Schneider Shorts of 29 July 2022 – a German GP sells a miracle cure for long covid, Science decrees where covid came from, how to bribe your way to FDA approval, with a corrected papermill forgery, two snowflakes, a frustrated whistleblower, even more unconditional support for science fraudsters and finally, with amazing scientific discoveries from USA on the topic of old age.
Table of Discontent
- Biogen’s secret to success – is bribes
- Cassava in more trouble – now also a criminal investigation
- COVID blood wash business – a German GP against “dogmatism”
- Directeur Exceptionelle – Misconduct investigation against Drouard gets surprise ending!
- Full support of QMUL – a journal surprisingly unafraid to retract a Bergamaschi paper
- Reveal yourself! – an editor learns anonymous whistleblowers aren’t evil
- The BMC papermill – Springer Nature corrects a papermill forgery
- How to avoid Alzheimer’s – horrifiying findings from Harvard
- Live Long and Prosper – Gorbunova and Seluanov explain ageing
- Clap for your grandma – genius evolutionary explanation for grandmothers
Biogen’s secret to success
The US biotech Biogen (famous for receiving an FDA approval for Aduhelm, Alzheimer’s treatment which doesn’t actually work), is in the news again. The BMJ reports:
“The drug company Biogen has agreed in principle to pay $900m (£750m; €880m) to settle allegations it had bribed doctors to prescribe its multiple sclerosis drugs under the guise of paying them consultancy fees. The drugs were then billed to US Medicare and Medicaid as well as private insurers, costing the government hundreds of millions of dollars.
The lawsuit against Biogen was lodged in 2012 by a former sales director, Michael Bawduniak. After 10 years of negotiation the company settled days before a trial was due to start. The agreement in principle, revealed in a 20 July quarterly statement,1 does not include an admission of wrongdoing.”
The whistleblower is now immensely rich (although much of the money will go to his lawyers):
“The federal government never joined Bawduniak’s suit, but he won a large settlement anyway. This legally entitles him to 25-30% of the settlement amount, or between $225m and $270m. The $900m is the largest settlement won by a private individual under the whistleblower clause since the False Claims Act became law 150 years ago.”
This is how Biogen made its MS drug perform its magic in the clinic:
“Biogen’s “multimillion-dollar kickback scheme capitalized on the unique nature of the market for MS medications,” Bawduniak’s lawsuit alleged.3 Six thousand doctors write over 90% of the prescriptions for drugs for multiple sclerosis, and just 1200 doctors wrote 60% of prescriptions during the period covered by the lawsuit, it noted. “These prescribers dominate the MS market and they were the targets of Biogen’s kickback scheme.”
[…] Bawduniak preserved company documents that he said showed that consultants were picked and paid on the basis of their prescribing, not their expertise. Biogen conducted multiple regional consultations that duplicated each other, allegedly to understand regional differences in treatment needs, but really, he alleged, to reward or incentivise local prescribers. Many of the meetings were held over dinner.
“Biogen held hundreds of unnecessary consultant meetings,” the suit alleged, “repeatedly paying its highest prescribing customers to attend meetings that it did not need, to obtain feedback that it never intended to utilise.”
It is not unconscionable that Biogen got its Alzheimer’s drug approved by FDA via the same good old method of bribing the right people there. In fact, it seems this was exactly what happened. Due to public outcry over the institutional corruption, the already approved Aduhelm was cancelled in US by major health insurances, and Biogen withdrew their application to European Medicines Agency.
But hey, Biogen already has another Alzheimer’s drug up its sleeve:
Cassava in more trouble
Elsewhere, the Alzheimer’s scam market is also in the news. The cartoonishly bad fraudsters of Cassava Sciences are now facing a criminal investigation.
“The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into Cassava Sciences Inc (SAVA.O) involving whether the biotech company manipulated research results for its experimental Alzheimer’s drug, two people familiar with the inquiry said.
The Justice Department personnel conducting the investigation into Austin, Texas-based Cassava specialize in examining whether companies or individuals have misled or defrauded investors, government agencies or consumers, according to the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. […]
The company already was facing scrutiny from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and investors after two physicians from outside Cassava last year made allegations of data manipulation and misrepresentation involving research underpinning the company’s Alzheimer’s drug, called simufilam.”
You can read about the Cassava affair here:
If such outrageous fraudsters like Cassava won’t get sentenced for patient abuse and massive fraud ($20 million embezzled from NIH alone), then what’s the point of having FDA, SEC or courts in the first place…
COVID blood wash business
BMJ investigation uncovered how sufferers from prolonged after-effects of COVID-19 infection (long covid) are being defrauded by quacks with private clinics in Cyprus, Germany, and Switzerland, with bullshit therapies like blood filtering apheresis and anticoagulation drugs. The treatments are offered over social media, cost many thousands of euros and have exactly zero efficacy.
The BMJ article , done in collaboration with ITV News, follows a Dutch patient:
“Boumeester spent two months in Larnaca, a port city on the south coast of Cyprus, renting an apartment on the beach. Once or twice a week she would travel to the Long Covid Center for her apheresis and for “add-on” treatments such as hyperbaric oxygen (breathing in oxygen in a high pressure room) and for intravenous vitamin infusions she received at the Poseidonia clinic, a private clinic next door to the Long Covid Center.
The Long Covid Center offers a type of apheresis (heparin induced extracorporeal LDL precipitation or HELP apheresis) where the blood is passed over a heparin filter to filter out unwanted lipids and proteins, a process it says reduces the stickiness of the blood and improves microcirculation. The treatment is normally used as a last resort for patients with lipid disorders that have not responded to other treatments. Needles are put into each arm, and the blood is passed over the heparin filter, separating the red blood cells from the plasma. The plasma is filtered before being recombined with the red blood cells and returned to the body through a different vein.
Boumeester received six rounds of apheresis, costing €1685 a session, at the Long Covid Center and nine rounds of hyperbaric oxygen costing up to €150 a session, together with an intravenous vitamin drip and a vitamin D injection at €50 each at the Poseidonia clinic. Intravenous glutathione and amino acids were also recommended to her.” […]
Boumeester was asked to sign a consent form at the Long Covid Center before undergoing apheresis, a form lawyers and clinicians described as inadequate. As well as being full of spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and half finished sentences, it asks patients to waive any claims that they might have against the Long Covid Center and employees for “any personal injury, loss or death arising from the resulting of this treatment.”
The annoying bit is that until now the mass media was fully behind the scam, because journalists love the figure of a maverick doctor who finds a cure for an incurable disease and saves the world against the opposition of the dogmatic medical community. Cue: Didier Raoult.
Here is Switzerland’s most respectable newspaper, NZZ (widely read in Germany) peddling the blood wash cure by a private clinic in Mülheim an der Ruhr. The NZZ article from June 2021 celebrates Dr Beate Jaeger (translated):
“The laboratory doctor has many years of experience with a blood washing procedure that is called Help-Apheresis. “It immediately occurred to me that this therapy could also help patients with long-term symptoms after Covid-19.” The Help apheresis was developed for defatting the blood of patients who are at high risk of atherosclerotic vascular occlusions such as heart attacks due to excessive amounts of blood fat. This is where technology has had great success. In this way, it is possible to suppress the occurrence of renewed heart attacks by almost 90 percent. […]
In the meantime, the doctor has used the blood washing technique on 19 men and women with pronounced symptoms after Covid-19, and with great success. […] After one or more apheresis, the symptoms decreased noticeably in almost all patients. Ten of them are said to have healed, another eight have taken a big step towards recovery, and only one person is said not to have benefited. These results are remarkable and have not yet been published in any medical journal. What is particularly striking in the reports of the patients: In general, the therapy led to a rapid improvement in almost all symptoms…”
These people call themselves professional journalists, experts even. And what surprise:, Jaeger works for the Cyprus quack centre as medical advisor:
In fact, the founder of the Long Covid Center in Cyprus, the Austrian business partner Markus Klotz, is Jaeger’s own former long covid patient, as this celebratory article from November 2021 in the regional newspaper WAZ narrates (translated):
“Klotz reports that he found out about Jaeger’s approach through an interview on Deutschlandfunk. It was broadcast at the beginning of June, when he – an entrepreneur, amateur athlete, father of a small daughter – was a seriously ill man. After a corona infection in November 2020, which was not particularly difficult at first, he was bedridden for almost five months.
Long Covid had hit him hard . “It was no longer life,” says Markus Klotz about his time of suffering, “it was dying in installments. On the worst days I couldn’t lift a glass of water.”
Although he was hardly able to fly, he struggled to get to Mülheim and stayed in a hotel for three weeks. By the end of June he had been treated four times with HELP apheresis and quickly felt better. ‟I came into the practice with blue lips and a pale face. Already after the first apheresis I noticed: something is happening. The hunger for air was gone.””
Klotz paid Jaeger €5300 for the therapy, and now makes multiples of that curing people in Cyprus together with life-saver. The professional journalism article ends by assuring the readers that Klotz’ recruiting activities of long covid patients are entirely non-profit. Seriously.
The BMJ article also writes a lot about Jaeger and Klotz, and explains where the Mülheim GP got the idea for her miraculous cure from:
“Jaeger and Klotz point to research by Etheresia Pretorius, a professor in physiological sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, to justify treating long covid patients with apheresis and triple anticoagulation therapy.
Pretorius’s group has published a peer reviewed study, review articles, and preprints that hypothesise that “microclots” present in the plasma of people with long covid could be responsible for most long covid symptoms.4,5,6 Stellenbosch University has filed a provisional patent for Pretorius’s method of detecting microclots through fluorescence microscopy,7 and her laboratory is working on a diagnostic tool that could detect microclots and be rolled out in hospital pathology laboratories worldwide. A fundraising page set up by supporters has raised $161 000 to support the project.7 Jaeger has bought a €200 000 microscope for her clinic and pays licence fees to Stellenbosch University for use of its method.
Nobody ever published any research studies about the alleged success of this therapy. It is basically a circular scam operating around this one paper in a small BMC journal:
Etheresia Pretorius, Mare Vlok , Chantelle Venter , Johannes A. Bezuidenhout , Gert Jacobus Laubscher , Janami Steenkamp , Douglas B. Kell Persistent clotting protein pathology in Long COVID/Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC) is accompanied by increased levels of antiplasmin. Cardiovasc Diabetol (2021). doi: 10.1186/s12933-021-01359-7
It was not a clinical trial for apheresis, but an analysis of long covid sufferers’ blood which was compared to controls, concluded with a pre-defined hypothesis:
Jaeger says she has no money to run a clinical trial (or to publish a research paper) and denounces everyone for “dogmatism” for demanding “100% evidence” instead of just believe her words. Klotz informs that his clinic is not responsible for any risks or side effects the customers might suffer from being pumped full of blood thinners.
Oh, and by the way: Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy for long covid mentioned at the beginning? It also has been vetted by peer review now, and certain Israeli quacks of Tel Aviv University are making big money with it, in Israel, USA, Emirates, and maybe soon hopefully in private clinics in Germany!
Telomere dysfunction is a common problem in older men. Dr Shai Efrati can help: Book your appointment for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy now!
She has 18 of problematic papers on PubPeer, even occasional PhD dissertations under her supervision contain manipulated data. Especially the thesis of Thalia Salinas, who not only made it to tenured IBMP researcher, but also as wife of the current adjunct director of IBMP, Philippe Giegé, who will soon succeed Droaurd as new IBMP director. Which is just as good, because Drouard is definitely not happy about her duty of teaching all IBMP PhD students research integrity in special courses (yep, she has to do that).
Read about the fake science from Drouard’s lab here:
A 2014 publication from the lab of Laurence Maréchal-Drouard, director of CNRS IBMP institute in Strasbourg, seems to contain evidence of inappropriate data manipulation. Other versions of this problematic figure appear in 2 PhD dissertations supervised by Drouard
When I first started digging into the affair of data manipulations around the former star of plant sciences Olivier Voinnet in early 2015, I was sure to be dealing with a singular case of fraud in French science, which went totally unnoticed for decades. When 2 years later I wrote “a fish stinks from the head down” in myContinue Reading
When in 2018 CNRS set up a central research integrity office in the wake of the affairs of Voinnet, former chief biologist Catherine Jessus and former CNRS president Anne Peyroche, I used the opportunity to report Drouard for suspect research misconduct. The head of the new CNRS research integrity office, the physicist Rémy Mosseri, accepted my report and opened an investigation.
That was my report on the Drouard case:
Here an example:
Thalia Salinas, Cécile Schaeffer , Laurence Maréchal-Drouard, Anne-Marie Duchêne Sequence dependence of tRNA(Gly) import into tobacco mitochondria Biochimie (2005) doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2005.04.004
Mosseri wrote his own report and in January 2020 he submitted it to the CNRS President Antoine Petit (the one who planned to deploy secret service technology to find out the identities of the “assholes” commenting on PubPeer).
An update to the ongoing cartoon Stalinism propaganda and purge activities at the EU largest research institution, the French CNRS, in the wake of the affair around manipulated data of CNRS chief biologist Catherine Jessus, according to their press release an innocent “victim” of my “slanderous” and “unscientific” blogging. First of all, a reliable sourceContinue Reading
In October 2020, Mosseri told me:
Gosh, what punishment did Petit design for Drouard? Well, for starters, she got a new research grant in 2021.
And just now, on 29 March 2022, on orders from CNRS President Petit personally, Drouard received a promotion from DR1 to DRCE (directeur de recherche de classe exceptionnelle), in the First Echelon no less. She is now officially France’s exceptional scientist, paid the highest salary. And all not despite but because her research papers are fake.
I suggested to Mosseri that he resigns as Scientific Integrity Officer because it is obvious Petit wiped his arse with his report. Mosseri didn’t reply, so maybe he whitewashed Drouard?
Vive la France.
Full support of QMUL
But United Kingdom is not much better. Still, a small setback for the cancer researcher Daniele Bergamaschi, senior lecturer at the at the Blizard Institute of the Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in UK.
I wrote about his bad science before, here:
England leads the world in science,
any fule kno. Meet some more of the star jesters: Nick Lemoine, Peter St George-Hyslop and Xin Lu. They are curing cancer and Alzheimer with Photoshop.
Now you will see the English science supremacy in action. A paper from Bergamaschi’s lab got unexpectedly retracted on 25 July 2022, and I didn’t even discuss that one in my article because his other outputs seemed much, much worse. So here is the now retracted study:
Anissa Chikh, Paolo Sanzà , Claudio Raimondi, Olufolake Akinduro , Gary Warnes , Giovanna Chiorino , Carolyn Byrne , Catherine A. Harwood , Daniele Bergamaschi iASPP is a novel autophagy inhibitor in keratinocytes Journal of Cell Science (2014) doi: 10.1242/jcs.144816
The retraction notice, just issued by the academic publisher The Company of Biologists, stated:
“The journal is retracting J. Cell Sci. (2014) 127, 3079-3093 (doi:10.1242/jcs.144816).
Issues initially raised on PubPeer and by our own subsequent analysis suggest that there are potential duplications in several western blots in Figs 1, 4, 5 and 6. Journal of Cell Science contacted Dr Bergamaschi, the corresponding author, to request the original full blots, but the data are no longer available.
An investigation by the Dean for Research and Research Impact of the Faculty of Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, stated:
‘The overall conclusion is that duplication of images is less likely for the majority detected by your screening: equally, I am fully aware that without the original images duplication cannot completely excluded. However, Queen Mary University of London acknowledge the authors’ transparency and openness throughout this process. The authors have the full support of QMUL.’
Owing to the five remaining unresolved issues with these data and the fact that the original data are no longer available, the journal has lost confidence in the reliability of the results presented in this article and is therefore retracting the paper.
All authors were contacted and do not agree with this retraction.”
Several things. First, the editorial office found more manipulated data, the PubPeer thread never mentioned Figures 4, 5 or 6. And second, did you notice that the QMUL bullies not only defend Bergamaschi and his gang and threaten to crush anyone criticising them, they even accuse the journal editors of having fabricated the evidence?
I can tell you who these QMUL gits are, because in February 2021 I reported to them Bergamschi, together with other QMUL researchers Nick Lemoine (director of the Barts Cancer Institute, ~30 papers on PubPeer), Sarah Martin (Director of Graduate Studies at Barts, 10 papers on PubPeer) and Yaohe Wang (professor at Barts, 9 papers on PubPeer).
It is of course Lemoine himself, being one of QMUL’s executive leaders, plus university’s Vice President for Research Bill Spence, Dean for Research Mauro Peretti, and the Ombudsman Jonathan Grigg, who professes to be an expert in research integrity, e.g., by crediting Retraction Watch for my reporting on the Richard Hill affair in Portsmouth.
Get ready to meet Dr Richard Hill and his amazing jumping blots. Just don’t stare, or you’ll get hurt.
In February 2021, these gentlemen received my notification of suspected research misconduct, which they confirmed. You now see the embarrassing result of their investigation. If this is how far these academic thugs are prepared to go for a foreigner like Bergamaschi who isn’t even full professor yet, imagine what they will do to anyone daring to point a finger at Prof Nicholas Robert Lemoine, CBE, FRCPath, FMedSci, who never retracted a single paper and never will.
But it is indeed a positive surprise to see that Journal of Cell Science learned from past mistakes and did not cave in to pressure. As it happened before, in the case of Catherine Jessus , former CNRS chief biologist.
Jaw-dropping corrections issued for the French martyr saint of research integrity, Catherine Jessus, head of biology branch at the French CNRS. All these works of science contained such appalling Photoshop manipulations that the academic publisher had to bend over backwards and hide behind COPE guidelines to invent a reason against retractions.
Elsewhere, a British professor and academic Editor-in-Chief of a journal now learned a lesson that anonymous whistleblowers reporting image manipulation may actually not be bad guys with malicious plans after all.
It was about some Indian fraudsters in Allahabad whom Aneurus Inconstans reported about.
Meet Danish Ahmed and other members of the Sam Higginbottom gang. I am not making those names up.
Deepika Singh*, Ekta Yadav, Neha Falls, Vikas Kumar, Manvendra Singh, Amita Verma* Phytofabricated silver nanoparticles of Phyllanthus emblica attenuated diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatic cancer via knock-down oxidative stress and inflammation Inflammopharmacology (2019) doi: 10.1007/s10787-018-0525-6
When Aneurus reported the fraud to the journal’s EiC Kim Rainsford, Emeritus Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Sheffield Hallam University. he received this reply:
“Dear Dr Inconstans,
While appreciating your attention to details about published papers, it concerns me that in your anonymity you conceal affiliation and any potential conflicts of interest.
These details would be confidential if you would disclose them. In their absence any credibility would be totally lost.
Professor K D Rainsford
Editor in Chief”
So I had to resubmit the notification under my own name, to which Rainsford never replied, but the Springer Nature Executive Hans Detlef Klueber did. Now the paper was retracted, the retraction notice from 20 July 2022 stated:
“The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article because of the following concerns with three of the figures:
- Figure 6a appears to overlap with part of Fig. 2 in Singh et al. (2021).
- Figure 7(b) appears to be identical with Fig. 7(b) in Singh et al. (2018a).
- Part of Fig. 15f appears to overlap with Fig. 9f in Singh et al. (2018b).
- Figure 15e appears to overlap with Fig. 15c.
The Editor-in-Chief therefore no longer has confidence in the data reported in this article.
The data reported in this article are therefore unreliable. None of the authors agree to this retraction.“
Maybe Prof Rainsford, who seems now more than happy to claim for himself the credit for Aneurus’ work, should be more distrustful towards authors instead of whistleblowers next time? Especially when they submit papers with silly titles like “Phytofabricated silver nanoparticles of Phyllanthus emblica attenuated diethylnitrosamine‑induced hepatic cancer via knock‑down oxidative stress and inflammation“?
When I suggested this, Prof Rainsford called me an “activist” (he thinks it is an insult) and demanded I apologise.
It can be worse. The other paper, Singh et al 2018, mentioned in the retraction notice and also originally flagged by Aneurus, was published in Elsevier’s antivax quackery journal Toxicology Reports, which EiC until recently used to be the antivaxxer, quack, fraud enabler and russia shill, Aristidis Tsatsakis.
Aristidis Tsatsakis, Konstantinos Poulas, Ronald Kostoff, Michael Aschner, Demetrios Spandidos, Konstantinos Farsalinos: you will need a disinfecting shower once you read their papers.
Antivaxxery in scientific literature – are preprints to blame?
Don’t expect Toxicology Reports to ever retract anything, even after they appointed a new EiC, who is actually the old foundling EiC, Lawrence Lash. Even this antivaxxer shit by Tsatsakis et al remains standing. Lash is a bully who likes to actually attack whistleblowers and who published fudged science of his own.
The BMC papermill
Springer Nature recently corrected a papermill forgery, how embarrassing.
Yiming Deng , Duanduan Chen , Feng Gao , Hong Lv , Guojun Zhang , Xuan Sun , Lian Liu , Dapeng Mo , Ning Ma , Ligang Song , Xiaochuan Huo , Tianyi Yan , Jingbo Zhang , Zhongrong Miao Exosomes derived from microRNA-138-5p-overexpressing bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells confer neuroprotection to astrocytes following ischemic stroke via inhibition of LCN2 Journal of biological engineering (2019) doi: 10.1186/s13036-019-0193-0
They were warned by Smut Clyde, but didn’t listen:
Basically, the paper is entirely made up by a Chinese papermill. No animals or even cells were used for the entirely digital production of this peer-reviewed fantasy. Of course, Smut Clyde wrote about this exact “Contractor Papermill” before, and Springer Nature execs read it, but somehow the message failed to reach all of the the many remote BMC corners of this publisher:
“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.
The correction from 31 March 2022 declared:
“Figure 8 of the original article  unfortunately contained an error: Image 8b that was used as a template during the preparation of the manuscript, was accidentally left in the final version of the article that went on to publish online.
The correct image presenting the TUNEL staining to detect neuron apoptosis and to facilitate quantitative analysis for the apoptotic rate, is included in Fig. 8 below as well as the original article which has now been revised.”
Smut Clyde is now worried that the very important and very busy US American editors of this BMC journal (impact factor 6.2) will have to issue a follow-up correction:
How to avoid Alzheimer’s
Science’s advice: don’t be alive.
Behold, the title of a press release by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Harvard on a collaborative project with QMUL in London:
“HoRrIfYiNg: 91% Of kNoWn bIoLoGiCaL PaThWaYs lInKeD To aLzHeImEr’s“
The masterpiece of scientific thinking was published in the only venue worthy of this honour: Frontiers.
Sarah L. Morgan, Pourya Naderi, Katjuša Koler, Yered Pita-Juarez, Dmitry Prokopenko, Ioannis S. Vlachos, Rudolph E. Tanzi, Lars Bertram and Winston A. Hide, “Most Pathways Can Be Related to the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s Disease” Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. (2022) DOI: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.846902
“The burden of Alzheimer’s disease is steadily increasing, driving us towards a neurological epidemic,” said Winston A. Hide, PhD, director of the Precision RNA medicine Core Facility at BIDMC and an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Our findings suggest that not only is this disorder incredibly complex, but that its pathology includes most known biological pathways. This means that the disease’s effects are far broader in the body than we realized.”
The group conducted a thorough text search of 206,324 abstracts of publications on dementia-related pathways that have been released since 1990. After that, they examined 341 biological pathways that are known to exist and counted the publications that connected each pathway to the disease. All but seven of the pathways, according to the study’s findings, were connected to Alzheimer’s disease, or 91% of them. In more than 100 academic studies, over half of the pathways were associated with Alzheimer’s disease.”
Basically, scientists found out that being alive is the main risk factor for catching Alzheimer’s. Wait till they prove same for each of other diseases, also in Frontiers.
Look what he previously published with Dora Kovacs of MassGeneral:
Luigi Puglielli , Genevieve Konopka , Eunju Pack-Chung , Laura A. MacKenzie Ingano , Oksana Berezovska , Bradley T. Hyman , Ta Yuan Chang , Rudolph E. Tanzi , Dora M. Kovacs Acyl-coenzyme A: cholesterol acyltransferase modulates the generation of the amyloid beta-peptide Nature Cell Biology (2001) doi: 10.1038/ncb1001-905
Here about his past collaborators, Sylvain Lesne and Deepak Chopra.
From Lesné’s public shame to successful role models of neuroscience like Aguzzi and Tessier-Lavigne.
Smut Clyde will take you on a meditative Ayurvedic trip where the most respectable of research institutions and their world-renowned academics were caught dancing with the Guru Deepak Chopra himself. Famous cardiologist and medical writer Eric Topol and the Nobel Prize winner Elizabeth Blackburn were just two most prominent US academics listed on Chopra’s Panchakarma clinical trial.
Live Long and Prosper
A press release from University of Rochester announces that two russian scientists discovered the solution to long life:
“What causes a longer lifespan? A crucial component of the puzzle, according to a recent study by biologists at the University of Rochester, is found in the mechanisms that control gene expression.
Vera Gorbunova, the Doris Johns Cherry professor of biology and medicine, Andrei Seluanov, the first author of the publication, Jinlong Lu, a postdoctoral research fellow in Gorbunova’s lab, and other researchers looked into genes related to longevity in a recent paper published in Cell Metabolism.
Their findings indicated that two regulatory mechanisms governing gene expression, known as the circadian and pluripotency networks, are crucial to longevity. The discoveries have significance for understanding how longevity arises as well as for providing new targets to fight aging and age-related disorders.”
This is the paper:
J. Yuyang Lu, Matthew Simon, Yang Zhao, Julia Ablaeva, Nancy Corson, Yongwook Choi, KayLene Y.H. Yamada, Nicholas J. Schork, Wendy R. Hood, Geoffrey E. Hill, Richard A. Miller, Andrei Seluanov and Vera Gorbunova, “Comparative transcriptomics reveals circadian and pluripotency networks as two pillars of longevity regulation” Cell Metabolism(2022) DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2022.04.011
The press release provides a handy diagram:
The authors do think of money:
“The pluripotency network and its relationship to positive lifespan genes is, therefore “an important finding for understanding how longevity evolves,” Seluanov says. “Furthermore, it can pave the way for new antiaging interventions that activate the key positive lifespan genes. We would expect that successful antiaging interventions would include increasing the expression of the positive lifespan genes and decreasing the expression of negative lifespan genes.”
All this farting around with gene networks, metabolism, inflammation etc is probably meant to explain the short lifespans of lab mice and shrews (~1.5 years). Now, bats have an much faster metabolism, are subject to constant cytokine storm from inflammation-causing viruses (especially coronaviruses!) and despite all the peer reviewed science the little flying buggers live for around 20-30 years.
But Gorbunova and Seluanov don’t study bats, they study naked mole rats (which live for about as long as bats), and which the russian couple previously claimed (in Nature!) harbour in their skin the secret for cancer cure, which is the high-molecular-mass hyaluronan (which the couple then patented):
Xiao Tian , Jorge Azpurua , Christopher Hine , Amita Vaidya , Max Myakishev-Rempel , Julia Ablaeva , Zhiyong Mao , Eviatar Nevo , Vera Gorbunova, Andrei Seluanov High-molecular-mass hyaluronan mediates the cancer resistance of the naked mole rat Nature (2013) doi: 10.1038/nature12234
I don’t know if this image reuse was an accident, but it might explain why nobody talks about hyalonan against cancer anymore, not even Gorbunova and Seluanov. Look at their paper form their youth in the lab of Varda Rotter at Weizmann Insitute in Israel:
Andrei Seluanov , Vera Gorbunova, Ayellet Falcovitz , Alex Sigal , Michael Milyavsky , Irit Zurer , Galit Shohat , Naomi Goldfinger , Varda Rotter Change of the death pathway in senescent human fibroblasts in response to DNA damage is caused by an inability to stabilize p53 Molecular and cellular biology (2001) doi: 10.1128/mcb.21.5.1552-1564.2001
Rascals. Good luck with your pluripotency anti-aging drugs, Andrei and Vera. Read about Rotter’s and other Weizmann labs here:
Rony Seger, Jacob Hanna, Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Atan Gross, Sima Lev, Tsvee Lapidot, Moshe Oren, Varda Rotter and others. Let’s celebrate the Weizmann Science!
Clap for your grandma
Another science breakthrough, another alarming press release, this time by University of California San Diego (UCSD):
“Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine previously found a set of human gene mutations that protect older adults against cognitive decline and dementia.
In a new study, published July 9, 2022 in Molecular Biology and Evolution, they focus on one of these mutated genes and attempt to trace its evolution — when and why it appeared in the human genome.
The findings suggest selective pressure from infectious pathogens like gonorrhea may have promoted the emergence of this gene variant in Homo sapiens, and inadvertently supported the existence of grandparents in human society.”
Some how they went from evolutionary “grandmother hypothesis” where “older women provide important support in raising human infants and children“, compared human and chimpanzee genomes, discovered a humanly “unique version of the gene for CD33”, a sialic acid receptor expressed in immune cells, including brain microglia, while “Gonorrhea bacteria coat themselves in the same sugars that CD33 receptors bind to.” See the connection? No? Come on, it’s elementary my dear Watson:
“microglia also have an important role in clearing away damaged brain cells and amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. By binding to the sialic acids on these cells and plaques, regular CD33 receptors actually suppress this important microglial function and increase the risk of dementia.”
Still don’t get it?
“The mutated receptor no longer reacts to sialic acids on damaged cells and plaques, allowing the microglia to break them down. Indeed, higher levels of this CD33 variant were independently found to be protective against late-onset Alzheimer’s.”
Look, if you still don’t get it, you must be one of these obtuse Bible-thumping flat-earth creationists who deny evolution. Here, read this slowly, maybe you’ll get it:
“They also discovered that this particular version of CD33 was not present in the genomes of Neanderthals or Denisovans, our closest evolutionary relatives.”
This is the paper, published in a society journal with a serious impact factor:
Sudeshna Saha , Naazneen Khan , Troy Comi , Andrea Verhagen , Aniruddha Sasmal , Sandra Diaz , Hai Yu , Xi Chen , Joshua M Akey , Martin Frank , Pascal Gagneux , Ajit Varki Evolution of Human-specific Alleles Protecting Cognitive Function of Grandmothers Molecular Biology and Evolution (2022) doi: 10.1093/molbev/msac151
The last author sums up in the press release:
“These findings suggest the wisdom and care of healthy grandparents may have been an important evolutionary advantage that we had over other ancient hominin species.”
Your grandma was so wise because she had the clap.
News in Tweets
- Michael Worobey, Kristian Andersen and bunch of other “Wet Market Truthers” again team up with Science to warn the scientific community that it is VERBOTEN to discuss the lab leak theory of COVID-19 and that anyone who dares to do it will be squashed like a bug. They even wrote the title of their new Science paper in form of an order: “The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan was the early epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic“. Alina Chan, author of the book Viral, whom Andersen previously bullied and publicly accused of research misconduct when she exposed bad science in his preprint (which now passed peer review in Science), takes on Worobey et al in a new blog post. Which contains points like: “The peer-reviewed paper has an entirely new section on “Study Limitations” which acknowledges that the scientists do not have access to the early Covid-19 case data or locations, lack direct evidence of a market animal infected with the pandemic virus, and lack complete details of how the market had been sampled for the virus” and “In other words, Worobey et al. are claiming that there is no ascertainment bias because their lead author said so” and “In summary, all of the observations that Worobey et al. cite as signs that the market was the outbreak epicenter can be easily explained by the ascertainment bias with which early cases were identified.“
Alina Chan’s book with Matt Ridley on the Origins of COVID-19 is finally out. It is a very informative read!
- Sylvie Coyaud blogs about “snowflakes” John Ioannidis and Vinay Prasad, whose maverick views on COVID-19 tended to swerve into covidiotic. These professors at elite US universities complain in MASS MEDIA about being silenced and persecuted (they are too pompous to notice the irony). Sylvie points out that the Snowflake Ioannidis was defended from left-wing attacks in Scientific American no less. And this is from Snowflake Prasad’s article on Unherd from January 2022: “It is not enough, moreover, to simply dismiss Malone and McCullough as conspiracy theorists. They are controversial and polarising figures, but they do have real credentials. Malone is a physician who has worked in molecular biology and drug development for decades, while McCullough was, until recently, an academic cardiologist and researcher.” Brouhaha.
“People who feel deprived of the credit that they think they deserve will gravitate to new friends who do at least pretend to respect them sufficiently.” -Smut Clyde
Dr Peter McCullough, Dr Sabine Hazan, and other ivermectin quacks. Follow Smut Clyde’s descent to the antivaxxer hell.
- A whistleblower who reported the fraudulent Alzheimer’s research by Domenico Pratico at Temple University vents her frustration about the fact that absolutely nobody cares, not the university, not NIH or HHS-ORI, not the journals.
Next time you wonder why mouse research does not translate to humans, think of Domenico Pratico work on Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.
- Only Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus of Retraction Watch can treat its readership as utter idiots because they don’t approve of the person they wrote about, and especially when they hate that person’s horrible evil friend who publishes this person’s papermill investigations on his horrible evil blog. The recent RW article reports that “The Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC) added notes to 992 structures in its database, according to a notice posted to its website in May“, and that this note stated: “This structure is currently under review following a 2022 study of a prolific papermill https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-1537438/v1. A description of the paper mill, published as a preprint in April, identifies 648 crystallography papers that commenters on PubPeer flagged between December 2021 and January 2022, and an additional 162 papers in journals that do not give DOIs. A list of the papers involved can be found here. Nine papers and 12 crystal structures have been retracted“. Guess who wrote that preprint, made that Google Drive list and posted all those papers on PubPeer. And in between published it on For Better Science. RW interviews everyone EXCEPT this person because they think you all are idiots and won’t notice.
Papermill Industry enters its Logical Growth Phage. Smut Clyde explains what coordination polymer chemistry has to do with chickenshit.
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