Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

JAMA retracts osteoporosis paper with manipulated data

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Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 10.48.49 AMA JAMA study on an inexpensive treatment for osteoporosis has been retracted because the first author falsified or fabricated data. We’ve been expecting this one: An investigation at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, the bone researcher’s former workplace, had already revealed issues with the paper.

An internal memo sent to staff (available in full here) in October explained that the investigation had found “unequivocal evidence of systematic data manipulation” by Sophie Jamal, who had already resigned from her positions at WCH and the University of Toronto.

The study appeared to show that nitroglycerin ointment could have a small positive effect on bone mineral density in postmenopausal patients. It’s been cited 30 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s web of Knowledge. (That’s two more times than when we last reported on the paper: It was cited once by the investigation, and once by a paper that was published earlier in October, but had not yet been indexed.)

Here’s the retraction note for “Effect of Nitroglycerin Ointment on Bone Density and Strength in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Trial:”

We wish to retract the article “Effect of Nitroglycerin Ointment on Bone Density and Strength in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Trial,”1 published in the February 23, 2011, issue of JAMA.

In a report issued by an investigating committee appointed by Women’s College Hospital, affiliated with the University of Toronto, to investigate, in part, the availability of data relative to this study, the committee concluded, based on objective evidence, that Dr Jamal had falsified and/or fabricated data and used that data for statistical analysis. Dr Jamal was both the first and corresponding author and was responsible for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. None of the other coauthors were involved in the misrepresentation of these data. All of the authors recognize the seriousness of this issue. We regret that the results of this study have been compromised and are committed to correcting the medical literature.

We’ve been unable to find contact information for Jamal.

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