Controversial Autism Study Author Alleges Defamation in Lawsuit

Dr. Andrew Wakefield, the author of a controversial 1998 medical journal article that alleged that the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine can cause autism, is suing the British Medical Journal for a series of articles that he says "defamed" him by suggesting that he misrepresented or altered the medical histories of all 12 of the patients involved in the 1998 study, reports.

The study touched off a years-long debate that still rages in some circles, between those who believe vaccines including the MMR are responsible for the rising number of autism diagnoses in the U.S., and those who believe that there is no scientific basis for such a claim.

The Lancet, the journal that had published the original 1998 study, retracted it in 2010, explaining that parts of it were "incorrect." Wakefield subsequently lost his medical license. In his lawsuit against the British Medical Journal, Wakefield defends his methods and denies falsifying or altering any data in his study.

For more on autism, explore's Autism Resource Guide.

Image: Medical journal, via Shutterstock.

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