The Lancet Retracts Study Linking MMR Vaccine, Autism

Medical panel finds several elements of the controversial study to be incorrect
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- On Feb. 2, The Lancet retracted a controversial 1998 study that linked the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism and gastrointestinal problems.

According to the journal's retraction, the U.K. General Medical Council's Fitness to Practise Panel found that several elements of the study -- by Andrew J. Wakefield, M.D., of the Royal Free Hospital in London, and colleagues -- were incorrect.

In the study, the researchers had looked at 12 children (mean age, 6 years), most of whom had been diagnosed with autism. They wrote that behavioral symptoms were associated -- by the parents -- with MMR vaccination in eight of the 12 children.

"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 public record," The Lancet editors write in the retraction.

Original Study

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