The Lancet Retraction Changes Nothing


Dr. Andrew Wakefield is one of the most vilified medical practitioners of recent times, and now he

carries the extremely rare dishonor of a retraction in The Lancet, on the paper he coauthored in

1998 suggesting a potential link between autism, bowel disease and Measles-Mumps-Rubella

(MMR) vaccine.

I believe that the public lynching and shaming of Dr. Wakefield is unwarranted and overwrought,

and that history will ultimately judge who was right and who was wrong about proposing a

possible association between vaccination and regressive autistic spectrum disorder (ASD).

Wakefield’s critics can condemn, retract, decry and de-license all they want, but that does nothing

to stop or alter the march of science, which has come a long way over the past 12 years, and

especially in the last year or two. The evidence that autism is increasing at alarming rates, and

that some thing (or things) in our environment is wreaking havoc on a vulnerable 1 percent of all

U.S. children is now so irrefutable that, finally, the federal government is climbing aboard the

environmental research bandwagon, way late, but better than never.

This long-overdue paradigm shift will leave many in the scientific community with some proverbial

but nonetheless uncomfortable egg on their increasingly irrelevant faces: Those who have

protested with shrill certainty that autism is almost purely genetic and not environmental in

nature, and therefore not really increasing at all, will hopefully recede from the debate.

And that begs a nagging question: If those people were dead wrong about environmental factors

in autism, could they also be mistaken in their equally heated denials about a possible

vaccineautism link? More bluntly, why should we heed them any longer?

We need to examine a host of environmental factors (air, water, food, medicine, household

products and social factors) and how they might interact with vulnerable genes to create the

varying collection of symptoms we call “autism.” But these triggers almost have to be found in

every town of every county of every state in the land, from Maine to Maui.

Are vaccines the only contributing factors to autism? Of course not. Other pharmaceutical

products like thalidomide and valproic acid, as well as live mumps virus, have been associated

with increased autism risk in prenatal exposures, so we already know that a variety of drugs and

bugs can likely make a child autistic. But, there are now at least six published legal or scientific cases of children regressing into ASD following

vaccination? and many more will be revealed in

due time.

There was the case of Hannah Poling, in federal vaccine court, in which the government conceded

that Hannah’s autism was caused by vaccine-induced fever and over-stimulation of the immune

system that aggravated an asymptomatic and previously undetected dysfunction of her

mitochondria. Hannah received nine vaccines in one day, including MMR.

Then there was the Bailey Banks case, in which the court ruled that the petitioners had proven

that MMR had directly caused a brain inflammation illness called “acute disseminated

encephalomyelitis” (ADEM) which, in turn, had caused PDD-NOS, an autism spectrum disorder, in


And last September, a chart review of children with autism and mitochondrial disease, published

in the Journal of Child Neurology, looked at 28 children with ASD and mitochondrial disease and

found that 17 of them (60.7 percent) had gone through autistic regression, and 12 of the

regressive cases had followed a fever. Among the 12 children who regressed after fever, one-third (4) had fever associated with vaccination, just

like Hannah Poling. The authors reported that “recommended vaccination schedules are appropriate in mitochondrial

disease,” although “fever management appears important for decreasing regression risk.”

That conclusion, however, is not supported by some of the world’s leading experts on

mitochondrial disease, including Dr. Douglas Wallace, a professor of pediatrics and biological

chemistry at UC Irvine, and director of its Center for Molecular and Mitochondrial Medicine and

Genetics. Dr. Wallace was recently named to the National Academies of Science. “We have always

advocated spreading the immunizations out as much as possible because every time you

vaccinate, you are creating a challenge for the system” in people with mito disorders, Dr. Wallace

testified at a federal vaccine safety meeting.

The possibility that vaccines and mitochondrial disease might be related to autism was also

supported in another chart review published in PLoS [Public Library of Science] Online. The

authors wrote that mitochondrial autism is not at all rare, and said that, “there might be no

difference between the inflammatory or catabolic stress of vaccinations and that of common

childhood diseases, which are known precipitants of mitochondrial regression.”

In fact, they added, “Large population-based studies will be needed to identify a possible

relationship of vaccination with autistic regression in persons with mitochondrial cytopathies.” Another fact that gets little attention in this

never-ending debate is that more than 1,300 cases of vaccine injuries have been paid out in vaccine court, in which the court ruled that

childhood immunizations caused encephalopathy (brain disease), encephalitis (brain swelling) and/or seizure disorders.

Encephalopathy/encephalitis is found in most if not all ASD cases, and seizure disorders in about a third of them.

If we know that vaccines can cause these injuries, is it not reasonable to ask if they can cause similar injuries that lead to autism? (Stay tuned as

those 1,300 cases come under closer scrutiny).

Fortunately, the federal government seems to be getting serious about identifying all potential

environmental factors that could contribute to autism, including a few studies that take in

vaccines and the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal. And President Obama’s brand-new

budget includes increased spending for autism research at NIH, including money to help identify

environmental factors that contribute to ASD.

Meanwhile, the National Vaccine Advisory Committee has unanimously endorsed a CDC proposal

to study autism as a possible “clinical outcome” of vaccination, and has recommended several

more studies pertaining to vaccines and autism, including a feasibility study on analyzing

vaccinated vs. unvaccinated populations.

And over at the government’s leading autism research panel, the Inter-Agency Autism

Coordinating Committee (IACC), the chairman, National Institute of Mental Health director Dr.

Thomas Insel, recently told me that better diagnosis and reporting could not “explain away this

huge increase” in ASD cases.

“There is no question that there has got to be an environmental component here,” Insel said.

I asked him if the IACC would ever support direct research into vaccines and autism, now that

CDC has raised the estimated ASD rate from 1-in-150 to 1-in-110, in just two years. “I think

what you are going to see with this update is that there is a recognition that we need to look at

subgroups who might be particularly responsive to environmental factors,” he answered.

So what might those factors include? Well, it turns out that the IACC has unanimously

recommend research to determine if certain sub-populations are more susceptible to

environmental exposures such as “immune challenges related to naturally occurring infections,

vaccines or underlying immune problems.” Nobody seriously thinks that the retraction of The Lancet article, and the international flogging of

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, will do anything to make this debate go away. And they are right.

About the Author:

David Kirby is the author of the book Evidence of Harm: Mercury in Vaccines and

the Autism Epidemic: A Medical Controversy, a New York Times bestseller. This article first

appeared in the Huffington Post. His newest book, Animal Factory, is a dramatic exposé of factory

farms. Article reprinted with permission.

Please see the original at




2 responses to “The Lancet Retraction Changes Nothing”

  1. Martin Avatar

    Actually, chelation is being used to treat more than the merrcuy the thought is that our kids can’t get rid of many of the heavy metals to which they are exposed. This includes lead, molybdenum, arsenic, copper, etc. Most people can stand some exposure to these things and filter them through their bodies, but a lot of these kids can’t.Every child I know except 1 who has done chelation with a knowledgeable and cautious M.D. has seen enormous success. If done properly, and preceeded by dietary changes and getting the body as healthy as possible, it’s amazing what can happen.

    1. admin Avatar

      Absolutely! I have added an opt-in box for a free PDF report and five videos that will follow shortly. You can access them at Chappell Chiropractic Wellness Center’s website, http://www.chappellhealth, and go to the opt-in box on the right. These will give you a primer on daily activities and habits that are robbing us of our health and energy.