A journal has retracted a paper on a controversial course of treatment used to stunt the growth of disabled children, at the request of the human research ethics committee at the University of Waikato in New Zealand.
The paper described the so-called Ashley Treatment — explored last week in the New York Times — in which disabled children receive hormones and procedures to keep them small and diminish the effects of puberty, making it easier for them to be cared for. The retracted paper analyzed the use of the treatment in a girl named Charley who was born in New Zealand with a brain injury, whose case has attracted the attention of The Washington Post and People magazine, among other outlets.
The paper analyzed Charley’s case, and did not involve any clinical subjects. But the retraction note suggests that the ethics of publishing this paper weren’t fully worked out: