Friday, February 5, 2010

Wakefield Discredited

Well, it's been a long time coming, but that quack Andrew Wakefield is finally having his falsefied autism study discredited. It's too damn little, way too late, though. Too much hurt has been done in his name and people who believe him are too rabidly consumed by the fabricated connection between the MMR vaccine and autism to see reason - otherwise they'd understand that Japan stopped using the vaccine a decade ago and has seen rising autism rates since.

You know how they say the path to hell is paved with good intentions? I think it's closer to the truth that damage is done through unintended consiquences. Did Doctor Wakefield intend to scare people into not vaccinating their children, and by doing so spark a reinsurgance of diseases like the measles that haven't killed scores of children in decades? Probably not. But the fact remains that he falsified a study at the behest of lawyers who were looking to sue vaccine makers over autism, and "made" the study fit the conclusions that they wanted. Everything after that was a dominio effect. Evil doesn't necessarily rely on the intentions, because in many cases like this one, you can determine it from the results instead.

I've mentioned why I care about this before, haven't I? I worked with kids with autism a couple of years after I got out of college. And I do think that they've been done a disservice through Wakefield's work - there have been counter-studies done over and over again in attempt to discredit Wakefield, and these unnecessary duplications have stolen time and resources away from other research that might help kids like those two little boys and countless others like them. What if someone who was laboring at proving that there's no link between vaccines and autism might have found a way to prevent it?

"Now that the statue has toppled, the word is all over town. The mob has already gathered to pick the jewels from the crown" - Adam Cohen, How The Mighty Have Fallen

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