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Cashing In With Andrew Wakefield’s New “Callous Disregard”: Harming Children For Fun and Profit

‘I’m so glad Andy Wakefield finally has the chance to tell his story. . . . For hundreds of thousands of parents around the world, myself included, Andy Wakefield is a symbol of strength and conviction that all parents of children with autism can use to fight for truth and the best lives possible for their kids. – Jenny McCarthy

Andrew Wakefield, in a frenzied attempt to remain relevant, has finished work on his new book Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines: The Truth Behind a Tragedy. In it he intends to catalog his struggle against the “corruption of science” which presents “a real and present threat to children”.

Most will already be aware of Dr. Wakefield, who in 1998 was associated with a highly unscientific and unethical study published in  The Lancet linking usage of the MMR (measles) vaccine to autism. When the study was retracted earlier this year, the editor of The Lancet was quoted as saying “It’s the most appalling catalog and litany of some the most terrible behavior in any research and is therefore very clear that it has to be retracted.” Even though all original authors who could be contacted removed their names from the paper, the damage was and continues to be widespread. Measles, once nearly removed from the population, has seen an almost constant growth since 1996. But it’s not just measles. The scare caused public distrust of all different types of vaccines leading to increased rates of sickness and death for diseases almost eliminated from the general population. The damage done by this one study is immeasurable.

With his new book, Dr. Wakefield and his martyr complex are back to cash in again (for more cashing in, check out his extensive history).

This book provides a terrifying insight into what has been happening behind the scenes as efforts redouble to silence Dr. Wakefield . . . It is a wake-up call to those who think [he] is anything other than a modern day hero fighting for all of our children.

It is essential reading for anyone wanting to know the truth behind the MMR debate and the politics of vaccination policy.

Whether he thinks it’s real or knows it’s in his head, there’s only one truth – no one is speaking out, and Dr. Wakefield is laughing all the way to the bank.


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20 Responses to “Cashing In With Andrew Wakefield’s New “Callous Disregard”: Harming Children For Fun and Profit”

  • Does the book title really have two colons? Don’t answer that. I followed the link. It does.
    Fascinating.

    Matt, I think you’ve found your calling. Blogging!

  • My writing isn’t without errors, but I still almost put “Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines: The Truth Behind a Tragedy [sic]“.

    We’ll call it a stylistic decision. Or an error on Amazon (it’s not)

  • This Post: Dr. Wakefield’s Fearmongering: The Woo Causing Many Tragedies

    …I guess it has a type of twisted haiku quality?

    Nice post, Matthew!

  • Good question. I know that it’s been the topic of a great many blogposts by people I consider to be ‘influential’ online – Orac, Dr Rachael Dunlop, Novella (for example), and a few podcasts out there. There’s books like Paul Offit’s Book “Autism’s False Prophets” and I recall hearing that Wakefield’s efforts are discussed at events like NECSS and TAMs.

    What makes for getting the message out there? What could be a useful way to raise awareness about this book and its false messages? To be honest, I’m slightly more concerned about the recent work by Picoult, where she makes a distinct comment about ‘it might be the vaccines’ and lends some credibility to the anti-vaxxers – and her fiction reaches an audience who may not even initially care that much one way or another. Whereas I see Wakefield’s book might be more for those who already follow him? I guess it depends what arguments it’ll then be used to bolster…
    http://www.jodipicoult.com/house-rules.html

  • Alex Swan:

    Oh man, Jenny McCarthy did the foreword… Shouldn’t (almost) single-handedly creating the return of nearly eradicated disease be cause for a medical license revocation? After looking into it, he is unlicensed in the US and UK. I think if he ever tried to renew it anywhere, even in Somalia, it should be more than denied. It should be pointed and laughed at.

  • Christina Waldman:

    You can’t even wait until it’s published, until you’ve read it, to trash it. So much for an independent, unbiased source. I myself can’t wait to read Dr. Wakefield’s book. Other places you can read the other side, what the media does not tell us, are at [links removed]. These books, “Silent Witnesses” Vols. I and II, where the parents of the children Dr. Wakefield and Professors Murch and John Walker-Smith treated at the Royal Free Hospital tell their stories in support of the good doctors, are available for same at the above websites.

    Tell the truth: vaccines are not 100% safe. If you want people to feel safe getting their kids vaccinated, tell the truth, and continue research into ways to make vaccines safer for all the children, including those most susceptible to injury. If you do not tell the whole story, good and bad, you are not giving parents sufficient information for them to make informed consent. Of course, the little babies and children are too young to consent for themselves so there are real ethical issues involved. It is obvious by the way Dr. Wakefield is villified that the media is not interested in telling both sides of the vaccine story.

    • Christina, we have heard enough from Wakefield to reasonably predict that the book will be more of the same garbage. The whole story is available for everyone to know. He lied, falsified data, and tortured children. He did this for money and you are endorsing this practice. His scaremongering is largely responsible for many, many preventable deaths and illness world wide, and you are helping him do this. Nobody needs to vilify him; he has vilified himself.

      THAT is the truth.

      Educate yourself. Vaccinate your children. Help save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children.

      • Jason:

        Barbara,

        So how do you know he falsified data? Did you see Matt tell you on the today show? Wait…Anderson Cooper? Did you not just see the news announcement that the Government has been compensating thousands of families each year in vaccine court. We know vaccines have side effects (brain damage). Why don’t you do a little research before you make statements like this one. Brain Deer lied to the parents of these children. Gave them a false name to get into their homes and get information. Sound like a man you would trust? How did he falsify data on a case series, when he had nothing to do with the final reading of the biopsies? It’s a case series…do you know what that means? DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. How did he harm these 12 Lancet children. Did you see the after pictures of these kids…..they look like a new child. They had bowel inflammation. He treated that, they got better. Their bellies were not distended anymore. They started sleeping through the night. How is that harmful. Oh wait, they sedated these kids for a colonoscopy and took biopsies (they had consent & permission from the Royal Hospital to do it). So is that what your referring to…it’s a painless procedure done thousands of times a day in the US. So where are you getting your data? The BMJ? Just open up a copy of the British Medical Journal…….now look at all the advertisements from Merck, GSK..etc. What did you expect them to say, Vaccines are bad! I’m sure their sponsors would love that.

        Final Question? If Vaccines are safe….why is the Federal Government compensating families that have Brain injury (Autism) from them? ANSWER THAT!

      • If Brian Deer’s article in the BMJ is full of lies, then why did the GMC rule against him? Why did they strike him from the records?

        If he didn’t falsify the data, why did The Lancet retract the article? It took more than a decade, “they have an agenda” is a pretty hard sell. Why were some of his other articles retracted?

        The federal government is NOT compensating families for vaccine injury based on findings that the vaccines causes autism. That said, NOTHING is 100%, including WATER. There are risks involved with EVERYTHING. What vaccines are is relatively safe. In other words, they are safer than the alternatives, including the diseases they prevent. In fact, they are OVERWHELMINGLY safer than the diseases they prevent, which, along with the need for herd immunity to protect all of us, makes refusal to vaccinate a crime, IMO.

      • Robert MacPherson:

        Here are a list of articles that have replicated or support Wakefield’s findings:
        http://www.whale.to/vaccine/wakefield333.html
        He is not anti-vaccine. He did not abuse the children. Here is a documentary on YouTube that interviews most of the parents:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DeMw23aCczw
        It also shows what a disgusting man Brian Deer is.

        Please have the moral courage to check these things out.

        This episode makes a sham out of medical science; not Dr. Wakefield

        Robert MacPherson

      • Courage? Why would you think that fear has anything at all to do with this? The evidence, viewed objectively, is very, very clear.

  • I can totally trash it without reading it, it’s called scientific consensus. Scientific consensus means I don’t even have to respond to crazy people who respond to points I didn’t even make, it’s a great thing.

  • Thanks for your post Matt,

    Just to give readers a rough estimate on how many people believe that vaccines cause autism, we asked 78 psychology undergraduates, and 56% indicated some level of agreement with this claim.

    The percentage was about the same when we asked 98 undergraduates in anthropology classes.

  • Mike Frandsen:

    Please see my articles at [links removed - author please refer to the policy in the left sidebar]

  • Gillian McConnell:

    with cases like this people will never be able to agree but whether you agree with Wakefield doesnt diminish the fact that people who dimiss his findings and declare that MMR is safe and lambast those who believe it to cause autism show a disregard themselves for so many children. my little brother has autism. he was not born with autism it happened to him. now many could argue differing reasoning as to why he developed it but all i know is that he didnt have it before he got the MMR and he was unrecognisable after he had the vaccine. he bears the signs of measles being in his system, has bowel issues and a very weak immune system. every autistic child i have known (not those who had classic autism from birth) has shown the exact same issues. now the MMR i suspect did not cause the condition outright but it did trigger something which is in his genes. until they can test for such a gene and notify a parent then turning up and having your child given the MMR is russian roulette. there is a link even if its only a certain section of children at risk from it. the key evidence is whether the measles virus was what affected the bowel, etc of these autistic children, the only way to prove this is to test an autistic child against a healthy child. if this was an example with adults then what wakefield did wouldn’t be much of an issue because we would deem a healthy adult capable of choosing such an invasive procedure. i understand that his actions were not wholly ethical but at the same time i see no way else that this could ever be done and if it is not fully examined then nothing will change and children will continue to be put at risk. in the history of science many have been wrong and many have been right and more often than not people were right but did the wrong thing with the best of intentions.

    • …people who dismiss his findings and declare that MMR is safe and lambast those who believe it to cause autism show a disregard themselves for so many children…

      Gillian, this is simply not true and it is mean.

      I am very sorry for your family, but people do not dismiss Wakefield’s findings because they don’t like Wakefield or because they don’t care about children. Quite the opposite. Bad science is HARMFUL to children. Wakefield’s findings did not support his conclusions or suggestions and it became perfectly clear that the man LIED. His “findings” are not findings at all – they are LIES.

      Scientists did the work. They LOOKED for what he said he found. It is not there. It’s not there because Wakefield made it up to make money off of good people like you.

      You “see” what you see in autistic children because you bought what he sold to you. An objective evaluation such as the 20 or so that have been done since Wakefield started this thing lead to only two conclusions: 1) there is absolutely no relationship between vaccines and autism and 2) the rate of gastrointestinal problems is the same among autistics as it is among non-autistics.

      i understand that his actions were not wholly ethical but at the same time i see no way else that this could ever be done and if it is not fully examined then nothing will change and children will continue to be put at risk

      How can you say that we disregard children and justify his harming them? That makes absolutely no sense, and it’s offensive.

      • I HAVE done the research. NONE of those researchers have presented evidence of a correlation, much less a causal relationship, between GI issues and autism. Listing authors of papers, some of which make claims and some of which are simply misused, doesn’t make it so.

  • [...] it’s great and essential for us to spread it far and wide, maybe we’re aiming too high. Providing competent medical care to children and shaping the mental workings of future generations are all well and good, but you’d really [...]

  • kapoore:

    People that have experienced a vaccine injury understand the title of the book. My daughter lost her coordination, the ability to hold a pencil, and a lot of expressive langauge ability. She had the MMR when she was 4. I had no idea why my bright, and energetic child had suddenly become sickly. She was sick for 14 years with immune problems, learning problems, and social problems. Every day was a struggle to survive in the school environment. Finally, a psychiatrist put her on valtrex and anti-viral and for the first time it occurred to me she had a biological problem. Still, it was many years (given the inept medical establishement) before she was diagnosed with celiac disease. Did she have celiac disease before the MMR or did her problems stem from the vaccine. I will never know. I only know she lost her youth and I lost decades of my life. I’ll never recover. I won’t sue because she is not sick enough to sue but she won’t be the same either. At least she knows how to slowly recover. How many other children and young adults out there are suffering from curable disabilities? The problem is not medical but political. That is why they are hounding Dr. Wakefield who figured out the bowel connection to the the vaccine. Every time I hear of an infant or toddler going in for a well baby visit I cringe. Go in well; come out damaged for life….

    • I am very sorry for what happened to your daughter, but there are serious problems with what you’re saying here.

      1) Parents of children who have died from vaccine preventable illness because they live in areas with low vaccination rates (like Dana McCaffery) do not understand why anti-vaccination attitudes like yours continue to exist. Diseases are harmful and often deadly. Vaccines prevent them. The risk of adverse reactions or death from vaccines is extremely low and HUGELY outweighed by the benefits.
      2) Celiac, which could explain your daughter’s problems, is a common autoimmune disease which is primarily genetic and triggered by things that may surprise you. Recent research suggests that a form of vitamin A – something we all NEED – is involved. It is not a “vaccine injury”. You have no reason to blame a vaccine for your daughter’s illness.
      3) Wakefield did not find a connection. He found nothing. He put children through risky and painful procedures and lied about the outcomes in order to make money. This is not simply an accusation; the evidence is clear. He’s been convicted. Nobody is “hounding” him. He is a fraud who has done unspeakable harm to children.

      Again, I am very sorry for your problems, but blaming vaccinations for them given your vague suspicions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary is irrational and harmful.