Scientific reports validate the “controversial” findings reported in The Lancet, 1998

Contrary to the claim made by BMJ’s editor in chief, Dr. Fiona Godlee that she was “unaware of any peer reviewed paper replicating Andrew Wakefield’s research or confirming his claims to have identified a new syndrome of regressive autism and inflammatory bowel disease associated with MMR vaccination” – a claim repeated like dogma in journal opinion pieces and the media – a growing body of reports in the scientific literature validates Dr. Wakefield’s findings.

As acknowledged by Dr. Mae-Wan-Ho, director of the Institute of Science in Society: “The original findings reported in the retracted Lancet paper have been replicated worldwide.” (MMR Controversy Reignites, 2013).

A list of 28 scientific studies that support the findings reported in The Lancet are posted here.

The following five published studies were posted on the BMJ website by Dr. Lucija Tomljenovic in response to the BMJ’s effort to disqualify the Lancet findings as fraudulent science.

  1. “Panenteric IBD-Like Disease in a Patient with Regressive Autism Shown for the First Time by the Wireless Capsule Enteroscopy: Another Piece in the Jigsaw of this Gut-Brain Syndrome?” The American Journal of Gastroenterology (2005)
  2. “Autism and the Gastrointestinal Tract,” The American Journal of Gastroenterology (2000)  “Wakefield et al.  are to be congratulated on opening yet another window onto the ever-broadening spectrum of gut-brain interactions. Their findings raise many challenging questions that should provoke further much-needed research in this area, research that may provide true grounds for optimism for affected patients and their families.
  1. “The intestinal lesion of autistic spectrum disorder,” European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology 2005, Vol 17 No 8 “There is good evidence linking autism with a specific form of chronic ileocolitis that differs from other forms of idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease. Nevertheless, the association of chronic LNH with autism is not widely known nor has it been incorporated into standard texts. Are the intestinal and cognitive manifestations merely different components of a syndrome complex of unknown pathogenesis or could they be causally related?
  1. Cochrane Review (October 2012). None of the studies upon which the safety of the MMR vaccine rests met the Cochrane Collaboration’s methodological criteria. The review concluded: “The design and reporting of safety outcomes in MMR vaccine studies, both pre- and post-marketing, are largely inadequate.”
  2. “Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Gastrointestinal Disorders in Individuals with ASD: A Consensus Report,” Pediatrics, 2010  “Gastrointestinal problems in individuals with ASDs can be challenging to evaluate. Clinical practice guidelines exist for the evaluation and management of ASDs by primary care and other physicians responsible for the care of individuals with ASDs but do not include routine consideration of potential gastrointestinal and other medical problems… Evidence-based algorithms for the assessment of abdominal pain, constipation, chronic diarrhea, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) should be developed.”

We have compiled an additional list of peer-reviewed confirmatory reports:

  1. “Elevated levels of measles antibodies in children with autism,” VK Singh and RL Jensen Pediatric Neurology, 2003.
    Virus-induced autoimmunity may play a causal role in autism…  The antibody to this antigen was found in 83% of autistic children but not in normal children or siblings of autistic children. Thus autistic children have a hyperimmune response to measles virus, which in the absence of a wild type of measles infection might be a sign of an abnormal immune reaction to the vaccine strain or virus reactivation.”
  2. “Detection and sequencing of measles virus from peripheral mononuclear cells from patients with inflammatory bowel disease and autism.” Digestive Disease & Sciences  2001. The sequences obtained from the patients with ulcerative colitis and children with autism were consistent with being vaccine strains.
  3. “Immunological findings in autism,” Cohly HH, Panja A. International Review of Neurobiology, 2005
    “Virus specific antibodies associated with measles virus have been demonstrated in autistic subjects. Environmental exposure to mercury is believed to harm human health possibly through modulation of immune homeostasis. A mercury link with the immune system has been postulated due to the involvement of postnatal exposure to thimerosal, a preservative added in the MMR vaccines… MMR vaccination may increase risk for autism via an autoimmune mechanism in autism. MMR antibodies are significantly higher in autistic children as compared to normal children, supporting a role of MMR in autism”
  4. The immune response in autism: a new frontier for autism research Paul Ashwood, Sharifia Wills, Judy Van de Water ( MIND Institute UC Davis)  J of Leukocyte Biology 2006
    “Numerous studies report apparently conflicting results, and thus far, no consensus about the described immune findings has been reached. However, with increasing reports of immune dysfunction in autism, there is a growing awareness and concern that immune dysfunction may play a role in, if not all, at least a subgroup(s) of patients with autism. Moreover, various hypotheses have attempted to link dysfunctional immune activity and autism, such as maternal immune abnormalities during early pregnancy, increased incidence of familial autoimmunity, childhood vaccinations, and the generation of autism animal models based on immune parameters.
  5. In 2006, Dr. Stephen Walker (Wake Forrest University) reported interim study findings at an International Meeting for Autism Research. He reported that a high percentage of autistic children had chronic intestinal bowel disease: of 82 children tested, 70 proved positive for the measles virus in their intestine. What’s more, the virus found: “all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.” This is a replication of Dr. Wakefield’s Lancet study. Indeed, Dr. Walker confirmed in the UK Daily Mail (May 28, 2006) that:

“Of [the] results we have in so far, all are vaccine strain and none are wild measles.
This research proves that in the gastrointestinal tract of a number of children who have been diagnosed with regressive autism, there is evidence of measles virus. What it means is that the study done earlier by Dr. Wakefield and published in 1998 is correct.

That study didn’t draw any conclusions about specifically what it means to find measles virus in the gut, but the implication is it may be coming from the MMR vaccine. If that’s the case, and this live virus is residing in the gastrointestinal tract of some children, and then they have GI inflammation and other problems, it may be related to the MMR.”

Wake Forest issued a hasty [implausible] warning “against making connection between [the] presence of the measles virus and autism” – even though it is precisely the subject of the study. And the warning provides additional confirmation for making the connection:

 “The vaccine is first given as part of a triple vaccine called MMR – for measles, mumps and rubella – at ages 12-18 months. That is shortly before a particular type of autism (regressive) begins to appear in children afflicted with the condition, which has fueled the speculation about a connection.(Wake Forest website)

6. Dr. Walker’s completed published report, “Identification of Unique Gene Expression Profile in Children with Regressive Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Ileocolitis” in PLoS (2013)
“Prospective controlled studies suggest that as many as 70% of autistic children exhibit chronic GI [gastrointestinal inflammation], diarrhea, constipation, abdominal distension, failure to thrive, weight loss, feeding problems, and abdominal pain related to extreme irritability, aggression, and self-injury.”

The report also noted a startling finding: “retrospective chart review studies have shown no increase in GI symptoms in ASD children. In ASD children who undergo endoscopic and histologic examinations, inflammatory pathology is reported with high frequency.”

This finding confirms the validity of the diagnostic methodology used by the team of medical experts who diagnosed the 12 children in the Lancet (1998) study. They correctly conducted the necessary physiological examinations needed to obtain a valid, verifiable diagnosis which general practitioners had not. The UK General Medical Council had excoriated Dr. Waekefield and his medical colleagues for performing those necessary examinations.

7. ‘ASIA’ - Autoimmune/Inflammatory Syndrome Induced by Adjuvants,”by Yehuda Shoenfeld MD, Journal of Autoimmunity, 2011; “Predicting Post-Vaccination Autoimmunity: Who Might be at Risk?” Journal of Pharmacological Research, 2015)

8. Vaccines and Autoimmunity, 2015 Edited by Yehuda Shoenfeld, Nancy Agmon-Levin, Lucija Tomljenovic. Edited by leaders in the field.
This textbook includes 37 chapters by an international roster of scientists. “The book is divided into three sections; the first contextualizes the role of adjuvants in the framework of autoimmunity, covering the mechanism of action of adjuvants, experimental models of adjuvant induced autoimmune diseases, infections as adjuvants, the Gulf War Syndrome, sick-building syndrome (SBS), safe vaccines, toll-like receptors, TLRS in vaccines, pesticides as adjuvants, oil as adjuvant, mercury, aluminum and autoimmunity. The following section reviews literature on vaccines that have induced autoimmune conditions such as MMR and HBV, among others. The final section covers diseases in which vaccines were known to be the solicitor – for instance, systemic lupus erythematosus – and whether it can be induced by vaccines for MMR, HBV, HCV, and others.”

  1. “Impaired Carbohydrate Digestion and Transport and Mucosal Dysbiosis in the Intestines of Children with Autism and Gastrointestinal Disturbances,” PLoS  (2011)
    This is another major report published in by a team of Columbia University researchers who confirmed “a relationship between human intestinal gene expression and bacterial community structure and may provide insights into the pathophysiology of gastrointestinal disturbances in children with autism.” The authors cited two of Dr. Wakefield’s subsequent publications.

10. “Gastrointestinal issues in autism spectrum disorder,” Elaine Y Hsiao, Harvard Review Of Psychiatry, 2014
While autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by communication impairments, social abnormalities, and stereotypic behaviors, several medical comorbidities are observed in autistic individuals. Of these, gastrointestinal (GI) abnormalities are of particular interest given their reported prevalence and correlation with the severity of core autism-related behavioral abnormalities.

This review discusses the GI pathologies seen in ASD individuals and the association of particular GI conditions with known genetic and environmental risk factors for autism. It further addresses how GI abnormalities can affect the neuropathological and behavioral features of ASD, as well as the development of autism-related endophenotypes such as immune dysregulation, hyperserotonemia, and metabolic dysfunction. Finally, it presents emerging evidence for a gut-brain connection in autism, wherein GI dysfunction may contribute to the pathogenesis or severity of ASD symptoms.”

“ASD is tremendously heterogeneous not only in the presence and severity of its diagnostic behavioral features, but also in the presence and severity of a wide range of medical comorbidities. The challenges faced in identifying the underlying causes, molecular biomarkers, and specific treatments for ASD warrant the need to study well-defined subclasses of autistic individuals. A preponderance of evidence suggests that a significant subset of autistic individuals exhibit GI abnormalities and that GI issues can contribute to the clinical manifestations of ASD-associated symptoms, including abnormal behavior, immune dysregulation, and metabolic dysfunction.” Three of Dr. Wakefield’s post-Lancet article are cited.

  1.  “Influenza vaccination during pregnancy: A critical assessment of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)” Journal of American Physicians & Surgeons, 2006.

  2. “Vaccines and Autoimmunity” by Professor Yehuda Shoenfeld, Nature Review Rheumatology, 2009
    In this article, on the basis of published evidence and our own experience, we discuss the various aspects of the causal and temporal interactions between vaccines and autoimmune phenomena, as well as the possible mechanisms by which different components of vaccines might induce autoimmunity.

13. “Infection, vaccines and other environmental triggers of autoimmunity” by Y. Molina and Y. Shoenfeld, Autoimmunity, 2005

Vaccines, in several reports were found to be temporally followed by a new onset of autoimmune diseases. The same mechanisms that act in infectious invasion of the host, apply equally to the host response to vaccination. It has been accepted for diphtheria and tetanus toxoid, polio and measles vaccines and GBS. Also this theory has been accepted for MMR vaccination and development of autoimmune thrombocytopenia, MS has been associated with HBV vaccination.

  The vaccine most commonly associated with autism was the measles vaccine.

The same mechanisms that act in infectious invasion of the host apply equally to the host response to vaccination [1]. Based on these principles a killed vaccine would be less likely than a live attenuated vaccine to activate the innate immunity response [1]. Thus might be a risk that following a live attenuated vaccination an autoimmune disease or autoimmune symptoms may develop, using the same mechanism used by infections.

There have been over the last 15 years or so several reports of adverse autoimmune reactions to various vaccines. Mostly the connection between the vaccination and the autoimmune reaction was temporal and not causal. The vast majority of epidemiological studies could not find a causal link [54]. A causal relationship has been accepted by the institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science in the USA for several different vaccines and three syndromes. These include

(1) diphtheria and tetanus toxoid, polio and measles vaccines and GBS

(2) MMR vaccines and thrombocytopenia (ITP like) and (3) rubella vaccine has been connected with acute and chronic arthritis in adult women [55]. The MMR vaccination has been associated also with IBD [55].

Many common infections can induce a transient rise in autoantibody production. A similar rise in autoantibody production has been observed after various vaccinations. Such autoantibodies usually resolve within a period of 2 months [55] but can persist in rare cases.”


14. “New Evidence For A Viral Pathogenic Mechanism For New Variant Inflammatory Bowel Disease And Development Disorder?” by A Morris and D Aldulaimi, Molecular Pathology, 2002
“We are all aware of the public unease about a potential link between vaccination with the triple vaccine MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) and autism or bowel inflammatory conditions, with some hundreds of parents of afflicted children undertaking legal action against the manufacturers… epidemiologists are content that there is no significant association between MMR and either autism or bowel inflammatory conditions. However,

Epidemiology is a pretty blunt tool and the studies done do not rule out the possibility that there may be at risk groups where a real link between MMR and autism/bowel inflammatory conditions exists… There is evidence that developmental disorders are associated with a functional disturbance of the brain–gut axis.”


14. “Theoretical Aspects of Autism: Causes – A Review” and “Theoretical Aspects of Autism: Biomarkers—a Review” in The Journal of Immunotoxicology (2011). The author of these comprehensive reviews is Helen Ratajczak PhD, a former senior scientist at a pharmaceutical company whose scientific career was focused on immunology and toxicology. Her multi-faceted reviews go way beyond Dr. Wakefield’s findings; if brought to public attention, her findings would pose a far more critical threat to the vaccine industry and the CDC vaccination schedule.

In 1988, two doses of MMR II were recommended to immunize those individuals who did not respond to the first injection. A spike of incidence of autism accompanied the addition of the second dose of MMR II… the United Kingdom reported a dramatic increase in prevalence of autism to 1/64.

“Furthermore, an examination of the continuing increase in prevalence in autism in the context of the dates of spikes in increase in prevalence which point to the MMR II vaccine (which did not contain Thimerosal after 2000) suggests that something “new” caused the increase in incidence of autism.”

Dr. Rataczek identifies that “new” component in the preparation of the MMR II vaccine and the chicken pox vaccine, as human DNA. She notes that at about the time that thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines –with the exception of the flu vaccine – human DNA is currently included in the MMR II and chicken pox vaccines. She cites a Merck document, dated 2010.

“It is important to note that unlike the former MMR, the rubella component of MMR II was propagated in a human cell line derived from embryonic lung tissue. The MMR II vaccine is contaminated with human DNA from the cell line. This human DNA could be the cause of the spikes in incidence. An additional increased spike in incidence of autism occurred in 1995 when the chicken pox vaccine was grown in human fetal tissue.

The human DNA from the vaccine can be randomly inserted into the recipient’s genes by homologous recombination, a process that occurs spontaneously only within a species. Hot spots for DNA insertion are found on the X chromosome in eight autism-associated genes involved in nerve cell synapse formation, central nervous system development, and mitochondrial function.  This could provide some explanation of why autism is predominantly a disease of boys. Taken together, these data support the hypothesis that residual human DNA in some vaccines might cause autism.”


Articles co-authored by Dr. Wakefield since 1998:

  • “Mumps, measles, rubella vaccine: through a glass darkly,” Wakefield AJ, Montgomery SM. Adverse Drug Reaction & Toxicology Review, 2000. Dr. Wakefield reported that he had identified 170 cases of autism and bowel disease in children at the Royal Free Hospital who had the triple-dose MMR vaccine. He then publicly challenged the health department claim that the safety of the MMR “has been proven

The argument is untenable. It cannot be substantiated by the science. That is not only my opinion but increasingly the view of healthcare professionals and the public…Tests have revealed time and time again that we are dealing with a new phenomenon. The Department of Health’s contention that MMR has been proven to be safe by study after study after study just doesn’t hold up. Frankly, it is not an honest appraisal of the science and it relegates the scientific issues to the bottom of the barrel in favour of winning a propaganda war.” (The Telegraph, 25, 2001)

  • “Enterocolitis in children with developmental disorders,” Wakefield AJ, Anthony A, Murch SH, Thomson M, Montgomery SM, et al. American Journal of  Gastroenterology, 2000; Retracted 2010
  • “The significance of ileo-colonic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia in children with autistic spectrum disorder,” Wakefield AJ, Ashwood P, Limb K, Anthony A. European Journal of  Gastroenterology Hepatology,  2005.
    The prevalence of LNH was significantly greater in ASD children compared with controls in the ileum (129/144 (90%) vs. 8/27 (30%), P < 0.0001) and colon (88/148 (59%) vs. 7/30 (23%), P = 0.0003), whether or not controls had co-existent colonic inflammation.”
  • “Measles virus and autism,” O’Leary JJ, Uhlmann V, Wakefield AJ. Lancet. 2000.
  • “Colonic CD8 and γδT-cell infiltration with epithelial damage in children with autism” RI Furlano, A Anthony, R Day, A Brown, L McGarvey, M Thomson, S E. Davies, M Berelowitz, A Forbes, AJ Wakefield,  John A. Walker-Smith, and Simon H. Murch, Journal of Pediatrics, 2001
  •  “Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease. Jan. O’Leary JJ. Molecular Pathology, 2003.
  • “Measles, mumps, rubella vaccine: through a glass, darkly,” Wakefield AJ, Montgomery SM.. Adverse Drug React Toxicology Review, 2000.
  • “Potential viral pathogenic mechanism for new variant inflammatory bowel disease,” V Uhlmann, C M Martin, O Sheils, L Pilkington, I Silva, A Killalea, S B Murch, J Walker-Smith, M Thomson, A J Wakefield, and J J O’Leary Molecular Pathology, 2002.
    The finding: Measles virus may act as an immunological trigger that links a new form of inflammatory bowel disease and developmental disorder. They found the measles virus in the guts of 75 children out of 91 with the variant form of bowel disease, but in only five out of 70 healthy children. More boys than girls were affected.

The article was accompanied by a carefully worded editorial: “This paper was submitted by a scientist of international reputation, and accepted for publication after peer review. It was recognised by the referees and the editors as a potentially important observation which raised many questions about the possible role of measles in the aetiology of a syndrome in children.”

The article ruffled feathers putting the lead author, Professor John O’Leary, molecular pathologist at Coombe Women’s Hospital, Dublin, on the defensive: “I stand by the findings of our research, which raises many questions about whether measles virus has a role in bowel inflammation in developmental disorder.

It also prompted Professor Walker-Smith to write a  letter in its defense in the Lancet, 2002 in which he  states:

“I believe that the published data in peer reviewed journals show two things. First, a highly selected group of children with developmental disorder (many with regressive autism) exists, who have an unusual gastrointestinal abnormality characterised by ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia and non-specific enterocolitis that is not classical inflammatory bowel disease. The immunopathology of this disorder has been studied by Furlano and colleagues, who have established clear differences from chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Second, in such highly selected children, Uhlmann and colleagues have now provided new evidence that measles might be involved, by use of molecular techniques to show the presence of measles virus genomes in 75 of 91 children with ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, enterocolitis, and developmental disorder, compared with five of 70 control children. Measles virus was mainly localised in dendritic cells in reactive follicular hyperplastic centres in the ileum. This localisation mirrors that of HIV-1.

There has been much criticism of Wakefield and colleagues’ work. His results have been said to be refuted. Much of this criticism has been epidemiological. Yet, as Morris and Aldulaimi in their comment on the Dublin data state, “Epidemiology is a pretty blunt tool and the studies done do not rule out the possibility that there are at risk groups where a real link with [measles, mumps, rubella vaccine] MMR and autism/bowel inflammatory condition exists”.
It seems clear to me that what epidemiology has shown is that the MMR vaccine is safe in most children.” 

  • The GutBrain Axis in Childhood Developmental Disorders” Wakefield, Andrew J. Journal Of Pediatric Gastroenterology And Nutrition, 2002
  • “Spontaneous mucosal lymphocyte cytokine profiles in children with autism and gastrointestinal symptoms: mucosal immune activation and reduced counter regulatory interleukin-10,” Ashwood P, Anthony A, Torrente F, Wakefield AJ. Journal of Clinical Immunology, 2004;24:664–673.
  • “Immune activation of peripheral blood and mucosal CD3+ lymphocyte cytokine profiles in children with autism and gastrointestinal symptoms,” Ashwood P, Wakefield AJ. Journal of Neuroimmunology, 2006;173:126–134.

Why is it that: as Dr. Wakefield’s findings have been validated, replicated and amplified in numerous studies, the attacks on his professional reputation, and the effort to invalidate the science, have intensified rather than abated?

Read Further:
 Why Andrew Wakefield MD is on our Honors Roll
 The GMC kangaroo court charges; the Lancet evaluation; the High Court decision
* Scientific reports validate “controversial” findings reported in The Lancet
 Medical doctors recognize the safety problems in the MMR vaccine
* How the case against Andrew Wakefield was concocted
* Monumental betrayal of public trust: CDC malfeasance & vaccine research fraud
 Significant shadowy financial conflicts of interest behind the persecution of Wakefield