The American Heart Association’s journal Circulation has issued an expression of concern for a paper about the molecular underpinnings of arrhythmias that was co-authored by a biomedical engineer who committed fraud on a massive scale.
According to an investigation by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI), former Vanderbilt engineer Igor Dzhura faked nearly 70 images and drastically over-estimated the number of experiments he conducted. He was banned from receiving federal funding for three years.
The fraud has resulted in six retracted papers, Dzhura has agreed to retract six papers, which have been cited more than 500 times. [Ed. note: at this time, only one paper has actually been retracted]
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):
Swiss researchers have retracted an abstract in Clinical Neurophysiology because only one of them actually knew about the paper — and what he submitted had “several mistakes.”
The abstract, about electric impulses in the brain of comatose patients, originally appeared as a poster at the June 2014 joint meeting of multiple Swiss neuroscience societies. It was submitted by first author Alexandre Simonin, who lists his affiliation as the University Hospital of Lausanne, a Swiss hospital.
The meeting proceedings ran in the October issue of Clinical Neurophysiology. Besides the issues of authorship and errors, the notice also says the abstract “potentially conflicts with another publication,” suggesting the data might have already appeared in a paper.
Two researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada have retracted a paper that came to fairly common-sense conclusions about bike safety.
In the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Transport and Health, the authors concluded that slippery road surfaces, night-time biking, and higher speed limits were all associated with higher probabilities of a bicycle accident.
Despite these logical conclusions, the authors discovered a statistical error that “would significantly change the discussion,” according to the retraction notice.
After a reader emailed the editors to raise suspicions about the data, corresponding author Christopher W. Bielawski, then based at the University of Texas at Austin, led an investigation of all the figures. It found substantial problems: “In over 50% of the figure parts, the authors deemed the data unreliable due to uncertainty regarding the origin of data or the manner in which the data were processed,” according to the retraction notice.
UT Austin concluded that there had been misconduct, but did not elaborate.
A pair of psychology researchers at West Virginia University have lost their 2013 article in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine after one of the authors was found to have cooked the data.
The paper, “Preference for immediate reinforcement over delayed reinforcement: relation between delay discounting and health behavior,” was written by Shane Melanko and Kevin Larkin. It examined whether people who place less importance on the future were also less likely to adopt healthy behaviors, which come with delayed benefits. Melanko, then a doctoral candidate under Larkin, was evidently at one time a psychology student of some promise.
A team of neuroscientists at University of Oregon and the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have retracted a paper from The Journal of Neuroscience after realizing their analytic code contained an error.
The authors state in the notice that their conclusion remains accurate after correcting the mistake in the program Matlab. However, the paper — which examined the role of neuronal oscillations in working memory — still contained “some findings that we no longer believe to be robust.”
The RAND Corporation has retracted a study linking Los Angeles pot dispensaries to drops in crime, the Los Angeles Times reports. The problem: RAND hadn’t included data from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). The institute tells the Times, referring to RAND researchers:
“They made mistakes,” said Debra Knopman, a Rand vice president and director of the infrastructure, safety and environment division. “What we’re wrestling with is how the mistakes went undetected.”
There’s a highly unusual situation brewing at the Archives of Internal Medicine. At 3:48 Eastern time on Monday, 12 minutes before the embargo lifted on the June 28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, the following message went out from its press office:
The editorial office of the Archives of Internal Medicine has made the decision not to publish, “Stress Reduction in the Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in African Americans,” by Schneider et al, and the accompanying Commentary by Mehta and Bairey Merz that was to post Online First at 3 PM central time today.
The decision is to allow time for review and statistical analysis of additional data not included in the original paper that the authors provided less than 24 hours before posting. We apologize for the short notice, but hope you will understand and not run your stories on this study today.
Since we first wrote about the travails of Spirocor’s bedside, noninvasive test for coronary artery disease, we’ve been trying, without much success, to find out more information.
But as they say about every dog, our day has come.
As we initially reported, Ron Waksman, a prominent Washington, D.C. cardiologist and editor-in-chief of Cardiovascular and Revascularization Medicine, was first author of one of two papers about the Spirocor technology that were published in 2010. The other, by Shiyovich, et al, was retracted earlier this month by the American Journal of the Medical Sciences, which triggered our interest in this case.
At the time, we couldn’t find any evidence that Waksman’s article had been retracted, and Waksman has not responded to multiple requests for comment. Today we spoke with Kate Coons, the journal’s managing editor, who told us that the authors had sought a retraction for the article, “An innovative noninvasive respiratory stress test indicates significant coronary artery disease,” in December, and that it had posted one on its website on Jan. 6 of this year. It will be in print in an upcoming issue.