Schneider Shorts from 2 July 2021: fraudulent COVID-19 quackery gets learned society approval, China colonizes Mars, CNRS explains the difference between plagiarism and “unacknowledged borrowings”, with Botox against depression from Germany, Nasal Telomere Extension from Harvard and Eugenics Superhero Vaccines from Stanford, and Smut Clyde slandering Ukrainians behind my back.
Table of discontent
- Antivaxxers in MDPI
- European Society of Endocrinology endorses proxalutamide
- Lab leak Theory: Lancet accused
Updates on For Better Science
- As you may have already read last week, I am allegedly being sued in France, or maybe it’s just a bluff. Now French media reported about Didier Raoult and Eric Chabriere lawsuits lodged in Marseille against me and Alexander Samuel. Apparently, the chloroquine quacks see it as defamation if we quote from a Liberation article or a biography book which which they don’t sue against. Samuel hasn’t received any legal communication though, and neither have I.
- Aneurus Inconstans reports more sabotage attacks by naughty pin replicators in a different Spanish lab: “More yeast problems from Spain, group of José R. Perez-Castineira and Aurelio Serrano in Sevilla. In particular Drake_et_al_2010 is very interesting (first link), with a lively conversation with Dr. J.R.P.-C.” Currently it’s 5 papers on PubPeer.
- Tiger BB8 found a report about about the activities of Celixir and Nobelist Sir Martin Evans in China, published last year by the Chinese site DeepTech and featuring interview with Professor Patricia Murray. Read about the Celixir rise and fall story here:
- Clare Francis commented: “How long does it take for the director of the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge, England, to review the problematic data, then write to Cell and Cancer Cell (same Augean stable) and Cell Cycle, insisting on the retraction of all 3 papers for image manipulation and using same data to represent different experiments?“. Well, Steve Jackson already had to retract a Nature and a Science paper by another former postdoc, maybe Cambridge decided it’s enough? Anyhow, Cheshire found issues with yet another Abdeladim Moumen paper, from St George’s University of London: Valentine et al BMC Cancer 2011
- The Chilean neuroscientist Claudio Hetz is still being investigated for suspected research misconduct, as a newspaper reported referencing For Better Science as the cause. We learn that “The commission that is evaluating the complaints against Hetz is made up of an investigator from another faculty (not Medicine) of the University of Chile, one from the Catholic University, a Chilean scientist who works in France and a specialist outside the universities.”
- Athira Pharma and its ex-CEO Leen Kawas are now subject to 3 investor lawsuits, as GeekWire reports, referencing for the data integrity concerns backstory everyone but Cheshire or For Better Science. At least we learn that the company’s founders, two University of Washington professors, quietly and conveniently sneaked out as board members already last year.
Antivaxxers in MDPI
Scientists are peculiar customers. They judge for-profit Open Access publishers like Frontiers or MDPI not by the bad science they publish and defend, but by an occasional good paper they accept in exchange for money. Plus the decent impact factors combined with fast turnaround services from submission to acceptance, scientists value that above all. Frontiers published antivax garbage before, nobody minds. MDPI published racist garbage by Nazi paedophiles: not many seem to mind either.
It is the scholarly equivalent of not minding turds in your food because the restaurant is hip, you are invited anyway, and because not all dishes seem to contain faeces. So here is the recent excretion from MDPI:
Harald Walach, Rainer J. Klement, Wouter Aukema The Safety of COVID-19 Vaccinations—We Should Rethink the Policy Vaccines (2021) doi: 10.3390/vaccines9070693
The three covid-denialists write:
“For three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination. Conclusions: This lack of clear benefit should cause governments to rethink their vaccination policy.”
“Currently, our estimates show that we have to accept four fatal and 16 serious side effects per 100,000 vaccinations in order to save the lives of 2–11 individuals per 100,000 vaccinations, placing risks and benefits on the same order of magnitude.“
The toxic covidiotic antivaxxer turd was editorially handled by Ralph DiClemente of New York University, and supervised by Editor-in-Chief Ralph Tripp of University of Georgia, who seem to have found nothing out of order. There are comments about this antivaxxer trash on PubPeer, on my site, and here a blog post by Pepijn van Erp:
Sylvie Coyaud introduces one of the “study”‘s authors:
“Harald Walach, an Austrian psychologist, known for quantum “theories” on how homeopathy treats tumours and for Kozyrev’s mirror that opens a “space-time channel”…
On 28.06.2021, Vaccines’ EiC Tripp wrote to me:
“We are currently investigating what happened to the review process, and are currently publishing an Expression of Concern letter and initiating steps to retract the manuscript as soon as possible.”
The Expression of Concern was issued right after, MDPI announced to “provide an update following the conclusion of our investigation“.
When, or rather if, that paper is retracted, is MDPI scientists’ best friend again?
Oh wait, here is another fresh paper by Telepathy-Walach, a clinical trial with 45 schoolchildren, approved by University Witten/Herdecke, which warns against suffocation danger from wearing face masks. Not, not in MDPI. Not, not in Frontiers.
Harald Walach , Ronald Weikl , Juliane Prentice , Andreas Diemer , Helmut Traindl , Anna Kappes, Stefan Hockertz Experimental Assessment of Carbon Dioxide Content in Inhaled Air With or Without Face Masks in Healthy Children: A Randomized Clinical Trial JAMA Pediatrics (2021) doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.2659
European Society of Endocrinology endorses proxalutamide
Even more welp. Medical science elites have spoken:
This is the recent position paper from the respected medical society:
Puig-Domingo M, Marazuela M, Yildiz BO, Giustina A COVID-19 and endocrine and metabolic diseases. An updated statement from the European Society of Endocrinology. Endocrine (2021) DOI: 10.1007/s12020-021-02734-w
This is its purpose:
“We have been appointed by the European Society of Endocrinology (ESE) to update with the current statement ESE members and the whole endocrine community on the emerging endocrine phenotype of COVID-19 and its implication for the prevention and management of the disease.“
This is the relevant quote from it:
“Data from the dermatologic literature suggest that bald men are more prone to COVID-19  as well as that androgenetic alopecia is frequent also in women with COVID-19 . However, one of the more impactful observations in this field came from patients with prostate cancer. In fact, those patients under androgen deprivation therapy  demonstrated in some studies to be less vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection, as compared to patients who were not androgen deprived . Most intriguingly, recent double-blind placebo-controlled trials showed that selective androgen receptor modulators accelerates viral clearance and reduce time to clinical remission in male patients without prostate cancer hospitalized with mild to moderate COVID-19 as well as a novel androgen receptor inhibitor did show similar positive effects in both males and females with COVID-19 [132, 133].“
The references 128-133 are to those Cadegiani, Zimmermann, Wambier et al studies I previously discussed, which are not just abysmally bad, but also suspected to be fraudulent. Worse, it can’t be excluded that the shockingly excessive lethality in the placebo arm was possibly due to poisoning of patients with a bizarre mixture the investigators provided as “standard care”: hydroxychloroquine, ivermectin, nitazoxanide, azithromycin, fluvoxamine, colchicine, dexamethasone, dexlansoprazole, spironolactone, Vitamin D and various other drugs.
In this regard, please read the comment by Jose Galucci-Neto here, about the criminal app AndroCov (latterly renamed as TrateCov) which automatically prescribed hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin to everyone, including children. The proxalutamide PI Cadegiani was behind that app, too. When exposed, the Brazilian health minister lied that the app was hacked and removed it.
I sent this information to the European Society of Endocrinology leadership and the paper’s corresponding author: NONE of them replied. This is how full of s*** the ESE is. Trust them with your health.
Lab Leak Theory
The journalist Ian Birrell takes on The Lancet in a lengthy Daily Mail article, for silencing the scientific discussion and sabotaging the investigations on COVID-19 origins.
Birrell specifically refers to this position paper in The Lancet from February 2020, organised by Peter Daszak (whose EcoHealth Alliance used to channel US money to Wuhan Institute of Virology).
Charles Calisher, Dennis Carroll, Rita Colwell, Ronald B Corley, Peter Daszak, Christian Drosten, Luis Enjuanes, Jeremy Farrar, Hume Field, Josie Golding, Alexander Gorbalenya, Bart Haagmans, James M Hughes, William B Karesh, Gerald T Keusch, Sai Kit Lam, Juan Lubroth, John S Mackenzie, Larry Madoff, Jonna Mazet, Peter Palese, Stanley Perlman, Leo Poon, Bernard Roizman, Linda Saif, Kanta Subbarao, Mike Turner Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19 The Lancet (2020) doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(20)30418-9
Read more here:
In this regard, Birrell writes:
“The Mail on Sunday has learned that The Lancet is set to publish a second statement by these signatories that presses the case that Covid probably emerged through natural ‘zoonotic’ transmission from animals to humans.
‘We consider that it seems more likely a transmission through an intermediate mammalian host, although other possibilities can’t be fully excluded,’ said one, adding that they were still ‘missing some signatures’.
Four of The Lancet’s original experts seem to have since shifted their position, including Charles Calisher, a Colorado virologist. He admits ‘there is too much coincidence’ to ignore the lab leak hypothesis and that ‘it is more likely that it came out of that lab’.
Bernard Roizman, based at the University of Chicago, has also become convinced the virus was taken to a lab, worked on and then ‘some sloppy individual’ let it out.”
Birrell accuses Lancet‘s Editor-in-Chief Richard Horton of peddling Chinese party propaganda, because his employer Elsevier has hefty commercial interests in China. We also learn:
“One group submitted a letter signed by 14 global experts in January, arguing that ‘the natural origin is not supported by conclusive arguments and that a lab origin cannot be formally discarded’. It was rejected by The Lancet on basis that it was ‘not a priority for us’.“
You all saw the news headlines about the two recently published hominin fossils, for example:
- “Massive human head in Chinese well forces scientists to rethink evolution,” titled The Guardian about the “Dragon Man” discovery in China, which as National Geographic. expertly assures, is “shaking up human family tree”,
- “New type of ancient human discovered in Israel” reported by BBC about the Nesher Ramla Homo find in Israel, which can also “could re-write story of our evolution” as per India Today.
As you are probably know, evolution, of humans and of other living things, is being re-written by journalists and press release writers on daily basis. In fact, any newly found fossil which does not rewrite the evolution is suspect by default.
Not everyone falls for this. Science journalist Michael Balter (who specialised first in anthropology, then in exposing bullies and sexual harassers in that field, for which he is being sued) wrote a blog post in this regard:
“In a lot of ways, scientists are now filling in the details, which are fascinating in their own right, but not really “shaking up the family tree” or forcing researchers to “rethink” human evolution. These are clickbait headlines used by editors (journalists rarely write their own headlines, and when they do, few engage in this kind of hyperbole) and they both exaggerate and misrepresent what is really going on. […]
And since media attention and grant funding depend on producing results that really seem to make a difference, researchers not only tend to go for the most dramatic interpretation of their finds, but they also often hold on to their fossils for years without letting anyone else study them, or sometimes even see them. Not to be cynical, but the longer a scientist studies a fossil, it seems the more likely it is to end up being announced as a new species or some other kind of game changer for human evolution. And—based on my experience as a human evolution writer—the more likely it is that other researchers will turn around and challenge the interpretations.”
Smut Clyde and the Zombie Journals
Smut Clyde published a story (on his own blog, Riddled) on the topic of zombie journals. It’s about the business of journal hijacking, where the identities of small or defunct journals get pirated, back-archives, editorial boards and all, by predatory scammers. Smut titled his story “The Ukrainian Connection” which naturally piqued my interest, only to be slightly disappointed. The pirates are mostly Indian and not really Ukrainian, they are current or former OMICS employees and the like. Here is the Ukraine-relevant bit:
“I can no longer bring myself to care how the Ukrainian Journal Of Ecology (originally the Biological Bulletin of Bogdan Chmelnitskiy Melitopol State Pedagogical University) fell into OMICS’ clutches, with a “changed […] editorial policy” (exclusively English-language, publication fees, an OMICS money-extraction website supplanting its old PKP/OJS framework). The submission system is Scholarscentral and the contact phone number is one used by Longdom (another OMICS polyp), but an attribution of Alex Matsyura Publishing as the source was enough to convince Web-of-Science / Clarivate that this jizzmop belongs in the Emerging Sources Citation Index.”
Read the rest here.
Smile! With Botox
Hannover Medical School (MHH) in northern Germany is famous for their regenerative medicine ambitions, their laissez-faire attitude to research integrity and of course their world-famous adjunct professor Paolo Macchiarini (still an active asset!)….
But did you know the genius MHH scientists found a solution to depression?
It’s Botox. I kid you not. When you stop having wrinkles, you stop being sad, “the emotion behind it gets enriched,” as the MHH professor Tillmann Krüger says. He and his Botox-comrade-in-arms Axel Wollmer (now at Asklepios clinic in Hamburg) joined forces with Michelle Magid of UT San Antonio in USA, the recent master-stroke of the Krüger-Wollmann genius appeared in January 2021 in an Elsevier journal:
Jara Schulze , Insa Neumann , Michelle Magid , Eric Finzi , Christopher Sinke , M. Axel Wollmer , Tillmann H.C. Krüger Botulinum toxin for the management of depression: An updated review of the evidence and meta-analysis Journal of Psychiatric Research (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.01.016
It is paywalled, even that certain Russian website doesn’t have it (well, here is why). Same goes for this debunking letter to editor:
Nicholas A. Coles, Jeff T. Larsen Letter to the editor: Claims about the effects of botulinum toxin on depression should raise some eyebrows Journal of Psychiatric Research (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2021.05.021
But Science published a careful critique, which, alas, is also paywalled.
“Coles thought it strange that Botox’s effect was four times larger than in tests of the facial feedback hypothesis, in which people’s emotional states are measured after they hold a facial expression for a few seconds or minutes. And Coles points out that four of the five trials were conducted by researchers who had declared payments from Botox’s maker, Allergan.”
“Health insurances do not yet pay for the therapy, but privately financed therapy is already possible today – in the way of a compassionate use.”
Needless to say, neither Krüger nor Wollmer (nor their employers) replied to me when I asked if they really treated depression patients with Botox this way, and if yes, how many. Someone tell these doctors that charging money for “compassionate use” therapies is unethical. But money doesn’t stink. Science wrote also:
“In 2018, Allergan said it had postponed a phase 3 trial of Botox for depression. (Allergan did not respond to a request for comment.) Magid and Krüger, who have received compensation for advising Allergan on the treatment, said they do not know of any plans for a large, high-quality trial. “We’re hoping that larger institutions, or somebody with a huge NIH [National Institutes of Health] grant, can take on something this big,” Magid says.”
Hopefully nobody is that depressed to fall for such ridiculous snake-oil sale. MHH is truly full of geniuses.
Life extension through the nose
I wrote previously briefly about the businesswoman Elizabeth Parrish, her company BioViva, and the board member George Church, Harvard professor and for some reason (maybe his beard) a God-figure unconditionally worshipped by scientists, science journalists and investors.
What they sell is life-extension bollocks via a promise of telomere-extension by gene therapy with a telomerase enzyme. Parrish even had it herself, and look at her, fresh and youthful for her ripe age of, let me google it, 155 years.
Now you can have the same magic up your nose even:
Dabbu Kumar Jaijyan, Anca Selariu, Ruth Cruz-Cosme, Mingming Tong, Shaomin Yang, George Church, David Kekich, Ali Fallah, Junichi Sadoshima, Qiyi Tang, Elizabeth Parrish, Hua Zhu New intranasal and injectable gene therapy for healthy life extension bioRxiv (2021) doi: 10.1101/2021.06.26.449305
“Here, we sought to determine whether the high-capacity cytomegalovirus vector can be an effective and safe gene delivery method for two such-protective factors: telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) and follistatin (FST). We found that the mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) carrying exogenous TERT or FST (MCMVTERT or MCMVFST) extended median lifespan by 41.4% and 32.5%, respectively. This is the first report of CMV being used successfully as both an intranasal and injectable gene therapy system to extend longevity. Treatment significantly improved glucose tolerance, physical performance, and prevented loss of body mass and alopecia. Telomere shortening seen with aging was ameliorated by TERT, and mitochondrial structure deterioration was halted in both treatments. Intranasal and injectable preparations performed equally well in safely and efficiently delivering gene therapy to multiple organs, with long-lasting benefits and without carcinogenicity or unwanted side effects. Translating this research to humans could have significant benefits associated with increased health span.”
This is insane crap. The fact that George Church (who, aside of peddling eugenics, announced to resurrect mammoths, dinosaurs and Neanderthals) is on board of that pseudoscience Ponzi scheme (my personal not-peer-reviewed opinion) only means that we should reconsider our choice of science elites.
Eugenics on Crack
Speaking of science elites. Dr Euan Ashley, associate dean of the School of Medicine at Stanford, is about to make all diseases history. Yes, all, or at least most of them. With a “superhero” vaccine. What? Are you an Ivy League professor? No? Then wipe off that imbecile laugh off your face, you pathetic ignorant loser, you failed scientist. Learn.
Daily Mail interviewed the genius savoir of the humanity:
“Ashley says his vaccine would use genetic information from people with desirable traits – such as Olympic athletes – as a blueprint to repair DNA cells in a way that will strengthen the average persons genes.
It could potentially protect people from conditions that are the leading causes of death such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s and liver disease.
Ashley believes the vaccine could begin trials as early as 2026, and be available for use in 10 to 15 years.
‘Potentially millions of people could be impacted by this technology – a superhero jab, for want of a better description,’ he said in a statement. ‘This has the potential to greatly reduce the burden of diseases with a genetic component such as Alzheimer’s disease, liver disease, coronary heart disease and associated conditions such as strokes, and vascular dementia.'”
Professor Ashley will deploy CRISPR technology to turn you into an athlete blueprint:
“The vaccine could create an instruction kit for a persons genes that could be injected into their body.
Once the kit arrives at its destination, it will begin to rewrite corrupted DNA and give a person gene’s that make them less susceptible to conditions like heart disease. “
If you are worried this all is braindead eugenics on crack:
“Ashley says his vaccine avoids the ethical concerns of gene editing because traits are not passed along to future generations.”
No, it is not a prank either. There is even a book by Dr Ashley to go with the joke:
People like Ashley and Church are our global science elites. They are in charge of science, education and careers of many thousands of scientists of today and tomorrow. Douglas Adams was right about the Golgafrinchans.
News in Brief
- Derek Lowe discusses the dead end of COVID-19 drug discovery pipeline where the candidate drugs work against SARS-CoV2 in vitro but are totally useless or even dangerous in vivo. Their molecular effect being “membrane disruption through phospholipidosis“, which applies also to hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. Lowe references the new paper Tummino et al Science 2021 and warns that “phospholipidosis is a bad thing in itself, and is not the sort of effect you want to enlist to fight off viral infections.” (In the Pipeline/Science)
- Well here is a new COVID-19 cure: Vitamin B12. Spanish and British scientists used a “quantum-inspired device” in Martinez-Nunez et al bioRxiv 2021 to predict in silico which existing drugs would work against SARS-CoV2. Next to two antivirals, they postulated Vitamin B12 as candidate (press release here). Indeed, most COVID-19 victims were vegans, right?
- COVID-19 is surging in Russia, reaching record death rates (although Russian statistics are as trustworthy as Russian TV is). In this regard, the most honest, tallest and sexiest of all Russian men in history, Vladimir Putin, admitted to his loyal subjects live on TV to have been vaccinated with Sputnik V. Meanwhile, Russians are being mandatorily vaccinated now (if you refuse vaccination, you’ll be sacked). The available vaccines are all home-made, but even Sputnik V is in short supply, both abroad and in the country. So now Russians are lured to get a Sputnik V vaccine and then, without ever being told, get something else instead, called EpiVacCorona, which is not yet properly tested, officially “100%” effective and unofficially doesn’t work at all (Radio Liberty).
- To celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, Wang Xiaojun, head of the state-owned space rocket manufacturer, announced to colonise Mars and build a permanent colonist base on the Red Planet by ~2040, using nuclear propellant and a secret “Sky Ladder” system (Global Times). Now imagine how Putin will sulk. Just weeks ago, China promised to help Russia built an LGBT-free space station on the Moon, and now China announced to go colonise Mars instead, all by itself?
- Investigation by Intercept reveals how US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been poisoning Americans for decades by approving unsafe pesticides, even without any tests whatsoever, all to please the industry. It was very rewarding: there was a “continuous flow of experts from the government to pesticide companies — and sometimes back again“. In 2018, there was even “a party at the Office of Pesticide Programs celebrating the waiving of 1,000 toxicity tests“, with cake. One EPA toxicologist is quoted: “It is the unwritten rule that to get promotions, all pesticides need to pass.” For example, chlorpyrifos was until recently repeatedly approved based on a highly unethical prisoner study from 50 years ago, which was fraudulent on top. A re-analysis of it by Sheppard et al 2020 concluded: “EPA-registered uses potentially exposed children to chlorpyrifos at unsafe levels.” Similarly, EPA’s assessment of herbicide pelargonic acid, which is also a co-formulant in Roundup, remains based of fraudulent literature reviews, while the original study found it causes cancer. EPA also suppressed its own internal report on glyphosate toxicity.
- French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) explains the difference between plagiarism and “unacknowledged borrowings”, see this report by Daily Nous. Quote: “Last fall, several articles by Magali Roques were retracted owing to them containing passages copied from others without attribution (details here). A commission composed of “three experts in the field, all foreigners” was tasked by CNRS to investigate […] they were unable to discern in Roques’ writings “a wish to appropriate anyone else’s ideas or of an intention to deceive the reader about the origin of the ideas put forward in the articles,” the commission concludes that though they are “seriously flawed by the regular presence of bad scholarly practices,” her writings contain “neither academic fraud nor plagiarism properly so called.”“. If you are appalled, I am not. Previously CNRS declared data fabrication by Photoshop in papers by former CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus to be not just acceptable, but in fact good scientific practice (read here).
- Genius dentists from University of Otago in new Zealand invented a therapy to obesity: they install device called DentalSlim Diet Control which prevents hungry patients from opening their jaws wider than 2 mm, as The Guardian reports. We learn that “participants complained that the device was hard to use, causing discomfort with their speech. They said they felt tense and that “life in general was less satisfying”. One participant did not follow the rules and instead consumed foods they were not supposed to, such as chocolate, by melting them. Prof Paul Brunton from the University of Otago said the main barrier that stopped weight loss was “compliance”“.