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The Facts In The Case Of Dr. Andrew Wakefield
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tallguywrites
A fifteen page story about the MMR vaccination controversy. As ever, I'm sure a few spelling errors have slipped past me. Feel free to point any out so I can correct them.

The reference links for the strip are in the next blog entry.

Now! Let's have a heated debate!

2013 update. Since I wrote this blog entry, this cartoon strip as well as many others on such subjects as homeopathy, chiropratic, evolution, and the supposed NASA Moon hoax landings, have been published in a book: Science Tales in the UK (Myriad Edtions) and How To Fake A Moon Landing in the US and Canada (Abrams). Here's the link to my main blog.

1 MMR Vaccination Scandal Story

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Can't thank you enough for putting it not just so succinctly, but with pictures that underline the utter stupidity as well as highlight-by-contrasting-tone the evil behind this whole debacle.

As the grandparent of a child with Aspergers Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder, I am disgusted by the pseudoscience around it.

Wakefield's acts have harmed a lot of kids from the measles they caught. In my opinion they are criminal acts, and he should be deported.

But he is not alone. I see people trying to "cure" autism by diets and other non-medical regimes. This takes energy, time, and money away from the helpful things that can be done. It harms them.

I am thankful that my son and daughter-in-law have resisted the unhelpful things. They have provided my grandson with the help and guidance he needs. He turns 15 this week, is mainstreamed in his school, has a goodly number of friends, and is receiving an award tomorrow recognizing his contributions to the school. Yes, as would be expected, he's "unique". But he is a strong self-advocate and understands how and why he's different from other kids, and values that difference. He does not see Aspergers as a disability and, consequently, others around him don't either. I wish every child with an autism spectrum disorder could get the support he did, and gain increased ability to thrive.

Clever, concise, clear, and chilling. The four c's of journalism!

I want to forward this to all my autism-conspiracy-believer friends. I fear they're in too deep to believe the truth, sadly.

Agree with the sentiment, but

that was one boring overlong comic strip. Anyway, you don't give Deer enough credit for his brave investigative journalism which carried the fight to Wakefield, ultimately exposing him as the charlatan we all now know him to be.
Brian Deer has saved childrens lives. You wrote a comic strip about it. I know who I think is the awesome one in this matter.

Brilliant!

I know people who didn't vaccinate their awesome son because they believed this crap. They sent him to hippie school where vaccinations weren't required. Terrifying to think what havoc one case of measles could wreak in a Waldorf elementary school. D:

Already happened last year here in Australia. I wonder how many parents at that school quietly slipped off and had their special little snowflakes vaccinated after that scare.

Edited at 2012-07-07 08:05 am (UTC)

Here via pharyngula.

You, sir, rule so fucking hard that kings and emperors are forced to ask your permission to breathe. In writing.

Adding :)

thank you for doing this kind of work Darryl.

comics are a great medium for this kind of work and I've recently decided to try focusing some of my comics on promoting science, rational and critical thinking, and opposing psuedo-science.

keep it up!

I don't dare read the comments - not with 309 of them - but I'm sure that the majority are positive. Well done on this expose.

I am so, so glad that some-one has finally addressed this issue. Kudos to you, sir for creating such an informative and well drawn comic.

One thing I wasn't aware of was the fact that celebrities endorsed the whole idea of a 'conspiracy against Wakefield'. Their ignorance makes me fume. The only conspirator in the whole of this was Wakefield himself. His research has really damaged the entire scientific community because of the ethical issues, the biases that scientists have taken so long to develop. I can't believe that people are willing to accept the idea that the vaccine is dangerous despite the massive outbreaks of measles (read measles NOT autism, since the number of cases stayed the same throughout) all over the country and even the world. And it doesn't take a genius to figure out exactly what was actually motivating him. Pure and utter bullshit.

I am just shocked that he even thought that something like this was morally acceptable. Even now there remains stigma, 12 years after he first published his damn research. Actually research is a little bit of a lenient term, considering he only looked at 12 students. And all other studies have used much larger samples and have found results that don't correlate at all. And the number of children/people who have suffered as a result, not just the participants of his study, the people who didn't get vaccinated as a result and then developed measles, the time of professionals who have had to fight against a public backlash to convince people that vaccines are safe. It just makes me sick, it really does. Still, I guess some people would do anything for money.

Very late comment and possibly a repeat. When I was in school I was taught the scientific method but I was also taught that if you look hard enough for something you will find it.
I find it amazing that no one asked about the sample size or the other obvious correlation with autism that has been common knowledge (if not scientific) for years - IBS and autism (in some cases) are related to gluten and casein intolerance. As is common with humans, this does not explain every case of autism, but I find it weird that none of the scientists/doctors who lauded this discovery questioned the existence of third variables.
This is a great comic. I am going to share it.
I came across the link while looking for my competition - other comics on autism.

Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina are examining 275 children with regressive autism and bowel disease – and of the 82 tested so far, 70 prove positive for the measles virus.

Last night the team’s leader, Dr Stephen Walker, said: ‘Of the handful of results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.

Here's A LINK http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/press0053106.php

Of course it all came to squat - why? nobody knows.
pro vaccine says the research was flawed - or ANOTHER complete fabrication.
anti says his funding was cut.

P.S.
The original MMR strain that Wakefield did a CASE STUDY on (I agree taken completely overboard by newspaper sensationalism) was PULLED from the market (quietly) and REPLACED with a SAFER American version almost certainly because of a faulty mumps component (also in singles mumps vaccine)

In a happy ending maybe the vaccine industry published this fact and the public regained their confidence and everyone lived happily ever after. Fat chance. Instead they put Deer on the case. Best known for blowing apart drugs that have already been taken off the market, knowing nothing about medicine and paying "teams of people" from thin air apparently to fine comb through case studies that conclude a vaccine needs more research.
More money for WAkefeild? Not exactly, he spent the Law case money on his next paper. It's documented.

Was a similar test done on NT children without bowel disease? You know, as a control group? If not, the study is incomplete, and this conclusion would be a classic case of 'post hoc ergo propter hoc'. Logical fallacies have no place in science.

Can you make a PDF of these? Or link to an already-existing PDF if you've already thought of it? Additionally, I'm curious if it could be converted into Kindle format (this could probably be done straight from a PDF of course). Thanks for the awesome work.

I've a book coming out this April, called Science Tales, which will include this as a chapter. It's out from Myriad Edtions. http://www.myriadeditions.com/science-tales

Brilliantly made, ESPECIALLY THE LAST 5 pictures! Wakefield will soon be fully exonerated. Brian Deer tells an astonishing number of checkable lies. I work with many autistic children. The link with bowel problems is undeniable. Even the NHS now in their guidelines say that all autistic patients should be checked by gastroenterology. Wakefield and the Royal Free Team pioneered the work. Wakefield is a methodical ethical highly disciplined scientist.I would advise anyone reading to do their own research on this. Watch both men talk. Examine all allegations. The fraud is Brian Deer and many are commenting now that he is reckless in his disregard for the truth to the extent that he comes across as a very damaged personality. The real question is how the BMJ and the BMC cab have behaved the way they have. Litigation against them will bring all the facts to light. But you can get informed now by doing research.

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