Andrew Wakefield, Scientific Censorship, and Fourteen Monkeys
A statement from Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey
Los Angeles, February 5, 2010
Dr. Andrew Wakefield is being discredited to prevent an historic study from being published that for the first time looks at vaccinated versus unvaccinated primates and compares health outcomes, with potentially devastating consequences for vaccine makers and public health officials.
It is our most sincere belief that Dr. Wakefield and parents of children with autism around the world are being subjected to a remarkable media campaign engineered by vaccine manufacturers reporting on the retraction of a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues.
The retraction from The Lancet was a response to a ruling from England's General Medical Council, a kangaroo court where public health officials in the pocket of vaccine makers served as judge and jury. Dr. Wakefield strenuously denies all the findings of the GMC and plans a vigorous appeal.
Despite rampant misreporting, Dr. Wakefield's original paper regarding 12 children with severe bowel disease and autism never rendered any judgment whatsoever on whether or not vaccines cause autism, and The Lancet's retraction gets us no closer to understanding this complex issue.
Dr. Wakefield is one of the world's most respected and well-published gastroenterologists. He has published dozens of papers since 1998 in well-regarded peer-reviewed journals all over the world. His work documenting the bowel disease of children with autism and his exploration of novel ways to treat bowel disease has helped relieve the pain and suffering of thousands of children with autism.
For the past decade, parents in our community have been clamoring for a relatively simple scientific study that could settle the debate over the possible role of vaccines in the autism epidemic once and for all: compare children who have been vaccinated with children who have never received any vaccines and see if the rate of autism is different or the same.
Few people are aware that this extremely important work has not only begun, but that a study using an animal model has already been completed exploring this topic in great detail.
Dr. Wakefield is the co-author, along with eight other distinguished scientists from institutions like the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Washington, of a set of studies that explore the topic of vaccinated versus unvaccinated neurological outcomes using monkeys.
The first phase of this monkey study was published three months ago in the prestigious medical journal Neurotoxicology, and focused on the first two weeks of life when the vaccinated monkeys received a single vaccine for Hepatitis B, mimicking the U.S. vaccine schedule. The results, which you can read for yourself here, were disturbing. Vaccinated monkeys, unlike their unvaccinated peers, suffered the loss of many reflexes that are critical for survival.
Dr. Wakefield and his scientific colleagues are on the brink of publishing their entire study, which followed the monkeys through the U.S. childhood vaccine schedule over a multi-year period. It is our understanding that the difference in outcome for the vaccinated monkeys versus the unvaccinated controls is both stark and devastating.
There is no question that the publication of the monkey study will lend substantial credibility to the theory that over-vaccination of young children is leading to neurological damage, including autism. The fallout from the study for vaccine makers and public health officials could be severe. Having denied the possibility of the vaccine-autism connection for so long while profiting immensely from a recent boom in vaccine sales around the world, it's no surprise that they would seek to repress this important work.
Behind the scenes, the pressure to keep the work of Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues from being published is immense, and growing every day. Medical journals take extreme risk of backlash in publishing any studies that question the safety of the vaccination program, no matter how well-designed and thorough the research might be. Neurotoxicology, a highly-respected medical journal, deserves great credit for courageously publishing the first phase of this vaccinated monkey study.
The press has been deeply misled in the way The Lancet retraction, and Dr. Wakefield's mock trial, have been characterized. Led by the pharmaceutical companies and their well-compensated spokespeople, Dr. Wakefield is being vilified through a well-orchestrated smear campaign designed to prevent this important new work from seeing the light of day.
What medical journal would want to step in front of this freight train? Moreover, why now, after 12 years of inaction, did The Lancet and GMC suddenly act? Is it coincidence that the monkey study is currently being submitted to medical journals for review and publication?
We urge the media to take a close look at the first phase of the monkey study discussed above and to start asking a very simple question: What was the final outcome of the 14 primates that were vaccinated using the U.S. vaccine schedule and how did that compare to the unvaccinated controls?
The U.S. vaccine schedule has grown from 10 vaccines given to our children in the 1980s to 36 today, perfectly matching the dramatic rise in autism. The work of Dr. Wakefield and his colleagues deserves to be shared with the world to further, rather than censor, scientific progress.