Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘neurology’ Category

Lost in translation: Authors blame a language error for wrong diagnosis

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A patient’s “unusual” brain cyst excited several researchers in China so much they published a paper about it in a major journal. Soon a reader identified a glaring mistake: the authors had described the cause of the cyst incorrectly.  

A month after the paper appeared online in November 2016, the reader — a neurologist — published a letter in the journal, pointing out the incorrect diagnosis. In their response, the authors acknowledged the mistake but said it had occurred not because they had misdiagnosed the patient, but because the diagnosis had been mistranslated from Chinese to English.

The editors of Neurology retracted the paper because of the error and published a new version with the correct diagnosis on the same day, June 6.

Although we did not hear back from the paper’s two corresponding authors—Jun Guo and Guan Sun—the journal published a string of letters that chronicles the case.

Here’s the retraction (and replacement) notice:  

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Unusual: Neurology removes author dinged for misconduct from 2016 paper

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Neurology has partially retracted a 2016 paper, replacing a figure and removing the author who contributed it after he was found guilty of misconduct.

The journal has replaced the figure with a new one that confirmed the findings of the original, and swapped the name of Andrew Cullinane with the scientist who constructed the new figure using a new dataset. Last year, the U.S. Office of Research Integrity declared that Cullinane had falsified data in this paper and one other while working as a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI).

Cullinane appears to be at Howard University in Washington D.C., according to his LinkedIn page. He is listed as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department of the university’s College of Medicine.

Here’s the partial retraction notice from the journal:

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Analysis casts doubt on bone researcher’s body of work

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19-coverA new analysis of more than 30 clinical trials co-authored by a bone researcher based in Japan is casting doubt on the legitimacy of the findings.

Yoshihiro Sato, based at Mitate Hospital, has already retracted 12 papers, for reasons ranging from data problems, to including co-authors without their consent, to self-plagiarism. Most of these retracted papers are included in the analysis in the journal Neurology, which concluded that Sato’s 33 randomized clinical trials exhibited patterns that suggest systematic problems with the results.

Other researchers have used similar approaches to analyze a researcher’s body of work — notably, when John Carlisle applied statistical tools to uncover problems in the research of notorious fraudster Yoshitaka Fujii, and Uri Simonsohn, who sniffed out problems with the work of social psychologist  Dirk Smeesters.

Author Mark Bolland of the University of Auckland told us he was surprised by his findings: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

November 9th, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Former NIH postdoc doctored data

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ori-logoA genetics researcher included falsified data in two published papers, according to a report by the U.S. Office of Research Integrity (ORI) released today.

At the time of the misconduct, Andrew Cullinane was a postdoctoral fellow in the Medical Genetics Branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). According to his LinkedIn page, he is now an assistant professor at Howard University in Washington D.C. The university’s College of Medicine lists him as an assistant professor in the Basic Sciences/Anatomy department.

As today’s notice in the Federal Register reports, Cullinane Read the rest of this entry »

Bone researcher up to 10 retractions

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Neurology JournalA journal is retracting three papers and a letter from a bone researcher who admitted to scientific misconduct, noting that all co-authors were included only for honorary reasons.

We’ve previously reported on six retractions of papers co-authored by Yoshihiro Sato, who is based at Mitate Hospital in Japan, including one in JAMA. Retractions stemmed from the use of “honorary” co-authors, as well as concerns over the data. One paper seemed to be the victim of “extensive self-plagiarism.”

Sato, who is the first and corresponding author of all ten retractions (including the letter), accepted full responsibility of the newly retracted publications, noting that none of the co-authors took part in any misconduct.

Here’s the retraction notice — which is similar for all four new retractions — issued on July 12: Read the rest of this entry »

Shingles-stroke connection paper earns expression of concern for “errors in data presentation”

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neurologyThe journal Neurology has issued an expression of concern for a paper linking shingles and stroke, which got press attention when it was published.

The journal’s note refers to “errors of data presentation,” which author Judith Breuer more narrowly defined as mistakes during transcription of a table. It’s unclear whether the results themselves – that herpes zoster, the virus that causes shingles, is a risk factor for stroke and other vascular problems – are being called into question.

Here’s the expression of concern for “Herpes zoster as a risk factor for stroke and TIA: A retrospective cohort study in the UK”: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 17th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Paper on controversial stem cell “stamina therapy” retracted

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A Korean stem cell journal has retracted a paper on a controversial Italian treatment that involves harvesting stem cells from bone marrow and injecting them back into the patient.

Stamina therapy” has been pitched as a treatment for everything from Parkinson’s disease to coma, based on a U.S. patent application filed in 2010. The Italian government pledged about $3.9 million in 2013 to support a clinical trial for stamina therapy. More than 100 people signed up for the trials, with a wide range of neurological ailments; half were children.

However, allegations of fraud led to a criminal investigation into the Stamina Foundation’s leader, psychologist David Vannoni, as well as 17 other members of the organization. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

December 10th, 2014 at 9:30 am

Neurology expresses concern over dementia study after authors report error in analysis

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neurologyNeurology has issued an expression of concern over a 2013 article by a group of scientists in The Netherlands and the United States who found a potentially devastating error in their analysis.

The article, “Structural and functional brain connectivity in presymptomatic familial frontotemporal dementia,” came from the lab of John C. van Swieten, of Erasmus University in The Netherlands. According to the abstract of the article:  Read the rest of this entry »

Journal expresses concern over flawed multiple sclerosis treatment guideline

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neurology may13coverThe journal Neurology has issued an Expression of Concern over recommendations it published earlier this year regarding the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

The journal’s website received multiple comments from clinicians expressing their own concern about the flawed recommendation, which was published as part of a paper titled “The American Academy of Neurology’s Top Five Choosing Wisely recommendations.” The problematic item was number 4: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

May 13th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The ‘Goldilocks’ retraction? Revealing differences in how several neurology journals handled related problems

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Four neurology journals have retracted articles by a Japanese researcher who admitted to having made “mistakes” in his handling of data. Although the cases are related, the way the journals have handled the  notices is startlingly different. One chose to say nothing, one chose to say little, while two went for full — or at least, approximately that — disclosure.

Guess which ones we like the most? Read the rest of this entry »