A prominent British medical journal on Feb. 2 retracted a 1998 research paper that set off a sharp decline in vaccinations after the paper’s lead author suggested that vaccines could cause autism, reports the New York Times. The retraction by The Lancet is part of a reassessment that has lasted for years of the scientific methods and financial conflicts of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who contended that his research showed the combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine might be unsafe. But the retraction might do little to tarnish Dr. Wakefield’s reputation among parents’ groups in the United States. Despite a wealth of scientific studies that have failed to find any link between vaccines and autism, many parents fervently believe that their children’s mental problems resulted from vaccinations. Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, called the retraction of Dr. Wakefield’s study “significant.” “It builds on the overwhelming body of research by the world’s leading scientists that concludes there is no link between MMR vaccine and autism,” Skinner said…

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