Ever heard of that study linking the MMR vaccine with autism? Well, never mind, says the Lancet, the British medical journal that published the study back in 1998. The journal today retracted and discredited the study, saying its author, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, hadn’t properly randomized the study or cleared it with local ethics authorities. The retraction comes after Britain’s General Medical Council released a damning report on Wakefield, saying he’d acted unethically.
The panel said Wakefield’s conduct was “dishonest and irresponsible,” accusing him of performing invasive procedures like colonoscopies on his child subjects, reports CNN. He paid some for blood samples at his son’s birthday party, which “showed a callous disregard” for the children’s “distress and pain.” Wakefield’s theory that the measles vaccine caused gastrointestinal problems that lead to autism was discredited by later research, but it’s been the source of persistent misinformation and rumors.