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UK's Cry Shame on New MMR Autism Study


A new study by Hornig et al, which revisits the MMR – autism controversy, has failed to find measles virus in the bowel of autistic children, so contradicting Wakefield and O'Leary's earlier finding of measles virus in autistic children. The latest study fails to find a link between MMR vaccine and autism.

However the study inadvertently gives credence to Wakefield and O'Leary's previous work on measles virus and validates their earlier findings. It also substantiates the link between autistic regression and gastrointestinal disorder reported by Wakefield in his 1998 Lancet article.

Whereas Wakefield and O'Leary in 2002 looked at bowel biopsies of 91 children whose autism and bowel disease followed the MMR vaccination, Hornig et al examined biopsies of only 5 children who had MMR before the onset of these symptoms. The remaining 20 children had MMR after onset. This is a very small sample from which to conclude that there is no link between MMR, autism and bowel disease. It is substantially smaller than Wakefield's earlier study.

Importantly, the centres that analysed the bowel biopsies arrived at similar findings despite blinded procedures – i.e. none of them knew which biopsies they were examining. One of these centres was that of Professor John O'Leary. Professor O'Leary found measles virus in the bowel of 75 children out of 91 in the earlier 2002 study and is a joint author of the present Hornig study, which used the same methods of analysis as O'Leary had used in 2002. The consistency of the findings between the three centres confirms the validity of O'Leary's methods - the same methods used in 2002  - and the accuracy of his finding of measles virus.

In the US, the government is the defendant in a key case before the Federal Court for Vaccine Claims brought by 5000 children, many autistic, claiming vaccine damage. In a lead case, Michelle Cedillo, who regressed into autism and bowel disease after receiving the MMR, was tested positive for measles virus by O'Leary. The new study substantially strengthens Cedillo's case.

Parents of autistic children want to know why their children suffer from these lifetime debilitating illnesses. In the 10 years since Wakefield's 1998 Lancet paper was published, there has been no proper attempt to replicate his studies. In the UK there is currently no research into the autism and bowel disease which is estimated to affect about half the children. Although autism is the largest and fastest growing developmental condition among UK children – affecting at least one in a hundred children – the government spends no more than £1 million pounds a year on autism research. How long before the government faces up to the epidemic proportions of this increasingly prevalent condition and to its cost on children, families and society?

Instead of addressing the causes of these illnesses, the government has enveloped a culture of fear around autism/bowel disease research. It is worthy of note that the study published this week reports clinical procedures and a study design which, here in the UK, has resulted in three doctors being accused of what amounts to child abuse. Whilst Wakefield, Murch and Walker-Smith have been subjected to a disgraceful attempt to discredit and publicly shame them, Hornig et al. are able to carry out these same procedures, at the behest of the CDC , and report their findings freely with no repercussions whatsoever. Are we to assume they will be hauled before their respective professional councils – or does that only happen if the results threaten the vaccination programme? The culture of fear engendered in the UK has meant that medical scientists refuse to address the issue, whilst our children suffer intolerable levels of pain and a future with no hope. It is contemptible.

CRY SHAME is an organisation of parents and professionals demanding justice for the three doctors being tried for fitness to practice by the GMC, and for the many autistic children for whom there is insufficient research into why they are autistic and suffer bowel damage.

1. Today autism is the most prevalent and fastest growing developmental disorder in UK children; at least one in 100 children are diagnosed with this serious and debilitating condition.

2. The government's 2004 National Service Framework for Children refers to service standards of  "listening and responding to children…and their families" and giving "access to hospital specialist" including gastroenterologists. Adequate levels of medical provision are to be provided by 2014. The paper refers to symptoms of bowel disorder and pain in some autistic children.

3. In the UK there is no research following up the work of the three doctors. This research is done oversees.

4. In 2002 the government gave £3 million to the Medical Research Council for autism research. The annual autism research bill is about £1 million - a miniscule amount for such a widespread and growing condition, compared with other childhood conditions.

5. The MMR has been beset with problems throughout its history. Japan withdrew earlier brands of MMR in 1993 because of aseptic meningitis caused by the Urabe Mumps strain. There have been successful legal claims for damages against health providers providing MMR. These brands were also withdrawn in the UK


John Stone


I gather you are a different Brian to the one I guessed at. The study you mention perversely did not study gut tissue at all. The present study is the only one to try even half-heartedly replicate Uhlmann in all these years but the study design is again perverse and the case selection mysterious. Nevertheless, as far as it goes it supports the Uhlmann study.

With regard to Fombonne, Ed Yazbak looks in detail at the conduct of another study here:


John, I was trying to make the point that although Dr. O'Leary's lab may competently perform PCR assays now, it's unreasonable to claim that that indicates that the earlier results were correct, given the damning criticism from Dr. Bustin (e.g., positive results in assays that left out an essential step, determining a test was positive even though it was negative according to the lab's standard operating procedures) and the careful work by D'Souza, Fonbonne, and Ward that I mentioned earlier. (I commend that paper to you, as it includes thorough discussion of the difficulties of this sort of PCR work, and it indicates how Dr. O'Leary's group went off track.)

I can't comment on Dr. Wakefield's difficulties in the UK, but I can say that I, like virtually everyone who uses PCR and has followed this issue, think that the "MMR causes autism" case is closed, not just because of Dr. Hornig's recent attempt to carefully reexamine Wakefield's hypothesis but because the totality of the evidence assembled since that idea was first put forward shows it, like so many other interesting ideas, to be incorrect.

Mark, for the past six years I've worked to develop a new therapy for a disease that killed my father; it's actually been quite satisfying to see that work come to fruition. That may disqualify me from posting here, but it happens that my small company doesn't work on vaccines--although we do use PCR in our studies. Accordingly, I seem to have a better grasp of the fine points that support or refute the pivotal work on the putative link of the MMR vaccine to autism than the typical visitor to this site. I do try to remain civil and rational when I post here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Brian, that's helpful but not good enough. You need to identify your company so our readers can judge for themselves. None of us can claim to know your motives, we can only assess your interests. And your disclosure here is not yet sufficient for our readers to judge your interests.

Mark Blaxill

Civil and rational comments from all perspectives are welcome on Age of Autism. But we also need to manage the situations at the margin. This is now the second time you have come on the site defending vaccine products. The last time you did this, I asked you to declare yourself to the group and you evaded my question. Now you're back. So let me be clear.

1. We know who you are.
2. We know who you work for.
3. We know what kind of products your company invests in.
4. This is a material and undisclosed conflict, one that requires open and forthright disclosure to our readers.

If you choose not to disclose your identity along with your financial and career interests, you will be banned from further discussion on our site.

John Stone

Oh, by the way, Brian, can you say whether the Hornig study performed ethical science - or what the difference would have been between these scientists looking at sick patients, however ill-designed the study, and the three doctors presently subjected to a political trial at the UK's General Medical Council, based apparently solely on the allegations of a British jouralist?

And didn't the Hornig study confirm persistent measles virus in the ileum of two MMR vaccinated patients with bowel disease in 3 laboratories, including O'Leary's? Should this not be enough at the very least to re-open question (not that it was ever really closed)?

John Stone

For Dr Bustin's involvement in the MMR affair readers might like to
look at Ed Yazbak's article 'The Expert and Decorum'. I quote the opening paragraphs:-

'It is not clear why the attorneys for the Department of Justice waited so long to call Stephen A. Bustin PhD as an expert witness in Cedillo v. Secretary of HHS and why his reports were filed so late.

'It was certainly well known that Michelle Cedillo had evidence of measles virus genomic RNA in the gut and that her PCR test had been performed at Dr. John O'Leary's laboratory.

'It was also well known that Dr. Bustin had spent an enormous amount of time at a significant cost to the MMR vaccine makers attempting to discredit Dr. O'Leary's results.

'At the trial, Dr. Bustin was repeatedly seen talking with a British journalist whose sole purpose in life has been to attack and discredit Dr. Andrew J. Wakefield, the British physician who first suggested the need to research the role of MMR vaccination in regressive autism..'

You can read the rest at:


"The consistency of the findings between the three centres confirms the validity of O'Leary's methods - the same methods used in 2002 - and the accuracy of his finding of measles virus."

I don't understand this statement.

Do you mean that, after it was shown that O'Leary lab workers disregarded lab standard operating procedures while performing the earlier work, in the current study they again disregarded SOPs? Do you mean that, after Dr. Bustin showed that a thermocycler block used in the earlier work was out of whack (that is, the temperature gradient across the block was sufficient to produce spurious results) the lab neither replaced nor serviced the unit? Or do you mean that, after Bustin showed that the O'Leary lab reported positive results even when the crucial reverse transcriptase step (without which measles virus could not possibly be detected) was ommitted, the lab continued to forget to include this crucial step--and continued to report results that simply cannot be correct?

C'mon. In the face of whithering criticism from one of the world's foremost authorities on the technical aspects of PCR work, and after D'Souza, Fonbonne, and Ward showed by DNA sequencing of the PCR products formed using the Uhlmann primers that the few positive reactions in their study that were not obviously false positives (e.g., according to melting curves or molecular weight) did not, in fact, match measles sequences, O'Leary undoubtedly did his best to fix those myriad problems--exactly what you would expect from a distinguished scientist who, like all of us, sometimes makes mistakes.

John Stone


Ever heard the expression 'He who pays the piper calls the tune'.


Sorry if someone answered this already, but what's up with Mady Hornig?


From "across the pond":- For anyone who still doesn't believe there's a connection between autism and bowel disorders .....

Please go to Thoughtful House's website on to read Dr Arthur Krigsman's presentation on "Gastrointestinal Pathology in Autism: Description and Treatment" which is also available as a PDF download. Warning: This article contains, from the first page, graphic colour images of the disordered gastrointestinal tracts of autistic children. The accompanying text is also graphic and could easily upset those of a squeamish nature.

How could anyone deny the appalling pain suffered by these poor children who are very largely being neglected by the orthodox medical profession. Any of us would visit our doctor immediately but these autistic children are very often non-verbal and unable to commmunicate their pain except by screaming day and night.

How could anyone, child or adult, have these problems and not be thought worthy of clinical investigation?

Anne Dachel

What could be more frightening than a devastating disorder that affects one percent of children? How long can the insanity continue? How long can the government do nothing about it but deny it's related to vaccines?
Anne Dachel
Media editor

Mary Webster

This study is available free of charge at

The MMR is *dangerous* to your health

"The culture of fear engendered in the UK has meant that medical scientists refuse to address the issue, whilst our children suffer intolerable levels of pain and a future with no hope."

It is my belief that the medical establishment is oblivious to the disease because it has not had the pleasure of witnessing the horror of bowel disease. Namely - the daily gut pain, the distended bowel with gassy insides, the meltdowns and tantrums ensuing from the aforesaid gut pain, the abdominal cramping, the inflammation, the lack of peristalsis requiring kids to squat on the toilet seat to defecate, the resultant cleaning up of the bowel splatter from the walls and from over and under the toilet seat and the toilet bowl, about 5-6 times a day.

Maybe we ought to begin video recording some hellish moments from our lives and begin to send them to these public health officials. Everyone needs to share in the MMR "spoils" equally. It would only be fair.

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