Schneider Shorts of 17 June 2022 – Italian fraudster retires with 7 retractions, Italian killer surgeon gets off 2/3 acquitted with a suspended sentence, his former partner in London wraps up stem cell scam, with probiotics against depression, WHO conspiracy theories, and Elsevier wallowing in antivaxxer covidiocies.
Table of Discontent
- Once again, Macchiarini walks out free – just a suspended sentence for negligent death
- Best wishes to Maria Alfonsina – Prof Desiderio retires with 7 retractions
- UCL apologises for the inconvenience – bullying, racism, sexual harassment and antisemitism at architecture faculty
- Lowdell out of business – umbilical cord “stem cell” scam shut down
- The REAL reason for conferences – Dr Santiago needs peer support
- WHO and lab leak theory – not a conspiracy theory anymore?
- Elsevier and Walach – Retracted covidiocy paper republished, and guess who the editor was
- Depressive crap II – After stools, Schmidt & Lang peddle probiotics for depression
Once again, Macchiarini walks out free
Paolo Macchiarini, the scandal surgeon about whose trachea transplant and whose dead and mutilated victims I wrote so much about, has walked out of a court victorious once again.
The former Karolinksa Institutet professor was previously served a suspended sentence in Italy for extortion of dying patients, and acquitted in Sweden of manslaughter. But then his victims’ families appealed and Macchiarini was charged with grievous assault.
Justice, the real-life kind of it, was served: Macchiarini walks out free, again. That’s it, he won.
Macchiarini was fully acquitted for his deadly experiments on Andemariam Beyene and Chris Lyles (because these men had cancer) and received a suspended sentence for the horrible suffering he caused to Yesim Cetir, who had no terminal disease when Macchiarini started operating on her, but eventually died also.
Here is the court verdict (translated):
“A unanimous district court today sentenced a former surgeon at KS for causing bodily injury, a felony, in one case. He is acquitted on two of three charges. The penalty is set to a suspended sentence.
The surgeon was charged with surgery on synthetic tracheae that he performed on three patients in 2011 and 2012. Prosecutors claimed that the surgery had caused the patients severe bodily injuries and that two of them had also suffered from long-term agony. The prosecutors requested in the first instance that the surgeon be convicted of aggravated assault and in the second instance that the acts be assessed as causing bodily injury, a felony.
The district court has concluded that the interventions were not in accordance with science and proven experience. With regard to the patients’ condition, the district court nevertheless considers that the interventions on the first two patients were justifiable and that the surgeon should therefore be released from liability because he acted in distress in the criminal law sense.
At the time of the operation on the third patient, however, the experience from the first two operations was such that the surgeon should have refrained from having another patient undergo the operation.
– The benefit that the treatment method was expected to bring was simply not in proportion to the risks that the procedure was associated with, say the legal judges in the case, Ewa Lindbäck and Björn Skånsberg.
According to the district court, the surgeon has realized the risks of the procedure for which he is now sentenced. However, nothing has emerged to suggest that he was indifferent to the fact that the procedure would lead to severe bodily injuries and long-term, severe suffering. He should therefore not be convicted of an intentional assault offence but of the negligent offence causing bodily harm. The crime is, in view of the circumstances, to be assessed as serious.”
That#s it, guilty by negligence in once case only. There won’t be any trials. His dead patients in Sweden: case closed. His dead and mutilated patients in Spain: nobody gives a flying toss about. His dead and mutilated patients in Italy: nobody gives a flying toss about. His dead and mutilated patients in russia: well, actually these trachea transplants are still performed by his colleagues in that murderous fascist state.
The only person ever fully sentenced for Macchiarini’s crimes in a court of law with the full might of justice, in not one, but several trials, is Leonid Schneider. The law is an asshole.
Best wishes to Maria Alfonsina
The Italian cancer research professor at the University of Milan, Maria Alfonsina Desiderio, now has 7 retractions.
That is because the university performed a research misconduct investigation after I sent their ethics commission Smut Clyde’s article on For Better Science. Here are the most recent retractions:
Paola Bendinelli, Paola Maroni, Emanuela Matteucci, Maria Alfonsina Desiderio “Epigenetic regulation of HGF/Met receptor axis is critical for the outgrowth of bone metastasis from breast carcinoma“ Cell death & disease (2017). doi:10.1038/cddis.2016.403
An overview of some of the problems:
The retraction notice from 9 June 2022 declared:
“The Editors are retracting this article because of concerns with a number of figures. An investigation by the University of Milan confirmed that:
[Summary of fraud]
The Editors therefore no longer have confidence in the data.
Maria Alfonsina Desiderio disagrees with this retraction. Paola Bendinelli, Paola Maroni and Emanuela Matteucci have not responded to any correspondence from the editor/publisher about this retraction.”
The other retraction at the same journal was for this paper:
P Maroni , P Bendinelli , E Matteucci , A Locatelli , T Nakamura , G Scita , M A Desiderio “Osteolytic bone metastasis is hampered by impinging on the interplay among autophagy, anoikis and ossification“, Cell Death & Disease (2014) doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.465
Some examples of the many problems:
Also here the retraction note from 9 June 2022 declared:
“The Editors are retracting this article because of concerns with a number of figures. An investigation by the University of Milan confirmed that:
[Summary of the fraud]
The Editors therefore no longer have confidence in the data.
Maria Alfonsina Desiderio does not agree to this retraction. Paola Maroni, Paola Bendinelli, Emanuela Matteucci, Alessia Locatelli and Giorgio Scita have not responded to any correspondence from the editor/publisher about this retraction. The publisher was unable to find up-to-date contact details for Toshikazu Nakamura.”
The key words in both retraction notices are “investigation by the University of Milan“. The publisher was simply kind and generous enough to oblige the university’s request to retract this fraud.
Now, you might soon read on Retraction Watch (who will likely claim full credit for uncovering the Desiderio fraud affair) how commendable and dedicated to integrity the editors of Cell Death & Disease are, especially Gerry Melino, Mauro Piacentini, Hans-Uwe Simon, Boris Zhitovsky, and of course, Guido Kroemer.
Or you can read about these pretentious men of bad science and their papermill-infested fraud-peddling garbage-bin open access journal (impact factor 8.7, publishing fee €3,390) here.
Desiderio’s profile at University of Milan website is now gone, here is a backup. This likely means the professor for experimental medicine, who must be in her late sixties, was forced into retirement yet denied an emeritus status.
So her almighty boyfriend at Milan pathology department, Aldo Bernelli Zazzera, under whose protection Desiderio worked since 1982, couldn’t save her, probably he is dead. Let’s see how the University of Milan solves the case of another protege of Bernelli Zazzera, Gaetano Cairo, born 1951, installed as professor of pathology because he studied agriculture. Oops, Cairo’s profile page at the University of Milan is gone also (here backup), and he was telling about his “personal journey” to students just last December. Expect retractions of Cairo’s papers as well.
UCL apologises for the inconvenience
The elite London university UCL apologises on behalf of its architecture faculty, the Bartlett College.
The Guardian reported:
“University College London has apologised to current and former students and staff for a “culture of unacceptable behaviour” at its architecture school going back decades.
The apology comes after the university conducted an investigation into complaints of sexism and racism on campus, first reported by the Guardian last year. […]
The inquiry, which began in October 2021, concluded in mid-April with findings detailed in an 119-page report by Howlett Brown, an intelligence company specialising in employee investigations and appointed by the university as an impartial investigator. […]
A dossier shared with the Guardian in 2021, and cited in the final report, included testimonials from 21 people claiming there were “systemic” problems at the Bartlett. The testimonials, compiled by a student who experienced sexism while studying at the institution in 2000, alleged inappropriate comments were made about appearance and race, and said female students were sometimes brought to tears. […]
The report said serious allegations “spanning the last three decades” involved a number of staff allegedly making sexist comments and verbally attacking female students, in addition to allegedly misogynistic, discriminatory, and antisemitic behaviour.
One participant said they were told by a tutor “you should be grateful for what your family has immigrated to”. Another former student said “the environment was very toxic, especially for women, working-class people and individuals of colour”. A student who said she was raped by a fellow student did not share it with members of staff as she wasn’t sure “there was a network in place”.
Other staff members were alleged to have inappropriately touched students, partied with students while taking drugs, and dated students during their time at the school.”
Well, even antisemitism. It kind of fits that several UCL professors (responsible for deadly trachea transplants) wrote to a Jewish MP once to warn her that I was a German racist (a Nazi, basically).
As it happens, the only person UCL ever found guilty in their own trachea transplant investigation in the affair of the former UCL adjunct professor Paolo Macchiarini, was an immigrant from Iran. All white English people were acquitted in full.
I think UCL’s problem with racism goes beyond the school of architecture.
Lowdell out of business
Speaking of UCL. Maybe you recall Mark Lowdell, UCL professor with a regenerative medicine lab at the Royal Free Hospital which “regenerated” tracheas for the deadly transplants by Paolo Macchiarini and later Martin Birchall?
In earlier Shorts, I quoted Private Eye reporting about the investigation by Patricia Murray, who uncovered another unethical scam of Lowdell: umbilical cords donated by unsuspecting new mothers to charity at Royal Free ended up being sold by Lowdell’s company LifePlus Stem Cell Technologies (SCT) LLP to stem cell charlatans in UK for anti-aging and other quack therapies. Lowdell must have earned very well with that scam.
“LIFEPLUS Stem Cells, one of the companies accused of trading in dodgy “stem cell treatments”, is to be voluntarily wound up. […]
Health regulators are now investigating how the cord tissue donated to the Anthony Nolan charity and processed at London’s Royal Free NHS Hospital ended up being sold as pricey treatments for incurable conditions by Dr Aamer Khan, founder of the Harley Street Skin Clinic (HSSC). […]
Prof Lowdell says he has not had anything to do with LlfePlus since 2019, but he only resigned as a partner in March this year. Although it has never filed any accounts and is listed as a dormant company, documents seen by the Eye suggest it was supplying Dr Khan with tissue products and had at least four, possibly five, “personnel”. […]
Anthony Nolan and the Royal Free are conducting their own inquiries. The charity told the Eye it had in the interim suspended the supply of cord material to another company run by Prof Lowdell, INmune Bio International Ltd. It had arrangements with both the Royal Free and INmune for use of donated cord tissue, but only for licensed treatments or ethical research. All a very messy web tor investigators to untangle.
Invited to comment on the latest developments, the Royal Free said only that its investigations were “ongoing”.
Don’t cry about Lowdell’s crashed business. He won’t starve, the man is filthily rich.
The REAL reason for conferences
My colleague, the image integrity sleuth and plant scientist Aneurus Inconstans is upset:
“The crazy circus of academic congresses and conferences is back on track. For instance, on 23-27 October the 13th International Congress on Plant Molecular Biology (IPMB 2022) will take place in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Among the plenary speakers there’s also Richard Vierstra. Of note, another plant scientist with a serious PubPeer record, Julia Santiago, will be invited to chair the “Structural Biology” session. Thousands (!) of people will cross oceans and continents to present… powerpoint slides.
Are the participants aware of the massive carbon footprint genarated by this nonsense?
Is this just a way to further milk out taxpayers money to leech travel costs for holidays?
Could academia please ban forever global congresses in exotic and remote places, and organize instead meetings locally? And eventually with a very few people (two-three individuals maximum!) invited from overseas?”
Ah yes, Julia Santiago. A very promising assistant professor in Switzerland who back in Spain published massive fraud, which her mentor Pedro Rodriguez announced to retract and then didn’t.
So now Santiago is chairing a session at IPMB 2022. Why, you wonder?
Exactly because Santiago, and now also Vierstra, are currently under pressure what with the accusations of research misconduct. Must show support, rally behind, circle the wagons, family comes together, no cheater can be left behind!
This is exactly why conferences happen: to publicly celebrate toxic characters who cannot be touched because the community is behind them, and then to conspire to embezzling of public funds for more fake science during social events and fancy dinners in exotic locations. Let the taxpayer finance that.
As I reported before, Guido Kroemer will be chairing a session at the FEBS-IUBMB-PABMB conference.
WHO and lab leak theory
Well well well, after the ridiculous WHO-China “investigation” into COVID-19 origins by Peter Daszak and his friends determined that a lab leak origin theory was “highly unlikely” and must never be investigated (unlike the frozen fish from Europe theory), what do we have now?
Washington Post reports:
“However, in a report released Thursday, the WHO-backed team said it had not received any new data that would allow it to better evaluate that theory.
Members of the group from Brazil, China and Russia objected to the calls for further investigation into the “lab leak” theory.
The report also said that available data suggests SARS-CoV-2 had a zoonotic origin, which means it spread between animals in a natural setting, but that neither the animal that infected humans nor the place where this infection occurred could be identified.
“At this point, the strongest evidence is still around zoonotic transmission,” Marietjie Venter, chair of the WHO team and a virologist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, said in a Zoom call with reporters before the report was published. “However, the precursor viruses that have been identified in bats are definitely not close enough to be the virus that spilled over into humans.”
The report was written by the Scientific Advisory Group for the Origins of Novel Pathogens (SAGO), a body made up of experts from the United States, China and 25 other nations that first came together last year after widespread criticism of a joint WHO-China investigation into the coronavirus’s origins.”
Funny, didn’t all science journalists triumphantly declare victory for zoonotic origins, exact animal source traced to exact stand in Wuhan’s wet market etc, because of a loud academic bully virologist and two badly made preprints some months ago?
Also strange that a russian scientist, Vladimir Dedkov, remained on board of the SAGO investigative team. But then again, russia remains WHO member while it commits genocide in Ukraine, intentionally annihilates hospitals and birth clinics with all patients inside, shoots ambulances, kills and tortures medical staff, and publicly accuses Ukraine of harbouring secret bioweapon labs, financed with Jewish and vaccine-industry money, where not just COVID-19 was created, but also ethnically-targetting anti-russian viruses designed to be carried by trained ducks and pigeons. Imagine Dedkov (who was member of Daszak’s team and previously defended China from COVID-19 origin accusations) constantly trying to convince other SAGO team members that it was Ukrainians who caused COVID-19, and that why they all must be exterminated.
Elsevier and Walach
Remember the Austrian parapsychologist Harald Walach? Who recently retracted two covidiotic papers, one raving against vaccines, another against facemasks?
You can read about Walach’s history as parapsychologist, healer, antivaxxer and homeopath here. For example, Walach was “the lead author of an EUHEALS study on distance healing” where “400 spiritual healers were able to “distantly heal” 400 patients for six months” and inventor of the “Kozyrev Mirror” with which “one could “open a space-time channel” and which, among other things , enabled telepathic transmissions“.
When this paper in MDPI became focus of massive public protests, Walach’s University of Poznan in Poland and University of Witten-Herdeke in Germany publicly distanced themselves and dissolved the affiliations soon after.
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 antivax paper, which claimed that “For three deaths prevented by vaccination we have to accept two inflicted by vaccination“, was retracted on 2 July 2021.
Wallach’s other study, in JAMA Pediatrics, which claimed that German schoolchildren are being suffocated by facemasks, was later retracted also.
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
The retraction notice from 16 July 2021 explained:
“Following publication, numerous scientific issues were raised regarding the study methodology, including concerns about the applicability of the device used for assessment of carbon dioxide levels in this study setting, and whether the measurements obtained accurately represented carbon dioxide content in inhaled air, as well as issues related to the validity of the study conclusions. In their invited responses to these and other concerns, the authors did not provide sufficiently convincing evidence to resolve these issues, as determined by editorial evaluation and additional scientific review.”
But for Elsevier, Walach is a respected scholar and that retracted JAMA study is solid and trustworthy science. They re-published it in a journal with impact factor of 6.5:
Harald Walach , Helmut Traindl , Juliane Prentice , Ronald Weikl , Andreas Diemer , Anna Kappes, Stefan Hockertz Carbon dioxide rises beyond acceptable safety levels in children under nose and mouth covering: Results of an experimental measurement study in healthy children Environmental Research (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113564
It is exactly the same study, “approved by the Ethics Committee of the University Witten/Herdecke (Registration Number 22/2021)“, where Walach used to be visiting professor.
The manuscript was “Received 30 December 2021, Revised 17 May 2022, Accepted 21 May 2022, Available online 28 May 2022“. Walach’s new affiliation is “Change Health Science Institute, Berlin, Germany“.
Would you like to know who the Editor-in-Chief of that Elsevier journal Environmental Research is, who so eagerly approved of that retracted paper from a fellow unhinged quack, covidiot and antivaxxer?
José L. Domingo.
Of course. Read about Domingo here.
Depressive Crap II
André Schmidt and his boss Undine Lang at the University Psychiatric Clinic Basel excreted another stupid clinical study. I wrote in earlier Shorts about their earlier one, in Frontiers, about stool transplants curing depression in no less than two now happy patients.
But faeces are difficult to be traded with, certainly via the supermarkets. So now the University of Basel announced in a press release:
“In their new study, the researchers led by Dr. André Schmidt and Professor Undine Lang systematically investigated the effects of probiotics on patients with depression.
All participants were inpatients at the University Psychiatric Clinics Basel (UPK) and were given a probiotic (21 subjects) or a placebo (26 subjects) for 31 days, in addition to antidepressants. […]
The subsequent analysis showed that although depressive symptoms decreased in all participants thanks to the general antidepressant treatment, there was a greater improvement in the subjects in the probiotic group than in the placebo group.
In addition, the composition of their intestinal flora changed, at least temporarily: in the probiotic group, an analysis of stool samples revealed an increase in lactic acid bacteria at the end of treatment – an effect that was accompanied by a reduction in depressive symptoms.”
Lang previously published a book with advice on “resilience”. I don’t know if she advises stool transplants or probiotic drinks there.
The press release also mentions:
“Another interesting effect of taking probiotics was seen in relation to brain activity when viewing neutral or fearful faces. […] This was another reason why the researchers believed it was important to use a wide range of bacteria in the form of probiotics, such as formulations already available on the market.”
This was the paper:
Anna-Chiara Schaub , Else Schneider , Jorge F. Vazquez-Castellanos , Nina Schweinfurth , Cedric Kettelhack , Jessica P. K. Doll , Gulnara Yamanbaeva , Laura Mählmann , Serge Brand , Christoph Beglinger , Stefan Borgwardt , Jeroen Raes , André Schmidt, Undine E. Lang Clinical, gut microbial and neural effects of a probiotic add-on therapy in depressed patients: a randomized controlled trial Translational Psychiatry (2022) doi: 10.1038/s41398-022-01977-z
The clinical study NCT02957591 had 60 participants who were treated for mild depression antidepressants at the University Psychiatric Clinic Basel, and then received the dietary supplement Vivomixx (also marketed as Visbiome) by the Swiss company Mendes SA, based in Lugano. The authors declare to have no conflicts of interests. Which is simply not credible. But the company Mendes is very secretive, even its owner is secret. But there are clues.
It turned out that Vivomixx is the same as a much more popular market product, VSL#3 by VSL (or Actial Farmaceutica SRL). The product, which Mendes also calls “De Simone Formulation”, was licenced from the Italian probiotic
quack inventor Claudio De Simone, who is actually the founder of Mendes and who once sued VSL for copyright infringement. The court files mentioned:
“Mendes, a type of corporation known as a “societe anonyme,” was established and is headquartered in Switzerland. According to VSL, Mendes was founded by De Simone and has sought to bring to market Vivomixx, a product designed to compete with VSL#3, the probiotic at the center of this case. De Simone has since sold Mendes to Salvatore Orlando, who took over in January 2013. In October 2014, Orlando formed ExeGi, a New York limited liability company headquartered in Maryland, which obtained from De Simone the exclusive rights to market and sell in the United States the formulation used in VSL#3. […] Mendes currently sells Vivomixx in various foreign markets.”
Read all about VSL#3 and how it was was proven by Italian scientists to cure all brain disorders here:
And this is why ExeGi so eagerly advertising the Basel study now, while announcing:
“Based in part on these results from Europe, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) is planning a pilot clinical trial with the same probiotic agent in adolescents with clinical depression. That pilot trial is expected to start later this year. ”
The product urgently needs a market:
“Following a review by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) back in 2018, the probiotic food supplements VSL#3® and Vivomixx® were removed from Part XV of the Drug Tariff in England. The Committee concluded that the evidence did not sufficiently demonstrate that the products are clinically effective.”
Lang and Schmidt now have a cure for your depression, with no COI whatsoever.
News in Tweets
- An antivax editor at Elsevier, the Spanish toxicology professor Jose Domingo (you met him above), commissioned a special issue on antivaxxery and proudly published an idiotic antivax paper by notorious covidiot and antivaxxer Peter McCullough (et al). The antivax editor insisted the antivax paper passed peer review by no less than 5 qualified (antivaxxer) editors. When proper scientists like Jerome Barriere protested, the antivax editor invited them to submit a “Letter to Editor” (read here). After they submitted the letter, the antivax editor told them it failed peer review, and rejected it. Elsevier (read above what else they published with same editor) points fingers and laughs.
- The story of the retraction for Zhang et al, Effects of cartoon violence on aggressive thoughts and aggressive behaviors, Aggressive Behavior (2019), where the notice mentioned “Concerns about the article’s study design had been raised previously which were addressed through the publication of a correction in early 2021(1). The editorial team investigated the new concerns raised and determined that the issues with the study design affect the reliability of the data and the article’s conclusions and so the journal is issuing this retraction.“
- The funny thing about this retraction for Bora et al 2019 is that the author Nilutpal Sharma Bora insisted on PubPeer the images of sun-burned rodents were not cloned, and cited in his support “an image analysis screenshot using the software “Forensically”; which is a recommended software for detecting clones by the Humboldt-Elsevier Advanced Data and Text Centre (HEADT Centre) which is a research initiative that belongs to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU Berlin) with financial management via Humboldt-Innovation GmbH (HI) which is funded by Elsevier (2015-2021).“. Elsevier’s recently issued retraction notice then declared “The journal’s investigation determined that the claim by the authors that images in figure 1F termed “challenged” and “control” are representing different groups (animals) is not true; the two images appear to be derived from the same photograph by cropping and image manipulation. The first author, Dr Nilutpal Sharma Bora, informed the journal that he wished to take full responsibility for the misconduct.”
- Here is a russian governmental official, Dmitry Rogozin tweeting about the urgent need to destroy the Ukraine and its people once and forever to protect the russian master race. Using same arguments Hitler used for his Final Solution which culminated in the Holocaust. Rogozin also keeps praising Russian intercontinental missiles and calling for nuclear annihilation of USA and Europe. Thing is, Rogozin is not just some fascist bureaucrat, but the head of Roskosmos, the russian space agency. He used to be the cherished scientific peer, friend and partner of ESA and NASA. Actually, he still is, the collaboration on the ISS must continue…
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