In 1998, British gastroenterologist, Andrew Wakefield M.D., put out a study of 12 children who developed severe intestinal problems after being vaccinated with the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) shot. These intestinal problems supposedly led to the children developing autism spectrum disorders (ASD). One year after this study was released the American Academy for Pediatrics (AAP) released a warning about thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative that has be found in most vaccines. The warning stated that one of the possible side affects of these dangerous levels of mercury in infants is indeed autism.
A little less known fact is that this warning was later widely discredited along with Andrew Wakefield’s credibility. According to CNN Health, Wakefield misrepresented the information for these 12 children, and is indisputably to blame for it. Britain went on to strip Wakefield of his medical license in May of 2010.
The biggest clue of this faulty study came to light when no other scientist could reproduce Wakefield’s study. This evidence almost seemed to come too late because it had already caused widespread panic among parents. The dis-credited paper had led to a sharp drop in the number of children getting the vaccine that prevented measles, mumps, and rubella. In Britain, the number fell 80% by 2004 resulting in measles cases jumping to record highs in the following years.
In an interview with CNN’s Andreson Cooper, Wakefield defended his study by saying he is being targeted by the government in an attempt to crush anyone looking to studythe actual effectiveness of vaccines. In short, he blames it on government control.
In March 2013, NBC News Health released an article adamantly denying any connection between too many vaccines and autism spectrum disorders. Researchers from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) did a counter study against Wakefield’s from 1994-1999 where they studied 256 children with autism and 752 who did not have the disorder. They studied the types of vaccines given and how often and found absolutely no correlation. In light of these findings, the CDC went even further to claim that Wakefield manipulated his information by studying children that were already ill before having the vaccines.