Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Orthopedics plagiarist may have lied about affiliation

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Earlier this year we reported on the case of Bernardino Saccomanni, an apparently shameless plagiarist with a fondness for publishing in the orthopedics literature.

Somehow, we’re not surprised to learn that Saccomanni may not have been totally above board in other ways, too.

According to Robert Lindsay, editor of Osteoporosis International, whose journal has retracted one of Saccomanni’s plagiarized manuscripts, the researcher’s stated affiliation on several recent papers — Gabriele D’ Annunzio University Chieti — had long ago severed ties with him:

We wrote to the Dean of Faculty of Medicine at the University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti in response to the report sent to him about Saccomanni. Saccomanni provided this institution as his affiliation for many of his plagiarised submissions, although not the OI submission. According to the Dean, Saccomanni has not been at the University for “many” years, although he does not provide details. He claims they are going to take legal procedures to caution Saccomanni against the use of affiliation in future.
Saccomanni told us he is now affiliated with Azienda Sanitaria Locale Bari, as the Orthopedics International paper had stated (some recent papers list both institutions). However, the only links between ASL Bari and Saccomanni that we could find are the articles that bear his name. One of these, published last May in Musculoskeletal Surgery, has not been retracted.
Comments
  • Marco Berns January 19, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Does 2008 count as “many” years ago?

    http://spore.vbi.vt.edu/dejavu/duplicate/77600/

    Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2008 Nov;128(11):1279-82. Epub 2007 Nov 15.

    An atypical aneurysmal bone cyst of the head of the humerus, arthroscopic treatment: a case report.

    Saccomanni B.

    Source
    Orthopaedic and Traumatologic Surgery, Gabriele d’ Annunzio University, Via dei Vestini, 66013, Chieti Scalo, Italy. bernasacco@yahoo.it

    Abstract
    Curettage and bone grafting are the accepted methods of treatment of aneurysmal bone cysts. Unfortunately, recurrence is common. We treated a patient with atypical aneurysmal bone cyst of the head of the humerus that lacked aneurysmal dilatation by arthroscopic curettage without bone grafting. New bone formation and remodeling was observed in this patient. There was no evidence of recurrence. Arthroscopic curettage without bone grafting is a simple and effective treatment for aneurysmal bone cyst.

    PMID: 18004576

    compared with

    Arthroscopy. 2001 Sep;17(7):E28.

    A new treatment of aneurysmal bone cyst by endoscopic curettage without bone grafting.

    Otsuka T, Kobayashi M, Sekiya I, Yonezawa M, Kamiyama F, Matsushita Y, Matsui N.

    Source
    Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nagoya City University Medical School, Nagoya City, Japan. t.otsuka@med.nagoya-cu.ac.jp

    Abstract
    Curettage and bone grafting are the accepted methods of treatment of aneurysmal bone cysts. Unfortunately, recurrence is common. We treated 4 patients with atypical aneurysmal bone cysts that lacked aneurysmal dilatation by endoscopic curettage without bone grafting. New bone formation and remodeling were observed in all patients. In the patients in whom the follow-up was longer than 30 months, there was no evidence of recurrence. Endoscopic curettage without bone grafting is a simple and effective treatment for aneurysmal bone cysts.

    PMID: 11536108

    • helen-louise January 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

      I have to say that I’m ALWAYS suspicious of researchers who use webmail accounts like Yahoo and Hotmail instead of a university-provided account. It seems like a really basic affiliation check to me – if the person can receive email through their university account, then they’re probably still working or studying there.

      However, I’m not sure whether all universities in all countries provide email.

      • Wim Crusio January 23, 2012 at 7:02 am

        I have used a Yahoo account for over 6 years now. Where I am, university email addresses are not really stable: I am now at my THIRD email address in 6 years. All those email addresses redirect to my Yahoo account and, of course, my affiliation can be checked by looking at out institute’s official website. I even used this email account in my function as editor in chief of a scientific journal (with IF about 4). A colleague of mine, who has moved around quite a lot, has been using a Yahoo account even longer than me (I got the idea from him, actually). All this just to say that using a Yahoo/Hotmail account does not necessarily mean that somebody is a fraudster, or even a reason to be suspicious… 🙂

    • Annie January 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Check out comments in previous article linked above.

  • Dr. Mesh January 25, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Simply Googling I’ve found another Xerox’d paper by our Italian Hero…
    Now you can update the count…

    Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2010 October; 3(1-4): 38–40.
    Published online 2010 July 15. doi: 10.1007/s12178-010-9066-3 PMCID: PMC2941575
    Corticosteroid injection for tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis: a review of the literature
    Bernardino Saccomanni

    Tennis elbow was first described in 1883 by Major [1] as a condition causing lateral elbow pain in tennis players. Over the years, this term has become synonymous with all lateral elbow pain, despite the fact that the condition is most often work-related and many patients who have this condition do not play tennis [2].It has been estimated, however, that 10–50% of people who regularly play tennis will develop the condition at some time during their careers [3]. A recent study on biomechanics demonstrated that the eccentric contractions of the ECRB muscle during backhand tennis swings, especially in novice players, are the likely cause of repetitive microtrauma that causes tears in the tendon and lateral epicondylitis [4]. Some others suggested causes of tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, are trauma to the lateral region of the elbow, relative hypovascularity of the region [5], and fluoroquinolone antibiotics [6].Lateral epicondylitis occurs much more frequently than medial-sided elbow pain, with ratios reportedly ranging from 4:1 to 7:1 [7, 8]. In the general population, the incidence is equal among men and women, and in tennis players, male players are more often affected than female players [9].The disorder occurs more often in the dominant extremity. The average age of the patient who has lateral epicondylitis is 42 years old, with a bimodal distribution among the general population. An acute onset of symptoms occurs more often in young athletes, and chronic, recalcitrant symptoms typically occur in older patients. Although the term epicondylitis implied that inflammation is present, it is in fact only present in the very early stages of the disease.

    Clin Sports Med 23 (2004) 677– 691
    Whaley A et al

    Tennis elbow was first described in 1883 by Major [1] as a condition causing
    lateral elbow pain in tennis players. Over the years, this term has become
    synonymous with all lateral elbow pain, despite the fact that the condition is most
    often work-related and many patients who have this condition do not play tennis
    [2]. It has been estimated, however, that 10% to 50% of people who regularly
    play tennis will develop the condition at some time during their careers [3]. A
    recent study on biomechanics demonstrated that the eccentric contractions of the
    extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle during backhand tennis swings,
    especially in novice players, are the likely cause of repetitive microtrauma that
    causes tears in the tendon and lateral epicondylitis [4]. Some other suggested
    causes of tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, are trauma to the lateral region of
    the elbow, relative hypovascularity of the region [5], and fluoroquinolone antibiotics
    [6].
    Lateral epicondylitis occurs much more frequently than medial-sided elbow
    pain, with ratios reportedly ranging from 4:1 to 7:1 [7–9]. In the general population,
    the incidence is equal among men and women, and in tennis players, male
    players are more often affected than female players. The disorder occurs more
    often in the dominant extremity. The average age of the patient who has lateral
    epicondylitis is 42, with a bimodal distribution among the general population. An
    acute onset of symptoms occurs more often in young athletes, and chronic,
    recalcitrant symptoms typically occur in older patients.
    Although the term epicondylitis implies that inflammation is present, it is in
    fact only present in the very early stages of the disease.

    • Marco January 25, 2012 at 11:08 am

      Dr. Mesh, may I suggest you contact the two journals and the author of the original paper? It’s little use if we put this on blogs, the likelihood that the relevant people see it is not that big (with all due respect to retractionwatch!).

      • Dr. Mesh January 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm

        it’s already in my “to do” list for tomorrow…

      • Marco January 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        Great!

  • Dr. Mesh January 27, 2012 at 6:32 am

    No replies from the authors yet.
    Maybe if they had a yahoo or gmail accout instead of the institution’s ones (which in the meanwhile might have been changed..).
    Perhaps Adam or Marcus could flag this new finding to the affected Journals more effectively than a simple Academic Rheumatologist me…

  • Dr. Mesh January 31, 2012 at 3:31 am

    Dear all,
    I have received an email from the author.
    His institution has contacted the editors and the Saccomanni’s paper will be retracted with a letter of apologies from the publishers.
    Case closed (at least this one).

    • Marco January 31, 2012 at 7:26 am

      Well done, Dr. Mesh.

  • Dr. Mesh February 3, 2012 at 6:12 am

    OOPS HE DID IT AGAIN….

    IDENTICAL ABSTRACTS…..
    Unfortunately no authors’ email listed in the original paper…

    Musculoskelet Surg. 2011 Dec;95(3):183-91. Epub 2011 May 3.
    Graft fixation alternatives in anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
    Saccomanni B.
    SourceOrthopaedic and Traumatologic Surgery, ASL BARI, viale Regina Margherita, 74, Altamura, Bari, Italy. bernasacco@yahoo.it

    Abstract
    Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament is a frequently performed procedure that has had outstanding results. Outcomes are dependent upon an early postoperative physical therapy program that stresses early motion. Early rehabilitation demands rigid intraoperative mechanical fixation of the graft since therapy begins before biologic incorporation of the graft in the bone tunnels. Regardless of the graft substitute chosen, many methods of fixation are available. The best fixation technique depends on several factors, including graft choice and surgeon comfort. The figures are not documented in this paper. We review current methods available for graft fixation in anterior cruciate ligament surgery

    ——————-

    The University of Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Journal
    15: 21–27, 2002 © 2002 The University of Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Journal
    Graft Fixation Alternatives in Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction
    RUDY ROBBE, M.D.1 AND DARREN L. JOHNSON, M.D.

    Abstract: Reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament is a
    frequently performed procedure with outstanding results. Results
    are dependent upon an early postoperative physical therapy program
    that stresses early motion. Early rehabilitation demands rigid
    intraoperative mechanical fixation of the graft since therapy begins
    prior to biologic incorporation of the graft in the bone tunnels.
    Regardless of the graft substitute chosen, many methods of fixation
    are available. The “best” fixation technique depends upon
    several factors including graft choice and surgeon comfort. We
    review current methods available for graft fixation in anterior cruciate
    ligament surgery.

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