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It’s bad enough that, as the old saying goes, a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets its boots on. It’s even worse when the truth then drags its feet. A journal has finally retracted a long-debunked article about the spurious link between vaccines and autism, a full eight years after the bogus research on which the paper was based was pulled from the scientific literature. The story starts in 1998, when a British physician named Andrew Wakefield published his now infamous study in The Lancet in which he claimed that certain childhood inoculations were leading to autism. In 2002, another journal, Lab Medicine, published a paper by a pair of researchers in California that leaned heavily on Wakefield’s results. The Lancet eventually wised up, retracting Wakefield’s study in 2010. Not Lab Medicine. Its autism paper continued to garner citations, keeping the debunked theory alive. That much became clear after a recent study showed the extent of the attention — and prompted the new editor of Lab Medicine to act.

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