MMR 10 Pull Back on Interpretation

The Journal (Newcastle, England), March 4, 2004 | Go to article overview

MMR 10 Pull Back on Interpretation


Byline: By Lyndsay Moss

Ten of the authors of a controversial research paper which sparked concerns over a possible link between MMR and autism issued a partial retraction yesterday of their study's findings.

The doctors said their 1998 paper had made it clear that no causal link had been established between the triple jab and autism, but that the possibility of such a link had been raised.

In a statement in medical journal The Lancet, the authors said they now wanted to formally retract the interpretation placed on the study's findings which led many parents to abandon the combined vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella.

The retraction was not signed by lead author Andrew Wakefield or co-author Peter Harvey.

Two weeks ago The Lancet said it regretted publishing the study six years ago because of a "fatal conflict of interest" concerning Dr Wakefield.

It had emerged that the researcher had been carrying out a second study into whether there was a case for legal action by parents who thought their children had been damaged by the vaccine.

The researchers who signed yesterday's "retraction of interpretation" said the main thrust of their study had been to look at stomach problems in autistic children.

They said: "We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data was insufficient.

"However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. …

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