The MMR vaccine controversy refers to claims that autism spectrum disorders can be caused by the MMR vaccine, an immunization against measles, mumps and rubella.
Claims of a connection between the vaccine and autism were raised in a 1998 paper in The Lancet, a respected British medical journal. Investigation by Sunday Times journalist Brian Deer discovered that the lead author of the article, Andrew Wakefield, had multiple undeclared conflicts of interest, had manipulated evidence,and had broken other ethical codes. The Lancet paper was retracted, and Wakefield was found guilty by the General Medical Council of serious professional misconduct in May 2010 and was struck off the Medical Register, meaning he could no longer practice as a doctor in the UK. The research was declared fraudulent in 2011 by the BMJ.