Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘clinical study retractions’ Category

Image issues force retraction of liver transplant papers

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ajtranspA group of researchers in Hong Kong and China have lost a pair of papers on liver transplantation after concerns were raised about the “origin of images” in the two studies.

The articles appeared in the American Journal of Transplantation in January and February of 2006, and came from the lab of S. T. Fan, of the University of Hong Kong. When the authors were asked about the images, they “were unable to satisfactorily mitigate the concerns.”

According to this bio from the journal Hepatobiliary Surgery and Nutrition, Fan: Read the rest of this entry »

Urologist makes what he calls “clarifications” to multiple articles

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Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 10.22.32 AMWe have discovered several errata for a New York City urologist, including in one paper that previously inspired one of our favorite headlines.

The latest development is pretty straightforward: Ashutosh K. Tewari has issued errata to multiple papers in two journals that note changes to some data points. But the backstory has some twists and turns, so you may need to read this one carefully.

We’ll start with the paper that might be familiar to eagle-eyed readers, on incontinence after surgery: “Effect of a Risk- Grade of Nerve-sparing Technique on Early Return of Continence After Robot-assisted Laparoscopic Radical Prostatectomy.” It was published in European Urology in 2012, and has been cited 21 times, according Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the correction note (paywalled  — tsk, tsk):

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Cochrane withdraws review on zinc for colds for data concerns

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Cochrane_LogoThe Cochrane Library has withdrawn a 2013 systematic review on zinc’s ability to fight the common cold.

Cochrane often marks reviews “withdrawn” once new evidence emerges that renders them out of date — but in this case, the review was flagged while the editors investigate issues “regarding the calculation and analysis of data.”

Here’s the notice.

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Journal bans authors of duplicated asthma paper

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22A common ailment known as duplication has taken down a paper about a common fungus and asthma.

Aspergillus spores are often ubiquitous yet harmless, but can irritate people whose lungs aren’t in top working order. Duplication, on the other hand, is more universally deadly. The editors of The Pan African Medical Journal told us that, in addition to the retraction, there were personal consequences for the authors:  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

October 7th, 2015 at 9:30 am

There’s “no evidence” research was conducted at all in retracted cancer paper

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cov200h (1)To one reader of a paper on a nerve cancer, the researchers, based at a hospital in China, seemed to have found a very large number of cases of a rare cancer to study. That observation triggered an investigation into the paper that led to its retraction — and the concern that the authors in the paper never did the research at all.

The authors say they recruited 156 patients who had a particular kind of cancer that affects the tissue around nerves, known as malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors. For context on how rare that is: Other researchers found a mere 1,182 new cases over a nearly four-decade period in the U.S. The study, according to the methods section of the paper, was supposedly done with patients who had a specific type of the disease, and who were

consecutively recruited from Wuhan Union Hospital, Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan (Hubei, China) between July 2000 and November 2012

According to the retraction note for “Common genetic variants in the microRNA biogenesis pathway are associated with malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor risk in a Chinese population,” the hospital where the work was done never treated all of those patients:

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Written by Shannon Palus

October 6th, 2015 at 11:30 am

“Irresolvable authorship dispute” leads to retraction of tropical disease paper

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Microbiology AustraliaA paper on schistosomiasis, a tropical disease spread by parasitic worms that live in freshwater snails, has been pulled because of an “irresolvable authorship dispute.”

Microbiology Australia published the retraction earlier this month in an agreement with the editors and the authors. Unfortunately, the notice doesn’t provide many details and that’s pretty much all we know.

Here’s the notice in full:

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Publisher bans authors for apparent plagiarism

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Three authors have been banned from journals published by IGM Publication, including the Journal of Medical Science and Clinical Research.

The ban — a relatively infrequent occurrence in publishing — comes after the publisher removed a 2014 article that seems to have merely changed the title and authors of a 2013 article  from another journal.

When a tip from a reader pointed to the possibility of duplication between the two articles, Read the rest of this entry »

Author objects to retraction for not “faithfully represented” immunology figures

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The Journal of ImmunologyAll but one of the authors of a study about the immune response to H. pylori have agreed to a retraction in The Journal of Immunology, due to two of the paper’s figures not being “faithfully represented.”

Authors of the 2006 paper said they were unable to provide the original unedited scans “due to inadequate archiving dating back almost 10 years.” The authors — with the exception of the first author, Sushil Kumar Pathak, apologized for the error.

The notice, which has been appended to the pdf, reads:

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Violent songs can lead to spicy food, and other lessons we learned from corrected graphic

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A correction to a 2011 paper doesn’t change its main conclusion: Hearing song lyrics about violence — “let the bodies hit the floor,” for example — can prompt aggressive behavior, even more so than violent imagery in music videos.

The correction follows an investigation by Macquarie University that found errors in data analysis to be an “honest mistake.”

During the study — “The effect of auditory versus visual violent media exposure on aggressive behaviour: The role of song lyrics, video clips and musical tone,” published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology — the authors measured the effect of violent songs or imagery using the “hot sauce paradigm.” In this model, researchers estimate people’s level of aggression by how much hot sauce they give another person to eat. The study found that, indeed, people who are exposed to violence — particularly, lyrics —  give more hot sauce to their neighbors. It has been cited 6 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

One aspect of the paper prompted a tweet from a Dutch journalist: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

October 1st, 2015 at 2:30 pm

“Rigging of the peer-review process” kills parasite paper

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A paper on nematode parasites appears to have been infected with a nasty strain of a publishing problem known as fake peer review. By our count, the phenomenon has felled approximately 250 papers in total.

The affected review, “The important role of matrix metalloproteinases in nematode parasites,” explores a type of enzyme secreted by the parasite. Published in Helminthologia, it’s been cited once, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

Unfortunately, the retraction note doesn’t give us too many details about how the peer review process was manipulated:

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