8th retraction appears for researcher who faked patient records

S00219150An 8th paper has been retracted for Anna Ahimastos, a heart researcher who faked patient records.

It’s the last in a chain of retractions that were the result of an investigation by her former workplace, Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute in Australia. As with the others, she did not agree to the retraction.

The investigation found fabricated patients records in some papers; in other papers, such as the newly retracted 2010 study in Atherosclerosis, the original data source could not be verified.  The latest retraction — “A role for plasma transforming growth factor-β and matrix metalloproteinases in aortic aneurysm surveillance in Marfan syndrome?” — followed up on a previous clinical trial, examining how a blood pressure drug might help patients with a life-threatening genetic disorder.

That previous trial — which also included 17 patients with Marfan syndrome treated with either placebo or perindopril — has been retracted from JAMA; the New England Journal of Medicine has also retracted a related letter.

The latest retraction note conveys similar information to the other perindopril/Marfan syndrome retractions:

This article has been retracted at the request of the co-authors Bronwyn Kingwell, Anu Aggarwal, Ravi Savarirayan and Anthony Dart because the co-authors have come forward with the information that the article contains inadequate validation of primary data sources and data misrepresentation. An independent review of the study data was conducted and showed that co-authors Bronwyn Kingwell, Anu Aggarwal, Ravi Savarirayan and Anthony Dart were not found to be involved in any research misconduct and resulted in the decision by the same co-authors to retract the paper. Co-author Dr Anna Ahimastos does not agree with the retraction.

The paper has been cited six times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

A spokesperson for Baker IDI told us:

In total, this brings the number of retractions arising from our investigations to eight and concludes the process of correcting the public record in relation to three studies with which the researcher was associated.

We have been unable to find contact information for Ahimastos. According to the spokesperson:

We are not aware of Miss Ahimastos’ current whereabouts and due to Australian privacy law, we are unable to supply any contact details.

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