Schneider Shorts of 2 September 2022 – a papermill hero from Magdeburg arrives to save science, a blonde WomenInSTEM hero sues SUNY for discrimination, a dead OA hero resurrected as Frontiers editor, with retractions post-mortem and pre-sacking, amazing science on Alzheimer’s, tea drinking, TCM and smelly foreigners, and with unknown unknowns of your conflicts of interests.
Table of Discontent
- Stacy sues SUNY – Dr Blain, a blonde hero for WomenInSTEM or research fraudster?
- Sabel fights Criminal Science Publishing Gangs – another papermill hero rises, this time in Magdeburg
- Post-mortem retractions – no peace for papers of deceased virologist John Clements
- Green retraction – a Nature paper Doug Green couldn’t save with correction
- Unknown unknowns – Peter Wilmshurst on conflicts of interests you might have but not know about
- Disgusting Foreigners – Polish scholars creatively explain the epidemiology of xenophobia
- Alzheimer’s microbiome – cure found, and it’s statins!
- TCM works! – Says randomised controlled double-blind multi-site clinical trial from China
- Drink tea or die – new silliness from UK Biobank
Stacy sues SUNY
Stacy Blain, cancer research cheater trained by Joan Massague, is now suing her employer State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate. This was reported by Retraction Watch.
I wrote about Blain’s fudged data before, she has 8 papers on PubPeer, with and without Massague, and it can be more if someone finds time to have another look.
Cancer research giant Joan Massagué has no time to correct his old papers.
Clare Francis pointed me to the court files (which are publicly available in US), here some interesting quotes:
“As detailed in the pages that follow, Defendant SUNY Downstate’s discrimination against Dr. Blain includes chronically underpaying her (as compared to her male colleagues), refusing to promote her, depriving her of pecuniary and non-pecuniary resources that are available to her male colleagues, and creating a hostile work environment.
After Dr. Blain complained about these problems, the Defendants began a brutal campaign of retaliation against her. As the main tool in this war, Defendant SUNY Downstate weaponized a three-year-old claim of “research misconduct” — which had been investigated three times and, in each instance, Defendant SUNY Downstate cleared her of any wrongdoing1 — and convened a panel of three men, who proceeded to conduct a biased and predetermined investigation, with no new evidence, to come to the opposite finding of “negligently” failing to supervise a student, which they claim supports their finding of research misconduct.”
I ask here: WHERE IS MCLNEURO WHEN YOU NEED HER???!!!
BethAnn McLaughlin is a liar, a racist, an embezzler, and a dangerous manipulative bully. But surely she is at least a great neuroscientist?
Sure, women in academia are discriminated, but really, our blonde WASP victim Blain deserves to be kicked out, there are many competent women, in fact even of colour, and other minorities out there, all of whom do honest reliable science and who would never engage in research fraud.
I especially appreciate the piece in the lawsuit about this paper, which helped establish Blain’s favourite protein p27 as the ultimate target to cure breast cancer:
Priyank Patel , Benedikt Asbach , Elina Shteyn , Cindy Gomez , Alexander Coltoff , Sadia Bhuyan , Angela L. Tyner , Ralf Wagner, Stacy W. Blain Brk/Protein Tyrosine Kinase 6 Phosphorylates p27 KIP1 , Regulating the Activity of Cyclin D–Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 Molecular and Cellular Biology (2015) doi: 10.1128/mcb.01206-14
On 22 August 2022, an Expression of Concern was issued by the journal and the publisher American Society for Microbiology (ASM):
“Molecular and Cellular Biology was notified that the above-mentioned paper was investigated by the SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and that potential image duplications were found in Fig. 2C, H, and I.
This Expression of Concern is issued pending the outcome of ongoing litigation between SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University and the corresponding author of the paper, Stacy Blain, in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of New York.”
In her lawsuit, Blain writes:
“In or about 2016, Jane Doe 1 — the student whom Dr. Stewart allowed to take long unexplained leaves of absences that caused serious disruptions to the work in Dr. Blain’s laboratory — accused John Doe 1, another graduate student at the time, of committing research misconduct. Her accusations included mishandling and mislabeling figures in a not-yet-published paper. The accusations also related to figures in a 2015 paper that Jane Doe 1, John Doe 1, Dr. Blain, and others published in Molecular and Cellular Biology (the “2015 MCB Paper”) Dr. Blain took Jane Doe 1’s allegations of research misconduct seriously, and asked a colleague, Dr. Miriam Feuerman (“Dr. Feuerman”), to review John Doe 1’s figures in the not-yet-published paper and the 2015 MCB Paper. Dr. Feuerman is an Associate Professor of Cell Biology at SUNY Downstate. She is an expert in, and has broad experience with, the type of research John Doe 1 was conducting.
After an extensive investigation (the “Feuerman Investigation”), which included reviewing the primary data supporting John Doe 1’s figures, Dr. Feuerman concluded that the allegations were unsubstantiated, and that John Doe 1 had not engaged in research misconduct.
Following the Feuerman Investigation, in or about 2016, Dr. Stewart, as dean of Defendant SUNY Downstate’s School of Graduate Studies, initiated another investigation into the allegations. This second investigation was conducted by Dr. William Chirico (“Dr. Chirico”) and Dr. Lorin Weiner (“Dr. Weiner”) (the “Chirico and Weiner Investigation,” and together with the Feuerman Investigation, the “2016 Investigations”). The Chirico and Weiner Investigation was thorough and lasted several months. It thoroughly examined John Doe 1’s figures. Dr. Blain cooperated fully with the Chirico and Weiner Investigation.
The Chirico and Weiner Investigation ultimately reached the same result as the Feuerman Investigation: it did not find any evidence of research misconduct by John Doe 1, Dr. Blain, or anyone else.”
“John Doe 1” is Priyank Patel, now Senior Scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim, having previously worked at Blain’s company Concarlo Therapeutics, a multi-million dollar heavy biotech which seeks to monetise Blain’s fudged science on p27 into breast cancer drugs. Patel confirmed to me that he was indeed acquitted in these two investigations, did not deny to be responsible for the criticised data, and otherwise stated:
The SUNY Downstate faculty members Miriam Feuerman, William Chirico and Lorin Weiner did not reply to my email. What can these failed scientists say now, that the gels are supposed to be faked in Photoshop?
On the other hand, maybe Blain should rather argue in court: why am I, a woman, being investigated for misconduct while all these male breast cancer fraudsters go completely unpunished?
A breast cancer foundation celebrates its research heroes. Read now here about how great US scientists from Harvard, MIT, Weill Cornell and MD Anderson cure cancer.
Sabel fights Criminal Science Publishing Gangs
Another self-proclaimed papermill hero arrived on a high horse to claim the laurels and to establish his authority.
Meet Bernhard Sabel, a German psychologist and professor at the University of Magdeburg (at the low end of German university system where Heike and Thorsten Walles found new professorships and where Ashutosh Tiwari’s awards are valued)
Ashutosh Tiwari’s scamference activities continue. Now the University of Magdeburg in Germany is very excited about a medal from the International Association of Advanced Materials.
Former star of German regenerative medicine Heike Walles gets slapped with research misconduct and a retraction by her former employer, the University of Würzburg. She and her husband, the Macchiarini-trained surgeon Thorsten Walles, left Würzburg years ago for Magdeburg where nobody minds.
You may never have heard of Sabel before, but this obscure vision researcher thinks he is so notable that he needs a Wikipedia page, in English, German, Italian, Chinese and Russian. We are educated he published over 200 papers, was once cited in “Who´s Who in the World” 1990–2015 and in “Who´s Who in Science and Engineering” 1993–2001, and that he won a Jugend Forscht award in 1976, aged 19. Strange it doesn’t mention Sabel cured two women of COVID-19 after-effects on the brain, with electrical currents (Sabel et al 2021)!
Basically, a sad man with vanity issues. Here one of his recent papers:
Bernhard A. Sabel & Roland Seifert How criminal science publishing gangs damage the genesis of knowledge and technology—a call to action to restore trust Naunyn-Schmiedeberg’s Archives of Pharmacology (2021) doi: 10.1007/s00210-021-02158-3
In this masterpiece of academic wisdom and modesty, the authors decided to rename paper mills to “Criminal science publishing gangs“. It ends with:
“The time to show courage and take action to regain the trust we all deserve is now!
What do science and “true love” have in common? Both are infatuated by passion, but if trust is lost, it is almost impossible to go back.”
The references go to the usual: Byrne & Christopher, a Nature article about our papermill investigations, and for some reason to “Sabel BA (1993) Science reunification in Germany – “a crash program.”
Sabel’s co-author Roland Seifert is the Editor-in-Chief of this Springer-published German journal with a long name, abbreviated as NSAP. As reminder, NSAP became prey to Chinese papermills as Smut Clyde found out in this article from early 2020:
Smut Clyde investigates two more Chinese paper mills. One teamed up with an obscure Italian publisher, the other offers access to respectable society journals. How much of published and allegedly peer reviewed science is real?
I informed Seifert, who soon retracted the fraudulent papers and issued an editorial where he did not reference Smut Clyde’s relevant article about NSAP, but at least mentioned our earlier reporting as complimentary to the titanic genius of Byrne & Christopher:
“Two recent excellent papers have summarized several major (sad) features of paper mills (Byrne and Christopher 2020; Miyakawa 2020). Various science blog sites discuss in detail the background and commercial motivations of paper mills (see, e.g., https://forbetterscience.com/2020/01/24/the-full-service-paper-mill-and-its-chinese-customers/).”
After his editorial, Seifert invited me to submit a paper on the topic of papermills to NSAP, and I suggested an interview with Smut Clyde and Tiger BB8. Which after many month of being kicked around became unwelcome at NSAP and published on For Better Science for reasons discussed here:
Unlike those fake paper mill products, this interview failed editorial review and journal quality control.
A key reason was my refusal to cite random and irrelevant sources Seifert pulled out of
his a.. thin air to further dilute Smut Clyde’s & Tiger BB8’s credit. So in his new editorial with Sabel, Seifert, the hero of correct referencing of sources, makes zero reference to our work. We don’t exist. We never contributed anything to any papermill investigations, unlike Byrne & Christopher or some Marcel van der Heyden. Seifert now officially found out about the papermill fraud in NSAP all by himself: “in early 2020, the Editor-in-Chief became aware of irregularities in publications based on duplicate images“. Maybe a luminescent apparition of Professor Jennifer Byrne floated through his bedroom window during the night, whispering the news, long before Smut’s article on For Better Science?
“Long story short, we investigated our published papers and then retracted those with data integrity issues. That is it.” – Dr Heather Smith, Editor-in-Chief
Anyway, this is how ethics watchdogging works. Take the credit off the people you dislike for yourself and your friends.
And Sabel is another such friend who wants to be the Hero of Papermills, pardon, Hero of Criminal Science Publishing Gangs. So now Sabel set up a Science Integrity Alliance! Of course we are not invited and unwelcome (not that we want to join 😉 But other people are invited, and one of them shared this email Sabel sent to them on 30 August 2022:
Dear SIA friends and colleagues;
Welcome to the “Science Integrity Alliance” (SIA) network of scientists. I contact you because you have either signed up to our mailing group following the Munich Symposium on paper mills this summer (https://www.osc.uni-muenchen.de/news/symposium_20_06_22/index.html) or you have published in the field or are otherwise interested in the topic. Of note, the mailing list is not public to maintain confidentiality of the members and to protect SIA from dishonest members (such as paper mills or fake authors). However, upon request, we will forward reliable communications to all members through our SIA office.
If you are not (or no longer) interested in being part of this mailing group, let me know and we will be glad to remove you from our mailing list.
Mission: our mission is to address the “paper mill” problem. Paper mills produce (AI-supported) fake science publications and they are a growing problem, as their very profitable business supports a dramatic rise of fake publishing. While no reliable estimates have yet been determined, we estimate their number in Medicine and all other science to be well above 100,000 annually. This poses a great risk for the permanent scientific record. We no longer know, which science we can trust. It damages scientific and economic progress and is a growing risk for our scientific knowledge base which, in turn, affect global public health, the economy, and our environment. The SIA mission is not to follow individual cases of science fraud, manipulation of experiments, statistical nudging, plagiarism etc. We want to learn more about – and fight – fake science publishing itself. The more people participate in this effort (scientists, publishers, administration, politics), the greater the probability of finding means to stop this knowledge pollution and get things in order again.
If you know others that might care as we do, feel free to pass on this email to them with the invitation to contact my office. Thank you!
SIA-Item of the day: I would like to let you know about an informal meeting of people with paper mill interests at the upcoming Peer Review Congress in Chicago (https://peerreviewcongress.org/). The paper mill meeting is being organised by Prof Jennifer Byrne from Australia, and the congress organisers have very kindly agreed to make a meeting room available on Friday 09/09 from 5.30 pm. This will be after the programme on the second conference day. In addition to providing opportunities for researchers with paper mill interests to get to know each other, the meeting could also help to establish dialogue between researchers and publishers. Both groups are taking steps to understand and act against paper mills, but they are approaching the issue from different angles, and don’t often have the opportunity to talk. So if you happen to attend this meeting, please come join.
Invitation of the day: If you have items you would like us to circulate, please send them along to my office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
With best regards and have a nice day
Prof. Bernhard Sabel, PhD
This was the Munich symposium from 20 June 2022, organised by Sabel and Felix Schönbrodt of LMU Munich. It featured Byrne, Chris Graf of Springer Nature, Dorothy Bishop and Sabel himself who educated everyone what papermills are:
The resources shared by participants of course never mention Smut Clyde et al, but Retraction Watch is an authority on this topic now.
I wonder who else joined Sabel’s mighty “Science Integrity Alliance” in Magdeburg. I wrote to him to recommend his local colleagues Thorsten and Heike Walles, but Sabel didn’t reply.
Two papers by the deceased British virologist John Barklie Clements have been retracted recently, as Clare Francis informed me. Clement’s 2005 obituary does not name any cause of death, he was merely 59. It is not clear if the University of Glasgow professor was terminally ill or died in a tragic accident, but just one year before his death, in 2004, he was elected Fellow of Academy of Medical Sciences.
So here are the retractions:
Poonam Malik , J. Barklie Clements Retracted: Protein kinase CK2 phosphorylation regulates the interaction of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus regulatory protein ORF57 with its multifunctional partner hnRNP K Nucleic Acids Research (2004) doi: 10.1093/nar/gkh876
The first author Poonam Malik has thankfully left science, well, not quite: she is a member of Royal Society of Edinburgh and works for Scottish government and universities in various leadership functions.
“Following allegations of image manipulation in Figures 1A, 6C, 8B, 8C, and 8E in 2021, the journal conducted a brief investigation, referred the matter to the authors’ institution, and published an Expression of Concern. In May 2022, the institutional panel investigating the allegations concluded the figures are not authentic and the scientific integrity of the article is compromised, and they recommended retracting the article. Their report includes: ‘On the balance of probabilities, the Panel believe that these data as presented in the publication have been inappropriately manipulated. As such, the data and its interpretation are misleading and unreliable.’ The Editors of the journal are, therefore, now retracting this article.”
The other retracted paper was this:
George Zachos, Margy Koffa , Chris M. Preston , J. Barklie Clements , Joe Conner Herpes simplex virus type 1 blocks the apoptotic host cell defense mechanisms that target Bcl-2 and manipulates activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase to improve viral replication Journal of virology (2001) doi: 10.1128/jvi.75.6.2710-2728.2001
“George Zachos, the first author in this paper, said: “I was informed that an investigation by the University of Glasgow found that the Western blots shown in Fig. 1, 2, and 4 contain duplications; as such, the data and its interpretation are misleading and unreliable. Given the age of the publication the original full blots are no longer available. For these reasons, we retract the article and apologize for the inconvenience it may have caused to the readers.”
Joe Conner, Chris M. Preston, and Margy Koffa could not be reached for approval of this Retraction, and J. Barklie Clements is deceased.”
George Zachos, who heroically helped uncover this fraud and retracted the paper, is associate professor at the University of Crete. Also the other postdoc of Clements’, Margy Koffa, is now an associate professor in Greece, at Democritus University of Thrace. The two will probably be given full tenure now after their Greek colleagues count their retraction as a fresh new paper in a respected virology journal.
Another important scientist (not dead though, but maybe soon in need of a new job) has retracted a paper now. In Nature. The cancer researcher Douglas Green is professor at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and a member of National Academy of Sciences and Royal Society of Canada. He even tried to fix that paper with a correction, as he successfully did with several others:
Jennifer Martinez , Larissa D. Cunha , Sunmin Park , Mao Yang , Qun Lu , Robert Orchard , Quan-Zhen Li , Mei Yan , Laura Janke , Cliff Guy , Andreas Linkermann , Herbert W. Virgin , Douglas R. Green Noncanonical autophagy inhibits the autoinflammatory, lupus-like response to dying cells Nature (2016) doi: 10.1038/nature17950
The 2016 Correction stated:
“In Fig. 2a of this Letter, during the preparation of the final figures, the Cre− Atg5f/f representative image was inadvertently duplicated in lieu of the Nox2+/+ representative image. In Extended Data Fig. 2d, the Cre+ ATG7f/f representative image for Ki67 immunohistochemical staining was inadvertently duplicated in lieu of the NOX2−/− representative image. We sincerely apologize for these errors.”
On 31 August 2022, an unexpected Retraction arrived:
“The authors wish to retract this article for the following reason: An institutional investigation has concluded that Figs. 1b and 2e are unreliable and that much of the additional data in the paper cannot be reliably verified from records. Together, these issues decrease confidence in the integrity of the experimental findings reported. The authors sincerely apologize to the scientific community for any confusion and any unintended harm derived from the publication of this paper. All authors agree to the retraction of this article.”
Green has around two dozens of papers flagged on PubPeer for data manipulations. Among them are two older Science papers (mentioned in the article below). But those are probably safe, unless St Jude demands a retraction.
Scholarly publishing is broken, and no repair is possible. At least let’s point fingers at the elites and laugh. Can science trust Science?
Otherwise, expect Science to do nothing (or maybe just correct) also this recent forgery:
Bradlee L. Heckmann, Brett J. W. Teubner , Emilio Boada-Romero , Bart Tummers , Clifford Guy , Patrick Fitzgerald , Ulrike Mayer , Simon Carding , Stanislav S. Zakharenko , Thomas Wileman , Douglas R. Green Noncanonical function of an autophagy protein prevents spontaneous Alzheimer’s disease Science Advances (2020) doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb9036
Although, rumours go there may be more retractions coming for Doug Green. Someone mentioned the number even: 9. Let’s see. Green didn’t answer my email.
Peter Wilmshurst explains in a new blog post on his own example how a clinical researcher, invited to speak at a fancy conference, can end up serving commercial interests of Big Pharma without even knowing this.
“For 35 years I researched the role of persistent foramen ovale (PFO) in aetiology of diseases including decompression sickness in divers, stroke and migraine. Initially there was limited interest in this and I was invited to speak only at small meetings. Then, about 18 years ago, I started to receive invitations to speak about my research at large cardiology and neurology conferences in Europe and North America. On some occasions there were more than five thousand doctors in the audiences.
Much later, a vice president for marketing of a corporation that made medical devices for closing PFOs told me that his corporation had regularly paid large sums to the organiser of conferences on condition that I was invited to lecture on titles provided by the corporation. My talks were not in industry-sponsored satellite symposia, but were part of the main programme of the meetings and no link to industry or sponsorship was disclosed.
The executives of the corporation knew from hearing me speak at parochial meetings that what I said was likely to favour increased PFO closure, which would financially benefit the corporation. So they paid large sums to get my talks on their chosen topic into large meetings and the conference organisers accepted the inducements.
My talks may have carried more weight with the audiences because they were not in industry-sponsored satellite meetings and because my slides said that I had no conflicts of interest – I did not know of any.
In reality, my presentations were highly conflicted, but the audience was unaware, because the conference organisers and the corporation kept their financial arrangement secret, even from me. My invitation to speak about PFOs at major conferences decreased considerably when my message changed and was less in keeping with the corporation’s aims.”
Maybe you recall from the past Shorts a recent Frontiers article from Poland where the authors (two women!) postulated that ovulation affects female brain by activating “creativity” which serves the purpose to entice a mate?
Look what else these same scholars from Warsaw discovered last year (found by my reader):
Aleksandra Szymkow, Natalia Frankowska and Katarzyna Gałasińska Social Distancing From Foreign Individuals as a Disease-Avoidance Mechanism: Testing the Assumptions of the Behavioral Immune System Theory During the COVID-19 Pandemic Social Psychological Bulletin (2021) doi: 10.32872/spb.4389
From the abstract:
“We present a correlational study (N = 588; Polish sample) that was designed to test mediational models derived from the behavioral immune system theory, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a source of natural disease threat. In serial mediation analyses we show that the perceived threat of COVID-19 translates into greater preferred social distance from foreign individuals, and that this occurs in two ways: 1) via pathogen disgust (but not sexual or moral disgust), and 2) via germ aversion (but not perceived infectability). Both pathogen disgust and germ aversion further predict general feelings toward foreign individuals, which finally determine the preferred social distance from these individuals. The results support the behavioral immune system theory as an important concept for understanding social distancing tendencies.”
“Respondents were presented with a “feeling thermometer” to indicate how favorably or unfavorably (from 0°C to 100°C) they felt toward Germans, Ukrainians, Italians, the British, Lithuanians, and Finns.2 The nationalities were chosen to include various European countries where the pandemic had developed quite strongly (Italy, Great Britain) and countries that are geographically close to Poland (like Germany or Lithuania) […]
Our respondents were asked how willing they would be to have each of the following three types of contact with individuals from the presented nationalities (i.e., Germans, Ukrainians, Italians, the British, Lithuanians, and Finns). For example, the items considering German people were as follows: “To have a German man or woman as a neighbor on my street”, “To have a German man or woman employed in my occupation”, “To have a close kinship by marriage with a German man or woman”.”
Basically, the xenophobic authors confirmed their own prejudice against immigrants by claiming that (Polish) people biologically evolved to hate foreigners because these bear germs. Luckily, the study is just racist garbage, creatively wrapped-up. Maybe the authors were ovulating at that time? I am sure some racist Polish politicians will be sexually aroused by this creative academic effort and cough up some research money.
Scientists in Australia discovered the REAL cause of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It’s cholesterol! And intestinal microbiome!
A press release by Edith Cowan University:
“The research analyzed large genetic data sets from AD and other gut-disorder studies, each including roughly 400,000 participants.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Emmanuel Adewuyi, said it was the first comprehensive examination of the genetic connection between AD and several gut disorders. The researchers found that individuals with AD and gut disorders share genes, which is significant for a number of reasons.
“The study provides a novel insight into the genetics behind the observed co-occurrence of AD and gut disorders,” Dr. Adewuyi said.”
This was the paper:
Emmanuel O. Adewuyi, Eleanor K. O’Brien, Dale R. Nyholt, Tenielle Porter and Simon M. Laws, A large-scale genome-wide cross-trait analysis reveals shared genetic architecture between Alzheimer’s disease and gastrointestinal tract disorders Communications Biology (2022) DOI: 10.1038/s42003-022-03607-2
It is cholesterol, the Simon Laws lab decreed:
“Dr. Adewuyi said abnormal levels of cholesterol were shown to be a risk for both AD and gut disorders.
“Looking at the genetic and biological characteristics common to AD and these gut disorders suggests a strong role for lipids metabolism, the immune system, and cholesterol-lowering medications,” he said.
“Whilst further study is needed into the shared mechanisms between the conditions, there is evidence high cholesterol can transfer into the central nervous system, resulting in abnormal cholesterol metabolism in the brain.
“There is also evidence suggesting abnormal blood lipids may be caused or made worse by gut bacteria (H.pylori), all of which support the potential roles of abnormal lipids in AD and gut disorders.”
Alzheimer’s is to be cured with statins now:
A Wiley medical journal informs the world of amazing efficacy of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Baoping Xu, Xinmin Li, Siyuan Hu, Yixiao Bao, Fengmei Chen, Zhimin Chen, Yonggang Du, Enmei Liu, Yufeng Liu, Qinghui Mou, Baoling Su, Bo Wang, Jianwen Xu, Guiping Xu, Qiaozhi Yang, Liwei Gao, Xiaohui Liu, Lei Li, Rong Ma and Kunling Shen, Safety and efficacy of Yupingfeng granules in children with recurrent respiratory tract infection: A randomized clinical trial Pediatric Investigation (2022) DOI: 10.1002/ped4.12326
There is a press release, which celebrates the wonder concoction “Yupingfeng (YPF, 玉屏风)—a patented formula available as compounded granules that includes Astragali radix (Huangqi), Atractylodis macrocephalae rhizoma (Baizhu), and Saposhnikoviae radix (Fangfeng)—which is often used in China to treat recurrent respiratory tract infections (RRTIs) in children.“
“Professor Kunling Shen, who spearheaded this study, explains, “We wanted to perform a rigorous investigation to understand the therapeutic benefits of YPF. This is why we conducted a large-scale RCT, the gold standard of clinical studies, and enrolled patients not from a single center but from multiple hospitals.”
351 children with RRTIs (aged 2 to 6 years) were included in this study and were assigned to one of three groups. While the first group received YPF, the second group received pidotimod, an allopathic conventional drug that has been used to treat RRTI since the 1990s. The third group was only given a placebo.”[…]
During 52 weeks of follow-up after the treatment, the proportion of RRTIs returning to normal standard was only 39% in the placebo group. However, it was much better at 73% and 67% in the YPF and pidotimod groups, respectively. These two groups also showed a substantially greater reduction in RRTI events during the follow-up.”
There’s even a graphical summary:
The ChiCTR-IPR-15006847 trial’s placebo group was half the size of the two treatment arms (72 vs 144+144), in total there were 360 participants, not 351 as the paper claims (“124, 125, and 61 children“). And this despite retrospective registration, so most likely even more participants were omitted. The trial also ended exactly 6 years ago (in 2016), it’s not clear why the researchers needed so long to analyse and publish the results. If anything, this study proves that even the “gold standard” of clinical research, the pre-registered randomised double-blind multi-site clinical trial can be successfully fudged to obtain the desired results. But the journal’s editor was impressed:
“Dr. Julian L. Allen, an Associate Editor at Pediatric Investigation, wrote an editorial and said “Just because we don’t understand how a drug works, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. This well-designed RCT could be an important step in addressing western skepticism surrounding TCM and reaping the benefits of its holistic effects.””
Two out of three Editors-in-Chief of that journal are Chinese, based in Beijing, and so is the managing editor and the publisher team. The editorial board is mostly Chinese (including some US-based members).
Smut Clyde follows the dark path of Traditional Chinese Medicine again. What will he find there? As usual, all the big publishers peddling TCM fraud, that’s what.
Drink tea or die
For decades, Chinese researchers taught us to drink tea because of antioxidants which cure all diseases. Now European researchers proved that drinking tea prevents you from dying.
The Guardian informs:
“A study has suggested that having a brew could be associated with a lower risk of mortality. When compared with those who do not have tea, people who consumed two or more cups each day had between a 9% and 13% lower risk of mortality, researchers said.
The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, suggested the result was the same regardless of whether the person added milk or sugar to their tea, or what their preferred temperature was.
The results were also the same regardless of genetic variants affecting the rate at which people metabolise caffeine.
Researchers from the National Institutes of Health used data from the UK Biobank, in which 85% of the half a million men and women, aged 40 to 69, reported that they regularly drank tea. Of those, 89% said they drank the black variety.
The study was conducted with a questionnaire answered from 2006 to 2010 and followed up over more than a decade.
Fernando Rodriguez Artalejo, a professor of preventive medicine and public health at the Autonomous University of Madrid, described the research as representing “a substantial advance in the field”.
He said most studies had been done in Asia, where green tea is the most widely consumed, and that the few outside the continent were “small in size and inconclusive in their results”.
Artalejo said: “This article shows that regular consumption of black tea (the most widely consumed tea in Europe) is associated with a modest reduction in total and, especially, cardiovascular disease mortality over 10 years in a middle-aged, mostly white, adult general population.” […]”
In November the Guardian reported that drinking coffee or tea may be linked with a lower risk of stroke and dementia, according to the largest study of its kind.”
This is the paper:
Maki Inoue-Choi , Yesenia Ramirez , Marilyn C. Cornelis , Amy Berrington De González , Neal D. Freedman , Erikka Loftfield Tea Consumption and All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality in the UK Biobank : A Prospective Cohort Study Annals of Internal Medicine (2022) doi: 10.7326/m22-0041
UK Biobank is good for every kind of trash research. At least that one is funny, and not racist eugenics.
Edinburgh psychologists announce in Nature Communications genes for being rich. A Christmas Carol.
News in Tweets
- Nobody should ever tell Wiley how to run their business. So what the Chinese authorities say it’s papermill fraud which must be retracted, Wiley decided: “Investigations showed that image manipulation had taken place but was confined to normalizing background & didn’t alter intensity of the bands. The data remain reliable & we view the matter closed.”
- BBC on the report by Hungary’s State Audit Office (which answers to wannabe fascist dictator Orban): “The report found that “feminine traits” such as emotional and social maturity were favoured in Hungary’s education system, which meant that sexual equality would be “considerably weakened”. The researchers warned that Hungary’s economy could be put at risk if “masculine traits” were undervalued, which they listed as technical skills, risk-taking and entrepreneurship.”
- Gosh, what happened? “Even high-profile scientists are struggling to recruit qualified postdoctoral researchers“, writes Nature. Obviously people recognised postdoc is an abusive career death trap and strive for proper jobs after PhD. Unmentioned in the article is that there are many available applicants still, who are driven by motivation to leave their native countries’ oppressive and corrupt regimes and to enter the western job market, but the western PIs not interested in those candidates apparently. Because not white?
- The once biggest champion of Open Access Jon Tennant (who died in a midnight motorcycle accident in Bali) was celebrated by everyone (including the Plan S author and former EU Commissioner Robert-Jan Smits), at least up until Tennant was ousted and shunned over accusations of sexual harassment. His sister Rebecca and other friends has been crying conspiracy and even murder ever since, blaming Leonid Schneider for their hero’s death as if I was some brand of alcohol. Anyway, look, Tennant became reincarnated as a Frontiers editor! What a way for Frontiers to celebrate their deceased friend.
- Wait, come back, the undead Jon Tennant is on board!
- Another victory for Gold Open Access. USA virtually joined EU’s Plan S.
The emails published here prove that EU Special Envoy for OA, Robert Jan Smits, received constant counselling from Frontiers CEO Kamila Markram when designing Plan S. It seems, Frontiers and Smits share exactly same vision for the future of scholarly publishing.
- Having failed with the letter to antivaxxer editor, the critics went to another Elsevier journal, which is in French. My point of criticism: those antivaxxers they criticise can’t read French. And Barriere et al 2022 is also paywalled. Why not an English-language preprint?
“a scientific journal is not a social network, not even a newspaper. People reading papers in FCT are expected to be scientists with a good basis to distinguish between trash and science.” EiC Jose Luis Domingo on new paper by Peter McCullough
- Let’s end with some russophobia.
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