It seems that retractions of sensational articles never appear on the front page of the media that heralded the original announcement. That is exactly what happened with the retraction notice for the article originally attempting to link autism with the MMR vaccine.
The Los Angeles TIMES placed the following piece in the body of the paper. I feel it belonged on the front page, or at least as a lead article for the HEALTH section. I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a newspaper specialist. Therefore, perhaps I miss the reason why retractions are almost always buried in the middle of the edition.
Here is a reprint of the announcement as it appeared in the Los Angeles TIMES under a “TIMES WIRE REPORT”. Care has been taken so as not to misquote the paper or mislead our readers:
Britain VACCINE-AUTISM STUDY RETRACTED
A major British medical journal retracted a flawed study linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism and bowel disease. Britain’s General Medical Council ruled last week that British surgeon and medical researcher Andrew Wakefield, who with colleagues published the original study in 1998 in the Lancet, had shown a “callous disregard” for the children used in his study and had acted unethically. Subsequent studies have found no proof that the vaccine is connected to autism.
I hope this will end the myth originally started in the 1998 study. Think of all the times medical researchers had to spend in order to disprove this spurious original study. They might have used this time for more meaningful research.