Ketamine for depression? Paper retracted for error that double-counted clinical trial participants

A psychiatry journal has retracted a 2015 meta-analysis on the effectiveness of ketamine for depression after readers found that the article double-counted patients in some studies, thereby inflating the apparent benefits of the drug.

The article, “Efficacy of ketamine in bipolar depression: systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice by a group from the United States and England. But a pair of researchers in Sweden noticed the duplication — and what seems to have been a rather slapdash approach to the work — and pushed to have the paper retracted.

According to the results section of the abstract: Continue reading Ketamine for depression? Paper retracted for error that double-counted clinical trial participants

In a first, U.S. CDC retracts, replaces study about suicide risk in farmers

In a first for the CDC, the agency’s premier scientific publication has retracted a 2016 article on suicide, five months after a news story pointed out serious errors in the paper.

The article, initially published as “Suicide Rates by Occupational Group — 17 States, 2012,” had purported to find that farmers were at particularly high risk of suicide. That result in particular caught the attention of a website called The New Food Economy (TNFE), which last June called out what it said were errors in the CDC’s analysis. And on June 29, the journal, the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), issued a reader’s note.

As TNFE wrote, the crux of the mistake involves the misclassification of farmer suicides in a way that significantly inflated the rate of these events — errors the website said it first raised with the CDC in April 2018: Continue reading In a first, U.S. CDC retracts, replaces study about suicide risk in farmers

A university went to great lengths to block the release of information about a trial gone wrong. A reporter fought them and revealed the truth.

Jodi S. Cohen

Here’s a story that shows the lengths a public university — The University of Illinois at Chicago — went to block the release of information about a child psychiatry trial gone wrong, and how a reporter — Jodi S. Cohen of ProPublica — fought them effectively at every turn to reveal the truth.

Earlier this year, ProPublica “revealed that the National Institute of Mental Health ordered the university to repay $3.1 million in grant money it had received to fund [Mani] Pavuluri’s study.” This kind of clawback is very, very rare.

We tipped our hats to Cohen then, because we had been trying for years to obtain documents that would tell the full story of the Pavuluri case, which we had been covering since 2015 when a retraction appeared. In particular, we’ve been trying to get the university to release their report of the investigation into Pavuluri’s work. We have been making a push for such reports, as we noted earlier this week in a roundup of more than 16 of them. Continue reading A university went to great lengths to block the release of information about a trial gone wrong. A reporter fought them and revealed the truth.

Child psychiatrist’s research was suspended “indefinitely” following probe

Mani Pavuluri

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) permanently suspended all research activities for a child psychiatrist years ago following an inquiry into her work, Retraction Watch has learned.

In 2015, a UIC spokesperson told us the university had suspended Mani Pavuluri’s clinical research in 2013, after a child in one of her studies had been hospitalized for exhibiting an increase in irritability and aggression. This prompted the university to launch a misconduct probe, and send letters to approximately 350 families of children participating in the research, notifying them of what happened. Now, a spokesperson has informed us that after the institution concluded its probe, it suspended her research “indefinitely.”

Continue reading Child psychiatrist’s research was suspended “indefinitely” following probe

Authors retract, replace highly cited paper on ADHD in kids

Researchers have retracted and replaced a 2014 paper in JAMA Psychiatry, exploring a new way to classify attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, after discovering errors in the data.

Some experts have criticized the current diagnostic criteria for ADHD—noting, in some cases, it could inflate the rate of diagnosis. Sarah L. Karalunas, the paper’s corresponding author, told Retraction Watch that the aim of the study was to look beyond current criteria and “demonstrate an approach that could be used to better delineate the boundaries of ADHD and other psychiatric diagnostic categories.”   Continue reading Authors retract, replace highly cited paper on ADHD in kids

Child took wrong compound for over a year after “communication error”

Credit: Steven Depolo, Flickr

A journal is retracting a paper after it discovered researchers gave a child the wrong supplement for more than a year.

Rhiannon Bugno, managing editor for Biological Psychiatry, told Retraction Watch the mix-up did not put the patient at risk. However, the mistake was enough for the journal’s editor, John Krystal, of Yale University, to request the retraction of a 2016 paper describing the young girl’s experience taking the compound,“Rett-like Severe Encephalopathy Caused by a De Novo GRIN2B Mutation Is Attenuated by D-serine Dietary Supplement.”

Originally published June 17, 2016, the paper was retracted Jan. 15. Led by corresponding author Xavier Altafaj, of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), researchers described using an amino acid, D-serine, to treat a child with a rare genetic disorder that affects neurons.

According to the notice, the researchers did use D-serine in lab work used as proof-of-concept; however, when it came time to try it in the patient, as a result of a “communication error:”

Continue reading Child took wrong compound for over a year after “communication error”

Caught Our Notice: How can a publication be a surprise to a corresponding author?

Via Wikimedia

Title: Umbelliferone reverses depression-like behavior in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced mice via RIP140/NF-κB pathway

What Caught Our Attention: One would think that the corresponding author would have to be aware that they are submitting an article for publication — but apparently not, as this retraction demonstrates. The 2016 paper listed two corresponding authors — along with both of their emails and mailing addresses — but according to the retraction notice, one of them did not give consent “in any form” to the publication. Often, we see authors unaware of the use of their name when their email has been faked, but here, it’s possible the journal simply relied on the other corresponding author for all correspondence. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: How can a publication be a surprise to a corresponding author?

Obsessed with getting cited? You may have “Publiphilia Impactfactorius”

Joeri Tijdink

As a scientist, are you always focused on improving your metrics by such means as getting papers into prestigious journals? Do your funders and institutions add to that pressure to get ahead? If so, you may be at risk of a new psychiatric condition known as “Publiphilia Impactfactorius” — or, simply, PI, described in a PeerJ preprint. We talked to first author Joeri Tijdink at VU Medical Center (VUmc) in Amsterdam about this tongue-in-cheek take-down of the scientific condition, and whether there is any cure for the affliction.

Retraction Watch: You describe several new personality traits and clusters. Tell us more about this.

Continue reading Obsessed with getting cited? You may have “Publiphilia Impactfactorius”

Publisher flags paper on same-sex parenting after neo-Nazi group cites it

A publisher has issued an expression of concern (EoC) about a study that claimed children with same-sex parents were at greater risk of depression and abuse, after posters using statistics from the paper to support a homophobic message appeared in Australia and the US.

On Aug. 21, several news websites reported that these posters were appearing in Melbourne, Australia, citing claims from a 2016 paper published in Depression Research and Treatment, which said that children with same-sex parents are more at risk for depression, abuse, and obesity than children with opposite-sex parents. The poster had also appeared previously in Minneapolis and has been traced to a neo-Nazi group, as reported by HuffPost Australia. Australia is preparing for a national, non-binding, mail-in vote on whether to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The EoC mechanism, which was chosen by the journal’s publisher, Hindawi, is an unusual choice here. The paper’s author, D. Paul Sullins, a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America and the paper’s author, told Retraction Watch that Hindawi contacted him Aug. 21 about the decision. Initially, he told us he didn’t have any “particular objection to it,” but later told us he changed his mind after he read more about COPE’s guidelines for EoCs: Continue reading Publisher flags paper on same-sex parenting after neo-Nazi group cites it

Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws

Psychiatry journals have retracted two papers evaluating a schizophrenia drug after a university in Japan flagged issues, such as a lack of written informed consent.

The papers—published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental in 2012 and Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2014—examined the safety and effectiveness of an antipsychotic drug in patients with schizophrenia.

According to the retraction notice in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, the ethics committee at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki found that “the trial included subjects who did not satisfy inclusion criteria.” For instance, not all patients provided written informed consent. But the university found no evidence for data falsification or fabrication.

A spokesperson for Human Psychopharmacology told us: Continue reading Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws