Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘clinical study retractions’ Category

Error in one line of code sinks cancer study

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journl-of-clinical-oncologyAuthors of a 2016 cancer paper have retracted it after finding an error in one line of code in the program used to calculate some of the results.

Sarah Darby, last author of the now-retracted paper from the University of Oxford, UK, told Retraction Watch that the mistake was made by a doctoral student. When the error was realized, Darby said, she contacted the Journal of Clinical Oncology (JCO), explained the issue, and asked whether they would prefer a retraction or a correction. JCO wanted a retraction, and she complied.

The journal allowed the authors to publish a correspondence article outlining their new results.

Here’s the lengthy retraction notice, published online last month: Read the rest of this entry »

BMJ won’t retract controversial dietary guidelines article, says author

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bmjThe BMJ is not going to retract a 2015 article criticizing the expert report underlying the U.S. dietary guidelines, despite heavy backlash from readers, according to the author of the article.

As Politico reported today, the publication told journalist Nina Teicholz it wouldn’t retract the article, first published one year ago today.

Teicholz confirmed to us the journal emailed her in April to say the article would not be retracted: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 23rd, 2016 at 2:41 pm

Authors retract two papers on shock therapy, citing language barriers

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the-journal-of-ectAn electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) journal has retracted two 2016 papers after uncovering problems in the data analyses, which the author says were due to language barriers.

Interestingly, two authors of the newly retracted papers — Yu-Tao Xiang from the University of Macau in China and Gabor Ungvari from the University of Western Australia — also recently co-authored another paper on an entirely different topic that has received a lengthy correction. That paper — on the use of organs from executed prisoners in China — raised controversy for allegedly reporting a “sanitized” account of the practice. The correction notice, in the Journal of Medical Ethics, was accompanied by a critics’ rebuttal to the paper.

According to Xiang, the newly retracted papers in The Journal of ECT — which examined the efficacy of ECT in treating schizophrenia — were pulled due to “genuine errors” resulting from differences in language. All the authors agree with the retraction, Xiang noted. 

Xiang told us: Read the rest of this entry »

Finnish institute finds no evidence to support misconduct in diabetes paper

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VTT Research CentreAn investigation at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has found no evidence of misconduct by one of its former researchers in a diabetes paper.

We previously reported on the case after the VTT was accused of cutting corners in a previous investigation into Matej Orešič (now based at the Steno Diabetes Center in Gentofte, Denmark)In 2014, the VTT concluded that there was no evidence of falsification or data tampering on the part of Orešič in the 2008 paper published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine (JEM). The proceedings came into the public domain through a news article published in the Finnish media outlet Helsingin Sanomat in February 2016, which prompted the VTT to reopen the case.

Now, the same people who questioned the previous investigation told us they have doubts about the latest conclusions, noting the probe should not have focused on a single paper, but rather on alleged problems within the plasma and serum metabolomics group, previously led by Orešič.

Orešič sent us this report, which the VTT released on June 15, outlining their decision. The VTT confirmed the legitimacy of the report, which says: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 22nd, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Doctor who participated in fake chocolate study fined for violating code of conduct

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Source: AKA

Source: AKA

A German district attorney has fined a doctor who participated in a bogus study showing chocolate helps weight loss, designed to illustrate how shady science can make the news, arguing it was unethical to ask people to participate unknowingly in such a scam.

As soon as the study was published, critics raised questions over whether it was appropriate to include volunteers in a bogus clinical trial, which included giving blood. Recently, a German district attorney for professional conduct of physicians ruled that it was not.

In an anonymized version of a decision from the district attorney – who investigates on possible violations of the physicians’ professional law – he fined the doctor who participated in a bogus study about the health benefits of chocolate 500 Euros for not obtaining proper consent from the people who volunteered to participate, and for not involving an ethics committee. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Hinnerk Feldwisch-Drentrup

September 22nd, 2016 at 8:00 am

Amid controversial Sarepta approval decision, FDA head calls for key study retraction

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FDAThe head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has called for the retraction of a study about a drug that the agency itself approved earlier this week, despite senior staff opposing the approval.

On September 19, the FDA okayed eteplirsen to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare genetic disorder that results in muscle degeneration and premature death. Several of its top officials disagreed with the drug’s approval, questioning how beneficial it will be for patients, as Forbes, MedPage Today and others reported.

In a lengthy report Commissioner Robert Califf sent to senior FDA officials on September 16 — that was made public on September 19 — he called for the retraction of a 2013 study published in Annals of Neurology funded by the seller of eteplirsen, which showed beneficial effects of the drug in DMD patients. Califf writes in the report:

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

September 21st, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Correction cites “unreliable” data in paper by researchers at center of Duke lawsuit

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Journal of Biological ChemistryA researcher charged with embezzlement — and now the subject of a multi-million dollar lawsuit — has earned another correction, again citing “unreliable” data.

But this doesn’t appear to be a run-of-the-mill correction notice.

Firstly, it affects a paper co-authored by Erin Potts-Kant and William Foster, former Duke employees now being sued (along with Duke) for including fraudulent data in $200 million worth of federal grants. Secondly, the notice in the Journal of Biological Chemistry is four paragraphs long, and includes six figures — it would normally be considered a “mega-correction.” But lastly, even though the notice is labeled a “correction,” it’s not immediately apparent which aspects of the paper are being changed.

Here are some excerpts from the newest notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Researcher who sued to stop retractions earns his 8th

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Mario Saad

Mario Saad

Mario Saad, a diabetes researcher who once sued to stop a publisher from retracting his papers, has just received his eighth retraction.

Critical Care has retracted a 2012 paper about treating sepsis, citing extensive similarities between figures within the paper and 10 others.

Here’s the full notice for “Diacerhein attenuates the inflammatory response and improves survival in a model of severe sepsis:” Read the rest of this entry »

Two more retractions bring bone researcher’s total to 12

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jbmrA bone researcher based in Japan with 10 retractions under his belt has retracted two more papers for similar reasons — problems with the underlying data, and including co-authors who didn’t participate in the project.

In both notices, Yoshihiro Sato is pegged as responsible for the content of the papers. The newly retracted research covers a long timespan — one paper was published in 2000, the other in 2013.

Here’s the first notice, issued by the Journal of Bone and Mineral ResearchRead the rest of this entry »

How can we improve preclinical research? Advice from a diabetes researcher

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Daniel Drucker

Daniel Drucker

By all accounts, science is facing a crisis: Too many preclinical studies aren’t reproducible, leading to wasted time and effort by researchers around the world. Today in Cell Metabolism, Daniel Drucker at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto details numerous ways to make this early research more robust. His most important advice: more transparent reporting of all results (not just the positive findings), along with quantifying, reporting, tracking, and rewarding reproducibility, for both scientists and journals and universities/research institutes.

Retraction Watch: Which of your recommendations will researchers most object to, and why? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

September 13th, 2016 at 12:05 pm