Monday, May 24, 2010

STRUCKOFF'D

Andrew Wakefield has been struck off the medical register, not over his outlandish claims about MMR, of course, but because of the unethical way he conducted the research:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8695267.stm

Good news although doubtless the anti-vaxers will cry victimisation of anti-establishment heroes.

It's also discouraging that the BBC is still refusing to accept their role in the MMR scare:

Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet study caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles - but the findings were later discredited.

No, the findings were discredited at the time, not just later and the Lancet paper did not in itself cause vaccination rates to plummet: uncritical reporting of the issue, sustained over more than a decade and coupled with failure to report stories that contradicted Wakefield's research were what caused vaccination rates to plummet. The BBC was as bad as any media outlet in this respect and it needs to 'fess up. This is a sense in which Wakefield is indeed being victimised: as awful and unethical and guilty as he is, it was the media that turned his crank story into a global vaccine scare and deliberately kept things that way for a decade.

Turning on Wakefield now and pretending it was all his voice is hugely dishonest and not exactly classy.

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