Wikipedia describes Andrew Wakefieldas “a British former surgeon and medical researcher known for his fraudulent claims of a causative connection between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, autism and autistic enterocolitis. The latter controversial term was created by Wakefield to describe an unproven form of inflammatory bowel disease.”

Michael Willrich, esteemed Brandeis professor in the History Department, wrote Pox: An American History this past summer, on the subject of the pervasive fear of vaccines throughout American history. In an article in the New York Times printed in January 2011, he commented on Wakefield’s study:

“The evidence against the original article and its author, a British medical researcher named Andrew Wakefield, is damning. Among other things, he is said to have received payment for his research from a lawyer involved in a suit against a vaccine manufacturer; in response, Britain’s General Medical Council struck him from the medical register last May. As the journal’s editor put it, the assertion that the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine caused autism “was based not on bad science but on a deliberate fraud.””

Dr. Wakefield stands amidst a heap of controversy because of his incendiary report linking autism to vaccinations. And guess what? He’s coming to Brandeis. Tonight. In the Rapaporte Treasure Hall (in Goldfarb Library) from 7:30 to 9.

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