Schneider Shorts of 15 July 2022 – COVID-19 cured with hyperbaric bullshit, Chinese human rights shop closes in Amsterdam, how to control aggression, with Germany’s Green talent, whistleblowers honoured, viruses and bacteria, and France’s genius way to swear off research fraud.
Table of Discontent
- France swears off research fraud – a genius solution found
- Chinese-Dutch human rights shop closes – teeth-gnashingly
- Dresden whistleblowers honoured – at least some good choices
- HBOT cures COVID – Dr Efrati’s new success story
- Aggression control – a competent vs an incompetent view
- Multiple Sklerosis solved – EBV claim, Nobel-worthy or a flop?
- Alzheimer’s bacteria – tooth rot spreads to brain, in Frontiers!
- Magazinov helps PLOS – Meet Dr Amir Mosavi, Germany’s Green Talent
France swears off research fraud
Research misconduct will be soon a thing of the past in France. They found a genius solution. Science reports:
“Whether they’re studying bioinformatics, history, or astrophysics, Ph.D. recipients in France will soon have to take an integrity oath on the day they successfully defend their thesis, in what seems to be the first national initiative of its kind. […]
“We had a long way to go” compared with some other countries, says Stéphanie Ruphy, director of the French Office for Research Integrity (OFIS), which helped draft the oath. […]
The new oath is expected to become mandatory for researchers in all fields beginning their Ph.D.s or renewing their Ph.D. enrollment, starting in the fall. A draft of the oath, which had not been finalized or released as Science went to press, reads in part: “I pledge, to the greatest of my ability, to continue to maintain integrity in my relationship to knowledge, to my methods and to my results.”
It will be mentioned in the charter signed by every Ph.D. candidate—as well as by their supervisor and institution—at the start of their doctorate, and will be taken when the Ph.D. is conferred.”
As Le Monde brought into public light the Catherine Jessus affair with its whitewashed data manipulation and the growing academic protest, a counter-revolution put its foot in. A signature list in the worst Stalinist tradition was published, organised by the very elite of French academia (mostly members of Academie de Sciences), and signed by hundreds,…
As someone who was officially and publicly declared to be a “slanderous blogger” by CNRS, and repeatedly threatened with a libel lawsuit by the French Ministry of Research and Education, I can confidently suggest that the France can shove this oath up it arse.
It is not just useless, it’s an oath of Omertà, because, that being France, manz professors tasked with making their PhD students sign this oath are quite often scientific fraudsters who never faced any consequences for their own research fraud of many decades, and who incite and bully their students into research misconduct on daily basis. Doing absolutely nothing about these professorial crooks while making their graduates sign an oath of Omertà will simply stifle every attempt at whistleblowing.
Former CNRS president Anne Peyroche has been symbolically sanctioned for research misconduct. Despite previous fraud findings, conclusions are not affected, and so is her employment by the Atomic Energy Commission. I present two more falsified figures.
Frédérique Vidal has been professor for molecular genetics and rector of the University of Nice before she became the currently serving cabinet Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation in France. The French government keeps responding with threats of legal action to earlier evidence of data irregularities in her published research, this is why I…
Imagine Guido Kroemer‘s PhD students graduating. Imagine PhD students at IHU Marseille graduating, not just under Didier Raoult, regardless under whom. I could keep naming examples till you start swearing yourself.
And this is how Omertà would work: in order to become a whistleblower, you need to spend some time in a fraudster lab, to collaborate on some fraudulent projects, because only then you will have witnessed things to report. Some even end up as co-authors on fraudulent papers. This is also why nearly every whistleblower can be accused of research misconduct at least by association (and trust me, this is what every fraudulent PI does in retaliation). But remember you gave that oath? Dare to open your mouth, and your PhD will go up in the puff of smoke.
Guido Kroemer receives on 8 November 2019 the €1mn Lombardy Award for Healthy Ageing, at La Scala in Milan. And why not, one panel member was Carlo Croce.
I suspect the French academic bureaucrats want you to applaud them for inventing that stupid oath. Here is my two-fingered salute.
Chinese-Dutch human rights shop closes
Vrije Universiteit (VU) in Amsterdam recently had a bit of a scandal. Some months ago it came out that their Cross-Cultural Human Rights Centre (CCHRC) and its directors were pay-rolled by Chinese Communist Party to say nice things about China, how free and democratic it really is, and how well it treats Uyghurs (read here).
Imagine VU leadership’s surprise when the Dutch public didn’t think that was cool. So now VU closed the Chinese shop, permanently. The Dutch newspaper NOS wrote on 11 July 2022:
“The China-funded human rights institute of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) will be closed permanently. The VU is taking this measure following a critical report by external researchers. […]
In a written response, the employees of the CCHRC say they are pleased with the outcome of the report. They are pleased that there is “no evidence that individual researchers” at the center “have had their views ‘buyed’ by the Chinese partner university or have engaged in self-censorship under pressure from this university”.
However, that is not exactly what the Stolker Committee concludes. The report says the Commission has “find no evidence” of any such pressure or bribery. The Committee emphasizes that such behavior is very difficult to prove. The committee also explicitly states that it has not requested access to the mailboxes of CCHRC researchers or to “versions of publications from personal file folders”.”
Yet VU sees it differently, in their announcement from 11 July 2022:
“Rector Magnificus Jeroen Geurts: “The Committee found no evidence that individual researchers had had their views ‘bought’ or that self-censorship had occurred under pressure from Chinese financiers.”
Who would have known that Uyghur DNA, used by Chinese state security for genetics research into racial profiling and face prediction, was obtained under coercion? Four papers by Caixia Li et al are now retracted.
Yet, CCHRC professors like Tom Zwart and Peter Peverelli honestly thought China was great and a role model for others. That’s why the Chinese Communist Party decided to pay them in the first place.
Look at these charming faces, Zwart and his mates. What better men to fight for human rights can you ask for?
CCHRC director and Utrecht University professor Zwart was quoted by NOS with
Universities, now it’s your chance. Who wants to open a Zwart Center for Human Rights, sponsored by China? Or russia, maybe?
Btw, here about VU’s previous rector, a fan of quackery and an expert on research integrity:
Dresden whistleblowers honoured
A rare piece of good news from academia.
The German whistleblowers who exposed the research fraud, financial embezzlement, nepotism, blackmail and bullying by the TU Dresden professor and former star psychologist Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, get recognised. You can read about the Wittchen affair in the relevant section of this article:
Lorenza Colzato was a rising star of psychology and a role model for Women in STEM. All Dutch media and even some local German newspapers talk about her now. But I want to talk about her husband Bernhard Hommel instead.
Now the TU Dresden announcement about the Badge of Honour 2022 awards (translated):
“Whistleblowers Martin Holst and Jens Strehle
The courage, with which the two whistleblowers pointed out the serious violations of scientific integrity in the context of the so-called PPP study and thus made an investigation and disclosure possible, deserves our highest recognition. Maintaining academic integrity is of central importance to our university. The responsible actions of the two whistleblowers can therefore be seen as an outstanding commitment to the benefit of the entire TU Dresden.
suggested by Prof. Dr. Daniel Leising, supported by Dr. Anja Kraplin, Dr. Michael Hoefler and Prof. Dr. Stephen Scherbaum“
If only the university leadership really cared about “maintaining academic integrity”, they wouldn’t have recruited the sacked research fraudster Lorenza Colzato and her husband and mentor, Bernhard Hommel (again, see the article above).
HBOT cures COVID
You may recall my old article about Dr Shai Efrati, an Israeli Scientist and a businessman, who makes serious money peddling the so-called hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) to rich old gits in Florida and Dubai seeking rejuvenation and life extension. Of course Efrati also has proof that HBOT cures stroke, cardiovascular problems, degenerative diseases, brain disorders, increases your intelligence and probably also gives you a permanent erection. As a patient testified, he left the HBOT chamber as a tiger.
Telomere dysfunction is a common problem in older men. Dr Shai Efrati can help: Book your appointment for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy now!
Earlier in the pandemic, Dr Efrati announced that his HBOT will be proven as a cure for COVID-19, just wait till he rounds up another round of paying customers for his private HBOT pressure chambers. He made up on his promise.
A press release by Efrati’s own company Aviv, placed in disguise of journalism in many local US newspapers, celebrates now a breakthrough:
“The study included 73 long haulers with post-COVID-19 cognitive symptoms, such as brain fog, inability to concentrate, forgetfulness and difficulty recalling desired words or thoughts. These symptoms had persisted for more than three months following a confirmed virus infection—a crippling condition that affects up to 30% of COVID patients.
Participants in the study were divided into two groups: 37 patients received hyperbaric oxygen therapy treatment and 36 were designated into the sham-controlled group (placebo sessions received normal air). […]
The study was conducted by the Sagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research at Shamir Medical Center and Tel Aviv University.
“The study revealed that HBOT (hyperbaric oxygen therapy) can induce structural and functional repair of the damaged regions of the brain and improve the cognitive, behavioral and emotional function of the unfortunate patients suffering from post-COVID-19 conditions,” said Shai Efrati, the research group leader and director of the Sagol Center and chair of Aviv Scientific’s Medical Advisory Board.”
The trial took place in 2021, registered as NCT04647656. It had 91 participants actually, not 73 as the paper insists. Also, it is not clear if any of the participants really had clinically defined Long-COVID symptoms, the recruitment criteria asked merely for self-reported “post COVID-19 cognitive deterioration that effect quality of life and persist at least 3 months after confirmed infection.”
This is the paper:
Shani Zilberman-Itskovich, Merav Catalogna, Efrat Sasson, Karin Elman-Shina, Amir Hadanny, Erez Lang, Shachar Finci, Nir Polak, Gregory Fishlev, Calanit Korin, Ran Shorer, Yoav Parag, Marina Sova, Shai Efrati Hyperbaric oxygen therapy improves neurocognitive functions and symptoms of post-COVID condition: randomized controlled trial. Scientific Reports (2022). doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-15565-0
One can read in small print that while only 11% of HBOT group were previously hospitalised for COVID-19, the number was twice as high (22%) in the control group. That’s how you randomise properly!
Anyway, here is a proper expert who approves:
The Conversation is an intellectual forum where clever academics share their visions and ideas. So here is one particularly clever contribution, by the bioethics expert Cohen Marcus Lionel Brown of the University of Wollongong in Australia, on how to prevent aggressive behaviours in the society using science:
“Precise biomarkers of reactive aggression haven’t yet been established, but scientists have identified some key contributors. These include a range of genes, receptors, neurochemicals related to serotonin and dopamine, hyperactivity of the amygdala, and reduced brain matter in particular regions.
Certain biomedical procedures show promise. Neuromodulation techniques have been found to lower aggression by directly altering brain activity. One example involves a painless procedure in which electrodes are placed on a person’s head to excite or inhibit a specific part of the brain.
Researchers have suggested we could use such technology on young people with conduct disorders to prevent problematic behaviour in adulthood.
Another emerging technique is psychedelic-assisted therapy. Working with therapists, patients use substances such as LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin to access altered states of consciousness and positively shape values, thoughts and behaviour. Early clinical trials have shown impressive results for treating conditions including addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Gene-based strategies such as CRISPR also offer hope for therapeutic and enhancement purposes. These work by inserting genetic material into a person’s body to modify or replace unwanted genes. Most gene therapies are still in early trial stages. They’ll need much more evaluation before they can used safely and ethically on humans.”
I like the joke about gene-therapy, it’s so hilariously stupid. But electrodes in the brain? Well-tested by science! Smut Clyde recalled this paper from the 1970ies:
Charles E. Moan , Robert G. Heath Septal stimulation for the initiation of heterosexual behavior in a homosexual male Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry (1972) doi: 10.1016/0005-7916(72)90029-8
A young homosexual (patient B19) was reported as successfully turned straight by zapping his brain with electricity via electrode implants:
“Initiation of the procedure took place 3 months following surgery for electrode implantation and 4 weeks after the determination of the parameters of subjectively pleasurable septal stimulation. At this time, B-19 viewed a
15-min 8 mm “stag” film featuring sexual intercourse and related activities between a male and female. […] A program involving both passive (other-
induced) and self-stimulation of the septal region was begun the following day. […] However, during this time B-19 did show a notable improvement in disposition and behavior, was less recalcitrant and more cooperative both at the laboratory and his hospital ward, and reported increasing interest in female personnel and feelings of sexual arousal with a compulsion to masturbate.
The next afternoon he agreed without reluctance to re-view the stag film and during its showing became sexually aroused, had an erection, and masturbated to orgasm. […]
Therefore, arrangements were made for a 21-year-old prostitute to spend 2 hours with him in a laboratory specially prepared to afford complete privacy […] As the second hour began, she relates that his attitude took an even more positive shift to which she reacted by removing her bra and panties and lying down next to him. […] After about 20 min of such interaction she begun to mount him, and though he was somewhat reticent he did achieve penetration. Active intercourse followed during which she had an orgasm that he was apparently able to sense […] During this session, EEG recordings from the deep leads (Heath, 1971) indicated that delta waves appeared at several of these sites as sexual arousal increased and that immediately prior to orgasm striking changes in recordings from septal leads occurred resembling epileptiform discharge.”
Thing victims are prepared to do to escape such doctors as that sadistic psychopath Dr Robert G. Heath… He also tortured schizophrenia sufferers and was investigated for patient abuse one year after he tortured patient B19.
US neuroscientists like Health, Frank Ervin, Vernon Mark, and especially Jose Manuel Rodriguez Delgado did many sadistic experiments having “implanted radio-equipped electrode arrays, which he called “stimoceivers,” in dogs, cats, monkeys, chimpanzees, gibbons, and humans.” (as Scientific American wrote). Their undeclared scholarly vision was for a totalitarian dictatorship in USA where “aggressive” individuals and whole crowds (read: Black people) can be remotely controlled and made docile by electric waves sent straight into their brains.
But unlike Smut Clyde, Cohen Marcus Lionel Brown is the real expert on bioethics and neuroscience, and this is why he doesn’t talk about the dark past while proposing brain stimulation for aggression control. In fact, in his recent paper he can’t wait for the “Moral Bioenhancement” with gene therapy and brain implants to become reality:
Multiple Sclerosis solved
Either these Harvard scientists will get a Nobel Prize soon for finding the cause of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or they embarrassed themselves big time by announcing the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) as the causative agent.
A press release by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health quotes the discoverer:
“The hypothesis that EBV causes MS has been investigated by our group and others for several years, but this is the first study providing compelling evidence of causality,” said Alberto Ascherio, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Chan School and senior author of the study. “This is a big step because it suggests that most MS cases could be prevented by stopping EBV infection, and that targeting EBV could lead to the discovery of a cure for MS.”
The press release explains:
“To determine the connection between EBV and MS, the researchers conducted a study among more than 10 million young adults on active duty in the U.S. military and identified 955 who were diagnosed with MS during their period of service.
The team analyzed serum samples taken biennially by the military and determined the soldiers’ EBV status at time of first sample and the relationship between EBV infection and MS onset during the period of active duty. In this cohort, the risk of MS increased 32-fold after infection with EBV but was unchanged after infection with other viruses. Serum levels of neurofilament light chain, a biomarker of the nerve degeneration typical in MS, increased only after EBV infection.”
It is a bit reminiscent of the 1970ies and 1980ies when the scientific world was determined to find the viruses which cause cancer. Robert Gallo tried to prove that HIV (or HTLV3 as he called it, having stolen it from his French colleagues) was actually a lymphoma virus. Eventually just one, the uterus carcinoma-causing papillomavirus (HPV), was definitely proven as a cancer agent. Harald zur Hausen got the Nobel Prize for that and immediately went on to propagate an unhinged theory about mysterious infectious DNA particles in milk and beef as the cause for colon cancer, which he does to this day at predatory conferences.
Smut Clyde tells you about some abysmally bad scamferences and the kind of scholars frequenting them, and I explain why Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen is one of them.
A review of “The Baltimore Case” by the historian Daniel Kelves and “Science Fictions” by the journalist John Crewdson, which also tell the history of the Office of Research Integrity (ORI).
Well, the Harvard folks published their MS discovery not somewhere, but in Science, so even if they are completely wrong, they will get all the research grants, industry gigs and academic promotions you won’t get.
Kjetil Bjornevik , Marianna Cortese , Brian C. Healy , Jens Kuhle , Michael J. Mina , Yumei Leng , Stephen J. Elledge , David W. Niebuhr , Ann I. Scher , Kassandra L. Munger , Alberto Ascherio Longitudinal analysis reveals high prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus associated with multiple sclerosis Science (2022) doi: 10.1126/science.abj8222
The paper mentions:
“A significantly higher proportion of individuals who later developed MS were EBV-positive in the second (28 of 33 MS patients) and third (32 of 33 MS patients) sample compared with individuals who did not develop MS (second sample: 40 of 90 controls; third sample: 51 of 90 controls).”
Maybe it is a great discovery indeed. But if it was a fluke, in a couple of years nobody will remember that paper anyway, but rather celebrate the authors for their next Science paper where they might discover the virus which causes Alzheimer’s.
Oh wait. Here other elite US scientists discovered that Alzheimer’s is caused by tooth-rotting bacteria, and published it in Frontiers.
A press release by the Tufts University:
“Now new research published in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience by Tufts University scientists and colleagues suggests a link between F. nucleatum and Alzheimer’s disease.
“In this study, our lab is the first to find that Fusobacterium nucleatum can generate systemic inflammation and even infiltrate nervous system tissues and exacerbate the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Jake Jinkun Chen, professor of periodontology and director of the Division of Oral Biology at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. […]
“Our studies show that F. nucleatum can reduce the memory and thinking skills in mice through certain signal pathways. This is a warning sign to researchers and clinicians alike,” Chen says. […]
“Testing for bacterial load and degree of symptoms could one day become a way to measure the effects of F. nucleatum and manage treatment to slow progression of both periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s,” Chen says. […]
More broadly, Chen and colleagues are targeting their translational research at blocking the pathways between periodontal disease and not only Alzheimer’s, but other diseases linked to inflammation, including Type 2 diabetes.”
This was the paper:
Hongle Wu , Wei Qiu , Xiaofang Zhu , Xiangfen Li , Zhongcong Xie , Isabel Carreras , Alpaslan Dedeoglu , Thomas Van Dyke , Yiping W. Han , Nadeem Karimbux , Qisheng Tu , Lei Cheng , Jake Chen The Periodontal Pathogen Fusobacterium nucleatum Exacerbates Alzheimer’s Pathogenesis via Specific Pathways Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (2022) doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.912709
Dr Chen is apparently a big fan of Chinese papermill literature, so he decided that non-coding RNAs were an absolute must-have:
“Studies by Chen’s lab have shown that a molecule called microRNA-335-5P can inhibit damage done by periodontal pathogens. The molecule could also have a robust effect in targeting the pathological molecules produced in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s.
“MicroRNA in general suppresses gene expression and could stop the production of certain proteins. MicroRNA-335-5P in particular could target three ‘bad’ genes—DKK1, TLR-4, and PSEN-1—all believed to be related to Alzheimer’s disease,” he says.
His lab has also designed a small molecule called adipoAI, which has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Chen hopes to begin a clinical trial soon to study whether it is effective in treating a range of inflammatory diseases including Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and periodontal disease.”
“Whole cohorts of peer-reviewers have been trained to view all these mannerist stylings as what western blots should look like. […] It will be a challenge to convince them otherwise.” – Smut Clyde.
Magazinov helps PLOS
Alexander Magazinov keeps trying to untangle a huge hairball of international research fraudsters who kept producing masses of nonsense papers, assigning authorships and citations to their scam partners or to paying customers, all while infiltrating journals as invited editors for special issues or peer-reviewing their own trash, sometimes under assumed identities.
Usually, the publishers can’t care less if their journals have been hijacked by such fraudsters, as long as the papers keep coming in. But here PLOS One became prey to a scam by certain Amir Mosavi from Iran.
Saqib Jamil , Waqas Farooq , Najeeb Ullah , Adnan Daud Khan , Usman Khan Khalil , Amir Mosavi Large electromagnetic field enhancement in plasmonic nanoellipse for tunable spaser based applications PLoS ONE (2022) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0263630
The title sounds incomprehensible not because you are not an expert, but because it is nonsense.
So Magazinov wrote to PLOS:
“I am not an expert in the field, but some external evidence suggests that the paper might be unreliable.
1) The last author, Amir Mosavi, is a hyper-prolific researcher with 302 papers in 2020, 156 in 2021 and 70 in 2022. However, his field of expertise seems to be machine learning, which is substantially far from the topic of the paper in question. Nor is there an obvious connection between Mosavi and the other authors of the paper (all Pakistan-based).
2) In the decision letter dated Dec 23, 2021, Reviewer #1 suggests “replacing the blurred images” and adding four references. No substantial feedback on the scientific content is provided.
The suggested references eventually were added as [18-21]. They all are in the literature review and are described only through excerpts of their abstracts, which is not helpful for putting them into the context. Accidentally, [18-20] are authored by the handling editor, YF Chou Chau.
Given that, I encourage you to look deeper into the process of handling the manuscript and to rule out possible authorship manipulation, lack of peer-review independence, and citation coercion.
This means that the PLOS One editor Yuan-Fong Chou Chau of Universiti Brunei Darussalam acted (possibly via a human sockpuppet) as reviewer and demanded an addition of his own paper.
Mosavi is author of “research” papers with such intriguing-sounding titles like:
I did not make this crap up, Mosavi did. The young man, a “Research Fellow at Thuringian Institute of Sustainability, Research Fellow at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, Germany and Assistant Professor at School of the Built Environment, Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom“, was awarded a “Green Talent” fellowship of $5k by the German federal government in 2015, followed by another $5k of UNESCO Young Scientists Award in 2017, plus Future Talent Award of TU-Darmstadt and Go Styria Award from University of Graz. And you were not, dear reader.
News in Tweets
- Hindawi does great since Wiley bought it. Don’t even hope for retractions.
- Nature’s Scientific Reports is torn between its business model of publishing anything for money, and fighting the flood of fraud and trash this business model invites. I worry for the mental health impact on the editorial assistants.
- Exactly this
- Bullshit called out:
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