Child psychiatrist’s research was suspended “indefinitely” following probe

Mani Pavuluri

The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) permanently suspended all research activities for a child psychiatrist years ago following an inquiry into her work, Retraction Watch has learned.

In 2015, a UIC spokesperson told us the university had suspended Mani Pavuluri’s clinical research in 2013, after a child in one of her studies had been hospitalized for exhibiting an increase in irritability and aggression. This prompted the university to launch a misconduct probe, and send letters to approximately 350 families of children participating in the research, notifying them of what happened. Now, a spokesperson has informed us that after the institution concluded its probe, it suspended her research “indefinitely.”

Continue reading Child psychiatrist’s research was suspended “indefinitely” following probe

Authors retract, replace highly cited paper on ADHD in kids

Researchers have retracted and replaced a 2014 paper in JAMA Psychiatry, exploring a new way to classify attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, after discovering errors in the data.

Some experts have criticized the current diagnostic criteria for ADHD—noting, in some cases, it could inflate the rate of diagnosis. Sarah L. Karalunas, the paper’s corresponding author, told Retraction Watch that the aim of the study was to look beyond current criteria and “demonstrate an approach that could be used to better delineate the boundaries of ADHD and other psychiatric diagnostic categories.”   Continue reading Authors retract, replace highly cited paper on ADHD in kids

Child took wrong compound for over a year after “communication error”

Credit: Steven Depolo, Flickr

A journal is retracting a paper after it discovered researchers gave a child the wrong supplement for more than a year.

Rhiannon Bugno, managing editor for Biological Psychiatry, told Retraction Watch the mix-up did not put the patient at risk. However, the mistake was enough for the journal’s editor, John Krystal, of Yale University, to request the retraction of a 2016 paper describing the young girl’s experience taking the compound,“Rett-like Severe Encephalopathy Caused by a De Novo GRIN2B Mutation Is Attenuated by D-serine Dietary Supplement.”

Originally published June 17, 2016, the paper was retracted Jan. 15. Led by corresponding author Xavier Altafaj, of the University of Barcelona (UB) and Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), researchers described using an amino acid, D-serine, to treat a child with a rare genetic disorder that affects neurons.

According to the notice, the researchers did use D-serine in lab work used as proof-of-concept; however, when it came time to try it in the patient, as a result of a “communication error:”

Continue reading Child took wrong compound for over a year after “communication error”

Caught Our Notice: How can a publication be a surprise to a corresponding author?

Via Wikimedia

Title: Umbelliferone reverses depression-like behavior in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced mice via RIP140/NF-κB pathway

What Caught Our Attention: One would think that the corresponding author would have to be aware that they are submitting an article for publication — but apparently not, as this retraction demonstrates. The 2016 paper listed two corresponding authors — along with both of their emails and mailing addresses — but according to the retraction notice, one of them did not give consent “in any form” to the publication. Often, we see authors unaware of the use of their name when their email has been faked, but here, it’s possible the journal simply relied on the other corresponding author for all correspondence. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: How can a publication be a surprise to a corresponding author?

Obsessed with getting cited? You may have “Publiphilia Impactfactorius”

Joeri Tijdink

As a scientist, are you always focused on improving your metrics by such means as getting papers into prestigious journals? Do your funders and institutions add to that pressure to get ahead? If so, you may be at risk of a new psychiatric condition known as “Publiphilia Impactfactorius” — or, simply, PI, described in a PeerJ preprint. We talked to first author Joeri Tijdink at VU Medical Center (VUmc) in Amsterdam about this tongue-in-cheek take-down of the scientific condition, and whether there is any cure for the affliction.

Retraction Watch: You describe several new personality traits and clusters. Tell us more about this.

Continue reading Obsessed with getting cited? You may have “Publiphilia Impactfactorius”

Publisher flags paper on same-sex parenting after neo-Nazi group cites it

A publisher has issued an expression of concern (EoC) about a study that claimed children with same-sex parents were at greater risk of depression and abuse, after posters using statistics from the paper to support a homophobic message appeared in Australia and the US.

On Aug. 21, several news websites reported that these posters were appearing in Melbourne, Australia, citing claims from a 2016 paper published in Depression Research and Treatment, which said that children with same-sex parents are more at risk for depression, abuse, and obesity than children with opposite-sex parents. The poster had also appeared previously in Minneapolis and has been traced to a neo-Nazi group, as reported by HuffPost Australia. Australia is preparing for a national, non-binding, mail-in vote on whether to provide marriage equality for same-sex couples.

The EoC mechanism, which was chosen by the journal’s publisher, Hindawi, is an unusual choice here. The paper’s author, D. Paul Sullins, a sociology professor at The Catholic University of America and the paper’s author, told Retraction Watch that Hindawi contacted him Aug. 21 about the decision. Initially, he told us he didn’t have any “particular objection to it,” but later told us he changed his mind after he read more about COPE’s guidelines for EoCs: Continue reading Publisher flags paper on same-sex parenting after neo-Nazi group cites it

Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws

Psychiatry journals have retracted two papers evaluating a schizophrenia drug after a university in Japan flagged issues, such as a lack of written informed consent.

The papers—published in Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical & Experimental in 2012 and Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences in 2014—examined the safety and effectiveness of an antipsychotic drug in patients with schizophrenia.

According to the retraction notice in Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, the ethics committee at St. Marianna University School of Medicine in Kawasaki found that “the trial included subjects who did not satisfy inclusion criteria.” For instance, not all patients provided written informed consent. But the university found no evidence for data falsification or fabrication.

A spokesperson for Human Psychopharmacology told us: Continue reading Uni dings schizophrenia studies for problems with informed consent, other flaws

NIH neuroscientist up to 19 retractions

Stanley Rapoport.
Source: NIH

The string of apparent bad luck continues for Stanley Rapoport.

Rapoport, a neuroscientist based at the U.S. National Institute on Aging, has lost three more papers in three journals due to the misconduct of his co-authors. By our count, these retractions bring his tally to 19 — and tie him for 21st place on our leaderboard.

The journals—Schizophrenia Research, Journal of Affective Disorders, and Biological Psychiatry— retracted the papers because the National Institutes of Health had found that one of Rapoport’s co-authors, Jagadeesh Rao, had “engaged in research misconduct by falsifying data.” Rao was corresponding author on all three papers.

According to a spokesperson for Elsevier, which publishes the journals, the Schizophrenia Research paper was retracted in July, the JAD paper in late May and the Biological Psychiatry paper in late April. The spokesperson told us that the publisher first received an email from the NIH about the misconduct findings on September 20, 2016, and that: Continue reading NIH neuroscientist up to 19 retractions

Ex-researcher who shot dean found guilty of attempted murder

Hengjun Chao Credit: Westchester County DA


A New York jury has found Hengjun Chao, a former research assistant professor at Mount Sinai, guilty of attempted second degree murder and two other charges.

Last year, Chao shot Dennis Charney, a Mount Sinai dean who had fired him in 2010 for misconduct, outside of a deli in a wealthy New York suburb. After the incident, Chao admitted to police he shot Charney. During the trial, Chao’s lawyer argued that Chao had done so to draw attention to what he believed to be misconduct at Mount Sinai.

As reported by the Chappaqua Patch, in addition to one count of attempted second degree murder, Chao was convicted of one count of criminal use of a firearm and one count of assault. He faces a maximum of 25 years in state prison.

Chao’s attorney, Stewart Orden, told Retraction Watch:

Continue reading Ex-researcher who shot dean found guilty of attempted murder

Prominent NIH researcher up to a dozen retractions

Stanley Rapoport. Source: NIH

Neuroscientist Stanley Rapoport hasn’t had much luck with his co-authors.

Recently, we’ve reported on multiple retractions of papers co-authored by Rapoport after three different first authors were found to have committed misconduct. Now, the fallout from one of those cases had led to four more retractions, bringing Rapoport’s total to 12.

The latest batch of retractions stem from the actions of Jagadeesh Rao.

Here’s the first notice, issued by Psychopharmacology:

Continue reading Prominent NIH researcher up to a dozen retractions