1. His work was a scientific "study"
2. His paper claimed the MMR caused autism
He does not say the MMR vaccine causes autism or even that the GI disease was caused by the MMR. He answered the simple question that yes... GI disease and developmental regression was seen in a group of "previously normal children." Wakefield et al.'s conclusion are now validated with the weight of scientific data. We now know that gastrointestinal disease is closely related to autism; " microbiome-CNS signaling", "gut bacteria may contribute to ASD", "overlaps with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and autoimmunity", "microbiome growth", "Maladaptive behaviors correlate with GI problems", "dietary factors may play a role as secondary triggers of autism", "gastrointestinal dysfunction characterizes a subset of children with ASD", "immune reactivity to gluten", "affected activity of brain regions", "addressing GI problems", and on and on (science references).
Conclusions: Across each population with different kinds of ascertainment, there was a consistent and statistically significant increased prevalance of IBD in patients with ASD than their respective controls and nationally reported rates for pediatric IBD.
Taken as a whole, the picture that emerges is one in which GI symptomatic children with ASD in whom cellular infiltrate is present in the ileum and colon have a distinct molecular signature that is consistent with the larger disease categories of gastrointestinal disease, and more specifically, overlaps with Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, and autoimmunity.
Conclusions: Patients with autism or related disorders exhibiting chronic gastrointestinal symptoms demonstrate ileal or colonic inflammation upon light microscopic examination of biopsy tissue. Further work is needed to determine whether resolution of histopathology with appropriate therapy is accompanied by GI symptomatic and cognitive/behavioral improvement.
3. Wakefield was charged with "fraud", or "forged data"
The UK General Medical Council charged Wakefield with serious professional misconduct and sanction, Wakefield was found guilty by the GMC (General Medical Council, pg. 7 & 9).
Professor Walker-Smith was also charged with and found guilty of serious professional misconduct and sanction, just as Wakefield. The description of the charges were similar with one variation being the monies given to Wakefield via the Legal Aid Board (LAB). On appeal all of the GMC's rulings toward Walker-Smith were overturned. the UK High Court's Mr. Justice Mitting criticized the U.K. General Medical Council, stating its judgment had been "based on inadequate and superficial reasoning" (High Court Of Justice, 2010). The claims of the BMC were deemed false to which they did not appeal this decision.
Professor Murch's official charges were also serious professional misconduct and sanction. He was found guilty of professional misconduct but not of sanction.
On 9 November, David Lewis of the National Whistleblower's Center in Washington DC published a letter in the BMJ (http://bmj.com) arguing that Wakefield did not commit research fraud.
4. The children were treated in an "appalling way"
It is also important to note that the children had a positive diagnosis of GI disease through this workup, and were appropriately treated. The parents gave full consent for the procedures and were satisfied with the diagnosis and subsequent treatment. These children were not managed appropriately by their general practitioners regarding their untreated colitis. Further the LP's were ordered to asses the function of the CNS, which is appropriate since we now know that autism is a brain (encephalopathy)/body disorder, and the vaccine strain of measles has been found in the CNS of patients with encephalitis (science references). Barium studies are routine in assessing the upper GI tract.
5. 5 of the 12 children had autism before the MMR Vaccine
6. Texas courts won't touch his claims of libel
7. Systematic Bias... "Children were invited to participate"
Upon review of the Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Royal Free Hospital, work book entitled “Biopsies VI 4/9/95 to 21/7/97”, we confirm that the children who were reported in the Lancet paper of 1998 were the first 12 children consecutively referred to the university department of paediatric gastroenterology with autism and related disorders, who had gastrointestinal symptoms requiring ileocolonoscopy to exclude chronic bowel inflammation. These children were referred to me at the university department of paediatric gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital from July 25, 1996, to February 24, 1997—one being referred from the island of Jersey and one from the USA. By the time
the paper was accepted for publication, as mentioned in an appendix to the Lancet paper, up to January 28, 1998, a further 40 children had been so investigated, 39 with the syndrome reported in the paper. The children were all investigated specifically and exclusively by clinical need to determine whether bowel inflammation was present that could then be appropriately treated. These children were referred to the Royal Free by their general practitioner (ten cases) or consultant paediatrician
(two cases). Some parents had heard of Dr Wakefield’s previous work on inflammatory bowel disease and specifically requested referral, but the channel of referral was always as described above. However, the pattern of referral was often that the parents of the children approached Dr Wakefield
directly knowing of his work, frequently by telephone. In the case of one patient, in whom it has been alleged that I contacted a consultant in order for a referral to be made, he had been asked by the parents of this child to contact me to explain what investigations were available at the Royal Free
for children with autism and bowel problems (Lancet, 2004)