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The doctor who first suggested a link between MMR vaccinations and autism acted unethically, the official medical regulator has found.

Dr Andrew Wakefield's 1998 Lancet study caused vaccination rates to plummet, resulting in a rise in measles - but the findings were later discredited.

The General Medical Council ruled he had acted "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in doing his research.

Afterwards, Dr Wakefield said the claims were "unfounded and unjust".

The GMC case did not investigate whether Dr Wakefield's findings were right or wrong, instead it was focused on the methods of research.

During the two-and-a-half years of hearings - one of the longest in the regulator's history - he was accused of a series of charges.

'Callous disregard'

The verdict, read out by panel chairman Dr Surendra Kumar, criticised Dr Wakefield for the invasive tests, such as spinal taps, that were carried out on children and which were found to be against their best clinical interests.

The panel said Dr Wakefield, who was working at London's Royal Free Hospital as a gastroenterologist at the time, did not have the ethical approval or relevant qualifications for such tests.

The GMC also took exception with the way he gathered blood samples. Dr Wakefield paid children £5 for the samples at his son's birthday party.

Dr Kumar said he had acted with "callous disregard for the distress and pain the children might suffer".

He also said Dr Wakefield should have disclosed the fact that he had been paid to advise solicitors acting for parents who believed their children had been harmed by the MMR.

Two of Dr Wakefield's former colleagues at the Royal Free were also ruled to have broken guidelines.

Professor John Walker-Smith and Professor Simon Murch both helped Dr Wakefield carry out the research.

'Kangaroo court'

The panel chairman was heckled by supporters of the doctors during his delivery of the verdicts.

One woman shouted: "These doctors have not failed our children. You are outrageous."

Another person in the public gallery said it was a "kangaroo court".

A small group of supporters also expressed their support for Dr Wakefield and his colleagues outside the GMC's London headquarters.

Dr Wakefield told a conference in 1999 how he paid children for blood samples
Joan Campbell, 51, from Glasgow, who believes the MMR jab caused her son to develop autism, said: "It is atrocious. They were just trying to protect children."

After the hearing, Dr Wakefield, who now lives and works in the US, said: "I am extremely disappointed by the outcome.

"The allegations against me and my colleagues are unfounded and unjust and I invite anyone to examine the contents of these proceedings and come to their own conclusions."

Referring to the parents who had supported him, he added: "I want to reassure them that the science will continue in earnest."

The GMC now has to consider whether Dr Wakefield's behaviour, and that of his colleagues, amounts to serious professional misconduct and then if any sanctions should be imposed, such as striking them off the medical register.

However, a ruling is not expected for some months.

Medical experts said it was now important to move on from the controversy and remember that plenty of research had supported the use of the three-in-one jab.

Dr Shona Hilton, of the Medical Research Council, said: "We need to continue rebuilding trust with parents that MMR vaccination is safe."
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Lets open this up.
What are your views on this?
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i personally dont think the mmr causes autism and matt did develop the condition after he had the mmr whereas i know ppl who's Children showed symptoms from birth.

my opinion is that the mmr might trigger it in some children which might be why its noticed in 5yr olds in china who dont have the mmr till they are 5 but what if matt didnt have the mmr but it had been triggered by his meningitis when he was 8 instead? i would have had a child that went to mainstream school, had friends, talked ten to the dozen then came out of hospital and lost all that and became a totally different child. matt did start to talk and did give eye contact before the mmr and didnt afterwards but i still dont think it causes it or every person who has had the mmr would be autistic surely?? perhaps everybody is to a small degree and some ppl have it on a more severe level if that is the case.

this is the 4th time i have wrote something to this thread and i keep losing connection and losing it when i click post reply and my answer gets shorter lol so fingers crossed cause i aint writing this again
There comes a point in your life when you realize:Who matters,Who never did,Who won't anymore...And who always will..
So, don't worry about people from your past,there's a reason why they didn't make it to your future.
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i'm the same corinne, i think its probably there anyway and the mmr might just be a trigger but its not like they are ever really going to admit it!! and your right, it would be harder to have a 'normal' child 1 minute and then not the next, it would be harder to deal with i think! autism for now is one of lifes mysteries, until hopefully one day they will find a cause!

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at first i was scared when daniel got mmr now i can rest knowing autism isnt the cause of mmr i knew there wasnt a link, but for someone to start a rumour like is shocking as other mothers were really scared about it well new mums can rest now.

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