Schneider Shorts of 12 November 2021: a retraction for Pierre Kory, avoided retractions for various fraudsters, Vojtech Adam negotiating with success, Cassava forges partnership with learned society against Bik, Raoult vs Bill Gates, why asphyxiation is good for you, TCM recipes, Pandora Papers and chemical pollution, and how to save the planet with synthetic nature.
Table of Discontent
- Mayo’s Doctor – paedophile paediatrician at Mayo Clinic
- Cassava & J Neuroscience vs Bik – are science elites that stupid or just evil?
- Procedural errors – Vojtech Adam reports success in negotiations
- Fool me once… – papermill-ravished journal issues an erratum
- Bon Appetit! – TCM’s special recipes
- Pray for the publishers – guest editors and their special issues
- Kory retraction – intentionally peddling therapy which kills people is not nice
- Raoult vs Bill Gates – new antivax conspiracies from chloroquine guru
- CO2 good for brain! – Frontiers science is really the bestest
- Gene for intelligence found – MIT solves dementia!
- Synthetic Nature – how to save the biosphere, the science way!
- Turbine Syndrome: peer-reviewed science trumps reality
- Solvay vs whistleblower: Pandora Papers expose dirty industry
The Mayo Clinic has a problem again, this time with one of its doctors. Post Bulletin writes:
“A La Crosse pediatrician accused of sexually assaulting a minor is now accused in two more cases. Joseph Thomas Poterucha, 40, faces three felony charges of sexual assault of a minor younger than 13. […]
According to the amended complaint filed Wednesday, an investigation stemming from the first case led police to pursue at least two other accusations. One involved a girl who was interviewed by La Crosse police on Oct. 14. She told police that Poterucha abused her multiple times and exhibited lewd behavior in her presence.
Police interviewed a third girl Oct. 15, who said she was assaulted by Poterucha more than once.
Poterucha was arrested shortly after police interviewed the first girl on Oct. 14. She told police Poterucha had touched her inappropriately the night before.”
The court records are linked in this news article. Mayo Clinic educated the public via media, even before starting an investigation, that the paedophile attacks by their paediatrician took place in his spare time and do not taint in any way his clinical work:
“His employer, Mayo Clinic, removed Poterucha’s profile from its website, placed him on leave, and issued a statement that said they are cooperating with law enforcement. Mayo Clinic said in the statement that the charges are not related to his work at the hospital in La Crosse or involve any Mayo Clinic patients.”
It sure will be a short investigation for Mayo Clinic, since they already decided there was no need to interview their paediatrician’s patients and their families. Speaking of: Poterucha’s dad, Thomas Poterucha, is an internal medicine clinician at Mayo who made his entire career there. The accused paedophile’s brother, John Poterucha, is also internist at the Mayo Clinic.
Here is Joseph Poterucha’s ex-wife, who filed for divorce.
Cassava & J Neuroscience vs Bik
Remember Cassava Sciences? The stockmarket-traded US biotech startup which claimed to have a miracle drug for Alzheimer’s, till its own investors reported them to FDA for suspected research fraud? And then Elisabeth Bik joined and reported massive new evidence of Photoshop forgeries?
Cassava lashed out at Bik, since then their anonymous minions and fans attack her daily by email and on Twitter with violently misogynous slurs and threats.
“The Journal of Neuroscience authorized Cassava Sciences to share a statement on this matter, reprinted in full below:
“The Journal of Neuroscience follows COPE [ C ommittee o n P ublication E thics] guidelines and takes any claims of misconduct very seriously. In response to allegations of data manipulation in JNeurosci 2012;32:9773-9784 the Journal requested raw data, including images of original, uncropped Western blots. The Journal determined that there was one duplicated panel in Figure 8 and a Corrigendum was requested and will be printed. No evidence of data manipulation was found for Western blot data.”“
I was very curious about those mysterious uncropped blots. Pity the journal’s Editor-in-Chief Marina Picciotto, professor of neuroscience in Yale, ignored all my emails.
Now, on 10 November 2021, an Erratum appeared in this elite journal, published by the prestigious Society for Neuroscience:
“The original, uncropped blots of loading control bands in Figure 6, Aand B, are shown below.
The original, uncropped blots for b-actin in Figure 9Aare also shown below. The left image is the higher-resolution image with the additional bands cropped out, as seen in the full image on the right.”
Here are those “original, uncropped blots”, lo and behold (I merely boosted the levels):
Now, Dr Picciotto and her editorial colleagues are surely the real experts, but what the actual f*** are these pictures, really?
Observe that the gel bands go from one edge of the membrane to another. Meaning, if those were real gels (not likely):
- for the two top gels with 10 lanes each there never was any marker lane loaded. Do I really need to explain to DOCTOR Picciotto why this is important?
- for the bottom gels (“uncropped” on the right) not only there is no marker lane but they even cut the membrane to blot exactly only the 9 gel lanes they loaded and not the last, empty lane where they could have loaded a marker. Also, what is that shadow which accidentally exactly fits the cropped version of that same gel on bottom left? The background pattern is also different between cropped and uncropped actin.
But if our Yale professor says this makes sense, who is the failed scientist here?
As reminder, Journal of Neuroscience also supported the bully, racist and pathological liar BethAnn McLaughlin (aka McLNeuro) till the very last moment and let her run their (now defunct) Twitter account.
Vojtech Adam, the soon-to-be rector of Mendel University in Brno, is positive that all the massive data forgery in his papers will have zero consequences for his stellar career. Czech neswpaper Denik N reports:
“The rector of Mendel University in Brno, Danuše Nerudová, has received an explanation from her elected successor Vojtěch Adam on the case of alleged ambiguities in image data in scientific publications. She will forward the report to the Ethics Committee.
The Academic Senate will then receive the commission’s conclusions. Adam rules out deliberate misrepresentation. He told ČTK that he and his colleagues are gradually correcting the alleged “procedural errors”.
There is an ethics committee with Czech and foreign experts, who are about to convene very soon. But Adam has a cunning plan – to negotiate with the journal editors about corrections of his papers before they are investigated:
“I have submitted detailed documents that confirm my earlier position that there was no deliberate misrepresentation of data, but procedural errors that have no impact on the main conclusions of all our published papers,” Adam told the Czech News Agency. In most cases, the authors’ teams found the original data, on the basis of which the disputed figures are gradually being corrected in the published papers.
“I am in contact with the editors of the scientific journals where the articles were published. Within three weeks, two findings have been clarified without the need for further corrections, and in two cases the editors have even issued a decision to accept the corrections, which I consider a success,” Adam described.
Amazing how our science elites define success.
Fool me once…
You won’t believe what the German editors of Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry now corrected. OK, you will believe, especially given that they had to outsource the decision to the journal’s previous owner, Karger, which never was a paradigm of research integrity, but still…
I mean, Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry just mass-retracted many fake papers from Chinese papermills, the editors announced utmost vigilance in their emails to me…
Take a look at this.
Zhenhui Lu , Liqin Wang , Hongmei Pan , Xiao Lin , Cuiwu Lin , Buming Liu , Li Zheng, Jinmin Zhao Stimulating effect of a newly synthesized sulfonamido-based gallate on articular chondrocytes in vitro Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry (2015) doi: 10.1159/000430243
The undated Erratum not linked anywhere on Karger’s website, declares:
“In the original article by Lu, et al.[…], there are some errors in Fig. 3 and Fig. 5. The images of cell viability in Fig. 3A: TGF-β1 at day 2 and 1.06×10-7 M at day 6, and in Fig. 5: phalloidin/Hoechst 33258 staining 0M, 1.06×10-8 M, 1.06×10-7 M at day 2, 1.06×10-7 M and 1.06×10-6 M at day 4, and 1.06×10-7 M at day 6 were mistakenly submitted. The correct Fig. 3 and 5 are displayed below.
The authors confirm that all of the results and conclusions of the article remain unchanged, as well as the figure legend.
The authors sincerely apologize for this mistake.”
I wrote to the journal’s German editors, who replied to me:
“At the time, this correction was published at the request of the authors. Regardless of this, this paper, like some others, is currently still subject of extensive investigations by us in cooperation with Karger.
Here we also have to refer to the COPE guidelines, which are helpful, unfortunately in my opinion, they always bear a danger that such a procedure does not always provide a quick and complete investigation or satisfy everyone.“
Fair enough, but why such hurry with issuing that disastrous Erratum then? The editors explained: “We reserve further steps“. Let’s see then.
Meet Bao et al 2021, “Radix Kansui Stir-Fried with Vinegar Reduces Radix Kansui-Related Hepatotoxicity in Mice via Mitochondrial Pathway“, which is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) “science” exactly like the Xi Jinping’s government wants it.
Quality control is assured:
“Euphorbia kansui roots were collected from Baoji (Shaanxi Province, China) and identified by Prof. TANG Yu-ping from Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine.”
As all of TCM science literature, it is of course also fake:
If you enjoyed that, there is also Hue et al 2021 “Edible Bird’s Nest Attenuates Menopause-Related Bone Degeneration in Rats via Increaing [sic!] Bone Estrogen-Receptor Expression” on menu:
“Ready-to-use EBN was supplied by Niah Bird’s Nest Trading Company (Sarawak, Malaysia), and was incorporated into standard rat chow for animal feeding.“
The nests were real, the study was fake:
All that is served to you in subscription by Springer Nature.
Pray for the publishers
Nature reports a tragic incident:
“Hundreds of articles published in peer-reviewed journals are being retracted after scammers exploited the processes for publishing special issues to get poor-quality papers — sometimes consisting of complete gibberish — into established journals. In some cases, fraudsters posed as scientists and offered to guest-edit issues that they then filled with sham papers.
Elsevier is withdrawing 165 articles currently in press and plans to retract 300 more that have been published as part of 6 special issues in one of its journals, and Springer Nature is retracting 62 articles published in a special issue of one journal. The retractions come after the publishers each issued expressions of concern earlier this year, covering hundreds of articles.
Science-integrity experts expect that more investigations will come in the months ahead as other titles realize that they have been duped.”
I am not sure why everyone is so shocked. Recruiting imposters and fraudsters as guest editors to host special issues comprised entirely of bunk and fraud, is the standard business model in today’s scholarly publishing, both Open Access and subscription. I am very sorry you got caught, but come on, folks, own up.
Oh no, a paper by the ivermectin quack Pierre Kory got retracted for fraud! And it wasn’t even about ivermectin, but about other COVID-19 quack cures.
Pierre Kory, G. Umberto Meduri , Jose Iglesias , Joseph Varon , Paul E. Marik Clinical and Scientific Rationale for the “MATH+” Hospital Treatment Protocol for COVID-19 Journal of Intensive Care Medicine (2021) doi: 10.1177/0885066620973585
This was the retraction notice:
“The article has been retracted after the journal received notice from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia (“Sentara”) raising concerns about the accuracy of COVID-19 hospital mortality data reported in the article pertaining to Sentara. Sentara’s notice included the following statements:
‘The data from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital were presented in Table 2, which lists in-hospital or 28-day mortality rates at the 2 MATH+ centers as compared to 10 published single-center and multicenter reports. The mortality rate among 191 patients at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital as of July 20, 2020 was reported as 6.1%, as compared to mortality rates reported in the literature ranging from 15.6% to 32%. The authors state that these data “provide supportive clinical evidence for the physiologic rationale and efficacy of the MATH+ treatment protocol.”‘
‘The data from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital that [are] reported in this paper are inaccurate. The paper briefly states the methods as: “Available hospital outcome data for COVID-19 patients treated at these 2 hospitals as of July 20,2020 are provided in Table 2 including comparison to the published hospital mortality rates from multiple COVID-19 publications across the United States and the world.”‘
‘We have conducted a careful review of our data for patients with COVID-19 from March 22, 2020 to July 20, 2020, which shows that among the 191 patients referenced in Table 2 that the mortality rate was 10.5%, rather than 6.1%. In addition, of those 191 patients, only 73 patients (38.2%) received at least 1 of the 4 MATH+ therapies, and their mortality rate was 24.7%. Only 25 of 191 patients (13.1%) received all 4 MATH+ therapies, and their mortality rate was 28%.’
‘Apparently […] census and mortality counts from hospital reports [were used] to calculate a mortality rate, but in so doing counted some patients in the denominator but not in the numerator because they died after July 20, 2020, the reported end date of the study. This would be an incorrect calculation of a hospital mortality rate, but might explain the incorrect number of 6.1% in Table 2. Using this incorrect mortality rate to compare with the published reports and claim a “75% absolute risk reduction” is thus an incorrect conclusion regardless of which mortality rate is used.’
Given the above concerns that are material to the article’s findings, the article has been retracted.”
Assume that everything else Kory pushes is just as fraudulent. As Smut Clyde commented:
Raoult vs Bill Gates
The chloroquine guru and IHU Marseille director Didier Raoult enters a new stage of antivax paranoia, must be due to his hanging out with Christian Perronne.
In a TV interview, he blamed a conspiracy by Bill Gates and WHO:
“”Didier Raoult then did not hide his scepticism about the WHO: “WHO says what it wants … (sic)“. “Isn’t it serious, WHO?“, relaunched the journalist.
“It depends. It’s complex. It’s largely bought by Bill Gates anyway“, replied the professor with reference to the American billionaire. “Bill Gates buys the WHO? We are on a conspiratorial slippage, there, Professor Raoult“, reacted Bruce Toussaint. “It’s not conspiratorial, he is the major financier of the WHO, Bill Gates. (…) Everything I say you can watch it“, maintained the guest, who estimated moments later that “the world’s vaccine policy has been led by Bill Gates for the past 15 years, first by Gavi (Alliance for Vaccines) and then by the WHO“
CO2 good for brain!
This is the kind of science which makes Frontiers world’s bestest scholarly publisher of all times. Did you know than inhaling carbon dioxide improves memory?
Rebecca J. Taugher , Amanda M. Wunsch , Grace Z. Wang , Aubrey C. Chan , Brian J. Dlouhy , John A. Wemmie Post-acquisition CO2 Inhalation Enhances Fear Memory and Depends on ASIC1A Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (2021) doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2021.767426
A blog post by Frontiers, celebrating this article, explains:
“The inhalation of carbon dioxide (CO2) by mice a few hours after they formed a new fearful memory makes that memory stronger, so that the mice show more distress when they are prompted to ‘retrieve’ (ie, recall) it. That is the conclusion of a recent in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience by neuroscientists from the University of Iowa, US. The authors also show that the memory-strengthening effect of CO2 only occurs when the gene acid-sensing ion channel-1a (ASIC1A) is functional in the mouse brain.
If the human version of the ASIC1A gene proves to have a similar role in the formation of fearful memories, interventions targeting this molecular pathway could one day be a useful strategy for the treatment strategy of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
The last author, the University of Iowa psychiatry professor John Wemmie, is quoted:
““Naturally, our results from mice need to be repeated in people,” said corresponding author Prof John A Wemmie, the Roy J Carver Chair of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at the University of Iowa. However, our present findings suggest that people who have acidosis in the brain at the time when they experience a traumatic event might have an increased risk of developing PTSD. They also raise the intriguing possibility that interventions that prevent acidosis shortly after people experience a traumatic event might help to prevent of PTSD.”
Now, CO2 inhalation indeed enhances fearful memories by actually producing them: the toxic gas causes panic attacks and a feeling of suffocation already at low concentrations, and kills at higher. Maybe Dr Wammie can patent a method of putting a plastic bag over the heads of PTSD victims?
Or maybe he can team up with another US colleague, Augustine MK Choi, dean of Weill Cornell? Choi has something even better on offer than carbon dioxide: carbon monoxide!
Gene for intelligence found
If MIT scientists say they found the gene for intelligence (at least for its preservation in old age), then it is a peer reviewed science fact.
This is the paper:
Scarlett J. Barker, Ravikiran M. Raju, Noah E.P. Milman, Jun Wang, Jose Davila-Velderrain, Fatima Gunter-Rahman, Cameron C. Parro, P. Lorenzo Bozzelli, Fatema Abdurrob, Karim Abdelaal, David A. Bennett, Manolis Kellis and Li-Huei Tsai, MEF2 is a key regulator of cognitive potential and confers resilience to neurodegeneration Science Translational Medicine (2021) DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abd7695
And here the press release by MIT:
“Among these cognitively resilient people, researchers have identified education level and amount of time spent on intellectually stimulating activities as factors that help prevent dementia. A new study by MIT researchers shows that this kind of enrichment appears to activate a gene family called MEF2, which controls a genetic program in the brain that promotes resistance to cognitive decline.
The researchers observed this link between MEF2 and cognitive resilience in both humans and mice. The findings suggest that enhancing the activity of MEF2 or its targets might protect against age-related dementia.
“It’s increasingly understood that there are resilience factors that can protect the function of the brain,” says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. “Understanding this resilience mechanism could be helpful when we think about therapeutic interventions or prevention of cognitive decline and neurodegeneration-associated dementia.”
Up until some monkeys in Africa evolved into a certain species which learned to consume all the planet resources, exterminate most species, destroy all ecosystems, poison everything including its own dwellings and even f*** up the planet’s climate, for that past billion of years Earth’s biosphere had absolutely no clue how to operate. Luckily, our clever monkey species is there to help. One of us wrote an article in Washington Post, titled:
“If we want to save the natural world, we’re going to have to change it.“
Beth Shapiro is a particularly evolved representative of H. sapiens species, by being a HHMI professor at UC Santa Cruz, so listen up:
“With synthetic biology, by contrast, we can work with far greater precision, directly targeting genes that result in beneficial characteristics, meaning we can often introduce a single, specific change without compromising the other DNA that has allowed an organism to thrive. Synthetic biology also operates more quickly than traditional approaches to conservation, since our growing libraries of genes make it much easier to predict what might work best under a given set of circumstances or in response to a particular need. Traditional approaches such as manually culling invasive species often taking generations before they make a real difference. Synthetic biology, by contrast, can alter species at a pace that matches the urgency of today’s crises. “
It’s this typical industry-friendly attitude: it’s too late, we destroyed the planet, no point of changing our lifestyles, don’t listen to environmentalists, let’s fiddle and consume while the planet collapses. Instead of not burning fossil fuels, not eating meat, we can capture carbon, geo-engineer climate, and use gene technology to resurrect extinct species and create new, better species than these pathetic weaklings this stupid evolution has amateurishly created in a non-peer-reviewed way.
Dr Shapiro has many ideas:
“Synthetic biology also allows us to tackle a given problem — the collapse of oceanic ecosystems, for example — from multiple angles at once. […] Together, these engineered organisms promise to maintain and even improve the quality of our planet’s habitats, benefiting us and the other species that share these spaces.
Synthetic biology gives us greater power to alter species than our ancestors had, and some will find that troubling. But the fact remains that we are already changing the natural world in ways that far outstrip its ability to respond. As we look to the future, we can choose to use synthetic biology to make even more with less, to protect wild species and wild spaces, and to do so in a sustainable way. Or we can reject our new biotechnologies and risk losing everything that we claim to protect.”
I can’t think of a single example where human science and technology did anything for the benefit of other species or any natural ecosystem, really exactly nothing comes to mind except those cases where we used technology to STOP doing certain destructive things (think of acid rains and ozone hole). Yet Dr Shapiro has the black-footed ferret as her prime witness!
But I am sure we can deploy synthetic biology to f*** up things even more. To the very least, Dr Shapiro needs another fat research grant.
The Guardian reports:
“A French court has recognised “turbine syndrome” after a couple complained their health was damaged by living near a windfarm. In what is believed to be the first judgment of its kind in France, Belgians Christel and Luc Fockaert were awarded more than €100,000 in compensation by the judge in Toulouse.
The couple claimed they experienced a range of health problems including headaches, insomnia, heart irregularities, depression, dizziness, tinnitus and nausea for more than two years, insisting these were caused by six wind turbines set up 700 metres from their home at Fontrieu in the Tarn, southern France.
The turbines had been installed in 2008. However, it was reported that the couple’s health problems started five years later. The Fockaerts believed this was because woodland between their property and the nearest turbine was cut down.”
And now the best bit:
“Doctors failed to find any health problem, but a court expert said turbine syndrome had been previously identified by scientific research.”
If something which allegedly passed peer review somewhere, reality becomes legally irrelevant.
Solvay vs whistleblower
In 2005, a lab analyst of a Solvay-owned chemical company, Pietro Mancini, blew the whistle on massive pollution. He was sacked, according to Solvay “for just cause”, and later developed kidney cancer. One of company’s owners, Bernard de Laguiche, hid millions in offshore funds to avoid paying for the damage his business caused. This came out in the Pandora Papers leak, investigation by Scilla Alecci:
“In 2008, almost three years after Mancini’s storeroom discovery, environmental inspectors found hexavalent chromium at more than 40 times the legal limit in wells near the plant. Local authorities declared a public health emergency.
Italian prosecutors eventually brought criminal charges against more than two dozen people, including Solvay executives, and the plant’s former owner, accusing them of intentionally poisoning the groundwater and failing to clean up the site.
Among those charged: de Laguiche, a member of Solvay’s founding family. He had promoted the purchase of the struggling plant and others in Europe and the U.S. that used fluorinated compounds, intending for Solvay to compete globally with industry leader DuPont and its famed Teflon product. The plant acquisitions had been a success for his company.
Shortly before the charges were filed, and again soon after, de Laguiche and his immediate family moved assets worth more than $50 million into trusts in Singapore and New Zealand with the help of a prominent offshore service provider and Swiss advisors, confidential records show.”
Of course the rich are above the law, the occasional and largely symbolic fines can’t hurt them, but the simple mortals must pay, also with their health and sometimes with their lives.
“Over the past two decades, dozens of Solvay workers and people living near Solvay facilities have sued the company over water and soil pollution, the loss of farmland and a range of maladies including mesothelioma, a cancer caused by asbestos. During that time, the company has paid at least $74 million in court awards for environmental violations, an ICIJ review of public records found. The company said it has spent more than $55 million to clean contaminated areas globally. […]
De Laguiche was later acquitted. He declined to comment on the legal case and the management of his family’s assets, but said he didn’t move wealth offshore in response to the Italian investigation or to avoid taxes. “
News in Tweets
- Don Rockey, professor at the Medical University of South Carolina, wearer of best moustache and publisher of best Photoshop fraud, corrects a paper. The October 2021 correction notice for Shafiei & Rockey, Laboratory Investigatiion, 2012 declares that the fake western blots “were inadvertently mislabeled and used incorrectly.“
- No correction so far for this fake figure by Didier Raoult’s colleagues from IHU Marseille in Lavigne et al Clinical microbiology and infection 2012. The main reason being that this society journal is published by Elsevier, so Bik is being ignored since 2014.
- Let’s hope PLOS One will not issue a correction for this trash Sheweita et al 2020, the journal became really the champion of research integrity recently, now that Journal of Biological Chemistry made a U-turn. After Elisabeth BIk found many fake loading control gels, so the first author Salah Sheweita, Egyptian professor and, uhm, PLOS One editor, educated her: “it seems you need more experience in western blotting . actin protein bands is used only as standard for calculation of unknown band denisties. the shape of bands of actin proteins are different. Your comments are not true.”