Schneider Shorts

Schneider Shorts 26.05.2023 – Underexplored outcomes of Dyslexia

Schneider Shorts 26.05.2023 - a dyslexic graphing software in Israel, a Marseille court decides wisely, ingenious cures for autism and Parkinson's, with Nobelist's new retraction, stem cell fraudsters' retraction, botched-up retraction notice, more retractions, and finally, how a German professor-maker investigated his papers.

Schneider Shorts of 26 May 2023 – a dyslexic graphing software in Israel, a Marseille court decides wisely, ingenious cures for autism and Parkinson’s, with Nobelist’s new retraction, stem cell fraudsters’ retraction, botched-up retraction notice, more retractions, and finally, how a German professor-maker investigated his papers.

Table of Discontent

Science Elites

Retraction Watchdogging

Science Breakthroughs

News in Tweets

Science Elites

Underexplored outcomes of Dyslexia

My readers will sure remember Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, the Israeli microbiologist whose papers contain manipulated images and whose husband Dror Kolodkin-Gal owns the company Proofig which provides image integrity services to many big publishers and journals, as well as to research cheaters worried about getting caught when submitting their papers. Proofig’s technology doesn’t seem to provide a high level of analytic detection, but rather the opposite, which serves to reassure the editors and publisher execs that their is no fraud in their published papers whatsoever.

Proofig – the Kolodkin-Gal family business

“Don’t let online controversies and aggressive blogs easily ruin everything you’ve worked for to build your reputation […] Whether the image issue is innocent or intentional, the outcome is still the same. Bloggers will attack that publication with image issues, which will damage your reputation and may even lead to a costly investigation. We are…

Now, Ilana used to be professor at Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, she was last seen holding an adjunct affiliation at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where her former mentor Hanna Engelberg-Kulka occupies space. My sources reveal that Ilana is currently interviewing for professorships at UK and the Netherlands. I am here to help.

Now, Kolodkin-Gal’s data fudgery was explained by her alleged “dyslexia”. You won’t believe how badly dyslexic she is. New, unexpected things came to light, even Dror’s Proofig missed it!

This was found by areader, who then alerted Elisabeth Bik and myself to their findings:

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal , Ronen Hazan , Ariel Gaathon , Shmuel Carmeli , Hanna Engelberg-Kulka A Linear Pentapeptide Is a Quorum-Sensing Factor Required for mazEF -Mediated Cell Death in Escherichia coli Science (2007) doi: 10.1126/science.1147248

Graphs (Figures 1, 2, 3, 4, S1, S2, S3 S4, S7, S8, S9, S11) were not created by using software or were heavily redacted. Identified issues include bar positioning (above or below the x-axis) and spacing, manually inserted or modified axes, and apparently manually inserted data points, error bars and point connections.

Y-axes with unequal tick marks in Figures 3 and 4 appear to be identical to scales in other publications by the same first author and were apparently created from a custom template.”

Bik then had a closer look at other publications. One of Ilana’s PhD papers with Hanna Engelberg-Kulka papers received in May 2021 an Expression of Concern:

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Boaz Sat , Alex Keshet , Hanna Engelberg- Engelberg-Kulka The communication factor EDF and the toxin-antitoxin module mazEF determine the mode of action of antibiotics PLoS Biology (2008) doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060319 

The Expression of Concern detailed various instances of image manipulation, but ended with:

“The PLOS Biology Editors concluded that the main conclusions of the article appear to be supported by the data provided in post-publication discussions. However, we issue this Expression of Concern due to the extent of image issues identified in [1] and the nature of the issues raised for Figures S3 and S4 that remain unresolved. The authors acknowledge the potential errors during the assembly of Figures S3 and S4.
The available original and replicate data to support the article’s results, including those discussed above, can be requested from the corresponding author.”

Well, the original data, who knows what it originally showed. Look what Bik added now:

Fig S1 “Pink ellipses: Two of the bars have lower error bars, but the other bars do not. Blue circle: One error bar appears not centered and has a space between the vertical and the horizontal line. Red arrows: The spacing between the bars is irregular.”
Fig S2: “Blue circle: One error bar shows a disconnect between the vertical and the horizontal line
Green rectangle: The middle bar appears to be sunken into the X-axis
Fig S4: “Red arrows: The spacing between the bars is irregular. Green rectangle: The right-most bar in Figure S4E appears to be sunken into the X-axis.
Pink vertical arrows, all of the same size, highlight apparent and unexpected irregular spacing between the tick bars on the Y-axis.
Fig S5: “Blue circles highlight unexpected gaps in Y-axis ticks or error bars. Green rectangle: The right-most bar in Figure S5C appears to float above the X-axis.

Those diagrams were created by hand. Nobody in science does this, even the fraudsters invent numbers in Excel and then let software plot a fraudulent graph.

Same in this paper, which was already corrected:

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal , Reut Verdiger , Ayalla Shlosberg-Fedida , Hanna Engelberg-Kulka A differential effect of E. coli toxin-antitoxin systems on cell death in liquid media and biofilm formation PLoS ONE (2009) doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006785

A Correction from 2015 replaced the images in Figure 4. But there was more, highlighted just now by Bik:

Irregularities highlighted below appear to suggest that the figures were not created with graphing software.

Bik: “Red horizontal lines: Spacing between the bars is not as regular as expected. All red lines are the same size. I only marked some of the panels. […] Blue circles highlight unexpected misalignments between error bars and data points, or between tick marks and axes.”
Pink vertical arrows: Distances between the tick marks on the Y-axis do not appear to be as regular as expected. All pink arrows are the same size. I only marked some of the panels. […] Green rectangular boxes: Some bars appear to float above, or sunken into the X-axis.”

Kolodkin-Gal replied on PubPeer:

Note that these exact irregularities are associated with the software and observed in most, if not all, manuscripts from the Engelberg-Kulka group and neighbor labs produced before 2010 using the same dated software (selected examples are below). […] These manuscripts are all from independent authors.”

Indeed, the provided examples (e.g Hazan et al 2004, Sat et al 2003, Sat et al 2001) don’t have Kolodkin-Gal as coauthor. They have Engelberg-Kulka as last author and a Boaz Sat as lead author. Which explanation makes more sense, that Engelberg-Kulka’s lab uses a mysteriously insane software which no other lab has, or that Engelberg-Kulka taught her lab members like Kolodkin-Gal and Sat to draw diagrams by hand? Is Ilana’s dyslexia also preventing her from telling the truth?

Because these diagrams are most certainly all hand-made, not software-generated. Admittedly, Engelberg-Kulka is very old (aged 91 now), maybe she never trusted computers. Or maybe she found out one gets “better” results by drawing than with the actual experimental data?

No point of harrassing the ancient woman with questions now, but maybe Ilana’s husband Dror can weigh in with his computer knowledge? Like here:

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal , Hanna Engelberg-Kulka Induction of Escherichia coli Chromosomal mazEF by Stressful Conditions Causes an Irreversible Loss of Viability Journal of Bacteriology (2006) doi: 10.1128/jb.188.9.3420-3423.2006

Bik: “Red arrows: Focusing at the graph in Figure 1A, it appears that the distance between the ticks is not the same […] Blue circles highlight irregularities in the error bars of Figure 1A. Error bars vary in thickness and color within the same series, and/or appear to be not centered, not straight, or have a gap between the horizontal and vertical line. […] Green boxes: The triangles in Figure 1A depicting the Delta mazEF series are slightly slanted, which is a bit unexpected for graph-drawing software packages.”
Fig 1B
Pink text arrows point toward an unexpected change in line format in the WT+MazE series in Figure 1B, which switches between a black dashed line to a grey solid line and back. This is quite unexpected if the graph had been drawn with graphing software.
Fig 1C
Fig 2B

But it passed peer review, because nobody actually looked at the graphs.

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal , Hanna Engelberg-Kulka The Stationary-Phase Sigma Factor σ S Is Responsible for the Resistance of Escherichia coli Stationary-Phase Cells to mazEF -Mediated Cell Death Journal of Bacteriology (2009) doi: 10.1128/jb.00011-09 

Bik: “Red horizontal lines: Spacing between the bars is not as regular as expected. All red lines are the same size. I only marked some of the panels.
Green rectangular boxes: Some bars appear to float above, or sunken into the X-axis.
Orange ellipses: Some bars have error bars on both ends, while others do not. Some error bars appear to show differences between the top and the bottom error bars. Blue circles highlight unexpected mis-alignments between tick bars and axes.”

One more:

Ilana Kolodkin-Gal, Hanna Engelberg-Kulka The extracellular death factor: physiological and genetic factors influencing its production and response in Escherichia coli Journal of Bacteriology (2008) doi: 10.1128/jb.01918-07 

Red arrows point out variable distances between the bars, which is very unexpected if these graphs had been drawn by graphing software.
Blue circles highlight gaps in error bars, with some error bars not connected to their bars, while other error bars in the same series are connected.
Green rectangles highlight bars that appear to float above the X-axis or that appear to sink below the X-axis.
Cyan squares point out some other irregularities, such as tick boxes that appear to not be aligned to the Y-axis.
Pink ellipses: some bars have error bars on the top only, while other datapoints have also error bars at the bottom. In those cases, the error bars at the top are not always the same length as the error bars at the bottom. But perhaps this could be explained by the error bars being drawn as double T shapes, which might only become visible at the small datapoints

To conclude: dear British and Dutch universities, I suggest you fight it out in the boxing arena who gets to employ Ilana Kolodkin-Gal as professor. She has so many amazing skills, not just dyslexia! And don’t forget to employ her husband Dror as well!

Leader of conspiracy theorists and antivaxxers

The French newspaper L’Express published an interview with the daughter of the chloroquine quack Didier Raoult (Google-translated):

“It has been almost ten years since Didier Raoult no longer speaks to his daughter, Magali Carcopino-Tusoli. In question, a family dispute during which she dared to oppose him, and say no to him. A word that the former director of the IHU Méditerranée infection (IHUm) has no tolerance for. She never gave in. He banished her from the family. Since then, she calls him “Professor Raoult”. She no longer bears her name, but that of her husband, Xavier Carcopino-Tusoli.

The matter could have remained private. It took another turn during the Covid-19 crisis, when Magali Carcopino-Tusoli, specialist in vascular medicine at Sainte-Marguerite Hospital (AP-HM), criticized the IHUm studies on hydroxychloroquine , the treatment promoted by his father. If the latter does not answer her directly, Eric Chabrière, his faithful right-hand man in charge of defending the IHUm on social networks, takes care of it. On Twitter, he vehemently challenges all critics of hydroxychloroquine, without exception, not even for his boss’s daughter. Faced with the violence of the attacks, Magali Carcopino-Tusoli and her husband filed a complaint for defamation and public insults. They accuse Eric Chabrière of being behind the Twitter account “Le professionnel”, one of the most filthy and threatening. After an intense trial that ended on May 5, the correctional court of Marseille pronounced the acquittal.”

The Marseille judge was not impressed that Chabriere and “Le professionnel” shared the same mobile phone number and the the same IP address. After all, that area of France is dominated by far-right electorate and politicians, all of them see Raoult as their patron saint. The judge simple thought her own career was more important than upholding the rule of law and defending another woman from cyberbullying and death threats. Carcopino-Tusoli is now appealing the verdict.

France’s Ugly Brown Derriere

“legions d’honneurs, prix, promotion…. Le champ du cygne de ce système politico médical qui n’a plus le choix que de se soutenir mutuellement. Patience, en d’autre temps, on a donné des médailles aux derniers combatants. On connait la fin” – Capitaine Eric Chabriere.

Excerpts from the interview:

“I don’t hate Pr. Raoult. We haven’t spoken to each other for more than ten years and today I feel sorry for him. He dreamed of being a Nobel Prize winner, he became the leader of conspiracy theorists and antivaxxers. […] He never tolerated contradiction. It’s impossible to survive with him if you don’t agree on everything. This behavior pushed him to isolate himself, to cut himself off from all criticism and to shut himself up inside a sphere of adoration. He has entered a vicious circle and only supports people who bow down to him.”

Raoult was forcibly retired as professor of the Aix-Marseille University, which continues to protect him:

“I regret that the University of Marseilles has not taken a position. It would have been desirable for it to publish even a press release, naming Didier Raoult or Éric Chabrière, that we do not respond to scientific criticism with invective, that harassment is not tolerated, nor antivaxxery. Recalling that the university is a place where you learn good science and good medicine could have reassured the general public and students. Unfortunately, the faculty didn’t even take the time to write a tweet.”

And now Chabriere is suing Carcopino-Tusoli:

I received a direct citation for harassment the day before the verdict. He is represented by the lawyer for the Bon Sens association [an antivax and conspiratorial collective founded by the fine flower of French conspiracy, including Xavier Azalbert , the director of the France-Soir blog, Pr. Christian Perronne and Silvano Trotta , supporter of the theory that the Moon is hollow and artificial, Ed]. He is asking me for 20,000 euros in damages. This is, of course, intimidation.”

I can imagine how the Marseille court will decide here.

Retraction Watchdogging

Multiple image irregularities

Media loves reporting all things connected to Nobel Prize and its laureates. Now, here we have the Johns Hopkins University professor Gregg Semenza, laureate of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine of 2019, retracting his SEVENTH paper for fraud, and it remains NOT newsworthy.


Semenza had one old retraction from 2011 as co-author, more recently as last author he retracted 5 papers in PNAS which he originally submitted via contributed track (to bypass peer reveiw) as National Academy of Sciences member.

The new retraction was in Oncogene, published by Springer Nature. The joke is: it was rather recently corrected!

H Zhang, C C L Wong, H Wei, D M Gilkes, P Korangath, P Chaturvedi, L Schito, J Chen, B Krishnamachary, P T Winnard, V Raman, L Zhen, W A Mitzner, S Sukumar, G L Semenza HIF-1-dependent expression of angiopoietin-like 4 and L1CAM mediates vascular metastasis of hypoxic breast cancer cells to the lungs Oncogene (2012) doi: 10.1038/onc.2011.365

Correction from January 2021: “(1) The actin immunoblot (loading control) from Fig. 6B was mistakenly included in Fig. 6G. […] (2) The three panels in Fig. 1A (HIF-1alpha, HIF-2alpha, and actin immunoblots) are identical to three panels in Fig. 1B of Gilkes et al. (Cancer Res. 73:3285, 2013). […] We regret the two errors that were made. They do not alter any of the paper’s conclusions.

A few months after the correction, Elisabeth Bik found more:

On 23 May 2023, the paper was retracted:

“The authors have retracted this article as multiple image irregularities have been noted within this article, specifically:

Figure 1A, upper panel (HIF-1a blot), lanes five and seven appear to be duplicates.

Figure 6B, lower panel (b-actin blot), the first six lanes appear to be identical to Fig. 6G, lower panel (b-actin blot).

Figure 3G, the image of the third mouse in the D10 Saline group is identical to the image of the third mouse in the D21 Digoxin group.

G Semenza, CC Wong, P Korangath, L Schito, J Chen, B Krishnamachary, V Raman and S Sukumar agree to this retraction. D Gilkes does not agree to this retraction. H Zhang and W Mitzner have not responded to any correspondence from the editor about this retraction. The editor was not able to obtain current email addresses for H Wei, P Chaturvedi, L Zhen and PT Winnard.”

But I told you a fib. Of course the Nobelist Semenza is still in the news.

The withdrawing authors stand by the overall findings

A paper by German cancer researchers has been retracted.

Guillaume Normand , Philipp G. Hemmati , Berlinda Verdoodt , Clarissa Von Haefen , Jana Wendt , Dilek Güner , Evelyne May , Bernd Dörken, Peter T. Daniel p14ARF induces G2 cell cycle arrest in p53- and p21-deficient cells by down-regulating p34cdc2 kinase activity Journal of Biological Chemistry (2005) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m412330200 

The Retraction notice from April 2023 stated:

“This article has been withdrawn by the authors. The authors reported that in figure 3A the Ad-LacZ histogram for the HCT116-p21+/+ cells was inadvertently reused as Ad-p14ARF histogram for the HCT116-p21+/+ cells and provided an amended figure. However, the Journal analysis concluded there was an additional issue regarding a possible image reuse of the control blots corresponding to β-actin HCT116 p53-/- panel in figure 6A, and DU145 Ad-p14ARF (25, 50, 100) MOI β-actin panel in figure 6C. The issue could not be resolved due to the lack of original data more than 18 years after publication. The withdrawing authors stand by the overall findings and conclusions of the study.”

The other paper featuring same blots was this one:

Philipp G Hemmati , Guillaume Normand , Berlinda Verdoodt , Clarissa Von Haefen , Anne Hasenjäger , Dilek Güner , Jana Wendt , Bernd Dörken, Peter T Daniel Loss of p21 disrupts p14ARF-induced G1 cell cycle arrest but augments p14ARF-induced apoptosis in human carcinoma cells Oncogene (2005) doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1208579 

It had its own problems:

In March 2022, the co-author Philipp Hemmati, now head of internal medicine clinic in eastern Germany, insisted on PubPeer that these issues in his two papers were merely honest mistakes of oversights, blots and FACS plots re-used by accident, and the main conclusions were not affected. The Oncogene paper remains neither retracted nor corrected.

Dr Hemmati also shared raw data to address the concerns with this paper:

P G Hemmati , G Normand , B Gillissen , J Wendt , B Dörken , P T Daniel Cooperative effect of p21Cip1/WAF-1 and 14-3-3sigma on cell cycle arrest and apoptosis induction by p14ARF Oncogene (2008) doi: 10.1038/onc.2008.193 

Hemmati said: “To me, it is quite remarkable how similar blots may look like.”

The story of the above retraction is the following. In February 2022 I wrote to the last and corresponding author Peter Daniel, professor at Max-Delbrück-Center and Charité Berlin. He never replied. There are other problematic papers of his questioned on PubPeer, for example:

Christian Wagener , Ralf C. Bargou , Peter T. Daniel , Kurt Bommert , Markus Y. Mapara , Hans D. Royer , Bernd Dörken Induction of the death-promoting gene bax-alpha sensitizes cultured breast-cancer cells to drug-induced apoptosis International Journal of Cancer (1996) <a href=”DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0215(19960703)67:1doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-0215(19960703)67:1<138::aid-ijc22>;2-9 

The data was simultaneously published in Bargou et al 1996.

Another problematic paper with a recycled flow cytometry plot, yet with different quantifications:

Bernhard Gillissen , Frank Essmann , Philipp G. Hemmati , Antje Richter , Anja Richter , Ilker Oztop , Govindaswamy Chinnadurai , Bernd Dörken , Peter T. Daniel Mcl-1 determines the Bax dependency of Nbk/Bik-induced apoptosis The Journal of Cell Biology (2007) doi: 10.1083/jcb.200703040 

(Disclaimer: during my PhD work in Düsseldorf, I closely collaborated by Daniel’s former PhD student and co-author above, Frank Essmann)

Daniel also published problematic paper with a certain Charite professor Christoph Hanski, who a serious PubPeer record of his own. For example:

Mandar R. Bhonde , Marie-Luise Hanski , Jan Budczies , Minh Cao , Bernd Gillissen , Dhatchana Moorthy , Federico Simonetta , Hans Scherübl , Matthias Truss , Christian Hagemeier , Hans-Werner Mewes , Peter T. Daniel , Martin Zeitz , Christoph Hanski DNA damage-induced expression of p53 suppresses mitotic checkpoint kinase hMps1: the lack of this suppression in p53MUT cells contributes to apoptosis Journal of Biological Chemistry (2006) doi: 10.1074/jbc.m511333200 

Because Daniel was unresponsive, I contacted his senior co-author, Bernd Dörken, emeritus professor at Max Delbrück Center and former director of the clinic for haematology, oncology and tumor immunology at Charité Berlin. He immediately announced to investigate. In March 2022, Dörken informed me that he wasn’t able to reach Daniel himself, but that Charité’s commission for good scientific practice has opened an investigation and received statements from him and other authors.

Dörken also issued a correction for other papers of his, there was enough on PubPeer to choose from. Here is one:

Karin Schmelz , Mandy Wagner , Bernd Dörken, Ingo Tamm 5-Aza-2′-deoxycytidine induces p21WAF expression by demethylation of p73 leading to p53-independent apoptosis in myeloid leukemia International Journal of Cancer (2005)   doi: 10.1002/ijc.20797 

The Erratum from April 2022 stated:

“…it came to our attention that in the Western Blot analysis in Fig.6c, in the right panel of the figure, bands representing survivin at day 2 and day 3 are most likely identical.

The authors are unable to retrieve the original data underlying this experiment due to the time that has elapsed but believe that an error when laying out the figure might have occurred. The error does not affect the scientific conclusions of the original paper.”

Also this got corrected:

Suzanne Lentzsch, Margarete Gries , Martin Janz , Ralf Bargou , Bernd Dörken, Markus Y. Mapara Macrophage inflammatory protein 1-alpha (MIP-1 alpha ) triggers migration and signaling cascades mediating survival and proliferation in multiple myeloma (MM) cells Blood (2003) doi: 10.1182/blood-2002-08-2383 

The first author Suzanne Lentzsch, now professor at the Columbia University in USA, replied on PubPeer with raw data in February 2022. The Corrigendum from January 2023 declared:

“In Figures 5A (page 3571) and 6A (page 3572), the same western blot was used for pFKHR and pERK detection. Therefore, both blots have the same loading control, AFX, which is correctly shown in Figure 6A. In 1 lane (MIP-1α, 5 minutes, wortmannin), Figure 5A includes an incorrect negative control. This is due to cutting of the wrong loading control lane. Since the correct loading control is shown in Figure 6A, the error does not impact the scientific message of the study.”

Lentzsch applied what she learned under Dörken in her own lab:

Rekha Pal , Martin Janz , Deborah L. Galson , Margarete Gries , Shirong Li , Korinna Jöhrens , Ioannis Anagnostopoulos , Bernd Dörken, Markus Y. Mapara , Lisa Borghesi , Lela Kardava , G. David Roodman , Christine Milcarek , Suzanne Lentzsch C/EBPbeta regulates transcription factors critical for proliferation and survival of multiple myeloma cells Blood (2009) doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-01-201111

No correction there. Another case was reported by me in February 2022 to Dörken, to Charite Berlin, and to University of Würzburg, where the first author Franziska Jundt is now full professor.

Franziska Jundt, Nina Raetzel , Christine Müller , Cornelis F. Calkhoven , Katharina Kley , Stephan Mathas , Andreas Lietz , Achim Leutz , Bernd Dörken A rapamycin derivative (everolimus) controls proliferation through down-regulation of truncated CCAAT enhancer binding protein {beta} and NF-{kappa}B activity in Hodgkin and anaplastic large cell lymphomas Blood (2005) doi: 10.1182/blood-2004-11-4513 

Jundt shared raw data on PubPeer, and admitted gel splicing:

“As it was common practice by that time, sections of the gel/blots were cut and pasted for image display. This procedure did not imply that all samples were separated on the same gel/protein blot, but merely to ease comparability. Further, the accompanying text does not claim that the extracts were applied to the same gel side by side, nor was any attempt made to arrange the data in such a way as to imply this. Rather, from the scientific point of view, it is irrelevant whether or not the different samples were separated in the same gel or different gels.

Charite Berlin informed me in April 2022 that they terminated the investigation of Jundt et al 2005 because no research misconduct was found. No correction was issued. Neither here:

F Jundt, Ö Acikgöz , S-H Kwon , R Schwarzer , I Anagnostopoulos , B Wiesner , S Mathas , M Hummel , H Stein , H M Reichardt , B Dörken Aberrant expression of Notch1 interferes with the B-lymphoid phenotype of neoplastic B cells in classical Hodgkin lymphoma Leukemia (2008) doi: 10.1038/leu.2008.101

Knowign how Charité operates, it is safe to assume they managed to skilfully find no misconduct in all of Dörken-coauthored papers and to terminate all investigations because the data fudgery never affected any of the conclusions.

All you saw above is the kind of scientific skills which allowed certain mentees of Dörken’s to rise about the pedestrian rest and to become professors at elite universities, or clinic directors. But still, Dörken is the hero of research integrity here, right? He duly investigated everything and found all conclusions unaffected. Even in his now retracted JBC paper.

Innocent errors due to beautification

Retraction for Javier Gonzalez-Gallego, the Spanish professor of physiology who once announced to investigate himself and to issue retractions but only if the fraud affected any conclusions.

Javier suspects everyone!

“If in any case we consider that the problems with the images really affected the validity of the results, we ourselves would ask the corresponding journal to retract the article.” – Prof Javier González-Gallego

DAVID GARCÍA-LÓPEZ , MARÍA J. CUEVAS , MAR ALMAR , ELENA LIMA , JOSÉ A. DE PAZ , JAVIER GONZÁLEZ-GALLEGO Effects of Eccentric Exercise on NF-κB Activation in Blood Mononuclear Cells Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (2007) doi: 10.1249/mss.0b013e31802f04f6 

Fig 3

The Retraction notice is dated for June 2023, but was published in late may:

“The Editor-in-Chief of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise is retracting this article (1) became of concerns related to image manipulation. The Editor-in-Chief received correspondence raising concerns about this article and subsequently followed Committee on Publications Ethics (COPE) guidelines to evaluate the issue. Input from independent reviewers was used to evaluate the article for evidence of image manipulation and the conclusion was that image manipulation was likely. The authors were contacted and permitted to respond. The corresponding author replied and confirmed that there were ‘inappropriate manipulations” of β-actin bands in Figure 3 of their article but that they were “innocent errors” due to “beautification” The corresponding author’s response and the independent reviewer input were evaluated in conjunction with assistance from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Publications Committee. The author response was judged “unsatisfactory” on the basis of the admission of image manipulation and reviewer concerns. Therefore, based on the author’s response, the feedback form independent reviewers, and the evaluation of the ACSM Publications Committee, the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Editor-in-Chief concludes that the article (1) is insufficiently trustworthy and must be retracted.”

One of our most highly cited articles

A paper about non-existent Very Small Embryonic-Like (VSEL) stem cells was retracted. VSEL were initially made up by the University of Louisville professor Marius Ratajczak, a native Pole who sought to impress the catholic church. You can read about Ratajczak on Elisabeth Bik’s blog and here.

Now, Ratajczak managed to create with VSEL not just a series of fraudulent papers, but also a kind of a fellowship of true believers, a sect if you like. These followers produced fake VSEL papers of their own, and set up a scam business peddling VSEL-based tests for cancer. The gang is led by Ashish Tripati (read here), and his co-author business associate is Deepa Bhartiya, former senior scientist at National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health in Mumbai. Who just retracted this VSEL paper:

Seema Parte , Deepa Bhartiya , Jyoti Telang , Vinita Daithankar , Vinita Salvi , Kusum Zaveri , Indira Hinduja Detection, characterization, and spontaneous differentiation in vitro of very small embryonic-like putative stem cells in adult mammalian ovary Stem Cells and Development (2011) doi: 10.1089/scd.2010.0461 

On PubPeer, the authors offered replacement figures for a correction. Yet on 6 May 2023 the paper was retracted, the Retraction notice stated:

“A reported comment on the PubPeer platform suggested that the “images in Figure 6D and Figure 6F appear to overlap but are described differently. The images are oriented differently, have different contrast, and are at a different magnification (red boxes are not the same size). Difficult to understand how these transformations would occur merely as errors during figure assembly,” (PubPeer, 2022).

The Editor-in-Chief of the journal contacted the corresponding author of the paper, Dr. Deepa Bhartiya, requesting a “prompt response and intended course of action” to the questions raised on PubPeer. Dr. Bhartiya responded, indicating that the errors in both figures were “an unintentional human error.”

After a series of communications between Dr. Bhartiya and the Editor-in-Chief of Stem Cells and Development, Dr. Bhartiya claimed full responsibility for the contents of the article and requested that corrections to the paper by removing the incorrect images, as indicated in the email below:

“A discrepancy in two figures (Fig 6D and negative control in Fig 11) was picked up by an Artificial Intelligence based tool and pointed out on Pubpeer. A careful examination shows that indeed there is a mistake but it was inadvertent and simply an oversight and not a deliberate manipulation of any kind. It is the same figure of a neuron turned up side down and pasted at two places. This remained unnoticed by the authors and also was not picked up by the reviewers or the readers [for] over a decade. It is our humble request to all those who have cited our work to be rest assured that the work integrity is intact. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to those directly and indirectly affected by this process. My students worked with great dedication to acquire the data and obtained results to compile into a manuscript. There is no manipulation whatsoever and this unintentional error remained unnoticed by everyone involved with the manuscript preparation and publication. We will try to submit the revised version again with due permissions. We request the editor to allow us to publish an addendum/erratum to take care of the mistake otherwise it is his decision to retract the paper.”

The Editor of the journal rejected the contention that the manipulation and combining of the same images within the panels purported to represent different experiments could be unintentional, and hence has denied the request to publish an erratum and offered the authors the opportunity to self-retract the article. The authors declined to do so and continued to request a corrigendum. The Editor determined that an editorial retraction was warranted based on the discovery of the discrepancies in the images. Dr. Bhartiya was notified via email of the decision to editorially retract the paper.”

Bhatiya is one of the director of the company Epigeneres, which sells VSEL_based cancer tests and was founded by Ashish Tripathy, his twin brother Anish, and their father VK Tripathi. After the retraction, Bhatiya wrote on PubPeer:

This was one of our most highly cited articles. The mistakes pointed out are unintentional human errors. Wish the AI tools available now were also there when the article underwent review in 2010-2011 and the mistakes could easily have been corrected. The figures were not used to generate quantitative data- it was representative data, and we will surely attempt to republish the article with all changes to take care of concerns raised by Pubpeer – we have multiple images that were already shared with the journal.

Will you be surprised that Bhartiya has a growing PubPeer record of fake science? She also had other retractions, most prominently Chhabria et al 2022, with Tripathi. Here some examples of other stuff in need of retraction:

Ankita Kaushik , Deepa Bhartiya Testicular cancer in mice: interplay between stem cells and endocrine insults Stem Cell Research & Therapy (2022) doi: 10.1186/s13287-022-02784-5  

Here, she even uploaded “raw data” to deny the obvious fraud:

This in a journal where Bhartiya is section editor:

Diksha Sharma , Deepa Bhartiya Dysfunctional Ovarian Stem Cells Due to Neonatal Endocrine Disruption Result in PCOS and Ovarian Insufficiency in Adult Mice Stem Cell Reviews and Reports (2022) doi: 10.1007/s12015-022-10414-z 

Actinopolyspora biskrensis: “An image in Figure 4C and Figure 6C appear to overlap, after rotation and change in aspect ratio. They seem to be described differently

In the same Springer journal Stem Cell Reviews and Reports. I will let you guess who its Editor-in-Chief is.

Did you guess the EiC? It’s Ratajczak of course.

Unable to sufficiently justify

An unexpected retraction for Belgian researchers, in a BioMedCentral journal.

Christine Nyiraneza, Christine Sempoux , Roger Detry , Alex Kartheuser , Karin Dahan Hypermethylation of the 5′ CpG island of the p14ARF flanking exon 1β in human colorectal cancer displaying a restricted pattern of p53 overexpression concomitant with increased MDM2 expression Clinical Epigenetics (2012) doi: 10.1186/1868-7083-4-9 

On 17 May 2023, the paper was retracted with the notice:

“The Editor-in-Chief has retracted this article. After publication, concerns were raised regarding similarities among different parts of the methylation PCR gel image in Fig. 1B. Specifically, the two lanes representing the second Tumor (T) sample and the positive control (CTL+) appear highly similar. In addition, the unmethylated (U) lane of the CTL+ group appears to be repeated multiple times in the negative control (H2O) group.

The authors have provided some of the raw data used to produce this image, which confirmed that the image was a composite, and have been unable to sufficiently justify the similarity between the T and CTL+ groups.

The Editor-in-Chief therefore no longer has confidence in the presented data. Christine Nyiraneza, Christine Sempoux, Alex Kartheuser and Karin Dahan do not agree to this retraction. The Publisher has not been able to obtain a current email address for Roger Detry.”

The first author Christine Nyiraneza describes herself on LInkedIn as “Part-time Professor, Reseach Associate, Cancer Molecular Genetics, Part-time Professor University of Ottawa“. The last author Karin Dahan is however a bigwig, in Belgium at least: she is Vice President of the Belgian network “College Genetics”, in her capacity as director of the Centre de Génétique Humaine at IPG Gosselies. Christine Sempoux is described as “recently appointed as Professor of Pathology and Médecin Cheffe in Clinical Pathology at the Institute of Pathology” at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. The biggest bigwig is of course the man: Alex Kartheuser, clinic director at Institut Roi Albert II and full professor at UCL in London, UK.

The authors have no other entries on PubPeer. Which only means someone should have a closer look.

Based upon erroneous information

A botched retraction at SAGE Publishers.

Wenlong Feng, Dylan C. Dean, Francis J. Hornicek, Dimitrios Spentzos, Robert M. Hoffman, Huirong Shi, Zhenfeng Duan Myc is a prognostic biomarker and potential therapeutic target in osteosarcoma Therapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology (2020) doi: 10.1177/1758835920922055 

Mycosphaerella arachidis: “Figure 2: The same image is shown multiple times. I’ve added the red rectangles to show where I mean. I have a feeling the other two may not be unique

In January 2023, the last author Zhenfeng Duan, professor of orthopaedic surgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, shared on PubPeer a replacement figure which he announced to submit for a corrigendum. On 22 April 2023, the paper was retracted with this retraction notice:

“SAGE became aware that the peer review process for this article may have been compromised. Upon further investigation and assessment of the article, we noticed that several bands of Western blots appear to be duplicated:

  • In Figure 4E the miR-222-3p mimics+pcDNA3. 1-NC lane of the GAPDH U2932 panel, is highly similar to Figure 5C mimics NC+pcDNA3. 1-PPP2R2A lane in the GAPDH U2932 panel
  • In Figure 4E the mimics NC+pcDNA3. 1-PPP2R2A lane of the GAPDH U2932 panel, is highly similar to Figure 5Cmimics NC+pcDNA3. 1-PPP2R2A lane in the GAPDH U2932 panel
  • In Figure 4E the miR-222-3p mimics+pcDNA3. 1-PPP2R2A lane of the GAPDH U2932 panel, is highly similar to Figure 5C miR-222-3p mimics+pcDNA3.1 lane in the GAPDH U2932 panel

The authors were contacted for an explanation and did not respond.

Due to concerns around the integrity of the peer review process, and the outstanding questions about multiple figures in the article that remain unresolved, this article has been retracted.

The authors did not respond for comment.”

But in May 2023, Duan posted this rebuttal on PubPeer:

  1. As documented below, SAGE’s retraction was based upon erroneous information and should be reversed.
  2. Most importantly, the bullets points identified in SAGE’s retraction refer to Figures which do not even appear in the Article. None of the panels identified in SAGE’s retraction are present or mentioned in the Article.
  3. The last author posted on Pubpeer on January 6, 2023, to correct honest errors in a few panels of Hematoxylin and Eosin-stained photomicrographs.
  4. SAGE’s statement that the authors were contacted for an explanation and did not respond is also erroneous. Ms. Bushra Khair from SAGE (email: notified the last author of issues with the Article on January 13, 2013. The last author responded to SAGE via email on January 17, 2013.
  5. Until March 14, 2023, the authors were unaware that Ms. Bushra Khair was no longer working at SAGE. Until April 18, 2023, the authors were unaware that Ms. Jen Rymont had replaced Ms. Bushra Khair or that Ms. Jen Rymont had additional questions.
  6. The authors became aware that Ms. Jen Rymont had replaced Ms. Bushra Khair through an email exchange originated by the authors on April 18, 2023.
  7. The authors became aware that Ms. Jen Rymont had additional questions through an email exchange with Ms. Jen Rymont originated by the authors on April 18, 2023.
  8. The authors responded to Ms. Jen Rymont ’s additional questions via email on April 19, 2023.
  9. Again, SAGE’s retraction was based upon erroneous information and should be reversed.”
Hoya camphorifolia: “The authors have a valid point. The publishers seem to have repeated the Retraction Notice from an unrelated paper, raising “concerns around the integrity of the [editorial] process”.

Still, even if SAGE is occasionally incompetent, they tried to do right. Duan is certainly not an innocent angel: he has over 20 problematic papers on PubPeer. Just a few examples:

Gao et al 2015
Juncheng Cui , Dylan Dean , Francis J Hornicek , Raphael E Pollock , Robert M Hoffman , Zhenfeng Duan ATR inhibition sensitizes liposarcoma to doxorubicin by increasing DNA damage American journal of cancer research (2022) PMID: 35530299 (predatory publisher)
Pichaya Thanindratarn , Xiaoyang Li , Dylan C Dean , Scott D Nelson , Francis J Hornicek , Zhenfeng Duan Establishment and Characterization of a Recurrent Osteosarcoma Cell Line: OSA 1777 Journal of Orthopaedic Research (2020) doi: 10.1002/jor.24528 
Yong Feng , Slim Sassi , Jacson K Shen , Xiaoqian Yang , Yan Gao , Eiji Osaka , Jianming Zhang , Shuhua Yang , Cao Yang , Henry J Mankin , Francis J Hornicek , Zhenfeng Duan Targeting CDK11 in osteosarcoma cells using the CRISPR-Cas9 system Journal of Orthopaedic Research (2015)   doi: 10.1002/jor.22745
Tang Liu , Zhihong Li , Qing Zhang , Karen De Amorim De Amorim Bernstein , Santiago Lozano-Calderon , Edwin Choy , Francis J. Hornicek , Zhenfeng Duan Targeting ABCB1 (MDR1) in multi-drug resistant osteosarcoma cells using the CRISPR-Cas9 system to reverse drug resistance Oncotarget (2016) doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.13148
Tao Guo , Ran Wei , Dylan C. Dean , Francis J. Hornicek, Zhenfeng Duan SMARCB1 expression is a novel diagnostic and prognostic biomarker for osteosarcoma Bioscience Reports (2022) doi: 10.1042/bsr20212446 

Worth mentioning Duan’s regular co-author on all the above papers, Francis Hornicek, is chair of the Department of Orthopaedics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. From the September 2022 announcement:

“Dr. Hornicek said he was particularly proud of his recent research on using nanoparticles to treat sarcomas. He and Pratim Biswas, Ph.D., dean of the University of Miami College of Engineering, submitted a grant application for research into using nanoparticles for drug delivery to tumors, as well as for imaging and chemotherapy.”

Against Duan and Hornicek, especially armed with nanoparticles, sarcoma has no chance.

Science Breakthroughs

Starting a new path

An Israeli Scientist, Haitham Amal, has just found the cause and the cure for autism. The cause is nitric oxide, and the cure is a neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) inhibitor.

The Times of Israel celebrates the nation’s genius:

“Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have published a first-of-its-kind study revealing a potential future method for reducing the symptoms of autism among those diagnosed with the common developmental disorder.

Dr. Haitham Amal and his team from the School of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Medicine discovered a direct connection between levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the brain and autism, the university said in a statement.

The study, conducted on mice and published Monday in the peer-reviewed Advanced Science journal, demonstrates that autism indicators increases as NO increases in the brain, and that autism indicators and behavior decrease as the levels of NO in the brains of murine models of autism are lowered “in a proactive and controlled manner.”

“This research is a significant breakthrough in autism research, with the first direct connection made between an increase in the concentration of NO in the brain and autistic behavior,” Amal said.

“Our research showed – in an extraordinary way – that inhibiting the production of NO, specifically in brain neuron cells in mouse models of autism, causes a decrease in autism-like symptoms,” he said. “By inhibiting the production of NO on laboratory animals, they became more ‘social’ and less repetitiveness was observed in their behavior. Additionally, the animals showed interest in new objects and were less anxious. Finally, the decrease in NO levels led to a significant improvement in neuronal indices.” […]

According to Amal, the discovery could also have implications on the ties between NO and other neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, or psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.”

This is the paper:

Manish Kumar Tripathi, Shashank Kumar Ojha, Maryam Kartawy, Wajeha Hamoudi, Ashwani Choudhary, Shani Stern, Adi Aran, Haitham Amal The NO Answer for Autism Spectrum Disorder Advanced Science (2023) doi: 10.1002/advs.202205783

The paper states:

“The authors declare no conflict of interest.”

On his LinkedIn profile, Amal declares:

“It is with great pleasure that I announce the founding of Point6 Bio, a company built upon my patent and it’s extended from my research group at the Hebrew University. With the Hebrew University, Yissum Corporation, VLX Corporation, and Shaarei Zedek Hospital, we are starting a new path with the aim of developing a drug and diagnostic tools for autism!”

Conflict of Interest? Where? The journal Advanced Science reacted:

“We will investigate this case of potential conflict of interest in accordance COPE guidelines. We will inform you once a final decision about a potential amendment to the publishing record will take place.”

By the way, other Israeli scientists planned to cure COVID-19 with nitric oxide sprays:

Corona up your NOse

“Prior going to the grocery store, after the grocery store, you’d spray it in your nose, for instance, or you go to day care or someone coughs on you,” – Dr Chris Miller, co-founder of SaNOtize.

Previously, Amal was celebrated by Israeli media for curing autism with cannabis:

“Amal gained a BSc in Pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, followed by an MSc in Pharmacology and Brain Sciences at Tel Aviv University. There, he investigated THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis. He was the principal investigator on a 2010 study, which researched the effects of ultra-low doses of THC on mice – and which still draws significant interest around the world, more than 10 years since its publication.

He is one of many researchers who are looking at THC’s possible use as a therapeutic for the treatment of autism.”

Amal contacted me via my website:

Thank you so much for your valuable commnets. As I wrote to you in the Pubpeer, the University sent all relevant documents to the Journal. I do appreciate your input.
You are doing a real great job.
Would love to catch up via Zoom, if you are intersted in collaboration

I declined.

Our findings are significant

A breakthrough discovery, announced in a press release by the University of Helsinki:

“Researchers at the University of Helsinki have demonstrated that certain strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are the likely cause of Parkinson’s disease in most cases. The study enables the screening of the carriers of Desulfovibrio strains and the removal of the bacteria from the gut – also making it possible to prevent Parkinson’s disease.

“Our findings are significant, as the cause of Parkinson’s disease has gone unknown despite attempts to identify it throughout the last two centuries. The findings indicate that specific strains of Desulfovibrio bacteria are likely to cause Parkinson’s disease. The disease is primarily caused by environmental factors, that is, environmental exposure to the Desulfovibrio bacterial strains that cause Parkinson’s disease. Only a small share, or roughly 10%, of Parkinson’s disease is caused by individual genes,” says Professor Per Saris from the University of Helsinki.

The goal of Professor Saris’s research group was to experimentally investigate whether the Desulfovibrio strains found in patients can result in progress toward Parkinson’s disease.

The principal finding of the group’s recently published study was that these strains in patients with Parkinson’s disease cause aggregation of the α-synuclein protein on a statistically significant level in a model organism for Parkinson’s disease. The worm Caenorhabditis elegans was used as the model organism. […]

“Our findings make it possible to screen for the carriers of these harmful Desulfovibrio bacteria. Consequently, they can be targeted by measures to remove these strains from the gut, potentially alleviating and slowing the symptoms of patients with Parkinson’s disease. Once the Desulfovibrio bacteria are eliminated from the gut, α-synuclein aggregates are no longer formed in intestinal cells, from which they travel towards the brain via the vagus nerve like prion proteins,” Saris sums up.”

See, Saris knows everything others don’t. He also know that Parkinson’s is a) caused by a bacteria and b) can be easily treated by antibiotic. You can probably guess what the right outlet for this kind of science is. Yes, Frontiers.

Vy A. Huynh, Timo M. Takala, Kari E. Murros, Bidhi Diwedi and Per E. J. Saris, “Desulfovibrio bacteria enhance alpha-synuclein aggregation in a Caenorhabditis elegans model of Parkinson’s diseaseFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology. (2023) DOI: 10.3389/fcimb.2023.1181315

We are informed:

“The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.”

Of course Saris and his co-authors patented already in 2021 “Methods and materials for determining parkinson’s disease or a risk thereof” which are about “detecting the presence of Desulfovibrio species in a feces sample of a subject“. On PubPeer, Saris kind of admitted that his university deemed the patent silly and useless and therefore let it expire:

We mentioned in Conflict of Interest the patent application in Murros et al. 2021. However, in the Vy et al. 2023 the patent was no longer active as Helsinki Innovation service had not had the interest to keep the patent valid. Therefore, the expired patent was not mentioned in conflict of Interest in Vy et al. 2023.”

One can’t fool University of Helsinki, yet here they and Saris are, fooling “eight million people living with Parkinson’s” in their press release.

News in Tweets

  • Spectrum (an autism magazine, edited by Retraction Watch‘s Ivan Oransky) reports 13 retractions: “All of the papers appeared in Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, a journal published by IOS Press, between 2018 and 2021. Bernhard Sabel, the journal’s editor-in-chief and professor of medical psychology at the University of Magdeburg Medical School in Germany, told Spectrum that he first flagged the papers in late 2021. Before issuing the retraction, Sabel checked each paper for “multiple” signs of problems and asked each author to respond to a questionnaire. He says it took him more than a year to investigate all of the papers by hand. “Some authors were either unresponsive, unable to provide a reasonable explanation for having done so, or they volunteered to withdraw their paper without specifying the reasons why,” the 2 May retraction notice states. But some of Sabel’s criteria for flagging the papers — that they come from scientists affiliated with Chinese hospitals, and that the corresponding authors used private, non-academic email addresses — have come under criticism.” Bernhard Sabel wrote in his retraction notice: “After a thorough quality control by the editorial office it was found that the submitting authors published material that appeared fraudulent.” Cheshire checked, and the papers indeed contain fake data (on PubPeer). Maybe everything this journal publishes should be retracted?
  • WIRED on the topic of scientists publishing trash science to create dangerous hype: “In April 2021, a widely anticipated paper in the field of psychedelics dropped. The study, a small trial run at Imperial College London and published in The New England Journal of Medicine, investigated the use of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to treat depression. Led by Robin Carhart-Harris, who now directs the Neuroscape Psychedelics Division at the University of California, San Francisco, the research compared psilocybin with a standard antidepressant. The findings were somewhat lackluster: it found that the psychedelic was only marginally better than traditional treatments at relieving depression. Back in 2017, Rosalind Watts, an author on that paper and a former clinical lead for the trial at Imperial, had given a TEDx talk on the power of psilocybin to treat depression, prompted by the time she had spent working on the study. In the talk, she shared her belief that psilocybin could “revolutionize mental health care.” But in February of this year, Watts published a Medium piece in which she expressed regret at her initial unbridled enthusiasm. “I can’t help but feel as if I unknowingly contributed to a simplistic and potentially dangerous narrative around psychedelics; a narrative I’m trying to correct,” she wrote.
  • A study by Duke University and sponsored by sugar industry, Abou-Donia et al 2008, which determined that the sweetener “Splenda exerted numerous adverse effects“, turned out to be fraudulent.
  • Dan Liu explains on PubPeer why his figures appeared in other papers, including the retracted Wang et al 2020: “Respected Editor, I am reaching out to you regarding a submitted article on the SSRN electronic journal. Due to my unfamiliarity with the submission system, I utilized a third-party organization to submit the article on my behalf. The article submitted is entitled […] and the original author is Zongqiang Wang. Despite being rejected and left unpublished, the article remained accessible to certain readers on the SSRN platform, causing a negative impact on the original author of the article.
  • Published by Wiley, Impact Factor 6.5: “The Journal of Cellular Physiology publishes high-quality original research articles and reviews in areas of eukaryotic cell biology and physiology, focusing on those articles that adopt a molecular mechanistic approach to investigate cell structure and function. […] Merely descriptive manuscripts that do not go beyond correlations are not the focus of the Journal.” Now behold, Liu et al 2019:
  • Zhao et al Circulation Research 2016, already fixed with a Correction in March 2020: “Although the authors are not able to provide the original images and both Figures 1 and 7 contained similar duplications, they assert that the duplications were the result of mistakes and do not affect the integrity and quality of data presented in Figures 1 and 7.” There was more in Figure 7!
  • Fraud Factory London proudly informs: “Professor Kristian Helin, a world-leading cancer researcher and Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has been elected as a Foreign Member of the Royal Society in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cancer research. […] Professor Kristian Helin, Chief Executive of the ICR, said: “It’s a great honour to be recognised by the Fellowship of the Royal Society. Throughout my career I have had a passion for fundamental research that helps us understand how things work.” […] Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, Chair of the ICR, said: “Kristian has made outstanding contributions to cancer research over several decades and continues to improve our understanding of the biology of cancer to advance new treatments for the disease“. All of Kristian Helin‘s cancer research is phony trash.
  • Jonathan Stea, quackery and pseudoscience hunter, found this gem by a M. Kemal Irmak of the Gulhane Military Medical Academy in Turkey, titled “Schizophrenia or Possession?”and published in 2012 in Springer Nature’s Journal of Religion and Health: “We thought that many so-called hallucinations in schizophrenia are really illusions related to a real environmental stimulus. One approach to this hallucination problem is to consider the possibility of a demonic world. Demons are unseen creatures that are believed to exist in all major religions and have the power to possess humans and control their body. Demonic possession can manifest with a range of bizarre behaviors which could be interpreted as a number of different psychotic disorders with delusions and hallucinations. The hallucination in schizophrenia may therefore be an illusion—a false interpretation of a real sensory image formed by demons. A local faith healer in our region helps the patients with schizophrenia. His method of treatment seems to be successful because his patients become symptom free after 3 months. Therefore, it would be useful for medical professions to work together with faith healers to define better treatment pathways for schizophrenia.”


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6 comments on “Schneider Shorts 26.05.2023 – Underexplored outcomes of Dyslexia

  1. All research reports, including those contributed by an NAS member, must be peer-reviewed by at least two independent experts in a process overseen by a member of the Editorial Board. The contributing member submits the manuscript to PNAS along with the names of at least two experts in the field of the paper who have agreed to review the work and brief comments about why each of those reviewers was chosen. A member of the Editorial Board evaluates the appropriateness of the submission for PNAS,”

    Right, the system has some editorial oversight now, but still. Two friendly reviewers appointed by a NAS member to whom PNAS rarely will say no.
    Like here:

    The unwanted COVID-19 preprint of Rudolph Jaenisch


  2. Small correction: The PNAS contributed submission does not bypass the peer review process. It does result in a higher rate of editors sending it out to review (but still not a certainty), and a higher chance of the editors selecting the reviewers which the NAS member suggested (but also not a certainty).


    • Uhm, no. Contributed track works like this: NAS member submits their manuscript along with two positive reviews by friends of this NAS member It’s a self-arranged peer review, thus a bypass of proper process.

      Steffen Reinbothe: duplications planted on PNAS contributed track


      • erangre

        Here are the official guidelines:

        Also, my experience with PNAS is not at all like what you suggest.
        I have had a few papers submitted to PNAS in the past. Two were submitted as contributed (one of them was accepted and one was not), and a few were submitted through the regular process (one was accepted, the rest were not).

        A contributed paper to PNAS has much higher chance to go out for review, and a higher chance of being accepted (probably not only due to the higher chance of being sent to review).


      • ” NAS members may use the Contributed track to sidetrack adequate peer review or use it as a dumping ground for papers that cannot be published elsewhere. Reporting for Nature, Peter Aldhous revealed that while the majority of NAS members used the Contributed track rarely, there was a small group of members who used the track very frequently.”

        PNAS: Tighter Editorial Policy Improves NAS Papers


  3. Pingback: Il junktuner e il suo sultano – ocasapiens

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