The Daily Mail will not let go of the mythical MMR-autism link. Their writer Sally Beck claims that:-
New American research shows that there could be a link between the controversial MMR triple vaccine and autism and bowel disease in children.
This is complete bollocks, to use a technical term.
First it is not new research. The Times reported it back in 2006. It is instructive to compare the two articles. The Times wrote:
The latest study, led by Arthur Krigsman, of New York University School of Medicine, involved 275 children. Serious intestinal inflammations were found in some of the autistic children and biopsies of gut tissue were performed on 82 of them. Of these, 70 are said to have shown evidence of the measles virus, which so far has been confirmed in 14 cases by more stringent DNA tests.
Steve Walker, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Medical Centre, North Carolina, who analysed the gut samples, said the work mirrored Dr Wakefield’s study. All the children involved were diagnosed with autism and had come to Dr Krigsman and Dr Walker seeking help for symptoms of serious digestive problems for which no explanation could be found.
Today, the Daily Mail’s Sally Beck wrote:
Now a team from the 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.
Same team doing the analysis, exact same numbers. The Mail have recycled a five year old story and presented it as new. Incidently, I have cached a copy of the Mail story and should the current version be changed and the Mail try to pretend they never said what they said, the url here will be changed to the cached version.
Incidently, when Dr. Walker says his work “mirrored” that of Mr. Wakefield he is not saying “confirmed”. He is saying that the children had already been diagnosed as autistic and had been brought to him because of gut problems. Also,there is no control group, which is a shame because it would be useful to know how many non-autistic children with gut problems have the measles virus in their bowels.
Dr. Walker does not support the spin being put on his work:
Walker says the new research does not support the connection, and he notes that the results have not even been published in a peer-reviewed journal. “Even if we showed association (between measles virus and bowel disease) and we published it in a peer-reviewed journal, the conclusion will be simply that there is measles virus in the gut of a large number of children who have regressive autism and bowel disease. End of story.
“We haven’t done anything to demonstrate that the measles virus is causing autism or even causing bowel disease.”
So the Mail have taken a five year old story, printed it as new, and misrepresented the researcher’s own interpretation of his work in order to attempt a revival of a thoroughly discredited hypothesis. This is lazy, dangerous journalism.