Corrections chip away at asbestos paper for conflicts of interest, “misleading” citation

EBPHThe journal Epidemiology Biostatistics and Public Health has issued back-to-back corrections for a 2015 paper after the authors failed to disclose conflicts of interest with the asbestos industry and included an “erroneous citation.”

The mistaken citation was more than just a clerical error, critics argue — it undermines one of the key arguments of the paper, “Critical reappraisal of Balangero chrysotile and mesothelioma risk,” which disputes claims that an asbestos mine in northwest Italy was responsible for numerous cases of an aggressive form of cancer called mesothelioma. The authors, led by Edward Ilgren formerly of Oxford University, claim that “myriad sources” of other forms of asbestos—rather than the asbestos produced at the mine, called chrysotile—exist in the region “to account for the alleged cases.”

However, according to a recently added correction, the citation does not support one of the authors’ claims about how other forms of asbestos arrived at the mine area.

Continue reading Corrections chip away at asbestos paper for conflicts of interest, “misleading” citation

Author in 2014 peer review ring loses 3 more papers for peer review problems

cover (1)A journal is retracting three papers — including one that is highly cited — after learning the reviewers that recommended publication had conflicts of interest.

This is a case of family values gone awry: The author common to all papers is Cheng-Wu Chen at the National Kaohsiung Marine University in Taiwan, the twin brother of one Peter Chen, who was a the center of a peer review ring that SAGE busted in 2014 (and holder of the number #3 spot on our leaderboard). Cheng-Wu Chen apparently wasn’t an innocent bystander in that episode: Of the 60 retracted papers by SAGE, Cheng-Wu Chen was a co-author on 21.

The retraction notes for all three papers — published in Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries — are identical:

Continue reading Author in 2014 peer review ring loses 3 more papers for peer review problems

Investigation of undisclosed conflicts in catheter paper uncovers flawed data, too

cov150hAn investigation into a paper that compared infection rates from different types of central lines started with an allegation about a failure to disclose a conflict of interest, and ended up concluding that the science in the paper was flawed.

The 2013 paper — now retracted by the American Journal of Infection Control — suggested a particular kind of connector between the catheter and the patient could reduce some of the notoriously deadly bloodstream infections associated with the procedure, according to a press release that publicized the work. But last year, the journal issued an expression of concern for the paper, noting there were questions about the data. The retraction note reveals an investigation at Georgia Regents University — now known as Augusta University — started looking into undisclosed conflicts of interest in the paper, and ultimately concluded the science was flawed.

Here’s the retraction note, published in the January 1st 2016 issue of the journal, for “Comparison of central line-associated bloodstream infection rates when changing to a zero fluid displacement intravenous needleless connector in acute care settings

Continue reading Investigation of undisclosed conflicts in catheter paper uncovers flawed data, too

Retraction published for nutrition researcher Marion Nestle

journal_pubhealthFollowing her request last month, a public health journal has retracted a paper co-authored by prominent nutrition researcher Marion Nestle, after revelations of multiple factual errors and her co-author’s ties to one of the subjects of the article.

The article, an opinion piece, critiqued the supposed relationship between the biggest beverage distributor in Guatemala and the leading Guatemala-based public health organization, to distribute a fortified supplement (Manì+) for undernourished children. The relationship, the piece argued, raised concerns about the conflicts of interest that can occur when a food company pairs with a public health organization. But soon after publication, Nestle learned that she and her co-author Joaquin Barnoya had misrepresented that relationship, and failed to disclose that the public health organization was paying a portion of Barnoya’s salary.

Here’s the full retraction notice, published earlier this month by the Journal of Public Health Policy: Continue reading Retraction published for nutrition researcher Marion Nestle

Stem cell researcher that sued Harvard failed to disclose conflicts on 6 publications

Piero Anversa, a stem cell researcher who we recently learned is leaving Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital after suing them, has added a disclosure statement to six publications.

The four papers and two letters were published in Circulation, and all bear identical corrections:

Piero Anversa, MD, discloses that he is a member of Analogous, LLC.

The author regrets this omission.

Trouble is, we can’t find a company by that name. What we do know:

Continue reading Stem cell researcher that sued Harvard failed to disclose conflicts on 6 publications

Critics of 2008 concussion study failed to note NFL ties

Jama neurWhen a 2008 paper proposed that athletes be kept out of play for four weeks following a concussion, three doctors wrote in to say that the recommendations were “irrelevant and ill advised.” One thing the trio failed to disclose, however, was their own financial ties to the National Football League.

With the release of the 2013 Frontline documentary “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” and the publication of Concussion by journalist Jeanne-Marie Laskas, the evidence is growing that the NFL — with the help of doctors working as paid consultants or expert witnesses for the NFL or individual teams  — has downplayed the potential of football to cause long-term brain injuries.

In a 2008, Lester Mayers of Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, published a review paper in Archives of Neurology (now JAMA Neurology), that summarized evidence from tests such as balance and gait testing, along with MRI and PET imaging studies. Mayers, who is now deceased, concluded in “Return-to-Play Criteria After Athletic Concussion: A Need for Revision” that it takes at least four weeks — rather than one or two — for the brain to heal following a concussion:

Continue reading Critics of 2008 concussion study failed to note NFL ties

Publisher error removes industry conflicts in vaccine paper

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An article about the use of vaccines against pertussis — also known as whooping cough — didn’t include the fact that the author has received grants and consultancy fees from three pharmaceutical companies that help make or sell the vaccines.

The correction to “Pertussis in young infants: a severe vaccine-preventable disease,” published in Autopsy and Case Reports just a few months after the paper, cites a “desktop publishing error” that led to the following problems: Continue reading Publisher error removes industry conflicts in vaccine paper

Prominent nutrition researcher Marion Nestle retracting recent article

jphp_journal_coverProminent nutrition expert Marion Nestle is pulling an opinion piece she recently co-authored in the Journal of Public Health Policy following revelations that the piece contained multiple factual errors and failed to reveal her co-author’s ties to one of the subjects of the article.

The article, “The food industry and conflicts of interest in nutrition research: A Latin American perspective,” was published October 29 and raised concerns about the conflicts of interest that can occur when a food company pairs with a public health organization. Specifically, the article critiqued the supposed relationship between the biggest beverage distributor in Guatemala and the leading Guatemala-based public health organization, aligned to distribute a fortified supplement for undernourished children.

However, after the paper appeared, Nestle learned they had misrepresented the relationship between the key parties, and failed to disclose that her co-author, Joaquin Barnoya, received “a substantial portion of his salary” from INCAP. Retracting the opinion was the best solution, Nestle wrote on her blog today: Continue reading Prominent nutrition researcher Marion Nestle retracting recent article

Yale doc loses 2 HuffPo blog posts after secretly promoting his novel

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David Katz

The Huffington Post has retracted two blog posts by prominent Yale nutritionist David Katz after learning he had posted incredibly favorable reviews of a new novel — and not revealed that he had written the novel himself, under a pseudonym.

There’s no doubt Katz is a prolific writer — in addition to a couple hundred scientific articles and textbook chapters, Katz regularly blogs for the Huffington Post. He’s also the author of a novel, reVision, under the pen name Samhu Iyyam. Last year, Katz wrote a pair of incredibly favorable reviews of reVision on The Huffington Post that implied he had discovered the novel as a reader. The Huffington Post has taken them down, as blogger Peter Heimlich — yes, related to the maneuver — reported earlier this week. According to Heimlich, a 5-star Amazon review of “Iyyam’s” book, written by Katz, has also been removed.

In the reviews, there’s no hint that Katz is the author. In the first column, “Do We Need to Kill Our Heroes?,” published in January, Katz notes he was “delighted to find just such reflections [on that question] in my new favorite book, reVision.” Here’s the retraction note, of sorts, that appears on Huff Po in the column’s place:

Continue reading Yale doc loses 2 HuffPo blog posts after secretly promoting his novel

Stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna’s correction count updated to 10

Jacob Hanna
Jacob Hanna

Thanks to some eagle-eyed readers, we’ve been alerted to some corrections for high profile stem cell scientist Jacob Hanna that we had missed, bringing our count to one retraction and 13 errata on 10 papers.

The problems in the work range from duplications of images, to inadvertent deletions in figures, to failures by his co-authors to disclose funding sources or conflicts of interest. Hanna is the first or last author on 4 of the papers, and one of several on the rest.

First up, a correction to a Cell paper on which Hanna is the first author:

Continue reading Stem cell researcher Jacob Hanna’s correction count updated to 10