Debunked

A pivotal paper linking vaccines and autism is retracted. Will the antivaccine movement go on?

Luke Macgregor / Reuters

Wakefield, center, with ardent supporters, speaks to the media after the Medical Council ruling.

More than any other research, it was a study published in the British medical journal the Lancet in 1998 that helped foster the persisting notion that childhood vaccines can cause autism. On Feb. 2, that flawed study, led by gastroenterologist Dr. Andrew Wakefield, was officially retracted by the journal's editors--a serious slap and a rare move in the world of medicine. "It has become clear that several elements of the 1998 paper by Wakefield et al. are incorrect, contrary to the findings of an earlier investigation," wrote the Lancet editors in a statement issued online.

Wakefield's methods were the subject of...

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