Lancet retracts MMR vaccine and autism risk paper

Earlier this week, Lancet retracted an article published by Dr. Andrew Wakefield in 1998 which stated the MMR vaccine could increase childrens risk of developing autism.  "According to the judgment of the U.K. General Medical Council's Fitness to Practice Panel on January 28, 2010, it has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al, are incorrect in particular the claims in the original paper that children were consecutively referred and that investigations were approved by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore, we fully retract this paper from the publishing record."

While numerous studies following this paper reported that there wasn't a relationship between the MMR vaccine and Autism, the damage was already done. This study resulted in parents not having their children vaccinated and led to an outbreak of measles in the U.S. in 2008 and an increase in disease in the U.K. Too often lay persons and clinicians accept the results of one study as being enough to change assumptions and practice.  As nurses we need to educate our peers and the public that research must be reviewed for validity and accuracy.  Just because something is published, doesn't make it good science. We must use established evidence-based and best practice resources to guide our practice. Cochrane Systematic Reviews, the Joanna Briggs Institute, and other established evidence-based practice resources and journals can help us improve practice and improve outcomes.  What resources are you or your facility using to improve patient outcomes?

By Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC

Posted: 2/3/2010 1:19:14 PM by Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP | with 2 comments
Filed under: autism, lancet, mmr

Ben Crawford
June 20. 2010 23:22
I've read this article on my laptop that certain vaccines have a mercury based preservative known as thimerosal, which is suspected to cause autism in children.
8/6/2015 1:21:52 PM

Eva Peters
June 20. 2010 18:15
It is true that people should not blindly accept whatever is published without any established evidence. But, the media is one source which will always be trusted and hence, the parents can't be blamed for believing in one publication. After all none will want to make a compromise when it comes to their children.
8/6/2015 1:21:17 PM