Journal retracts flawed study linking MMR vaccine and autism

Science News’ biomedical reporter describes latest chapter in controversy created by now debunked research

By Nathan Seppa, 16:24 PM February 3, 2010

The Lancet has retracted a 1998 study that kindled a firestorm of opposition to vaccines by suggesting that autism arose in a handful of children because they had received measles-mumps-rubella shots.

On January 28, the U.K. General Medical Council sealed the fate of the controversial study, saying its selection of participants may have been biased and that lead author Andrew Wakefield committed several breaches of ethics in his work.

The Lancet formally retracted the paper February 2. “I...

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