Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The False Prophets of Autism

When Dr. Andrew Wakefield — the British doctor who linked vaccines to autism — was found to be “dishonest,” “irresponsible” and acting “contrary to the clinical interests” of a child by a medical-misconduct panel last week, and when the respected medical journal The Lancet officially retracted its publication of Wakefield’s 1998 study yesterday, those were but the most recent controversial moments in the medical mystery that is autism.
Liane Carter has read all the news reports out of Britain with their mix of predictions that this is the end of Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s career as a researcher (he now runs an autism clinic in Austin). But some parents promise to follow him anywhere. To Carter, it all sounds numbingly familiar. In a guest blog today, she describes her frustration with those who prey on the desperation of parents with unfounded promises of an answer. Time spent on false hope, she writes, is time wasted on finding an actual cure.

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