Under protest, OSU cancer researcher dogged by misconduct allegations stepping down as department chair

Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a professor at The Ohio State University in Columbus who has faced multiple investigations into misconduct allegations, has been forced to step down from his post as department chair.

As ABC6 in Columbus reports, Continue reading Under protest, OSU cancer researcher dogged by misconduct allegations stepping down as department chair

Psychology journal to retract study claiming that people fear contagion less in the dark

As we’re fond of repeating, sunlight is the best disinfectant. Which doesn’t jibe with the findings in an eye-catching  2018 paper that found people were less fearful of catching a contagious illness if they were in a dark room or were wearing sunglasses.

Fortunately for us, although not for the researchers, we no longer have to live with the cognitive dissonance. The paper, the journal tells us, will be retracted for flaws in the data — which, thanks to the open sharing of data, quickly came to light.

The study, which appeared in May in Psychological Science, reported that: Continue reading Psychology journal to retract study claiming that people fear contagion less in the dark

Journals stamp expressions of concern on 15 papers from Anversa’s cardiac stem cell lab

Piero Anversa

More than four and a half years after questions were first raised about work in a cardiac stem cell lab at Harvard and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a year and a half after the Brigham and Partners Healthcare paid $10 million to settle allegations of fraud in the lab’s data, a month after Harvard the Brigham disclosed that they were calling for the retractions of more than 30 papers from the lab, and three weeks after the NIH paused a clinical trial based on the work, two leading journals have issued an expression of concern about 15 papers from the lab.

But expressions of concern are not retractions, of course. From the notice, in Circulation and Circulation Research, both of which are published by the American Heart Association: Continue reading Journals stamp expressions of concern on 15 papers from Anversa’s cardiac stem cell lab

In a first, U.S. CDC retracts, replaces study about suicide risk in farmers

In a first for the CDC, the agency’s premier scientific publication has retracted a 2016 article on suicide, five months after a news story pointed out serious errors in the paper.

The article, initially published as “Suicide Rates by Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012,” had purported to find that farmers were at particularly high risk of suicide. That result in particular caught the attention of a website called The New Food Economy (TNFE), which last June called out what it said were errors in the CDC’s analysis. And on June 29, the journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), issued a reader’s note.

As TNFE wrote, the crux of the mistake involves the misclassification of farmer suicides in a way that significantly inflated the rate of these events — errors the website said it first raised with the CDC in April 2018: Continue reading In a first, U.S. CDC retracts, replaces study about suicide risk in farmers

Judge dismisses most of Carlo Croce’s libel case against the New York Times

Carlo Croce

Carlo Croce, a prolific cancer researcher at The Ohio State University in Columbus who was the subject of a front page story in The New York Times last year about allegations of misconduct against him, has had most of a lawsuit he filed against the newspaper thrown out.

As first reported by Courthouse News Service, United States District Judge James Graham tossed all but one of Croce’s claims for defamation against the Times and two of its reporters. That claim — which involved a statement in a letter that reporter James Glanz sent Croce as part of his reporting — survived dismissal, but not on grounds that it inflicted emotional distress, Graham ruled.

The March 2017 story ran on the front page of the Times under the headline “Years of Ethics Charges, but Star Cancer Researcher Gets a Pass:” Continue reading Judge dismisses most of Carlo Croce’s libel case against the New York Times

Data mishap forces retraction of paper on gun laws, domestic killings

The authors of a 2018 paper on the effects of gun laws on domestic violence have retracted the article after discovering errors in their analysis and replaced it with a clean version. The new study shows that some gun laws — particularly ones that keep firearms out of the hands of violent offenders, even if their offenses don’t involve domestic assaults — do seem to reduce the incidence of domestic killings.

The paper, which appeared last November in the American Journal of Epidemiology and received some press coverage, including this piece in the New York Times, looked specifically at whether laws that keep guns away from people convicted of violent crimes beyond domestic abuse reduce the number of intimate partner homicides. It also considered the effect of laws that covered dating partners and not simply spouses or former spouses. The first author is April Zeoli, of Michigan State University. Zeoli has published other papers on the topic and delivered a TEDMED talk on it as well.

According to the abstract of the article: Continue reading Data mishap forces retraction of paper on gun laws, domestic killings

Harvard and the Brigham recommend 31 retractions for cardiac stem cell work

Piero Anversa

Retraction Watch readers may be familiar with the name Piero Anversa. Until several years ago, Anversa, a scientist at Harvard Medical School and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was a powerful figure in cardiac stem cell research.

“For ten years, he ran everything,” says Jeffery Molkentin, a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s whose lab was among the first to question the basis of Anversa’s results in a 2014 paper in Nature. Continue reading Harvard and the Brigham recommend 31 retractions for cardiac stem cell work

Chief scientific officer of a high-flying cannabis product company faked data at the NIH

The chief scientific officer of a cannabis product company whose stock price has been hotter than a flaming joint (sorry) was known more than 18 months ago to have committed research misconduct while at the U.S. National Institutes of Health — casting a cloud of suspicion over the firm’s operations.

Marketwatch reported yesterday that the company, India Globalization Capital, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange as IGC, has at least nine other “red flags” for investors, from questions about its ability to manufacture cannabinoids to a history of trouble with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Until August, the company’s stock had been trading below 50 cents per share. It began a dramatic rise, eventually reaching $13 per share. MarketWatch notes:

Continue reading Chief scientific officer of a high-flying cannabis product company faked data at the NIH

Researchers replicated a classic paper on unsuccessful treatment of writer’s block. Then they tried to write it up.

Matt Brodhead

In 1974, Dennis Upper published a paper — well, to be precise, a blank page — entitled “THE UNSUCCESSFUL SELF-TREATMENT OF A CASE OF “WRITER’S BLOCK.” There have been several attempts to replicate the work, which has become a classic among a certain cohort of academics.

Until late last month, however, there was no multidisciplinary attempt to replicate the study. (As best we can tell, anyway. Who has time to do a proper literature review these days?) Now there is, along with an editor’s note that calls it “an exceptionally fine piece of scholarship.” We felt the best way to celebrate this auspicious occasion — coming about as far on the calendar from April 1 as one can — would be to interview the corresponding author of the new paper, Matt Brodhead, of Michigan State University. Lucky for us, he did not suffer from writer’s block, so he could respond to our questions by email.

Q: We can’t find the actual paper, even though the editor’s note refers to “the article below.” Did you bury your results in the supplemental information?
Continue reading Researchers replicated a classic paper on unsuccessful treatment of writer’s block. Then they tried to write it up.

A study of an “abortion reversal” method has been republished — but its mystery deepens

A study that claimed a highly controversial “abortion reversal” method was effective — and which was temporarily removed from a journal’s site — has been republished.

While there are some wording changes in the new version, they don’t seem to clarify much about what happened before and during the study. Continue reading A study of an “abortion reversal” method has been republished — but its mystery deepens