Lancet Retracts 1998 Study Linking MMR to Autism

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/minnellium/" target="_blank"> Dave Haygarth</a> (<a href="http://creativecommons.org/" target="_blank">Creative Commons</a>)

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Venerable British medical journal Lancet retracted a 1998 study today linking the measles, mumps and rubella combination vaccine to autism, after the study’s author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was found to have acted unethically.  A British medical panel said Wakefield had shown “callous disregard” for the subjects of his study and “the pain they might suffer.” 

The Wakefield study had been a lynchpin in the argument, popular among the mothers of Beverly Hills, Long Island and La Jolla, that routine childhood vaccination against deadly diseases caused autism in some children.  Lancet editor Richard Horton called it the “starting pistol” for MMR-Autism hysteria, which reached a fever pitch toward the middle of the last decade, even amidst massive outbreaks of measles—and more recently, mumps—in the UK, Western Europe, and parts of the US.  

Sadly, it’s too late to put the genie back in the bottle. With or without the jewel in their crown, those convinced that MMR will cause permanent damage to their children (more permanent than deafness, say, or death) are determined to remain convinced. As if we needed more proof, Dr. Wakefield currently practices in Austin, Texas. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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