Many news sources have picked up the report by Brian Deer in BMJ.com, the online arm of the British Medical Journal, that the 1988 study linking autism and the measels, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine contained numerous instances of altered clinical data. Highlights from the report include:
- Three of nine children reported with regressive autism did not have autism diagnosed at all. Only one child clearly had regressive autism.
- Despite the paper claiming that all 12 children were “previously normal,” five had documented pre-existing developmental concerns.
- Some children were reported to have experienced first behavioral symptoms within days of MMR, but the records documented these as starting some months after vaccination.
Numerous other subsequent studies have shown no link between the vaccine and autism spectrum disorders, and the original paper was withdrawn by the Lancet. Unfortunately, in the time since the publication of the bogus study the scare it started has caused needless illnesses and deaths and a resurgence of the diseases the vaccine prevents.
This latest development underscores the vital importance of well designed clinical studies of any diagnosis--or treatment. Although a number of studies have been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy in treating patients with autism, there is currently not a sufficient body of evidence to conclude scientifically that HBOT is effective.