Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘faked data’ Category

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  That trial was retracted, along with a sub analysis.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 »

Scott Reuben notches 25th retraction, for a letter to the editor

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Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 11.08.26 AMAnother domino has fallen for the infamous and prolific former anesthesiologist Scott Reuben. This time it’s a retraction for a letter to the editor that cites one of his since-retracted papers.

The letter, published in 2001, argues that local anesthesia is a “safe, reliable, inexpensive, and practical alternative to the use of epidural, spinal, or general anesthesia” for outpatient knee surgery. But to support his point, he uses one of his papers that has since been retracted for data fabrication.

The note from Anesthesia & Analgesia explains:
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Heart researcher gets 3rd retraction for copying images of rat hearts

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1-s2.0-S0014299914X00233-cov150hWhen two papers include the same images of rat hearts, one of those papers gets retracted.

The papers share a corresponding author, Zhi-Qing Zhao of Mercer University School of Medicine in Savannah, Georgia. This marks his third retraction; we reported on two others earlier this year.

The papers examine the effect of curcumin, which has antinflammatory properties (in addition to giving the spice turmeric its yellow color). The retracted paper, “Dual ACE-inhibition and angiotensin II AT1 receptor antagonism with curcumin attenuate maladaptive cardiac repair and improve ventricular systolic function after myocardial infarctionin rat heart,” was published in the January 5, 2015 issue of the European Journal of Pharmacology, and has zero citations, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It shares multiple figures with another 2012 paper, “Curcumin promotes cardiac repair and ameliorates cardiac dysfunction following myocardial infarction,” published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, which has not been retracted. The BJP paper has been cited 18 times.

Here’s the retraction note for the EJP paper:

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Heart researcher who faked patient data gets 4th retraction

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XLargeThumb.00004872-201512000-00000.CVA heart researcher who fabricated patient records for her studies on the blood pressure medication ramipril has earned her fourth retraction, and more are apparently on the way.

For readers who are new to this case: Things first unraveled for Anna Ahimastos when a subanalysis of a JAMA clinical trial revealed “anomalies,” triggering an investigation. After Ahimastos admitted to fabricating patient data, that JAMA paper and two others — including a small trial in Annals of Internal Medicine — were pulled. A spokesperson for her former employer, Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute, told us last week that they have requested more retractions:

Five papers and one letter are in the process of being retracted.

The Annals and this latest paper are included in the five papers, so we expect to see Read the rest of this entry »

Can linguistic patterns identify data cheats?

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JLAPSCunning science fraudsters may not give many tells in their data, but the text of their papers may be a tipoff to bad behavior.

That’s according to a new paper in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology by a pair of linguists at Stanford University who say that the writing style of data cheats is distinct from that of honest authors. Indeed, the text of science papers known to contain fudged data tends to be more opaque, less readable and more crammed with jargon than untainted articles.

The authors, David Markowitz and Jeffrey Hancock, also found that papers with faked data appear to be larded up with references – possibly in an attempt to make the work more cumbersome for readers to wade through, or to tart up the manuscript to make it look more impressive and substantial. As Markowitz told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by amarcus41

November 11th, 2015 at 9:30 am

St. Jude investigation finds faked data in brain tumor paper

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S00396060An investigation at St. Jude Children’s Hospital into “irregularities” in a figure featured in a neuroblastoma paper has concluded that the image was fabricated. The paper, published in Surgery in 2012, was retracted on Friday.

Here’s the full retraction notice for “Liposome-encapsulated curcumin suppresses neuroblastoma growth through nuclear factor-kappa B inhibition:”

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Heart researcher who faked patient data gets third retraction

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Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 6.38.09 PMA heart researcher has notched her third retraction, a small 2006 trial in Annals of Internal Medicine which seemed to show that a blood pressure drug could help people with artery disease walk further with less pain.

Earlier this year, Anna Ahimastos, formerly a researcher at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, lost a larger clinical trial in JAMA and a subanalysis in Circulation Research after it was discovered she’d fabricated patient records. As principle investigator Bronwyn Kingwell told us in September:

Specifically, records were fabricated for trial participants that did not exist.

Now, following an investigation by the institute, her co-authors are proactively retracting papers, with more to come. The Annals of Internal Medicine paper, “Ramipril Markedly Improves Walking Ability in Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease,” is being pulled due to an “inability to adequately validate primary data sources.” According to the note, Ahimastos “maintains the integrity of the data and validity of reported results:”

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University revokes PhD of first author on retracted STAP stem cell papers

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800px-Waseda_University_Logo.svgWaseda University has revoked the doctorate degree of the first author on the now-retracted Nature papers about a technique to create stem cells.

The technique — which claimed to provide a new way to nudge young cells from mice into pluripotency — was initially described in two 2014 Nature papers, both first-authored by Haruko Obokata. However, the papers were soon mired in controversy, corrected, then retracted later that year due to “several critical errors,” some of which were categorized by a RIKEN investigation as misconduct.

Shortly after Nature retracted the two papers, Waseda revoked Obokata’s doctorate degree — on a probationary basis, according to the university: Read the rest of this entry »

University finds “preponderance of evidence” of misconduct by child psychiatrist

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JPN39_2_CoverAn investigation at the University of Illinois at Chicago has found “a preponderance of evidence” that a psychiatrist who has received millions of dollars in federal funding has committed misconduct.

One paper co-authored by Mani Pavuluri, the director of the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program, has been officially retracted so far, from the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. UIC has requested that two others be retracted as well. None of the child participants in the three papers received medication as part of the research, but the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience paper was pulled after the investigation found that Pavuluri had misrepresented how much medication some children had taken outside of the study.

On Tuesday, after we’d learned of the first retraction, Pavuluri told Retraction Watch that she didn’t “want mountains made out of molehills,” but admitted to “a bit of an [Institutional Review Board] infraction.”

The retraction note from the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience lays the blame squarely on Pavuluri’s shoulders:

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After court verdict, BMJ retracts 26-year-old paper

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downloadToday, The BMJ retracted a 1989 paper about the role of breastfeeding and formula in infant eczema — 20 years after the data were called into question by a university report.

However, the report was kept secret — due, by some accounts, to alleged threats of a lawsuit. That is, until this year, when author Ranjit Kumar Chandra — who once dubbed himself the “father of nutritional immunology” — lost a $132 million libel case. That case, against the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) for airing a three-part documentary series on allegations of fraud against Chandra, pushed the report by his former employer Memorial University of Newfoundland into the public domain.

At 26 years, the BMJ retraction is a runner up for the longest amount of time a journal has taken to retract a paper. (We know of another retraction that was 27 years in the making, and a scientist who requested the retraction of some passages of a 1955 article in 2007, after the article became fodder for creationists.)

Here’s the first part of the retraction note:

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Written by Shannon Palus

October 28th, 2015 at 7:30 pm