The British medical journal The Lancet announced last week that it has fully retracted a controversial study that linked autism to the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine.
The study by Andrew Wakefield and others, published in 1998, set off widespread concern that deterred some parents from getting the MMR vaccine for their children. Several other studies over the years have refuted such a link between the vaccine and autism.
The Lancet’s decision followed a ruling Jan. 28 by the Fitness to Practice Panel of Britain’s General Medical Council’s that Dr. Wakefield had used improper research practices.
“It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al. are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation,” a statement by the journals editors said. “In particular, the claims in the original paper that children were consecutively referred and that investigations were approved by the local ethics committee have been proven to be false. Therefore, we fully retract this paper from the published record.”
A version of this article appeared in the February 10, 2010 edition of Education Week as Autism Retraction