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2 pages/≈550 words
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Health, Medicine, Nursing
Article Critique
English (U.S.)
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Critically review Paper by Wakefield et al (Article Critique Sample)


Critically review the following controversial paper published (and later retracted) by Wakefield et al, which implicated MMR vaccine as a possible etiologic contributor to Autism, etc. You may use either version for your review. Describe potential sources of bias and other limitations in the study: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children A J Wakefield, S H Murch, A Anthony, J Linnell, D M Casson, M Malik, M Berelowitz, A P Dhillon, M A Thomson, P Harvey, A Valentine, S E Davies, J A Walker-Smith The Lancet, Volume 351, Number 9103 28 February 1998 Pro 7 Con Arguments: “Should any vaccines be required for children? Retrieved from on November 5, 2013


Wakefield is an outstanding medical professional researcher, who alongside other researchers has conducted various research activities that are of great benefit to the field of medicine. He is a leading researcher whose controversial findings have led to various opinions from the stakeholders in the medical activities as well as the general public. This paper critically reviews the first paper that was published in 1998. It aims at establishing the flaws that are evident to help in facilitating a clear understanding of the facts that the researchers failed to consider throughout their research activities.
Wakefield and colleagues undertook a research activity that led to the publishing of a paper titled "Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children.” They came up with a hypothesis that asserted that MMR vaccine is responsible for causing a series of events that include loss of intestinal function, intestinal inflammation, entrance of encephalopathic into the blood stream, and consequent development of autism. In support of their hypothesis, they described a total of 12 children who had neurodevelopment delay where 8 of them had autism. According to Wakefield et al. (1998), all these children covered by the study had gastrointestinal complaints that were taught to have been developed within one month of receiving MMR.
The above hypothesis and the backup information have led to various critical attacks on the premises of the study findings. The first weakness is that almost 90% of children received MMR in England at the time this paper was being written. It is obvious that MMR is administered when most of the children are diagnosed with autism and so it would be expected that most of them with autism would have already received an MMR vaccine. It is evident that most of them would have received the vaccination when they already had autism (Taylor et al., 2002). The study failed to include both the vaccinated and those who did not receive vaccination in its study thus leading to biased findings.
The other aspect of the weakness observed in this paper is that the authors claim that autism is always a consequence of gastrointestinal inflammation (Kaye et al., 2001). The symptoms of gastrointestinal inflammation were observed after the study where there were symptoms of autism in 8 out of the 12 children that were part of the sample. The other area of concern is that the paper claims that children with autism have low levels of circulating immunoglobulin A (lgA). However, the actual levels that were reported lead to contrary conclusions in that the circulation among the children observed is within the normal range for the children within the age group that was covered. The last flaws that can be observed from the findings of this paper are linked to intestinal nodular hyperplasia. According to Dales et al. (2001), the study failed to acknowledge a medical fact that normally considers intestinal nodular hyperplasia to be a variant of normal thus leading to much discredit of this paper.
The studies by various medical researchers who have come after Wakefield’s team have shown that there is indeed no casual association to link the receipt of MMR and autism. The basis of such findings is based on the research activities whose sample frames have included both the vaccinated and unvaccinated children to help in uncovering the relationship betwee...
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