Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘infectious disease’ Category

Journal pulls parasite paper over potential for patient harm

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Parasitology ResearchA journal has retracted a paper about a molecular diagnosis for leishmaniasis out of concern it could lead to incorrect clinical diagnoses. 

According to Parasitology Research, all data behind the figures in the main manuscript and supporting information are correct, but the authors’ misinterpretation of the data could lead doctors to diagnose patients incorrectly. 

Let’s take a look at the retraction notice, which tells us a bit more about the nature of the problem: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dalmeet Singh Chawla

May 19th, 2016 at 9:30 am

Study on pregnant women with HIV lied about having ethics approval

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Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 5.47.50 AMWe recently discovered a relatively old retraction notice — from 2014 — of a study on pregnant women with HIV.

The paper was retracted two years ago when BMC Research Notes discovered the authors falsely claimed they had obtained ethics approval from an institution in Kenya.

The study looked at the effectiveness of an antiretroviral therapy in 50 women who were receiving care at a center in Nairobi, Kenya. But the authors did not have permission from the center to use data from the women, nor the necessary ethics approval from Moi University to carry out the work.

Here’s the retraction note for “Effectiveness of option B highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) in pregnant HIV women:”

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

May 6th, 2016 at 11:30 am

Data manipulation flushes paper on gut bacteria

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cell reportsData manipulation in a Cell Reports paper blew the importance of a kind of bacteria out of proportion.

Retracted this month — less than three months after it was published — the paper showed, according to a summary on the cover page:

B. subtilis is a symbiont that resides in the gut of C. elegans and generates nitric oxide that is essential for the host. Xiao et al. demonstrate that nitric oxide promotes defense against pathogenic bacteria by activating p38 MAPK, demonstrating the importance of commensal bacteria in host immunity.

But B. subtilis — a member of the Bacillaceae family — aren’t actually as plentiful as they appeared, explains the retraction notice for “Gut-Colonizing Bacteria Promote C. elegans Innate Immunity by Producing Nitric Oxide:”

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Biologists earn 5th retraction following Swedish investigation

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plos pathA team of biologists have earned a fifth retraction for a paper containing manipulated images, following an investigation by the Swedish government.

Last year, the investigation found that former Uppsala University doctoral student Apiruck Watthanasurorot had manipulated figures in five papers, four of which have already been retracted. Earlier this year, we reported that his supervisor, last author Kenneth Söderhäll, had requested PLOS Pathogens simply correct the fifth paper because independent groups have confirmed the findings. But according to the retraction notice for “Bacteria-Induced Dscam Isoforms of the Crustacean, Pacifastacus leniusculus,” Söderhäll has since agreed to the retraction:

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Research assistant fired for using student’s thesis in a paper

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Reviews in Medical Microbiology

A research assistant at King Saud University (KSU) has lost his job after he used material from a student’s thesis without permission or attribution in a paper.

Lakshmana Krishnappa was terminated after a disciplinary committee considered his case last November, the vice dean for postgraduate training and research at KSU told Retraction Watch. In April of last year, Krishnappa retracted a paper published in January 2015 — we think that’s the date; the journal doesn’t make it all that clear — that included plagiarized material, published in Reviews in Medical Microbiology. He recently lost a second unrelated paper for duplication.

Here’s the retraction notice for the Reviews in Medical Microbiology paper, “Acinetobacter baumannii: pathogenecity, virulence factors and their correlation with adherence and invasion:”

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Paper on GI cancers linked to AIDS pulled for errors that upped tumor incidence

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gastroGastroenterology has retracted a 2012 article on GI cancers associated with AIDS after the authors, from the National Cancer Institute, acknowledged that a “programming” error led them to overestimate the incidence of the tumors.

The paper, “Increased Risk of Stomach and Esophageal Malignancies in People With AIDS,” received a significant amount of attention when it first appeared, including a press release from the American Gastroenterological Association and several news articles. Here are its primary findings, according to the abstractRead the rest of this entry »

Antifungal drug paper didn’t have institution’s approval

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Authors have pulled a paper on an antifungal drug that is potentially toxic because it lacked final approval from their institution.

The study describes a patient who had experienced liver toxicity after taking voriconazole. During the study, the authors re-administered the drug to the patient using “a slow dose titration.” But their institution didn’t approve the study before it was published online.

Here’s the retraction note for “Successful Rechallenge with Voriconazole following Medication-Induced Hepatotoxicity,” published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.  Read the rest of this entry »

Methodology of paper linking vaccine to behavioral issues “seriously flawed,” says retraction

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S0264410X

After temporarily removing a paper that suggested a link between the vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV) and behavioral issues, the journal has now retracted it.

Vaccine says the reason is “serious concerns regarding the scientific soundness of the article,” including flawed methodology and unjustified claims.

Christopher A. Shaw, a co-author on the paper and a researcher at the University of British Columbia, told us he has seen the notice, but doesn’t know the specific issues the journal had with the paper:

We still don’t know why [Editor in Chief] Dr Poland removed the article.

Here’s the retraction notice for “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil:”

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Written by Shannon Palus

February 25th, 2016 at 10:00 am

2001 sepsis paper “deviates from the ethical standard of authorship,” says journal

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Screen Shot 2016-02-11 at 1.50.33 PMWe don’t have a lot of information on a recent retraction of a 2001 paper published in a Japanese journal — just a brief and strongly worded note explaining that it follows “a strict, extensive, and judicious review.”

The paper, retracted 14 years after it was published, describes patients in Okinawa, Japan who developed severe symptoms following infection by bacteria belonging to the Aeromonas genus. One example:

The one patient was a 15-year-old high school girl student, who had been healthy in her school life, was admitted to the hospital with a sudden onset of left thigh muscle pain and swelling. She subsequently went into septic shock and died one day after admission. Pathological examination on autopsy revealed massive gas formation, skin bullas and ulcers, and extensive severe soft tissue damage throughout the body.

Aeromonas species infection with severe clinical manifestation in Okinawa, Japan-association with gas gangrene” has been cited three times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. It was published in a Japanese journal, Rinsho Biseibutshu Jinsoku Shindan Kenkyukai Shi — which translates to the Journal of the Association for Rapid Method and Automation in Microbiology.

The retraction note suggests that there are major flaws:  Read the rest of this entry »

Sanction for Toronto researchers upheld despite court challenge

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Shereen Ezzat

Sylvia Asa

Sylvia Asa

A Toronto hospital network is keeping two researchers’ labs closed even after an Ontario court quashed part of a misconduct finding by the institution.

Some background: After the University Health Network found evidence of falsified data, Sylvia Asa stepped down as Program Medical Director of the Laboratory Medicine Program, the largest hospital diagnostic laboratory in Canada. Due to the investigation, UHN suspended the labs of Asa and her husband Shereen Ezzat. In response, Asa and Ezzat asked an Ontario court to quash the misconduct findings; last month, the court overturned two out of three findings, and asked UHN to reconsider its sanction against the pair.

According to the Toronto Star, on February 4th the UHN notified the researchers that the sanction against them would be upheld, and it would not reopen the researchers’ labs.

The Star spoke to the researcher’s lawyer, Brian Moher who  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Shannon Palus

February 18th, 2016 at 11:30 am