none of these 19 papers are ever discussed in the media. The only study that keeps seeing the light of day is the original study from 1998, along with the original questions about conflicts of interest, which he explains in great detail in this interview.
This is very interesting indeed, because not only has he continued his own studies, but since then, a large number of replication studies have been performed around the world, by other researchers, that confirm his initial findings.
“… it’s been replicated in Canada, in the U.S., in Venezuela, in Italy… [but] they never get mentioned. All you ever hear is that no one else has ever been able to replicate the findings.
I’m afraid that is false.”
For those of you who have swallowed this type of reporting hook line and sinker, here is a list of 28 studies from around the world that support Dr. Wakefield’s controversial findings:
- The Journal of Pediatrics November 1999; 135(5):559-63
- The Journal of Pediatrics 2000; 138(3): 366-372
- Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003; 23(6): 504-517
- Journal of Neuroimmunology 2005
- Brain, Behavior and Immunity 1993; 7: 97-103
- Pediatric Neurology 2003; 28(4): 1-3
- Neuropsychobiology 2005; 51:77-85
- The Journal of Pediatrics May 2005;146(5):605-10
- Autism Insights 2009; 1: 1-11
- Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology February 2009; 23(2): 95-98
- Annals of Clinical Psychiatry 2009:21(3): 148-161
- Journal of Child Neurology June 29, 2009; 000:1-6
- Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders March 2009;39(3):405-13
- Medical Hypotheses August 1998;51:133-144.
- Journal of Child Neurology July 2000; ;15(7):429-35
- Lancet. 1972;2:883–884.
- Journal of Autism and Childhood Schizophrenia January-March 1971;1:48-62
- Journal of Pediatrics March 2001;138:366-372.
- Molecular Psychiatry 2002;7:375-382.
- American Journal of Gastroenterolgy April 2004;598-605.
- Journal of Clinical Immunology November 2003;23:504-517.
- Neuroimmunology April 2006;173(1-2):126-34.
- Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol Biol. Psychiatry December 30 2006;30:1472-1477.
- Clinical Infectious Diseases September 1 2002;35(Suppl 1):S6-S16
- Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2004;70(11):6459-6465
- Journal of Medical Microbiology October 2005;54:987-991
- Archivos venezolanos de puericultura y pediatría 2006; Vol 69 (1): 19-25.
- Gastroenterology. 2005:128 (Suppl 2);Abstract-303
The Real Dangers of Indemnifying Vaccine Manufacturers Against Lawsuits
“In the background, things were going on behind the scenes that we didn’t know about… The Department of Health had contacted my medical school, the dean in particular, and had tried to close this research down... expressing concerns that it was unethical that all these children had autism. It wasn’t fair on them to go through these procedures.
Were they justified?
Well, here you had the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologist and his colleagues saying, “Yes, they are justified, and here are the findings. We’re happy to show you the findings at any stage, in any venue that you like.”
But nonetheless, there was a concerted effort behind the scenes to stop the work.
And it was particularly the concern of the Department of Heath that there was pending litigation where I had agreed to act as an expert in the litigation… not trying to prove that it was right or wrong, but doing my best as an expert to determine whether there is a case in law against the vaccine manufacturers.”
This was around 1996-97. Wakefield says he “felt there was a professional and moral obligation” to get involved in the potential litigation, “because these children, when their parents die or become infirmed, they are on the street, no one cares, and no one is going to look after them.”
However, litigation was never to become reality for any of the vaccine manufacturers.
“What had happened when the MMR was introduced in the UK is that somehow the Department of Health or the government had done a deal with the manufacturers of one of the vaccines, SmithKline Beecham, to indemnify them against litigation,” says Wakefield.
“Now, why would they do that? What was the purpose of that?
Well, it turns out that the vaccine that they had at the time contained a strain of the mumps virus, Urabe AM9, which was dangerous. It caused meningitis.
… It was introduced into Canada and very quickly they found that it caused meningitis.
Rapidly after that, it was withdrawn in Canada, [but] it was still introduced in the UK, and it’s my opinion that SmithKline Beecham did not want to introduce it because they knew of these problems. They had a potential liability, a real liability.
And the government therefore, in order to give the contract to the home team, to a British company, indemnified them.”
As could be expected, the MMR vaccine containing the Urabe AM9 strain had to be withdrawn four years later because it was causing meningitis…
However, this dangerous vaccine was not taken off the market.
Instead, it was sent to Third World countries, including Brazil, where it ended up causing an epidemic outbreak of -- you guessed it – meningitis.
Dr. Wakefield feels it’s high time to expose this kind of cruel pandering of dangerous wares, without any risk, and I couldn’t agree more.
You are paying the price for corporate greed in every sense of the word. In fact, parents everywhere are paying money to put their children’s health at significant risk, without any recourse or assistance when something goes wrong –which it does more frequently than any of our health officials want to admit.
More Dirty Games…
Dr. Wakefield’s story is a cautionary tale of just how easy it can be to ruin someone’s hard-earned reputation, and just how difficult it can be to prove one's innocence – or rather, correctness -- even when you’re sitting with proof in hand.
“In 2004, I suddenly got this contact from a freelance journalist Brian Deer working on behalf of the Sunday Times making a whole series of allegations against me and my colleagues,” Dr. Wakefield says.
“In his opinion, these children did not need investigation. In his opinion, these children did not need a colonoscopy or a lumbar puncture or these other investigations that my clinical colleagues had deemed they most certainly did need.”
This is a journalist with no formal medical training whatsoever. It was just his opinion. But as a crafty wordsmith, he wove together a compelling tale of how Dr. Wakefield and his posse had rounded up autistic children for the purpose of creating a legal case against the vaccine manufacturers to bring about the downfall of the vaccine, in order to then launch his own vaccine onto the market.
It was a great story.
Too bad it wasn’t true.
Just for starters, had he done his homework, he would have realized the whole thing was impossible since the manufacturers were by then indemnified and couldn’t be sued anymore.
“He made so many factual errors, but he nonetheless managed to persuade the General Medical Council (GMC) to initiate a process of investigation against us. And by that stage, this had become such a political hot potato, the Minister of Health, and a number of people from the department... construed this case against us.
… So they determined that the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologist was not fit to determine whether these children needed a colonoscopy or not for clinical indications.”
The world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologist he’s referring to here is not himself, but rather Professor John Walker-Smith, to whom Dr. Wakefield would refer parents of autistic children with highly complex medical histories.
“… So some doctors contacted me. Some parents put me in contact with their doctors, and I spoke to them. I communicated with them, and the referrals were made accordingly or not.
At the GMC, I was found guilty of causing children to have, for example, spinal taps because of this communication.
Now, that’s got to be a completely new charge -- causing children to have these tests. I didn’t do the test. I wasn’t there when the tests were done. I didn’t prescribe the tests. But I caused the children to have them because the parents called me and I suggested getting a referral to Walker-Smith.
That is how complex, and how bizarre and tortuous this process has become.”
There are many more complexities involved in this story and the latest rounds of media attention that has befallen Dr. Wakefield, which is why I strongly I urge you to listen to the entire interview above.
You can also read through the transcript in its entirety by clicking the Source link beneath the video.
This story, like so many other stories of great doctors and researchers who chase the truth and want nothing more than to protect those who cannot protect themselves from dangerous medicine, is a call to open your eyes, and to look deeper – to not simply believe the bits and pieces the media offers up as fact. Usually, there’s a lot more to the story.
And what you choose to believe – without sufficient amount of facts – can have serious ramifications on your health, and the health of your family.
Remember, you make serious, at times life-and-death, decisions based on what and who you believe…
So when it comes to vaccinating your child, how much do you really know about the vaccine in question? Who do you believe, and why?
Do you place your trust in the hands of those who have the most to gain and nothing to lose?
Or in the hands of those who have little, or nothing, to gain by your choice?
It’s up to you.
In the case of the MMR vaccine as a potential causative factor in autism and Crohn’s disease, this interview is filled with back-story and behind the scenes information about how the research has been, and continues to be, suppressed.
So listen to the interview, and continue doing your own research. Twenty-eight additional studies are listed above for your own investigation.
As always -- Make your decision an educated decision.