Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Archive for the ‘infectious disease’ Category

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

Court dismisses lawsuit by XMRV-chronic fatigue syndrome researcher

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mikovitsA California court has dismissed virologist Judy Mikovits’s lawsuit against fourteen people and two Nevada corporations, in part because she failed to submit necessary documents on time.

Mikovits is the author on a now-retracted Science paper suggesting a link between a virus known as XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome, which has no known cause. She alleged that she was fired from the Whittemore-Peterson Institute for blowing the whistle on her former colleague’s activities, and that the defendants then colluded to imprison and defame her.

The court dismissed her case last Wednesday. According to the court minutes,

Written by Shannon Palus

February 16th, 2016 at 2:00 pm

Journal temporarily removes paper linking HPV vaccine to behavioral issues

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1-s2.0-S0264410X16X00084-cov150hThe editor in chief of Vaccine has removed a paper suggesting a human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine can trigger behavioral changes in mice.

The note doesn’t provide any reason for the withdrawal, although authors were told the editor asked for further review.

Two co-authors on the paper — about Gardasil, a vaccine against HPV — have previously suggested that aluminum in vaccines is linked to autism, in research a World Health Organization advisory body concluded was “seriously flawed.”

Approximately 80 million doses of Gardasil were administered in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015. Both the the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled the vaccine to be safe — the CDC, for instance, calls it “safe, effective, and recommended.”

The journal published an uncorrected proof of “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil” online on January 9th, 2016. In its place now is a note that says:

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Here are the 10 — yes, 10 — reasons PLOS ONE retracted this paper

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Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 10.50.25 AMPLOS One is retracting a paper for overlapping with a Wikipedia page. And for containing material lifted from other sources. And for “language errors.” And for insufficient evidence that authors found the pathogens floating around in hospital air that they claimed to find.

The instances of plagiarism are a “huge problem,” each “enough for retraction on its own,” Jonathan Eisen, a microbiologist at the University of California, Davis, told us. Eisen, who posted several comments to the paper after its publication in October, added that the paper was “simply not technically sound.”

The paper — which even contains a spelling error in its title, “Metagenomic Human Repiratory Air in a Hospital Environment” — describes a gene sequencing method to screen the air in hospitals for pathogens. The retraction note lists 10 concerns with the paper: Read the rest of this entry »

List of retractions, corrections grows for Duke researchers

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cov200hDuke researcher Michael Foster and his former co-author Erin Potts-Kant are adding to their notice count with a major correction from late last year to a paper on how certain cells in mice respond to a pneumonia infection, citing “potential discrepancies in the data.”

The correction is actually a partial retraction: The note explains that parts of three figures should be discounted.

We’ve also recently unearthed multiple corrections and two retractions from the pair that we missed from earlier in 2015.

After questions about the data in the corrected paper arose, the authors were able to replicate most of the experiments in the paper, according to the note. But since the paper was published, the senior author passed away, closing her lab, so they couldn’t repeat all of the work.

Here’s the correction notice for “Mast cell TNF receptors regulate responses to Mycoplasma pneumoniae in surfactant protein A (SP-A)−/− mice,” published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology:

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