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MMR vaccine controversy

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The MMR vaccine controversy centers on the 1998 publication of a fraudulent research paper in the medical journal The Lancet that lent support to the later discredited claim that colitis and autism spectrum disorders are linked to the combined measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. The media has been criticized for its naïve reporting and for lending undue credibility to the architect of the fraud, Andrew Wakefield. Investigations by Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer reported that Andrew Wakefield, the author of the original research paper, had multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, had manipulated evidence, and had broken other ethical codes. The Lancet paper was partially retracted in 2004 and fully retracted in 2010, and Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in May 2010 and was struck off the Medical Register, meaning he could no longer practice as a doctor in the UK. In 2011, Deer provided further information on Wakefield's improper research practices to the British medical journal, BMJ, which in a signed editorial described the original paper as fraudulent.

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