Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Review of the Week

Trust me, I’m a scientist

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 09 September 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b3658

Re: Re: Close to agreement ?

So John, I think we agree. You have dissected this study and reveal
it has insufficient power, and no confidence intervals. Inevitably
therefore it cannot reject the null hypothesis and ought to be declared
'flawed' for the purposes it was being quoted. It is simply too small a
study, and falls far short of a "robust National Register".

This study was selected and quoted by the NHS Information Service.
No comment was made about study methodology or power ( but you will notice
that the NHS MMR information site makes comments about inadequate
methodolgy against those studies showing possible harms... )

I said in my "Close to agreement":-

"I do agree the need for some very robust data on the incidence of
Autism. A closely-defined National Autism Register being a major
objective.....Is [there] a real increase ( implicating a new environmental
cause), or merely an increased awareness ( detection bias)? A robust
historical incidence register, with cross-referencing capability to
vaccination status ) would go a long way toward exonerating or implicating
particular vaccines, such as MMR. An NHS-constructed postal survey of
parents , and specialist registers would be a good start. The NHS already
holds a robust vaccination register. And a close 10-year tracking follow-
up of the non-randomised UK national study of MMR-accepters versus MMR-
refusers would be well worth publication"

I would like to close this discussion by agreeing with you that we
REALLY DO NEED BETTER SCIENCE if we are to deserve people's trust.. We
need to get on and do that work.

Competing interests:
I am paid as an NHS GP if proportions of children ( regardless of parental consent ) vaccinated meet targets

Competing interests: No competing interests

02 October 2009
L Sam Lewis
GP Trainer
Surgery, Newport, Pembrokeshire, SA42 0TJ