Caught Our Notice: “Ironically,” same error in same journal “was noted last year”

Via Wikimedia

Title: Sleep quality and body composition variations in obese male adults after 14 weeks of yoga intervention: A randomized controlled trial

What Caught Our Attention: Last year, researchers led by David Allison at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health called for the retraction of an article linking weight loss and obese female yoga participants in the International Journal of Yoga, citing problems with randomization and baseline statistics. Despite the first author’s statement that he planned to retract the article, the journal refused to retract it.  

But Allison is no stranger to such roadblocks in correcting the literature, so this past December, Allison (now dean of the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington) tried again. He published another letter — concerning a new article by different authors — in the same journal, arguing that their conclusions about the benefits of yoga in obese men were not supported by the data.

This time, the authors have published a reply acknowledging that their pertinent findings are not significant, and asking that a sentence in the abstract and conclusion be amended to reflect such.  The original article has (to-date) not been corrected, nor does it link to the correction suggested by the authors.

Journal: International Journal of Yoga

Authors: PB Rshikesan, Pailoor Subramanya, Deepeshwar Singh

Affiliations: Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana, India

Excerpts from Allison’s Letter to the Editor:

Rshikesan et al. conducted the correct analyses and found no statistically significant effects. Therefore, the correct conclusions of the study would have been that the data did not show that the treatment was effective.

Surprisingly, those were not the conclusions reported by Rshikesan et al. Rshikesan et al. incorrectly concluded that “The results indicate the beneficial effects of integrated approach of yoga therapy on body composition and sleep quality in obese males.” They drew these conclusions by mistakenly relying on the fact that some of the within-group changes in outcome variables were statistically significant for the yoga group but not for the control group. Unfortunately, such an analytic strategy is invalid…Ironically, in this very journal, this same error occurred in a different paper and was noted last year.

Given that the primary conclusions offered in the paper by Rshikesan et al. are incorrect, an erratum or retraction should be issued.

Author’s Reply:

Considering the points raised by the reader and reviewer, strong claim about the treatment effect would not be possible as between-group analyses do not show statistical significance. Hence, we would like to revise the conclusion in “Abstract” and “Conclusion” sections as below:

“The trend of changes observed across the groups in various variables may indicate possible beneficial effects of IAYT on body composition and sleep quality in obese males; however, between-group differences were found to be nonsignificant.”

Date of Article: August 2017

Times Cited, according to Clarivate Analytics’ Web of Science:  Journal not indexed

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2 thoughts on “Caught Our Notice: “Ironically,” same error in same journal “was noted last year””

  1. The authors may have analyzed their data incorrectly, but this seems like pretty low-hanging fruit to make a fuss over.

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