Important Research Validates Findings of Dr. Wakefield
Dr Andrew Wakefield was a pioneer in the research efforts to determine why autistic children often had severe gastrointestinal symptoms that were much like Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), specifically Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative Colitis. His paper initially published in 1998 in Lancet found intestinal lymph node involvement in the Autistic children that lead to the conclusion that there MIGHT be a link between the MMR vaccine and autism and that the issue needed further study. After what can only be described as a witch hunt he ultimately lost his license to practice medicine and Lancet made the unprecedented decision to retract the article from the world literature. Be careful about suggesting that there might be any problem with a vaccine! The call to have the issue looked at further certainly sounds radical right?
Well, Dr Wakefield, there is now a good study just published (I’m sure he not only knows but could educate us on all the details – I’ve heard him speak and he is a brilliant scientist and doctor). This new study (link below), found that gastrointestinal symptoms which are common in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often associated with mucosal inflammatory infiltrates of the small and large intestine. “Although distinct histologic and immune-histochemical properties of this inflammatory infiltrate have been previously described in this ASDGI group, molecular characterization of these lesions has not been reported. In this study we utilize transcriptome profiling of gastrointestinal mucosal biopsy tissue from ASDGI children and three non-ASD control groups (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and histologically normal) in an effort to determine if there is a gene expression profile unique to the ASDGI group. Comparison of differentially expressed transcripts between the groups demonstrated that non-pathologic (normal) tissue segregated almost completely from inflamed tissue in all cases. Gene expression profiles in intestinal biopsy tissue from patients with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and ASDGI, while having significant overlap with each other, also showed distinctive features for each group. Taken together, these results demonstrate that ASDGI children have a gastrointestinal mucosal molecular profile that overlaps significantly with known inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), yet has distinctive features that further supports the presence of an ASD-associated IBD variant, or, alternatively, a prodromal phase of typical inflammatory bowel disease.”
The study concluded that “the shared uniquely expressed DETs seen in both the ileum and colon suggest that intestinal mucosal inflammatory infiltrates in the setting of GI symptomatic patients with ASD reflect a single unifying autoimmune process at play in both the small and large bowel”.
In a UK high court decision, the board “GMC” that stripped Wakefield and his chief of department Dr Walker-Smith of their licenses has been found to have used
“inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion”. Dr Walker-Smith has been cleared of any wrong-doing. It should only be a matter of time (should doctor Wakefield have the energy and funds to pursue this) that his name is also cleared.
If you ask parents of severely affected autistic children, a large proportion feel there was a correlation between getting a vaccine (often the MMR) and the regression into severe autism. Note that autism seems to be present from birth and progressive in about 10% of children and regressive (where a child may be normal at age one and then looses abilities like eye contact, social and verbal skills) in about 90% of children here in the US. For many parents of autistic children, the thought that something was done to their child that, perhaps, had they known about, they could have prevented, is just too hard to come to terms with. It is not surprising that many, even in the face of a possible association between the regression and a vaccine, will choose not to find such an association. I have given vaccines with mercury to my children when in retrospect that was not a wise choice. I have given the Hepatitis B vaccine with its 250 micrograms of the neurotoxin aluminum, to my child when he was not of an age to be at risk (you catch hepatitis B from sex and IV drug use – needle sharing). My message to parents is not to worry about what we have done that we didn’t know about. Let’s do what we can moving forward to make things better for our own children and those yet to be born.