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Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, March 17, 2019

The Dishonest Persecution of Andrew Wakefield
Over 50 scientific references say this important issue shall not be censored any longer

Commentary by Ralph K. Campbell, MD

(OMNS Mar 17 2019) There are some fraudulent medical articles that repeatedly reappear on the scene that trash the function of vitamins, other nutritional substances and "outside the box" medical treatments. Here I present the measles vaccine - autism connection that started as a theory in the mind of a British gastroenterologist, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, as an illustration.

Andrew Wakefield , MB.BS., was an early proponent of gut health being dependent on being colonized with beneficial bacterial that quell what he called "the leaky gut syndrome', in which intact antigens from the gut can sneak into the blood stream. [1-3] From recent studies touting the value of a healthy biome, we can see in hindsight that his theory had some validity. [4-7] He also noted an association of some of his gastroenterology patients who received the Mumps, Measles, Rubella vaccine (MMR) with the development of autism (or what we now would call autism spectrum disorder). On the basis of studying only 12, mostly family member children, and realizing it was not a double-blinded study with a large number of subjects, his study was published in 1998 in Lancet, a widely-cited British medical journal. [8-10] Meanwhile two other reputable researchers published similar studies with the similar conclusions. Initially, Wakefield was more concerned about giving the multiple antigen, MMR, to infants with both an immature immune system and an immature nervous system, than just the single measles component. Many pediatricians felt the same way and urged doctors to attempt to administer the three component vaccines one at a time. If this could not be done, then, the public was advised, postpone administrating the MMR vaccine well beyond the U.S. time of 15 months of age. Several countries favorably changed their policies in this manner. Later, Dr. Wakefield found a strain of measles virus in the vaccine that caused severe irritable bowel syndrome and may have contributed to autism. Many other articles, published before and after Wakefield's 1998 study, have suggested that abnormalities of the microbiome in the gut often occur in children with autism.

Shortly after Wakefield published his findings, character assassins seemed to come out of the woodwork as they strongly condemned Wakefield's study. Brian Deer, a journalist, apparently started his vitriol with Lancet, but then jumped to The British Medical Journal where he teamed up with a sympathizer, Dr. Fiona Godlee, editor of the journal. Others joined in and were believed to the point that Wakefield was stripped of his medical license and he eventually moved to the U.S. [11-21]

In 2011, Wakefield fought back by suing The British Medical Journal. [22-24] Interestingly, the prosecutors discovered that the defendants had used the same tactics as those they had accused Wakefield of using: the fraud of altering the data of the study to suit their agenda and of getting other well-known researchers to devise phony studies. It was discovered that both Godlee and Deer had ties to the pharmaceutical industry, most importantly to Merck, the maker of the MMR vaccine. But Deer never quit. He made an appearance on CNN with Anderson Cooper, in CNN's early days and spread his misleading rhetoric. We no longer hear from Deer, but he is replaced by a very powerful "anti-antivaccer," Dr. Paul Offit, Director of Vaccine Education Center and Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and Professor of Vaccinology at Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania. The list of awards he has received is nearly a full page long. He has many publications, including a book about the danger to others from children who do not get their vaccines because of parents who believe they cause harm, not good. Some say, "Dr. Offit never met a vaccine he didn't like." A very impressive figure except for one caveat: he has close financial ties with the pharmaceutical industry, including Merck. The total involvement is in the tens of millions. [25-27]

Regardless, in order to discredit anyone who questions the efficacy of the MMR vaccine or the possibility of it being a cause of autism, our "Communicable Disease Center" (CDC) presents the studies showing there is no connection between the measles shot and the development of autism. Spokespersons from the CDC often back up their comments by referring to an Offit study. Recently, a commentator on the evening TV news, after presenting a segment about a jump in cases of measles, particularly in areas of low compliance with vaccination recommendations, said it was too bad that some were still listening to this "quack doctor" Wakefield. But finally, the truth appears to be emerging. A recent exhaustive review of the case explains, "...there is no evidence whatsoever, to support the charges of professional misconduct, much less the accusation of fraud" against Dr. Wakefield. [28]

As a pediatrician, I would like to see more studies that could resolve the apparent discrepancies between studies that have shown a connection between the MMR vaccine, abnormalities in the gut, and onset of autism and more recent ones showing lack of a connection. Further, since many studies have found that children with autism often have abnormalities in the gut, likely related to nutrition and the microbiome, I propose that studies on autism proceed with a rationale for maintaining excellent nutrition.

Many parents have reported that vaccinations in their children appear to cause detrimental side effects, likely due to vaccine adjuvants, preservatives, and possibly the antigens or other viral components. To reduce the risk and magnitude of side effects, I recommend supplements of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients taken before and after vaccinations, as these can help the body deal with chemicals that act as toxins to cause inflammation. Supplements of vitamins C, E, D, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and a multivitamin, given to children in adequate pediatric doses can prevent much of the detrimental reaction to vaccinations. [29-33]

Editor's note: Even CBS News has questioned vaccination advocacy that money can - and evidently does - buy. You can read their print story but you can NOT view their video at CBS News' website [ ]. However, the video is up at YouTube . . . at least for now.

(This commentary presents the opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of all members of the Orthomolecular Medicine News Service Editorial Review Board. OMNS allows equal time for dissenting opinions, which may be submitted to the Editor at the contact listed further below.)


1. Thompson NP, Montgomery SM, Pounder RE, Wakefield AJ. (1995) Is measles vaccination a risk factor for inflammatory bowel disease? Lancet. 345:1071-1074.

2. Balzola FA, Khan K, Pera A, Bonino F, Pounder RE, Wakefield AJ. (1998) Measles IgM immunoreactivity in patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Ital J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 30:378-382. .

3. Wakefield AJ, Murch SH, Anthony A, et al. (1998) Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet. 1998 Feb 28;351(9103):637-641.

4. Alvarez-Mercado AI, Navarro-Oliveros M, Robles-S nchez C, et al. (2019) Microbial Population Changes and Their Relationship with Human Health and Disease. Microorganisms. 7. pii: E68.

5. Ram H, Dastager SG. (2019) Re-purposing is needed for beneficial bugs, not for the drugs. Int Microbiol. 22:1-6.

6. Paysour MJ, Bolte AC, Lukens JR. (2019) Crosstalk Between the Microbiome and Gestational Immunity in Autism-Related Disorders. DNA Cell Biol. [Epub ahead of print]

7. Ajdacic-Gross V, Aleksandrowicz A, Rodgers S, et al (2016) Infectious, atopic and inflammatory diseases, childhood adversities and familial aggregation are independently associated with the risk for mental disorders: Results from a large Swiss epidemiological study. World J Psychiatry. 6:419-430.

8. AJ Wakefield Autism, inflammatory bowel disease, and MMR vaccine (1998) Lancet 351:1356

9. O'Leary JJ, Uhlmann V, Wakefield AJ (2000) Measles virus and autism. Lancet 356:772.

10. Uhlmann V, Martin CM, Sheils O, et al. (2002) Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease. Mol Pathol. 55:84-90.

11. Madsen KM, Hviid A, Vestergaard M, et al (2002) A Population-Based Study of Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism N Engl J Med 347:1477-1482.

12. Wakefield AJ. (2003) Measles, Mumps, and Rubella Vaccination and Autism N Engl J Med 2003; 348:951-954.

13. Singh VK, Jensen RL. (2003) Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. Pediatr Neurol. 28:292-294.

14. Wakefield AJ (2004) A statement by Dr Andrew Wakefield Lancet 363:823-824.

15. Wakefield AJ Harvey P, Linnella, J (2004) MMR: responding to retraction. Lancet, 363:1327-1328. .

16. Jefferson T, Price D, Demicheli V, Bianco E (2004) Selective quotation of evidence in vaccines research. Lancet 363:1738.

17. Baird G, Pickles A, Simonoff E, et al. (2008) Measles vaccination and antibody response in autism spectrum disorders. Arch Dis Child. 93:832-837. .

18. Burn R. (2008) Response to the article by Baird et al. Arch Dis Child. 93:905.

19. Wakefield AJ, Stott C, Krigsman A. (2008) Getting it wrong. Arch Dis Child. 93:905-6. .

20. Stone J. (2008) What does this study test, and why? Arch Dis Child. 93:905.

21. Letters by Burn, Stone and Wakefield: author's response. (2008) Arch Dis Child. 93:906-907. .

22. Reich ES (2011) Fresh dispute about MMR 'fraud'. Nature 479, 157-158.

23. Wakefield sues BMJ over MMR articles. (2012) BMJ 2012;344:e310.

24. Kirkland A. (2012) Credibility battles in the autism litigation. Soc Stud Sci. 42:237-261. .

25. Attkisson S. (2008) How independent are vaccine defenders? CBS News, July 25, 2008.

26. Olmsted D, Blaxill M (2009) Voting Himself Rich: CDC Vaccine Adviser Made $29 Million Or More After Using Role to Create Market.

27. ChildHealthSafety (2011) Paul Offit -- Voted His Patented Vaccine For US Children When On Vaccine Safety Committee.

28. Sharav V (2017) L'affaire Wakefield: Shades of Dreyfus & BMJ's Descent into Tabloid Science.

29. Campbell RK. (2018) Influenza.

30. Campbell RK. (2018) Sore throat.

31. Campbell RK. (2017) Vaccine adjuvants and excipients.

32. Campbell RK. (2017) Vaccinations: to be or not to be.

33. Case HS. (2018) Vitamin C questions: answered.

Supporting References

The following articles support the importance of recognizing and treating gastrointestinal symptoms in autistic children (ordered by date):

1. Goodwin MS, Cowen MA, Goodwin TC. (1971) J Autism Child Schizophr. 1:48-62. Malabsorption and cerebral dysfunction: a multivariate and comparative study of autistic children. .

2 Walker-Smith J, Andrews J. (1972) Alpha-1-antitrypsin, autism, and coeliac disease. Lancet. 2:883-884.

3. Singh VK, Warren RP, Odell JD, Warren WL, Cole P. (1993) Antibodies to myelin basic protein in children with autistic behavior. Brain Behav Immun. 7:97-103.,

4. Bolte ER. (1998) Autism and Clostridium tetani. Med Hypotheses. 51:133-144.

5. Sabra S, Bellanti JA, Colon AR. (1998) Ileal lymphoid hyperplasia, non-specific colitis and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancet, 352:234-235. .

6. Horvath K, Papadimitriou JC, Rabsztyn A, Drachenberg C, Tildon JT. (1999) Gastrointestinal abnormalities in children with autistic disorder. J Pediatr. 135:559-563.

7. Sandler RH, Finegold SM, Bolte ER, Buchanan CP, Maxwell AP, Všisšnen ML, Nelson MN, Wexler HM. (2000) Short-term benefit from oral vancomycin treatment of regressive-onset autism. J Child Neurol. 15:429-435.

8. Jyonouchi H., Sun S., Le H. (2001) Proinflammatory and regulatory cytokine production associated with innate and adaptive immune responses in children with autism spectrum disorders and developmental regression. J. Neuroimmunol. 120:170-179. .

9. Jyonouchi H, Sun S, Itokazu N. (2002) Innate immunity associated with inflammatory responses and cytokine production against common dietary proteins in patients with autism spectrum disorder. Neuropsychobiology. 46:76-84. .

10. Torrente F, Ashwood P, Day R, Machado N, Furlano RI, Anthony A, Davies SE, Wakefield AJ, Thomson MA, Walker-Smith JA, Murch SH. (2002) Small intestinal enteropathy with epithelial IgG and complement deposition in children with regressive autism. Mol Psychiatry. 7:375-382, 334.

11. Finegold SM, Molitoris D, Song Y, Liu C, Vaisanen ML, Bolte E, McTeague M, Sandler R, Wexler H, Marlowe EM, Collins MD, Lawson PA, Summanen P, Baysallar M, Tomzynski TJ, Read E, Johnson E, Rolfe R, Nasir P, Shah H, Haake DA, Manning P, Kaul A. (2002) Gastrointestinal microflora studies in late-onset autism. Clin Infect Dis. 35:S6-S16. .

12. Singh VK, Jensen RL. (2003) Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism. Pediatr Neurol. 28:292-294. and

13. Vojdani A, O'Bryan T, Green JA, McCandless J, Woeller KN, Vojdani E, Nourian AA, Cooper EL. (2004) Immune response to dietary proteins, gliadin and cerebellar peptides in children with autism. Nutr. Neurosci. 7:151-161. .

14. Song Y, Liu C, Finegold SM. (2004) Real-time PCR quantitation of clostridia in feces of autistic children. Appl Environ Microbiol. 70:6459-6465. .

15. Torrente F, Anthony A, Heuschkel RB, Thomson MA, Ashwood P, Murch SH. (2004) Focal-enhanced gastritis in regressive autism with features distinct from Crohn's and Helicobacter pylori gastritis. Am J Gastroenterol. 99:598-605. .

16. Parracho HM, Bingham MO, Gibson GR, McCartney AL. (2005) Differences between the gut microflora of children with autistic spectrum disorders and that of healthy children. J Med Microbiol. 54:987-991. .

17. Jyonouchi H, Geng L, Ruby A, Zimmerman-Bier B. (2005) Dysregulated innate immune responses in young children with autism spectrum disorders: their relationship to gastrointestinal symptoms and dietary intervention. Neuropsychobiology. 51:77-85. and

18. Jyonouchi H, Geng L, Ruby A, Reddy C, Zimmerman-Bier B. (2005) Evaluation of an association between gastrointestinal symptoms and cytokine production against common dietary proteins in children with autism spectrum disorders. J Pediatr. 146:605-610. and

19. Shinohe A, Hashimoto K, Nakamura K, Tsujii M, Iwata Y, Tsuchiya KJ, Sekine Y, Suda S, Suzuki K, Sugihara G, Matsuzaki H, Minabe Y, Sugiyama T, Kawai M, Iyo M, Takei N, Mori N. (2006) Increased serum levels of glutamate in adult patients with autism. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 30:1472-1477. .

20. Valicenti-McDermott M., McVicar K., Rapin I., et al., (2006) Frequency of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Association with Family History of Autoimmune Disease. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. 27:S128-S136. .

21. Balzola F, Clauser D, Repici A, et al. (2008) Beneficial behavioural effects of IBD therapy and gluten/casein-free diet in an Italian cohort of patients with autistic enterocolitis followed over one year. Gastroenterology 4:S1364. .

22. Galiatsatos P, Gologan A, Lamoureux E. (2009) Autistic enterocolitis: fact or fiction? Can J Gastroenterol. 23:95-98. and

23. Singh VK. (2009) Phenotypic expression of autoimmune autistic disorder (AAD): a major subset of autism. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 21:148-161. and

24. Nikolov RN, Bearss KE, Lettinga J, Erickson C, Rodowski M, Aman MG, McCracken JT, McDougle CJ, Tierney E, Vitiello B, Arnold LE, Shah B, Posey DJ, Ritz L, Scahill L. (2009) Gastrointestinal symptoms in a sample of children with pervasive developmental disorders. J Autism Dev Disord. 39:405-413.

25. Genuis SJ, Bouchard TP. (2010) Celiac disease presenting as autism. J Child Neurol. 25:114-119. and

26. Jarocka-Cyrta E1, Wasilewska J, Kaczmarski MG. (2011) Eosinophilic esophagitis as a cause of feeding problems in autistic boy. The first reported case. J Autism Dev Disord. 41:372-374.

27. Whiteley P, Haracopos D, Knivsberg AM, Reichelt KL, Parlar S, Jacobsen J, Seim A, Pedersen L, Schondel M, Shattock P. (2010) The ScanBrit randomised, controlled, single-blind study of a gluten- and casein-free dietary intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders. Nutr Neurosci. 13:87-100. .

28. Chen B, Girgis S, El-Matary W. (2010) Childhood Autism and Eosinophilic Colitis. Digestion 18:127-129. .

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