Wakefield is the UK gastroenterologist who was the lead author of a paper published in the Lancet in 1998 that claimed to have measles virus in the intestines of children with autism, and that a new condition, "autistic enterocolitis". However, the study could not be replicated, and in 2004, 10 of the 13 authors withdrew from the paper. In 2003, the UK investigative reporter Brian Deer began looking into Wakefield's claims for the Sunday Times. In 2004, Deer published his first report: "MMR Research Scandal".
Deer's investigations prompted the UK medical board to institute proceedings against Wakefield, including allegations of dishonesty. I believe his medical license is suspended.
Wakefield left the UK for the US to become the Executive Director ofThoughtful Housein Texas. He does not have a US medical license.Michael Fitzpatrick, November 2004 asked How did the doctor get away with it
Brian Deer’s documentary MMR: What the Doctor Didn’t Tell You - shown as part of the Dispatches series on the UK’s Channel 4 last night - exposed the sleaze and quackery surrounding the campaign claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Dr Andrew Wakefield, the gastroenterologist who first suggested this link in a now-discredited article in the Lancet in 1998, presents himself as a serious scientist committed to the welfare of children with autism. Yet Deer revealed Dr Wakefield’s commercial interests in discrediting the MMR vaccine (through a patent for a rival vaccine for measles) and the extent of his collaboration with charlatans who exploit vulnerable parents with offers of unproven treatments, even ‘cures’, for autism. Many viewers will have been shocked to discover the extent of Dr Wakefield’s links with religious fundamentalists and alternative health crackpots in the USA.Paul Offit, MD, is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Offit is also the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In 2008, he published Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and Search for a Cure, which is a history of the mistaken notion that something in vaccines is responsible for autism. In an article in the New York Times,
“Opponents of vaccines have taken the autism story hostage,” Dr. Offit said. “They don’t speak for all parents of autistic kids, they use fringe scientists and celebrities, they’ve set up cottage industries of false hope, and they’re hurting kids. Parents pay out of their pockets for dangerous treatments, they take out second mortgages to buy hyperbaric oxygen chambers. It’s just unconscionable.”
Critical evaluations of the show, from those who accept the science:
- Respectful Insolence: "A Dose of Controversy" -- More Like a Dose of Equivocation
- Science-Based Parenting Dateline’s Dose of Controversy is an Opportunity Missed
- 33 Charts: Wakefield's Last Stand
- Psychology Today: Autism on "Dateline" The Details are Important
- Joey's Hope: A Dose of Controversy -- Dateline Exclusive
- Every Patient's Advocate: Autism and MMR Link, Parents Fooled, Follow the Money, then LISTEN
- RangelMD A Dose of Pseudoscience: Dr. Wakefield, Autism, and the MMR Vaccine
- Joanna Eubank at the Arizona Daily Star: Puzzle Pieces
- Kirsten Sanford at Skepticblog: Autism and Vaccines Taken on by Matt Lauer
- Curious Case of Mommyhood: Causal Connection Between MMR Vaccine and Autism?
- Autism News Beat: Wakefield on NBC Dateline
- LeftBrain/RightBrain: Dr. Bernadette Healy talks about vaccines and autism -- or Does She?
Responses from those who believe that vaccines are implicated in autism
- Facing Autism in New Brunswick: "A Dose of Controversy Breezes Over Most Autism Issues but was Fair to Wakefield"
- Age of Autism Brian Deer Interviewed by Matt Lauer
- Age of Autism: Paul Offit on Dateline NBC: The $29 Million Vaccine Man?
- Age of Autism: Andrew Wakefield on Dateline NBC More Stories
I haven't yet seen the show, lacking access to a television.
Update: More from Age of Autism
- Age of Autism: Anne Dashel interviews Andrew Wakefield
- Age of Autism: The Official Thoughtful House Response
- Riding Rollercoasters: To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate
- Matthew's Puzzle: My Take on Dose of Controversy
- Curing Autism Blog: MSNBC sheds light on vaccine-autism controversy