7.03.2009

Journalist Brian Deer vs. MMR Researcher Andrew Wakefield

Those who keep up with reporter Brian Deer's ongoing research into Dr. Andrew Wakefield's questionable research practices re: autism and the MMR vaccine, or who read the Schaefer Report, may have read that:

"Press Complaints Commission Orders Sunday Times to Remove MMR journalist's Stories on Dr. Wakefield from Paper's Web Site"

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) of London, an independent body that oversees journalism fairness in the UK, has issued an interim order calling for the Sunday Times to remove stories written by Brian Deer about Dr. Andrew Wakefield from its web site. Dr. Wakefield had filed an extensive complaint with the PCC regarding errors of fact in Deer's reportage on the MMR vaccine and its possible relationship to autism. The General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK is presently hearing evidence involving Dr. Wakefield and two of his colleagues following a complaint to the GMC by Deer himself. The PCC decision today appears to indicate there are questions about the accuracy of the Deer stories. (Full article)

The problem is that the article excerpted above is from the media arm of Thoughtful House, which is Dr. Wakefield's US research/treatment facility, and that it distorts the facts (as reported on LBRB):
The Sunday Times has not been ordered to take down the articles. The PCC [Press Complainants Commission] decided to postpone its investigation until after the GMC [General Medical Counci] reaches a decision on the allegations of misconduct. This makes sense. If Wakefield is found guilty the complaint will fail. Meanwhile the PCC has asked the Sunday Times to remove the article from its website until matters can be resolved and the Sunday Times has agreed. [...]

So no order was issued, no judgement was made and there is no suggestion of impropriety by Deer or the Sunday Times. All the suggestions come from one source, Wakefield himself. (Full article.)
More from Brian Deer on Dr. Wakefield and the MMR/autism brouhaha.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:12 AM

    I heard that the story is to be put back up again on the ST website.

    ReplyDelete
  2. M is a patient at Thoughtful House as was my nephew. While I (like you) don't believe biomed makes a huge difference in my child's situation, I will say in some bit of defense of Wakefield and the TH staff that they are incredibly bright, caring people who I truly believe have our kids' needs in mind first and foremost. I DO feel that Brian Deer had an extreme conflict of interest in filing the complaint against Wakefield and then reporting on the case.

    Just know that this is not a money-hungry bunch of doctors. They are good, honest people :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Most people who work with children who have autism have their hearts in the right place. I'm glad to hear your family has had a good experience at Thoughtful House.

    That doesn't mean TH gets a free pass.

    Think of the UCSF autism clinic; B. Siegel is a very interesting personality and not someone I would recommend to non-masochistic parents. But the rest of the staff are great. Should we tell people not to go? No, we should tell them as much as we know about the place, so they know about any agendas, as well as exactly what kind of support they can expect.

    I am not convinced that Brian Deer alleged conflict of interest is legitimate. Read on, let me know what you think.

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/?p=1891

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous6:26 AM

    Brian Deer did not have any conflict of interest. He revealed that Wakefield's work was done for lawyers. The government said the GMC should look at it. Wakefield said he would "welcome" and "insist" on a GMC investigation, so Deer supplied it with all his journalism. Journalists do this all the time.

    Thoughtful House may have a caring face. But it was set up so that Wakefield, touring conferences of parents to frighten them about vaccines, could get those parents to hand over their children so that Wakefield's people could get into their guts looking for measles virus.

    As Deer revealed years ago, Wakefield holds patents to the effect that measles virus causes inflammatory bowel disease?

    Would parents of neurotypical children hand them over to some Texas clinic to have tubes and needles stuck into them for this purpose?

    Would parents of children with autism?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just saw the comments here...figured there would probably be some!
    Anonymous, just so you are aware, NO ONE at Thoughtful House has ever suggested my son's gut be looked at via biopsy or pill cam, etc. I am not here to defend them vehemently--we went there simply because we wanted to explore any possible treatment options--but I don't think it is fair to make a blanket statement about the place that they are there to 'frighten parents about vaccines' or 'get into their guts' when neither of those things have happened in the 18+ mos. we have been patients there.
    As with anything, there is certainly two sides to this story. Have you ever visited the clinic or met any of the practitioners there? One is a personal friend of my sister-in-law and I have the utmost respect for her. Many of these practitioners are treating their own children who also have developmental disabilities. I have a hard time believing that they are using their kids as guinea pigs simply for Wakefield's cause.

    ReplyDelete

Respectful disagreement encouraged.

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