This was originally posted on http://africanjungle.iblog.co.za/ on June 7th, 2010.
If you were on News24 in the last week, you probably saw the article about a urine test for autism. Kev Leitch over at Left Brain Right Brain had a look at the research it was based on. One of the papers was coauthored by one Andrew Wakefield. Another appeared in the journal ‘Medical Hypotheses’.
Wakefield was the doctor who was recently struck off after the UK’s GMC (General Medical Council) found that he had breached ethics and cooked the data in his 1998 paper (now retracted) linking the MMR shot to autism. ‘Medical Hypotheses’, as its name suggests, deals in, well, hypotheses.
It is hard to take a claim like this seriously when the “research” on which it is based is flawed. Also, I’d like to ask media sites like News24 to be careful before hyping studies like this. The story sounded almost too good to be true at first. In the end, it was.