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Man, mission, rumpus

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 03 February 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:306
  1. Kamran Abbasi
  1. BMJ

    One method of measuring a journal's influence is by counting the number of times it is mentioned in the general media. Last week, much to its surprise, a little known publication called Adverse Drug Reactions and Toxicology Reviews (circulation 350) topped the list. Oxford University Press, the publisher, readily admits that this is one of the smallest and least influential journals in its stable. But it reckoned without Andrew Wakefield, consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Free Hospital, London, the main advocate for a link between the mumps, measles, and rubella triple vaccine (MMR) and autism (Lancet 1998;351:637-41).

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    Wakefield's latest offering, “Mumps, measles, rubella vaccine: through a glass darkly,” was published on 22 January 2001 (Adverse Drug React Toxicol Review 2000;19(4):265-83). The vaccine had, it is claimed, been introduced without sufficient evaluation, and this claim was swept up by a media storm that sucked in the UK's Department of Health, the World Health …

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