Dr. Andy Wakefield was the lead author of a research paper, published in 1998, that indicated that there was a possible link between the MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine and autism. The paper appeared in “The Lancet,” a peer-reviewed medical journal and it catapulted Dr. Wakefield into becoming one of the most controversial figures in the history of medicine.
Andy has become a lightning rod since that time; he has been called a fraud, a liar, manipulative, greedy, and he has even had his medical license revoked. And yet he refuses to slink quietly away into the night. He remains convinced of the importance of exploring the possible link between gut health, vaccinations, and autism. He is outspoken about what the science indicates, in the midst of serious opposition and persecution. Yet, he is undaunted, and even optimistic about the future of the anti-vax movement.
Today, you will hear Andy’s side of the story. This episode will dispel rumors and myths related to the paper, Andy himself, and the continued debate about the vaccine/autism link.
Highlights of the conversation include:
- the reason there is so much vitriol and resistance to the possibility that vaccines could be related to autism
- how everything parents have said (related to autism, diet, gastrointestinal problems, etc.) is being proven by the scientific process
- how the tide of public opinion is changing and why the anti-vax movement may be winning
- how nature and science are self-correcting and things become evident over time
- how gastrointestinal abnormalities are seen in children with autism all over the world
- how children have suffered because doctors refused to see the gut issues related to autism as a treatable condition
- the importance of listening to parents for clues to get to the root of the autism epidemic
- how doctors involved in the controversial study didn’t want to be involved with the results out of concern that it would damage their careers
- how what was retracted from the paper was the interpretation of the paper and not the results
- the motivation for the aforementioned retractions
- how the media has followed the wishes of the pharmaceutical industry, characterizing the paper and Dr. Wakefield as anti-vax (along with “flawed” and “falsified”)
- how a CDC scientist gathered data and confirmed the paper’s findings but admitted that they purposely kept quiet about it
- how measles was a very mild disease in children prior to the introduction of the vaccine and how the death rate had fallen to almost zero before the vaccine thanks to a change on sanitation and socio-economic circumstances, etc.
- how the CDC trains practitioners to scare people into getting the flu vaccine (and other vaccines)
- the importance of educating yourself on this critical issue