A highly cited study examining the risks of heart disease in post-menopausal women with symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) has been retracted by its authors because they could not replicate the results.
The eighth paper, in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, is about the effect of a compound used during fertility treatments on Smads, signaling molecules that carry messages from TGF-beta receptors to the nucleus. It’s being retracted disappeared due to the discovery of data that “have been fabricated or falsified by the last author” — namely, Chegini.
Noriyuki Takai, a gynecologic cancer researcher in Japan, has notched one more retraction — bringing the total to eight — due to figures that were “processed inappropriately” and did “not accurately report the original data.”
According to the notice, Takai alone put the figures together in the 2006 Oncology paper, which tested a histone deacetylase inhibitor on endometrial and ovarian cancer cell lines. The team is part of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Oita University in Japan.
Both retractions appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. The notices indicate that an investigation report from the University of Florida “found substantial data misrepresentation” in two JCEM articles about Smads, signaling molecules that carry messages from TGF-beta receptors to the nucleus.
Here’s the notice for “The Expression of Smads in Human Endometrium and Regulation and Induction in Endometrial Epithelial and Stromal Cells by Transforming Growth Factor-Beta” (cited 28 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge):
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have retracted a paper on using thalidomide, which led to an estimated 10,000 birth defects by the time the drug was pulled from the market in 1961, to prevent chemo-induced sterility.
Alkylating agents, which prevent DNA replication in cells, are a commonly-used cancer treatment. Unfortunately they also damage the ovaries and testes, sometimes causing infertility. The University of Pittsburgh scientists published a paper in Elsevier journal Fertility and Sterility in 2011 that suggested thalidomide, which causes severe birth defects when used during pregnancy, might help protect ovaries during chemo.
However, according to the notice, the authors tried and failed to replicate their results. They had two separate scientists who were not authors take a look at the results; everyone agreed that the original study incorrectly reported the number of primordial follicles, the precursor to mature eggs.
A cancer paper was retracted on September 17 for a double publication. According to the notice in which the authors admit to duplicating the “opening to the readers,” which we assume is the introduction, there was no need to cite the article “because it had not yet been printed at that time.”
This one seems like an honest mistake: a paper on dietary supplements during pregnancy has been retracted based on an error in data recording.
In the BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth paper, “Folic acid supplementation, dietary folate intake during pregnancy and risk for spontaneous preterm delivery: a prospective observational cohort study,” women for whom the researchers had no data on folic acid supplementation were classified as taking no supplements. Despite the error, the authors claim the overall conclusion remains the same: taking folic acid supplements didn’t protect women from preterm deliveries.
Imagine you were a cop, sitting in your squad car at the side of the road with a radar gun, when you clock someone speeding. You turn on your lights, pull the speedster over to the side of the road, and walk to her driver’s side window.
Just as you say “Driver’s license and registration, please,” you realize the driver is your squad captain. Oops.
That must have been something like what it was like — with plagiarism detection software sitting in for the radar gun — for the co-editor-in-chief of Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome when he realized that Marilia de Brito Gomes, the other co-editor-in-chief, had published two papers in their journal that contained plagiarized passages.