Majority of authors retract 1998 Lancet paper-Lancet editor points to implications

March 03, 2004

This statement refers to the Early Report "Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children," (1) published in The Lancet in 1998. It is made by 10 of the 12 original authors who could be contacted. It should be noted that this statement does not necessarily reflect the views of the other co-authors.

The main thrust of this paper (1) was the first description of an unexpected intestinal lesion in the children reported. Further evidence has been forthcoming in studies from the Royal Free Centre for Paediatric Gastroenterology and other groups to support and extend these findings. (2,3) While much uncertainty remains about the nature of these changes, we believe it important that such work continues, as autistic children can potentially be helped by recognition and treatment of gastrointestinal problems.

We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between MMR vaccine and autism as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised and consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed upon these findings in the paper, according to precedent. (4)

We were unable to contact John Linnell.

*Simon H Murch, Andrew Anthony, David H Casson, Mohsin Malik, Mark Berelowitz, Amar P Dhillon, Michael A Thomson, Alan Valentine, Susan E Davies, John A Walker-Smith, Centre for Paediatric Gastronenterology (SHM, MAT, JAW-S); and Departments of Histopathology (AA, APD), Child Psychiatry (MB), and Radiology (AV), Royal Free and University College Medical School, Royal Free Campus, London NW3 2PF, UK; Institute of Child Health, Royal Liverpool Children's Hospital, Liverpool (DHC); Department of Paediatrics, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital, Margate, Kent (MM); and Department of Histopathology and Cytology, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, UK (SED) In an accompanying commentary (p 747), The Lancet's editor Richard Horton looks ahead to the implications of the MMR affair. He proposes that:
-end-
Contact: (retraction statement) Rachel Lowe, press officer, Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust. T) 44-0-20-7830-2963; E) rachel.lowe@royalfree.nhs.uk
(Lancet Commentary) The Lancet Press Office, 32 Jamestown Rd, London NW1 7BY, UK; T) 44-0-20-7424-4949; E) pressoffice@lancet.com.

Lancet

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