Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘clinical study retractions’ Category

Duplication snuffs out pollen abstract

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AACIA Canadian research team has retracted a meeting abstract “published in error” from a supplement by Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology, as it had previously been published in another journal.

The December 2014 abstract, “A post-hoc qualitative analysis of real time heads-up pollen counting versus traditional microscopy counting in the environmental exposure unit (EEU),” describes a custom digital imaging method for counting pollen in real-time. The abstract was published ten months earlier, in February 2014, under the same title in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Here is the full retraction note:

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Clinical trial of Achilles tendon therapy retracted for not actually being a clinical trial

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JBJS_ak6The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery has retracted a 2012 paper because of ethical violations, initially flagged by the journal in 2013.

The study, which examined the use of autologous cell therapy in treating Achilles tendinosis, claimed in its abstract to have “conducted a randomized, double-blind study on forty Achilles tendons in thirty-two patients.” Apparently, though, it wasn’t actually a clinical trial but was somehow, according to the retraction notice, “misclassified” as such “in error.”

The problem was originally flagged by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, which wrote the journal to tell them that it hadn’t granted ethical approval for the study, as we reported in 2013. At the time, there was a question about whether the lead author had retained records of the results, which is addressed in the retraction notice, signed by editor-in-chief Marc F. Swiontkowski and editor-in-Chief Emeritus Vernon T. Tolo: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alla Katsnelson

May 14th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Highly cited cancer researcher pulls review for “similar text and illustrations”

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AbdomImaging_ak8The author of a 2006 review article published in Abdominal Imaging has retracted it because it hews too closely to previously published articles.

The review described the latest imaging techniques used in cancer, focusing on genitourinary conditions.

Here’s the full text of the retraction notice for “New Horizons in Genitourinary Oncologic Imaging”:

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Drug study pulled after researchers admit altering trial protocol

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egypt anaesthesiaThe Egyptian Journal of Anaesthesia is retracting a 2014 paper by a pair of researchers at Cairo University who appear to have tinkered with their protocol after having received ethics approval.

The paper, titled “Can Sugammadex improve the reversal profile of Atracurium under Sevoflurane anesthesia?” was written by Heba Ismail Ahmed Nagy and Hany Wafik Elkadi, both in the department of anesthesiology.

Sugammadex, or Bridion, is given to rapidly reverse the effects of drugs that keep patients motionless during surgery. It is available throughout the world but not, as it happens, in the United States, where the Food and Drug Administration has refused to approve the agent because of fears that it might provoke severe allergic-like reactions.

According to the retraction notice:

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Chinese medical case study erased after guardian consent withdrawn

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JMCRThe editor of the Journal of Medical Case Reports, a BioMed Central title, has retracted and removed a case study of a novel surgical treatment after the patient’s legal guardian withdrew consent post-publication.

The paper, “Novel two-stage surgical treatment for Cantrell syndrome complicated by severe pulmonary hypertension: a case report,” describes the treatment of a six-month-old Han Chinese girl suffering from a rare combination of birth defects called Cantrell syndrome, complicated by pulmonary hypertension.

The original article, published in March 2014, has been removed from the journal’s website, though the abstract can be read on PubMed. It is unclear whether the authors, the child’s guardian, or some other party informed the editor of the withdrawal of consent.

The brief notice offers few details:

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Written by Megan Scudellari

April 28th, 2015 at 9:30 am

When should a paper be retracted? A tale from the obesity literature

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obesity factsIn our line of work, we see it all — mega-corrections that don’t quite rise to the level of retraction, letters to the editor that point out seemingly fatal flaws in papers that remain untouched, and studies retracted for what seem like minor reasons. It can make you wonder what makes a paper worthy of a retraction. A recent case in an obesity journal may not provide a definitive answer, but it gives us a lot to chew on.

Here’s the story: In September 2013, Rosely Sichieri and a colleague from the State University of Rio de Janeiro submitted an article to Obesity Facts, “Unbalanced Baseline in School-Based Interventions to Prevent Obesity: Adjustment Can Lead to Bias?” The article examined statistical issues in randomized controlled trials of school-based weight loss programs. Peer reviewers said the paper needed major revisions before it could be accepted; the authors revised the paper enough in a second draft, submitted in November 2013, that the original reviewers accepted it. The paper was published in June 2014.

Then, in September 2014, a group of authors including David Allison of the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and colleagues from Clemson, Thomas Jefferson, and the University of Minnesota, wrote a critical letter that was published in the journal in April. The letter, according to a just-published editorial: Read the rest of this entry »

Urology researcher in Iran up to six retractions

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safarinejadA urologist in Iran has lost three papers in BJU International, bringing his retraction count to a half-dozen.

In December 2013, we reported on three retractions by Mohammad Reza Safarinejad. None of those notices, about papers related to incontinence and erectile dysfunction, made the reasons for retraction very clear. After that post ran, Safarinejad told us that Hartmut Porst, former president of the European Society for Sexual Medicine, had raised questions about the data in a number of his papers. Porst confirmed that for us earlier this month.

All of the latest papers, about aspects of male sexual dysfunction, are being retracted due to “inappropriate” statistical analyses.

Here’s the notice for “Analysis of association between the 5-HTTLPR and STin2 polymorphisms in the serotonin-transporter gene and clinical response to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (sertraline) in patients with premature ejaculation,” which has been cited 17 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Ivan Oransky

April 24th, 2015 at 9:30 am

Second paper for Duke lung researchers expires in a retraction

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pnas 3 5 13Scientists at Duke and the National Institutes of Health have retracted a PNAS paper on asthma treatment after realizing the data from two sources didn’t match, and “most primary data” from several experiments were missing.

The mix up seems to have come from the pulmonary function laboratory that tested how well asthmatic patients’ lungs were functioning on an experimental anti-inflammatory therapy. As the authors say in the retraction note: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Cat Ferguson

April 6th, 2015 at 11:30 am

Major methods error prompts retraction of lung radiation paper

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nmmiOne of the authors of a 2014 case series on lung disease following radiation in Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging is retracting the paper for what the the journal is calling “honest error.” That may be true, but it’s a big error — so big, it’s amazing no one detected it sooner.

The paper was titled “A Case Series of Four Patients With Clinically Significant Radiomicrosphere Pneumonitis After Yttrium-90 Radioembolization from the Perspective of Lung Dosimetry,” and it came from a group in Singapore and Australia.

According to the retraction notice: Read the rest of this entry »

Retraction and republication for Lancet Resp Med tracheostomy paper

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lancetrmA paper whose expression of concern we covered in November 2014 has been retracted and republished “because of the extent of the changes necessary,” according to the Lancet Respiratory Medicine.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen retraction/republications at the Lancetaccompanied by thorough breakdowns of the problem.

This study was a meta-analysis of research on how the timing of tracheostomies — placing a breathing tube directly into the windpipe — affects patients’ mortality rate. The original paper found that critically ill patients who received a tracheostomy earlier fared better than those for whom the procedure was delayed for weeks after intubation, the recommended practice.

However, when the authors calculated how many patients died, they assumed that any patient who wasn’t discharged from the intensive care unit (ICU) had died there, instead of looking for other explanations. This made their estimates unreliable.

The publisher convened a panel, which ultimately decided retraction and republication was the most appropriate course of action.

The original expression of concern contained a quote from the authors about the “data discrepancy” that would later sink the paper: Read the rest of this entry »