Jenny McCarthy still believes autism caused by vaccines

17 Feb

Award-winning journalist Brian Deer answers a student's question after speaking to a group at Ryerson University.He says there is no medical evidence to back up Jenny McCarthy's claims about the causes of autism. / Charles Vanegas

Brian Deer, the British journalist who exposed fraudulent research linking the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine to autism, spoke on Wednesday to a group of more than 200 at Ryerson University in Toronto. Deer spoke candidly about the disgraced doctor behind the theory, Andrew Wakefield, and his supporters – specifically actress Jenny McCarthy, who has a child with autism.

“She’s put out her son’s name in the media [linking his autism to vaccines],”said Deer. “She has no medical evidence to back up her claims, so I challenge her to release his records to a panel of doctors –who will keep them confidential – and then she can see the facts.”

In 1998, the Lancet, a medical journal, published the findings of a study conducted by a group led by Andrew Wakefield. Although inconclusive, the study suggested that the MMR vaccine might be linked with autism and intestinal problems, a “new syndrome” that Wakefield later referred to as “autistic enterocolitis.”

After numerous reports from Deer dating back as far as 2004, Wakefield has been exposed for knowingly falsifying study results and having a conflict of interest – he received over £400,000 (about $690,000 CDN) prior to his 1998 study, from solicitors planning to sue vaccine distributors. The Lancet has “fully-retracted the study from the published record”, and ten out of 13 co-authors have retracted the interpretation featured in the study.

In a January 2011 blog, McCarthy referred to Deer’s findings as “one dubious reporter’s allegations”, saying that “I know children regress after vaccination because it happened to my own son”.

In 2008, as a blogger for Oprah.com, she praised a woman who refused to let her 18-month-old son get the MMR vaccine, for “following her mommy instinct.”

In the UK, where Wakefield’s study was done, cases of measles rose from 56 in 1998 to 1,348 in 2008.

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One Response to “Jenny McCarthy still believes autism caused by vaccines”

  1. millerreynolds February 17, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Nicely written. Keep it up.

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