| From the Manchester Evening News (note there is a link to submit comments at the end of the article...maybe John Stone could send the paper some information about conflict of interest issues concerning some of the doctors involved):
Wednesday, 28th June 2006
MMR-row doctor hits back at experts
THE doctor who first sparked the MMR controversy hit back today at a call to draw a line under any supposed link between the vaccine and autism.
Thirty leading experts, including David Elliman, of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital in London, published an open letter yesterday saying that parents had been "confused and dangerously misled" over the risks associated with the triple jab.
But Dr Andrew Wakefield, who is now director of a research centre in Texas, said the call was irresponsible.
The doctor published a paper linking the measles, mumps and rubella jab with autism in children in the medical journal The Lancet in 1998 but resigned from his post at London's Royal Free and University College Medical School amid controversy in 2001.
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of media reports reigniting concerns about the safety of MMR.
One report concerned a US study that found measles virus in the guts of children with autism (Telegraph article).
A statement from the principle researcher that the research did not prove a link with the MMR vaccine was largely ignored.
In a joint letter with psychologist Dr Carol Stott, Dr Wakefield said: "It is perplexing to us why, in the face of replication by US scientists of the earlier detection of measles virus in the diseased intestine of UK children with regressive autism, Elliman and colleagues should want to 'draw a line' under this clearly unresolved issue.
"This flies directly in the face of scientific logic and professional responsibility."
Referring to the recent research, the letter added: "The vaccine-strain gene sequences obtained from the diseased intestine of some of these US children is deeply worrying and runs counter to the prevailing belief that the vaccine virus should be cleared from the body in a matter of weeks.
"Further research will determine whether or not this association is causal."
Defending the original research, Dr Wakefield continued: "Every aspect of the original 1998 report of the first 12 children with this disorder has been endorsed by independent research."
LEARN more about the MMR jab, from NHS Direct.
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