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Current time:0:00Total duration:9:01

Vaccines and the autism myth - part 2

Video transcript

so in the last video we talked about how many many studies had been done that showed that there were no links between MMR vaccine and autism and in fact other studies have been done to kind of pick apart all the individual parts of the mechanism that the Wakefield study laid out that there is no link between vaccine and gut inflammation there's no link between gut inflammation and autism and so at this point people are pretty convinced that there really is no link between MMR vaccine and autism but many families and a lot of parents still believe this myth and so people wondered about this initial Wakefield study how the results even came about now an interesting thing happened in 2004 and this is a very unusual thing for a research study of any sort but basically 10 of the authors remember there are 13 authors on this study ten of them actually retracted and said you know our conclusions were not appropriate and we're going to retract so three of the authors did not but the fact that ten of them actually retracted was really striking and kind of raised a lot of eyebrows why in the world would people retract their initial study so that same year because of this very odd thing to have happened a guy by the name of Brian deer who was a reporter he was actually working for a British newspaper investigative journalist began his investigation he actually started looking into this stuff and Brian deer is a guy that had been kind of well known for investigations in the past he had investigated the pharmaceutical industry and other kind of powerful organizations and he thought that he would take on this Wakefield study and really get to the bottom of it understand where these results came from and what he found was was really shocking in a lot of ways turns out back in 1996 about two years before the Wakefield study a group of lawyers who were actually hoping to sue the MMR vaccine manufacturers they decided to pay Wakefield a large sum of money so they paid Wakefield thousands and thousands of pounds which is converted to even more US dollars to actually carry out this study so they paid him directly and this money was not used for the patients because the patients were part of the nash Health Service and got their care through that this was actually money given directly to Wakefield so this is obviously a huge conflict of interest and this is not something that Wakefield had ever kind of told anyone he didn't mention this when he published this study and another thing that actually came out was that a year later in 1997 turned out that Wakefield actually had filed a patent so Wakefield had placed a patent on a vaccine of all things so Wakefield had a patent on a vaccine that would have competed with the MMR vaccine it was kind of an alternative MMR vaccine and so again this is a major conflict of interest because if he's doing a study on one vaccine and showing that it's not a great vaccine that it causes autism then obviously that sets him up very nicely to actually put out his own alternative version of the vaccine so these are two huge conflicts of interests that he did not mention when he was publishing a study now let me make a bit of space on this canvas and we'll get into what happened next it turns out between the years of 2007 and 2010 so for about two and a half years there was an investigation and this was done by the General Medical Council so this group is actually both doctors and community members and they actually review any sort of unethical behavior done by a doctor and make a decision about whether that person can go back and practice medicine so this GMC group they reviewed all the documents that you know Brian deer had investigated and other information that kind of dug up themselves and they basically found a number of things they found that he was being dishonest first of all and you might be thinking well obviously it was being dishonest about some things he didn't mention his financial interests that was a second issue they said that you know he had a few opportunities to mention them beyond just publishing the paper he had also gone to meetings and conferences and repeatedly he had kind of lied about his financial interests they said that he was negligent that he had actually done specifically things to children autistic children in his study that were medically negligent inappropriate and finally that he was unskilled and specifically what I mean is that he was not a pediatrician he was a general physician surgeon specifically and that he really didn't have any business working on kids so with the first point dishonesty and just go back to that briefly and give you a little bit more detail they found that he had actually picked his patients he had found them not randomly as they came into the hospital which is what he had said but that the lawyers that he was working with actually put him in touch with patients that were very interested in suing the MMR vaccine manufacturer and obviously if you have a group that's ready to sue another group then that's not that's not random and maybe there's some bias and what they're going to say he also didn't get any ethical clearance from the hospital so he had said that you know the ethical board had cleared everything that he was doing but that that wasn't true now with his financial interests he actually in addition to having that patent on a vaccine he also had a company that sold something called transfer factor and this product was basically marketed to people that were looking for an alternative to the MMR vaccine so of course if you can make the vaccine look really bad or unsafe then your company selling an alternative is going to do really well now on the negligence point is actually really unfortunate he among other things and so I'm just going to pick out one of the the things I mentioned he performed three lumbar punctures on kids that did not need them now think about that three lumbar punctures this is a needle in the back and you're getting fluid that kind of bathes the brain you're doing this procedure on kids that just didn't need the procedure done at all and so this is obviously completely inappropriate and finally he as I said was unskilled he was not a pediatrician and he should not have been making clinical decisions about pediatric patients that was obviously something that you need skill and training to do and he never received any of that so they actually looked at all this evidence and they said that they're going to remove him from the medical registry so based on all this evidence they actually removed him from the medical registry and once you're removed from medical registry in one country becomes very very hard to kind of work in any other country and so he effectively was now unable to to practice medicine or even surgery which is what he was trained to do anywhere in the world so when all this information kind of came out just a few days after he was removed from the medical registry The Lancet they actually decided they would remove the article or retract the article so now the Landsat the medical journal he had published it in the initial Wakefield study retracted it completely and finally one question kind of lingered in many people's minds in my mind as well is that even if you accept all this that he kind of dishonestly found these patients and had a financial interest and was negligent it seems so strange that 12 children had gut inflammation now that just seems like a very odd thing to find and it makes you wonder whether whether there was something to a study in the first place well it turned out that finally in 2011 which is very very recent actually that the hospital records were released so hospital records on these patients were released and it turned out that the pathologist said it actually looked at these kids intestines had said and written down something very different from what he reported so basically there was this huge disconnect between the hospital records and what he reported in his study so this Wakefield study essentially did not reflect reality you know for example some of these kids had completely normal intestines and yet in his study he reported that they had inflammation other times you know parents reported symptoms at a certain time point but because that didn't fit with his overall idea he changed the dates so between changing dates and changing what the hospital records say about inflammation it became very clear that basically this entire thing was fabricated so going back to the beginning where we had this one study on 12 children that showed this link between vaccine and autism we've come a long way I mean now the study has been completely discredited because he has essentially been shown to have lied at different points and also many other studies have kind of looked at this link of this connection and shown that there really is no link between vaccines and autism the one problem that remains is that a lot of families and parents still believe this autism myth and that leads them to not vaccinate and it creates a lot of confusion about the real cause of autism