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Former UK Medical Research Council Chief: ‘There is more of the MMR scandal to come’

Colin Blakemore
Professor Colin Blakemore
By John Stone

Too right!

Prof. Colin Blakemore – head of the MRC from 2003 to 2007 - is just one more member of the British medical establishment to express agitation about Andrew Wakefield   in the wake of the phony Welsh measles epidemic, reporting of which by one of many strange coincidences took off in the US media in the week of Wakefield ‘s hearing to have his case re-instated against BMJ and journalist Brian Deer in Texas.

Blakemore it should be noted became head of the Medical Research Council on 1 October 2003. On that very same day the UK Legal Services Commission, in the process of attempting to dissolve the MMR litigation announced that “All the research paid for by the LSC will be sent to the Medical Research Council who are investigating the causes of autism”.

It is by no means clear that the research was for the LSC to dispose of (as opposed to belonging to the

Sally Smith
Sally Smith
devastated and by then unrepresented litigant families) or that the Medical Research Council ever intended to seriously research the causes of autism (with nothing of substance a decade later to show for it), but another curious twist is that in 2004 Queen’s Counsel Sally Smith, who was to become prosecuting attorney for the GMC against Wakefield and colleagues, was appointed to the Ethics Committee of the MRC, where she remained until 2009 (by which time the GMC prosecution was virtually complete).


Anyhow, if Blakemore had really wanted to find the causes of autism he might have liked to consider the statement issued by officials of the US Vaccine Injury Compensation Program:

 "The government has never compensated, nor has it ever been ordered to compensate, any case based on a determination that autism was actually caused by vaccines. We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures."

Or the remarks Merck’s vaccine chief, Julie Gerberding, when she was still head of the CDC in relation to the Poling case:

“….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”

Nor should he have played dumb over the Valentino Bocca case as he wrote last week:

“And last June an Italian court declared that it had “conclusively established” that a little boy, Valentino Bocca, has been rendered autistic, “ascribed with reasonable scientific probability to the administration of the vaccine MMR”.


”Where that scientific probability came from only the Italian judge knows. Since Mr Wakefield’s paper, 14 major research studies have found no evidence for a link between MMR vaccination and autism.”

But as with his repeated references to “Mr Wakefield” this is just knock-about abuse: the Italian judge made up his mind on the basis of the scientific evidence presented, which has never been contested by the Italian government. It is not clear why with a scientist of Blakemore’s competence there should be a conceptual difficulty when MMR gives rise to a high fever of 39.5C or more in 6 in 100 infants. Vaccines cause encephalopathies and that can lead to autism.

Nor can you resort to epidemiological studies to dismiss what may have happened in individual cases. Indeed, if Prof. Blakemore really cared about the children he would be disturbed by the repeated conclusion of the Cochrane review of MMR that the safety studies were “largely inadequate.

Prof. Blakemore expresses concern that as result of alleged poor MMR uptake we would have a return to rubella induced deafness and blindness in children, when much more reasonably he could have asked for the return of single rubella vaccines as an option, as Wakefield had suggested in 1998 before the British government and the vaccine manufacturers removed it – that would simply have been logical.

But then, you cannot help thinking that British medical establishment are far more worried about watching their backs in Andrew Wakefield’s defamation case in Texas than they ever were about measles, mumps or rubella.

Contribute to the Dr. Wakefield Justice Fund at www.drwakefieldjusticefund.org/

John Stone is UK Editor for Age of Autism.


IAngus Files

No conflicts of interest to declare Blakemore? No shame shame on him ..

John Stone

Something which is also relevant here is that the MRC funds industry PR outfits like Sense About Science and Science Media Centre:



Blakemore is still an advisor to Sense About Science:


Jenny Allan

Thank you Elizabeth for voting up my comments. I am still 'in the red' thanks to the pro-vaccine troll network. However, we ARE winning the argument. THEY are reduced to reiterating lies and ad hominems.

John Stone


Although, I am not too impressed by Prof Blakemore's integrity at the moment I can imagine that animal rights activists could be a whole different kettle of fish from autism parents when it comes to menace.


Mark Struthers

An interesting feature of "top mcscientists" is the well publicised persecution they endure for their "science". For instance, Blakemore "endured assaults by masked terrorists, bombs sent to his children, letters laced with razor blades, a suicide bid by his wife, and more than a decade of attacks and abuse".


Dr Paul Offit is another with a persecution complex. According to Wikipedia, "Offit had often been threatened with violence by anti-vaccine advocates, necessitating precautions such as screening Offit's packages for mail bombs and providing guards when Offit attends federal health advisory committee meetings. At a 2008 vaccine activism rally in Washington, DC, environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. criticized Offit's ties to drug companies, calling him a "poster child for the term 'biostitute'".


Of course, other notables who have suffered for their "science" are Professor Sir Simon Wessely and Professor (Sir*) David Salisbury, top dog at the Department of Vaccination in London.

* just a matter of time

PS. Erratum: in my last comment I falsely entitled Professor Blakemore. Despite being a "top scientist" or whatever ... the professor is still a plain commoner. In fact Wikipedia informs us that, "as of 2013, he is the only MRC chief executive unrecognised by the British honours system".


Jenny Allan,

Have "voted-up" your comments.

Elizabeth Gillespie


...Prof. Blakemore expresses concerns...poor MMR uptake...he could have asked for the return of single rubella vaccines as an option, as Wakefield had suggested in 1998...

If Prof Blakemore requests the return of the single rubella vaccine, there are those (logical and rational) individuals out there in the world that will question or query the efficacy of the combined vaccine MMR.

But by the time Australians question the efficiency of the MMR it would be too late. On the 1st July 2013 the new MMRV is on the vaccine schedule.


Elizabeth Gillespie

John Stone


The arrogance of these people never ceases to amaze me - the man is "a top scientist", but with the highest intellectual attainment the content of his article is zero. The tawdry reality of British "science" is encapsulated in Lucija Tomljenovic's history of Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.


Absolute betrayal of everything.


Mark Struthers

Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet and a wonky pillar of the British medical establishment, is entirely responsible for the word 'McScience'.

McScience can be defined as:

"The unethical commercialization of science, as for example where results are deliberately misinterpreted in exchange for large grants from a corporation."


Not unlike many other establishment hoodlums, Professor Sir Colin Blakemore is a disappointment. However, Sir Colin remains the consummate mcscientist … in my humble opinion

PS. I apologise for linking to Wiktionary, a wiki- based outfit. I was once tempted to donate to Wikipedia, but glad that I didn’t. The Andrew Wakefield Justice Fund is much more worthy of donation … and I gave in to that temptation some time ago.

Raymond Gallup

Bob Moffitt,


Public health officials admitting "vaccines cause encephalopathy" .. then admitting encephalopathy causes "symptoms that have characteristics of autism" .. is simply their desperate attempt to create a "distinction" .. without a "difference".

So true, so true!!!!



John I'm sure have realized but blackmoore was one of the expert group members along with Micheal Moore and Paul Nuki for the "Science and the Media: Securing the Future" from 2010.

John Stone

Hi Christina,

Thanks, as ever.

Yes, pharmaceutical trolls guard the Wakefield Wikipaedia entry day and night, and for at least the last ten years. There is nothing to be done to re-institute objective, documentary truth - it is a waste of time, perhaps even a distraction. In some way I find the gang of stooges who do it quite comical.


Jeannette Bishop

So this person takes money that was supposed to provide legal defense for the vaccine injured to "find the cause of autism" and does who-knows-what with it and then blames the failures of the MMR vaccine or vaccine program on those calling for more cautious vaccination and more research? Are these individuals not afraid people get the impression that nothing, outside of systemic denial, is being done to address an already epidemic disabling condition and begin to thoroughly mistrust the intentions of "public health" officials?

Christina Waldman

Great article, John, as usual.

With respect to Bob's comment, I agree, but personally would never quote Wikipedia for anything or give it any credence. There are far better sources for just about everything, and I have a recent axe to grind with Wikipedia.

I have made edits to the Andrew Wakefield Wikipedia article, trying to take out the rampant defamation, and my edits were changed back within the hour by someone who really wants the defamation to stay in. Supposedly Wikipedia "really cares" about accuracy and fairness in its biographies of living persons. (Good example of doublespeak.) I wrote to the "Wikipedia Foundation;" the response I got back was, the Wakefield article looks all right to me!

Sources for the Wikipedia Wakefield article include articles published in the Washington Times Jan. 6, 2011.(We are told not to worry about any copyright violation.) One of the authors of the Washington Times articles was Mike Stobbe, who has been a health writer for the CDC. He is one of two authors (along with Maria Cheng) of the recent inflammatory piece blaming Dr. Wakefield for "Measles outbreaks in the UK" that swept AP news outlets worldwide on or around May 20, right before the court date in Dr. Wakefield's defamation case.

Best to leave that rat's nest alone and warn everyone to stay away from Wikipedia, is my conclusion; feel free to make your own. But this article says that if you threaten to sue them, they will block you from editing articles, to give you a taste of their democratic process.

Bob Moffitt

US Vaccine Injury Compensation Program:

"We have compensated cases in which children exhibited an encephalopathy, or general brain disease. Encephalopathy may be accompanied by a medical progression of an array of symptoms including autistic behavior, autism, or seizures."

Julie Gerberding, when she was still head of the CDC in relation to the Poling case:

“….. if you’re predisposed with the mitochondrial disorder, it can certainly set off some damage. Some of the symptoms can be symptoms that have characteristics of autism.”

Public health officials admitting "vaccines cause encephalopathy" .. then admitting enceopholpathy causes "symptoms that have characteristics of autism" .. is simply their desperate attempt to create a "distinction" .. without a "difference".

This would be .. yet again .. another example of "double-speak" .. which is described by Wikipedia as:

"Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms, in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable. It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning. In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth."

Unfortunately, "double-speak" has become the official language of public health officials regarding vaccines and the policies by which those vaccines are administered.

Jenny Allan

John Stone's article did not link to this UK (wales) News outlet. (The Times is paid subscription). Quite an entertaining comment thread with contributions from John amongst others. Please help us by voting up our comments.

"BABIES will be born deaf and blind unless their parents are given the MMR jab, a leading expert has warned.
Professor Colin Blakemore said the measles epidemic that has affected parts of South West Wales is just one part of a much wider problem that could lead to disabling and even life-threatening outbreaks of mumps and rubella."

One of my comments in response to Ewen M -a pro vaccine troll, spouting defensive nonsense.
"by jennyallan
Monday, June 03 2013, 6:18PM
“Ewen M says "you're happy to raise doubts (totally unfounded) about MMR but wail in protest when people point out that rubella is not a harmless little infection."

I beg to differ. Rubella IS a harmless little infection, IF contracted in childhood. However, as I pointed out earlier the Rubella vaccine, including the MMR component, has prevented congenital rubella syndrome, for those persons brought up in the UK.

As for my 'doubts' about MMR measles and mumps components' long term vaccine efficacy, perhaps you can explain WHY mumps is now endemic amongst (mostly MMR vaccinated) young adults in UK universities, and why the largest 'spike' of notified measles cases in Wales occurred in children 1-4 years old, a cohort group stated to be more than 95% MMR vaccinated?”

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