A 1998 study by UK researcher Andrew Wakefield that linked childhood autism to a vaccine was not only wrong, but an “elaborate fraud” according to the British Journal of Medicine. Wakefield’s study showed that twelve autistic children had first showed symptoms shortly after receiving the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine. British investigative journalist Brian Deer revealed last year that not one of the 12 children’s official medical records matched the study’s assertion, including the dates when they first showed autism-like symptoms. The BMJ has confirmed Deer’s assessment. Even though doctors warned that the study was flawed because of its tiny sample size and lack of control group, hundreds of thousands of British parents refused to give their children the vaccine over the next decade because of the study. The fear of the MMR vaccine spread across the world. In 2008, measles was declared endemic to the UK once again—a symptom of panic over the vaccine.
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