Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘jama’ Category

Pro-lifers call for JAMA to retract 2005 paper about fetal pain

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JAMAPro-life activists have asked JAMA to retract a 2005 paper that suggested fetuses can’t feel pain before the third trimester.

Critics are arguing that newer findings have shown pain sensation appears earlier in gestation, yet the 2005 data continue to be cited in the discussion around abortion. What’s more, they note, some of the authors failed to mention their ties to the abortion industry.

The 2005 paper has been cited 191 times, according to Thomson Reuters Web of Science. We spoke with Howard Bauchner, Editor in Chief at JAMA and The JAMA Network, who told us something similar to what he said last week, when PETA asked to retract a paper they claim could be harmful to elephants: Read the rest of this entry »

JAMA journals pull 3 papers by same authors for misconduct

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JAMAJAMA and another journal in its network have retracted three 2005 papers about preventing hip fractures, after an admission of scientific misconduct. 

All papers are being retracted over concerns about data integrity, and “inappropriate assignment of authorship.” Four of the authors — all based in Japan — have co-authored all of the three newly retracted papers, and also share authorship of a previous retraction from 2015

The JAMA paper was tagged with an Expression of Concern last year, regarding the “conduct, integrity, and scientific validity” of the paper. 

Here’s the retraction notice for the JAMA paper, “Effect of Folate and Mecobalamin on Hip Fractures in Patients With Stroke:” Read the rest of this entry »

JAMA takes all calls for retraction seriously — even from PETA

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JAMAA leading medical journal is taking a second look at a recent high-profile paper about elephants’ lower risk of cancer, after receiving a call for retraction from a somewhat unusual corner: the animal rights group PETA.

This isn’t the first time the activist group has called for a retraction — last year, it nudged a journal to pull a paper that had been flagged for fraud by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity. Their latest target: A 2015 paper in JAMA, which PETA claims contains inaccurate information.

What’s more, the organization argues, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus — which partly funded the research — is using the findings as “justification for the continued use of abusive training techniques with elephants.” Yesterday, PETA sent a letter to the journal asking it to either retract the paper or issue an expression of concern, claiming: Read the rest of this entry »

Top journals give mixed response to learning published trials didn’t proceed as planned

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Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre has been a busy man. In the last six weeks, the author and medical doctor’s Compare Project has evaluated 67 clinical trials published in the top five medical journals, looking for any “switched outcomes,” meaning the authors didn’t report something they said they would, or included additional outcomes in the published paper, with no explanation for the change. The vast majority – 58 – included such discrepancies. Goldacre talked to us about how journals – New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), JAMA, The Lancet, BMJ, and Annals of Internal Medicine — have responded to this feedback.

Retraction Watch: When you discover a published trial has switched outcomes, what do you do? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

February 26th, 2016 at 9:30 am

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:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Did a clinical trial proceed as planned? New project finds out

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Ben Goldacre

Ben Goldacre

A new project does the relatively straightforward task of comparing reported outcomes from clinical trials to what the researchers said they planned to measure before the trial began. And what they’ve found is a bit sad, albeit not entirely surprising.

As part of The Compare Project, author and medical doctor Ben Goldacre and his team have so far evaluated 36 clinical trials published by the top five medical journals (New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, Annals of Internal Medicine, and British Medical Journal). Many of those trials included “switched outcomes,” meaning the authors didn’t report something they said they would, or included additional outcomes in the published paper, with no explanation for the change.

Here are the latest results from the project, according to its website:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 4th, 2015 at 9:30 am

JAMA retracts second paper by heart researcher

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Screen-Shot-2015-10-27-at-10.53.53-AMA heart researcher who fabricated trial participants has notched a second JAMA retraction. The retraction comes at the request of her co-authors, after an investigation by her former employer wasn’t able to confirm that this study was valid.

In September, we learned that Anna Ahimastos, who used to work at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia, had “fabricated [records] for trial participants that did not exist” in a JAMA trial for a blood pressure drug, according to principal investigator Bronwyn Kingwell.  That trial was retracted, along with a sub analysis.

An investigation by the institute found problems or sufficient doubt in several more publications. This second JAMA retraction is number 5 for Ahimastos, of 8 total expected.

The paper, “Effect of perindopril on large artery stiffness and aortic root diameter in patients with Marfan syndrome: a randomized controlled trial” Read the rest of this entry »

Bone researcher manipulated data in JAMA study, says investigation

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Screen Shot 2015-10-27 at 10.53.53 AMA bone researcher manipulated data in a 2011 JAMA study about an inexpensive treatment for osteoporosis. That’s the conclusion of an investigation at the researcher’s former workplace, the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, the Toronto Star reports.

The study — led and manipulated by Sophie Jamal — followed 243 women over two years, as they applied nitroglycerin ointment once a day. The ointment is currently used to prevent chest pain and treat anal fissure pain by relaxing blood vessels; Jamal’s study concluded it could help patients with osteoporosis, too:

Among postmenopausal women, nitroglycerin ointment modestly increased [bone mineral density] and decreased bone resorption.

But even the modest effect was too good to be true. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

October 27th, 2015 at 12:11 pm

“Fabricated results” retract JAMA clinical trial, plus a sub-analysis of the data

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Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 11.00.11 AMA JAMA clinical trial that suggested a blood pressure drug could help patients increase their physical fitness, and a sub-analysis of those data, have been retracted after “an admission of fabricated results” by the first author on both papers.

The three-year clinical trial was published in JAMA in 2013.  It was retracted this morning.

The trial found ramipril helped patients with artery disease walk longer and with less pain, according to the abstract:

Among patients with intermittent claudication, 24-week treatment with ramipril resulted in significant increases in pain-free and maximum treadmill walking times compared with placebo. This was associated with a significant increase in the physical functioning component of the SF-36 score.

The retraction note explains how the fabricated data came to light: 

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JAMA issues mega-correction for data breach letter due to “wording and data errors”

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s_cover_jcv062315A JAMA letter published in April on data breaches accidentally included some data that shouldn’t have been published, either — specifically, “wording and data errors” that affected five sentences and more than 10 entries in a table. One result — a reported increase in breaches over time — also went from statistically significant to “borderline” significant, according to the first author. (So yeah, this post earns our “mega correction” category.)

According to an author, an “older version” of a table made it into the letter, “Data Breaches of Protected Health Information in the United States,” which was corrected in the journal’s June 23/30 issue.

The letter and table in question detail 949 breaches of “unencrypted protected health information.”  The letter says the number of breaches has increased from 2010 to 2013; the original article claimed that the P value on that increase was <.001, but the correction says it’s really 0.07. The original says 29.1 million personal records were affected in those breaches; the real number is 29.0. And so on.

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