What Caught Our Attention: When researchers set out to study hepatitis B among women in rural China, and they wanted to know if the women had been vaccinated against the virus, they simply asked them. While that can sometimes be useful, apparently it was a mistake in this case, as the reliance on patient memory injected too much doubt into these findings. Continue reading Caught Our Notice: To know if someone’s been vaccinated, just asking isn’t enough
A journal is retracting a paper on the relative merits of one fertility procedure compared to another because the study never received ethical review or approval.
In the paper, “Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection versus conventional intracytoplasmic sperm injection: a randomized controlled trial,” originally published Aug. 27, 2015 in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, the authors wrote: Continue reading Fertility docs said their study didn’t need ethics review. An investigation said they were wrong.
The retraction notice, issued by Advances in Human Biology (AIHB) in June, recognizes the case as “scientific misconduct.” The journal launched an investigation after the plagiarism was flagged by the author of the original report, the editor-in-chief of the journal told us. Eventually, the journal retracted the report — and removed it entirely from their website.
Additionally, the journal posted this notice on their site, blacklisting the authors from publishing in AIHB again: Continue reading Journal blacklists authors for plagiarizing case report about hypersexuality in dementia
The study, based on interviews with 154 men and women living with HIV, concluded that experiencing negative life events correlated with risky sexual behavior. But although the author claimed to have complied with the journal’s standard of consent, the journal disagreed, and retracted the paper in 2014 (we think this case is interesting enough to share with you now). What’s more, according to the journal, the paper contains errors that invalidate its conclusions.
Here’s the notice:
The Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy has retracted a 2012 paper by a pair of authors in Spain who failed to obtain approval to adapt the model of sexual function they used in their study.
The article indicates that the work was based on previous research. But that declaration wasn’t enough to satisfy the creators of the model involved.
The case raises important questions about when retractions are appropriate, and whether they can have a chilling effect on scientific discourse. Although Hanna Kokko of the University of Zurich, Switzerland — who co-authored both papers — agreed that the academic literature needed to be corrected, she didn’t want to retract the earlier paper; the journal imposed that course of action, said Kokko.
Let’s take a look at the retraction note: Continue reading Biologist critiques own paper, journal retracts it — against her wishes
The New England Journal of Medicine added a disclaimer to a recent article about the effects of funding cuts to Planned Parenthood, after a request from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, saying it wanted to distance itself from the paper.
Since the paper was published in February, one author has stepped down from his position at HHSC after facing disciplinary action.
The article suggested that birth rates among a group of lower-income women increased after the state cut down on support for Planned Parenthood. It drew a significant amount of media attention — and concern from the HHSC, which asked the journal to add a disclaimer to the article soon after publication. The journal complied, but embargoed the announcement of the change until 5 p.m. eastern time today.
Here’s the disclaimer that NEJM added to the article:
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:
After temporarily removing a paper that suggested a link between the vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV) and behavioral issues, the journal has now retracted it.
Vaccine says the reason is “serious concerns regarding the scientific soundness of the article,” including flawed methodology and unjustified claims.
Christopher A. Shaw, a co-author on the paper and a researcher at the University of British Columbia, told us he has seen the notice, but doesn’t know the specific issues the journal had with the paper:
We still don’t know why [Editor in Chief] Dr Poland removed the article.
Here’s the retraction notice for “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil:”
The note doesn’t provide any reason for the withdrawal, although authors were told the editor asked for further review.
Two co-authors on the paper — about Gardasil, a vaccine against HPV — have previously suggested that aluminum in vaccines is linked to autism, in research a World Health Organization advisory body concluded was “seriously flawed.”
Approximately 80 million doses of Gardasil were administered in the U.S. between 2006 and 2015. Both the the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have ruled the vaccine to be safe — the CDC, for instance, calls it “safe, effective, and recommended.”
The journal published an uncorrected proof of “Behavioral abnormalities in young female mice following administration of aluminum adjuvants and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil” online on January 9th, 2016. In its place now is a note that says: