Yes, it seems he falsified the data.
Brian Deer writes on today's Sunday Times about the many ways in which Wakefield's Lancet paper of 1998, the article that set this whole confusing and damaging mess in motion, changed many important details about the 12 children studied. 11 of them were described as having a brand new condition invented by the authors, "regressive autism."
According to Deer's investigation:
"Wakefield and his team reporting that Child One’s parents said “behavioural symptoms” started “one week” after he received the MMR.(Dear Brian Deer, your work here is excellent, but please, no more of the "sufferers of autism" thing.)
The boy’s medical records reveal a subtly different story, one familiar to mothers and fathers of autistic children. At the age of 9½ months, 10 weeks before his jab, his mother had become worried that he did not hear properly: the classic first symptom presented by sufferers of autism."
Another child was written about in the Lancet paper as developing "regressive autism" two weeks after his jab, but Deer explains that:
"...this child’s medical records, backed by numerous specialist assessments, said his problems began three to five months later."So Wakefield blithely ignored the truth when it didn't support his theory. There is much more, the only girl in Wakefield's cohort was described in the Lancet as, "having suffered a brain injury “two weeks” after MMR" but "she had been seen by local specialists, and her GP told the Royal Free of “significant concerns about her development some months before she had her MMR”."
There is more:
"Child Six, aged 5, and Child Seven, aged 3, were said to have been diagnosed with regressive autism, with an onset of symptoms “one week” and “24 hours” after the jab respectively.The MMR debacle, started by one arrogant, dishonest doctor with scant regard for scientific accuracy or even for ethics in how he treated the children, has been extrapolated by the media with years of inaccurate, awful reporting on vaccines and autism. Even last week, one radio presenter, former actress Jeni Barnett, spewed her ignorant and rather deranged views on vaccination over the airways for an hour. She of course spoke of her notion that vaccines made her child autistic.
But medical records show that neither boy was “previously normal”, as the Lancet article described all the children, and that both had already been hospitalised with brain problems before their MMR."
Dr Ben Goldacre played a long excert from her LBC show so people could hear for themselves just how befuddled and mistaken the woman was, just how it is that media personalities fuel the lies that have resulted in the low uptake of a life saving vaccine, the continued misrepresentation of autism as something that happens to previously "normal" children and the high rise in measles cases. The show is now available on Wiki Leaks and there are loads more links on Holford Watch.
Her response, send the lawyers after him. Typically, this has only served to spread the recognition of her stupidity world wide as transcripts of the show pop up all over the blogosphere. Hurrah for the internet.
There have been so very many biomedical and epidemiological studies done into that supposed association. It just doesn't exist. It is a fairytale.
The time and money spent attempting to reassure the public of the MMR's safety could have been used to do make actual progress in health and science. If the smallest fraction of that effort had focused instead on helping autistic people live and thrive, the benefits would be immense.
We are fed up hearing our children described as toxic and poisoned. Surely even Wakefield's most ardent supporters, those who wave placards outside the GMC when he turns up for his disciplinary hearings and who gaze adoringly at him as if they're 10 and he's Zac Efron, will rethink and realise he's no hero.