Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Children's Health

Font Size

Researchers Reject Famous MMR-Autism Study

Experts Say Likely to Close the Door on MMR Vaccine Controversy

Conflict of Interest Casts Doubt on Findings continued...

"We regret that aspects of funding for parallel and related work and the existence of ongoing litigation that had been known during clinical evaluation of the children reported in 1998 Lancet paper were not disclosed to editors," writes Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, in an editorial that accompanies the retraction.

Horton says that if the editorial board and editors had known then what they know now, it would have affected their decision to publish the study.

Retraction Likely to Close the Door on MMR Controversy

The 1998 study did not prove an association between MMR and autism, but concluded that, "further investigations are needed to examine this syndrome and its possible relation to this vaccine."

Since the Wakefield study was published, several major studies -- including a report from the U.S. Institute of Medicine -- have examined the issue and found no proof of a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

"The positive side, if there is a positive side to that publication, is that it caused the public health community both here and in the U.K. to focus very closely on the issue of vaccine safety," says David Neumann, PhD, executive director of the National Partnership for Immunization.

"Since that publication in 1998, there have been any number of studies here and overseas that have looked at the relationship between vaccines and autism and autism spectrum disorders," Neumann tells WebMD, "and the epidemiological studies have consistently shown no linkage between vaccine use and the development of neurological changes."

Samuel Katz, MD, who helped develop the measles vaccine currently in use, says he'd be surprised if the retraction didn't shut the door on the MMR-autism controversy.

"I can't imagine that it doesn't totally exonerate MMR," says Katz, who is also professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Duke University.

Neumann agrees, but takes a more pragmatic approach.

"There is segment of population here in the U.S. that is skeptical about using vaccines, and the Wakefield articles and others of that type have reinforced their impressions," says Neumann. "Yet though that the paper has now been discounted, and the authors have retracted their findings, the public health community will constantly be challenged by those findings over the coming years by people who fail to understand the science or appreciate the issues with that report."

But Neumann says the bottom line is that autism is a serious disease and deserves further research to understand what it is and how to treat it. In light of recent events, he says, ''to continually invest in research trying to find an association between vaccine use and autism isn't probably a good use of those resources."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

child with red rash on cheeks
What’s that rash?
plate of fruit and veggies
How healthy is your child’s diet?
smiling baby
Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
Middle school band practice
Understanding your child’s changing body.

worried kid
jennifer aniston
Measles virus
sick child

Child with adhd
rl with friends
Syringes and graph illustration