Doctor's autism claims are ruled unethical
British physician Andrew Wakefield, who claimed links between a common children's vaccine and autism, failed in his duties and acted against the interest of the children in his care, the General Medical Council ruled Thursday. The ruling regarded research he and other doctors conducted in the late 1990s, purporting to show that the combined measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) injection could put children at risk of autism or bowel disease. That research and media coverage of it led many parents in the U.K. to refuse to vaccinate their children. Ten of the study's 13 authors have since renounced its conclusions. The disciplinary panel concluded that Wakefield should have disclosed that he was paid to advise lawyers acting for parents who believed their children had been harmed by the vaccine. Wakefield denied all charges Thursday. Numerous studies have concluded that there is no link between the MMR vaccine and autism or bowel disease. A decision on discipline will be made later.
New morning-after pill earns support
A new type of morning-after pill is more effective than the most widely used drug at preventing pregnancies in women who had unprotected sex and also works longer, for up to five days, a new study says. International researchers compared the widely prescribed contraceptive Plan B to the new drug ulipristal acetate. Among nearly 1,700 women ages 16 to 36 who received emergency contraception, women who took the new drug had a 1.8 percent chance of becoming pregnant, while women who took Plan B had a 2.6 percent chance.