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Private Eye Special Report on MMR

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7347.1224 (Published 18 May 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:1224
  1. David Elliman, consultant in community child health,
  2. Helen Bedford, lecturer in child health
  1. St George's Hospital, London
  2. Institute of Child Health, London

    It is four years since the Lancet published work by the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Study Group from the Royal Free Hospital on a possible link between autism and bowel problems. In view of subsequent events it is sometimes hard to believe that the paper actually included the statement “We did not prove an association between measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and the syndrome described.”

    Despite this, immediately following publication one of the members of the group, Andrew Wakefield, announced, “There is sufficient concern in my own mind for a case to be made for the vaccines to be given individually at not less than one year intervals.”

    At the time the British satirical magazine Private Eye ran an article entitled “National Bad Science Week.” The article was scathing about Wakefield's suggestion, pointing out that “British taxpayers are now funding the damage limitation” and suggesting that “approval for Wakefield is to court flapdoodle.” Since …

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