Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘cardiology retractions’ Category

Investigation prompts 5th retraction for cancer researcher for “unresolvable concerns”

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3.coverAn investigation at the University of New South Wales in Australia has led to a fifth retraction for a cancer researcher long accused of misconduct, due to “unresolvable concerns” with some images.

As we reported in December, UNSW cleared Levon Khachigian of misconduct, concluding that his previous issues stemmed from “genuine error or honest oversight.” Now, Circulation Research is retracting one of his papers after an investigation commissioned by UNSW was unable to find electronic records for two similar images from a 2009 paper, nor records of the images in original lab books.

Again, the retraction note affirms that this is not a sign of misconduct:

UNSW has not attributed any instance of research misconduct or responsibility for the unavailability of the original data to Professor Khachigian or to any of the authors of the publication.

Here’s the retraction note in full for “Angiotensin II-Inducible Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis Involves the Angiotensin II Type 2 Receptor, GATA-6 Activation, and FasL-Fas Engagement:” Read the rest of this entry »

Investigation of undisclosed conflicts in catheter paper uncovers flawed data, too

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cov150hAn investigation into a paper that compared infection rates from different types of central lines started with an allegation about a failure to disclose a conflict of interest, and ended up concluding that the science in the paper was flawed.

The 2013 paper — now retracted by the American Journal of Infection Control — suggested a particular kind of connector between the catheter and the patient could reduce some of the notoriously deadly bloodstream infections associated with the procedure, according to a press release that publicized the work. But last year, the journal issued an expression of concern for the paper, noting there were questions about the data. The retraction note reveals an investigation at Georgia Regents University — now known as Augusta University — started looking into undisclosed conflicts of interest in the paper, and ultimately concluded the science was flawed.

Here’s the retraction note, published in the January 1st 2016 issue of the journal, for “Comparison of central line-associated bloodstream infection rates when changing to a zero fluid displacement intravenous needleless connector in acute care settings

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Eight retractions for fake reviews lead journal to suspend author nominations

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An investigation has uncovered fake reviews on 21 papers submitted to the Journal of the Renin-Angiotensin Aldosterone System.

After taking a second look at accepted papers with an author-nominated reviewer, the journal discovered that the listed reviewers on the 21 papers, though real people, had never submitted a report.

Eight of the papers have been retracted by JRAAS. The rest had not yet been published, and have now been rejected, explains a commentary by the journal editors. The journal has also stopped allowing authors to nominate reviewers.

The retraction note — the same on all eight papers — explains how the authors “seriously compromised” the review process:

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Authors retract antioxidant paper after more work reverses their conclusion

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The authors of a paper about the benefits of an antioxidant found in blueberries known as pterostilbene have retracted it after their subsequent research suggested the antioxidant might actually be harmful.

The paper presented evidence that the antioxidant might help rats after heart attack, in part by inhibiting cell death (apoptosis). But according to the retraction note, more work

found that pterostilbene might induce apoptosis in the heart and can be harmful, and we are now focusing on the phenomenon.

The rest of the retraction note for “Pterostilbene attenuates inflammation in rat heart subjected to ischemia-reperfusion: role of TLR4/NF-κB signaling pathway,” published in the International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, suggests that the authors would consider republishing their findings if they became more confident in the data:

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7th retraction for heart researcher who faked patient records

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1.coverAnna Ahimastos, a heart researcher who faked patient records, has notched her 7th retraction.

One more paper is expected to be retracted, according to a spokesperson from her former institution, the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Australia.

As with the other retractions, the 2005 paper in Hypertension — about how the hypertension drug ramipril may help alleviate cardiovascular disease — is being pulled after Ahimastos admitted to scientific misconduct. She asserts the data remain valid, and has not signed the retraction notice.

The Hypertension paper has been cited 63 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. Here’s the retraction note in full (the language will be familiar to readers who have been following this case):

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My life as a whistleblower: Q&A with Peter Wilmshurst

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We’re presenting a Q&A session with Peter Wilmshurst, now a part-time consultant cardiologist who has spent decades embroiled in misconduct investigations as a whistleblower.


Peter Wilmshurst

Retraction Watch: A UK judge recently upheld two findings of dishonesty by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service against Andrew Dowson, director of headache services at King’s College Hospital and your former co-investigator. Were you pleased with the verdict? (Last week, Dowson also began a four-month suspension from practicing medicine in the UK.) 

Peter Wilmshurst: In part, because I was pleased that he was shown to be dishonest, because I knew that he was, which was why I reported him. But I wasn’t pleased in the sense that I don’t think the investigation dealt with all the issues involved in the Migraine Intervention with STARflex Technology (MIST) Trial.

RW: What additional issues did you hope to see addressed? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Alison McCook

December 7th, 2015 at 11:34 am

NEJM pulls letter by heart researcher who faked patient records

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Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.08.23 AMA heart researcher who fabricated patient records has notched retraction number six — this time, for a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine. She has two more retractions forthcoming.

The retraction comes at the request of Anna Ahimastos’s co-authors, following an investigation into her work by her former workplace, the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. The investigation was not able to verify the data referenced in the letter, which includes a citation for a recently retracted JAMA paper.

The retraction note is similar to others for Ahimastos’s papers:

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Mega-correction for updated CPR reporting guidelines

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CirculationA major correction has been posted for an update to international guidelines on reporting outcomes of people receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Circulation published the paper online in 2014; the correction was issued before it appeared in print, in the journal’s September 29, 2015 issue. “When reviewing the final proof for print publication, the author noticed some errors and requested changes,” according to a spokesperson for the journal’s publisher, the American Heart Association.

The notice is so long, we’re only including the first paragraph, most of which is taken up by just the title of the paper:

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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 »

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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