- Susan Mayor
Ten of the 13 authors of the research paper that first raised the possibility of a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism (Lancet 1998;351:637-41), resulting in a major fall in the number of children being vaccinated in the United Kingdom, “retracted” this interpretation of their findings in a statement published last week (Lancet 2004;363:750).
They said, “The main thrust of the paper was the first description of an unexpected intestinal lesion in the children reported … We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper.”
Two of the original authors, Andrew Wakefield and Peter Harvey, did not sign the retraction, and the Lancet said that it hoped to publish their response soon. Another of the authors could not be contacted.
The study investigated 12 children who were referred …