More Questions about Brian Deer, Wakefield Investigation

November 10, 2011

10 Nov-Gaia Health - In a rather dramatic development, Dr. Andrew Wakefield has been shown to be innocent of a significant charge levied by Brian Deer and the British Medical Journal. Because this is documented by the pretigious journal Nature, the BMJ has doubled-down on their attack. 

The BMJ had supported Deer’s claim that Wakefield is the sole person responsible for claiming that nonspecific colitis was found in children with autism.

Now, there’s incontrovertible evidence that the claim is not true. So, they are trying to railroad the rest of Wakefield’s research team, plus six “senior personnel at the highest level” of University College London (UCL) . Fiona Godlee, BMJ‘s editor, demands that UCL initiate an investigation immediately, and if they refuse, parliament itself should do so.

The BMJ is acting in a manner that seems to indicate a state of panic. Following a tried and sadly, too often true, method of defending when there is no legitimate defense, they’ve gone on the attack. This time, their attack is in conflict with their initial claims.

Claims and Lies

The BMJ and Deer claimed that Wakefield—Wakefield alone—falsely diagnosed the children analyzed in The Lancet paper, “Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children“, with nonspecific colitis. It is a central point in the charges against Wakefield.

Wakefield discussed the matter with ex-Environmental Protection Agency microbiologist, Dr. David Lewis, who had been forced out of the EPA for blowing the whistle on their promotion of human waste sludge for farms. Ultimately exonerated, Lewis is now a member of the National Whistleblowers Center, which seeks to aid others who find themselves in similar positions.

Wakefield provided him with the documents of the pathologists who had actually made the diagnoses based on the original lab reports. Lewis analyzed them and determined that Wakefield did not commit fraud. He then sent a letter to the BMJ, published on 9 November (yesterday), which concluded:

As a research microbiologist involved with the collection and examination of colonic biopsy samples, I do not believe that Dr. Wakefield intentionally misinterpreted the grading sheets as evidence of “non-specific colitis.” Dhillon indicated “non-specific” in a box associated, in some cases, with other forms of colitis. In addition, if Anthony’s grading sheets are similar to ones he completed for the Lancet article, they suggest that he diagnosed “colitis” in a number of the children.

Deer had claimed that Wakefield had altered these diagnoses. Obviously, he did not.

Lewis also wrote to the journal, Nature, which yesterday published an article on the issue. It states:

On 9 November, David Lewis of the National Whistleblower’s Center in Washington DC published a letter in the BMJ arguing that Wakefield did not commit research fraud. Lewis told Nature that he thinks the combination of public charges and a slow, secretive investigation has left the public not knowing whom to believe and is unfair to the accused researcher. “[The system] throws people like Andy into a no-man’s-land,” Lewis says.

The Plan of Attack

Obviously, the BMJ is in a bad spot. They have made strong accusations against Wakefield, and those accusations are clearly documented as false. So, along with publishing the letter, the BMJ went on the attack.  They are now calling for an investigation against all  the members of Wakefield’s research team for the Lancet paper, and adding in six senior academics at the University College London (UCL), which has taken over divisions of the Royal Free Hospital and is now responsible for the work Wakefield did.

Fiona Godlee, BMJ‘s editor, sent a letter directly to the chair of Parliament’s Commons Science and Technology Committee, Andrew Miller, pressing for a parliamentary probe if UCL doesn’t act immediately to investigate.

There is no attempt to explain why Wakefield has been accused of something for which he clearly was not, and could not have been, guilty. The documentation has been available all along. The pathology reports were there. They were blinded; the pathologists did not have any information about the children or their diagnoses. Wakefield did not misrepresent or change anything. There is now no avoiding that fact.

In the process of attacking, Godlee and the BMJ are tacitly admitting to the error! Wakefield has been crucified for making diagnoses that he did not make. Rather than acknowledge that, the BMJ is now trying to widen the circle of accusation. Apparently, they want us to now believe that there was a wide conspiracy to defraud, and that not only Wakefield was involved, but his entire team and high-level personnel helped.

In an attempt to show that the blinded pathologists were wrong, the BMJ trotted out Ingvar Bjarnason, a gastroenterologist, not a pathologist, to examine the reports. This is ludicrous on the surface. Bjarnason’s comments reference only the reports themselves. He did not review the lab results. How can anyone make a diagnosis based on the reports of the pathologists, rather than reviewing the evidence itself, the lab reports?

Backpedaling

Deer is now doing some backpedaling. He’s claiming that he never accused Wakefield of fraud. That may be technically true, but only in the sense that he didn’t use the term fraud. Everything he wrote was obviously intended to give that impression.

Godlee is now doing a bit of backpedaling, too, saying that the BMJ‘s conclusion of fraud wasn’t based on pathology, but instead was based on discrepancies in the children’s records and claims in the Lancet paper. So, why did the BMJ make such a point of claiming that Wakefield’s claims about the children’s pathology were false?

Is the Conclusion to This Sorry Episode Near at Hand?

Sadly, the end of the witch hunt against Dr. Wakefield—along with anyone else who can be dragged into the net—may be some distance away. The aggressiveness of Godlee and the BMJ may be indicative of fear, and fear tends to eliminate reason—as seems fairly apparent in this instance. By pressing ahead in a manner that effectively admits their previous accusation—that Wakefield committed fraud by lying about the results of the children’s lab tests—was, at best, in error. That, alone, should be adequate cause for reopening the case with the presumption of Wakefield’s innocence.

However, we don’t live in a world that always operates rationally. We live in a money-driven world. As ever, we need to look at the money to understand why Dr. Wakefield has been railroaded in the face of incontrovertible evidence that he was truthful about the basis of his research. The true issue is that the British government itself is fearful.

In an interview with Dr. Mercola, Dr. Wakefield discussed the fact that the Department of Health had tried to shut his research down while it was ongoing:

In the background, things were going on behind the scenes that we didn’t know about… The Department of Health had contacted my medical school, the dean in particular, and had tried to close this research down… expressing concerns that it was unethical that all these children had autism. It wasn’t fair on them to go through these procedures.

Were they justified?

Well, here you had the world’s leading pediatric gastroenterologist and his colleagues saying, “Yes, they are justified, and here are the findings. We’re happy to show you the findings at any stage, in any venue that you like.”

But nonetheless, there was a concerted effort behind the scenes to stop the work.

And it was particularly the concern of the Department of Heath that there was pending litigation where I had agreed to act as an expert in the litigation…not trying to prove that it was right or wrong, but doing my best as an expert to determine whether there is a case in law against the vaccine manufacturers.

The “pending litigation” refers to the use of a dangerous strain of the MMR vaccine,  Urabe AM9, which was known to cause meningitis.  However, it was significantly cheaper, so the UK opted to throw out the health of children in favor of purchasing a vaccine known to cause meningitis. The government was so keen to save money that they agreed to indemnify the vaccine’s manufacturer, SmithKline, who refused to sell it without indemnification.

What’s on the line, then, is a nearly inconceivable amount of money. Who, ultimately, is liable for the autism epidemic if it’s known that the cause is related to a known-dangerous vaccine chosen because it’s cheaper than others?  Since the government indemnified the manufacturer, then the only one left standing is…the government.

In the face of an epidemic that fells a minimum of 1 in every 100 children, and brings enormous costs to their families and society, the costs could easily overwhelm the nation’s budget.

In the end, as with most things involving conventional medicine, it’s all about money. The lives of children have been sacrificed—and continue to be laid on the altar of Profits and Greed.

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