The Complicated Story Behind Yet Another Disappeared Article At A Top Heart Journal Reply

Once again the European Heart Journal has “unpublished” an article without any notice of retraction or explanation. Strangely, the article– Russian science through the prism of intelligence: is fraud still possible?– can still be viewed (at least for now) with a vestigial URL , but it can not be found through the usual channels on the journal site. The pages for the story on PubMed and the EHJ site now state: “This article has been temporarily removed.”

…a more careful examination of the original article leads to the suspicion that this story is a bit more complicated and raises questions both about the internal peer review process at the EHJ and about the original paper.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

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No Retraction For You! Review Panel Exonerates Medical Journal In Statin Kerfuffle Reply

An independent review panel has rejected a demand by a prominent researcher that TheBMJ retract two controversial articles. The report largely exonerates the journal’s editors from any wrongdoing.

As previously reported, Rory Collins, a prominent researcher and head of the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaboration, had demanded that TheBMJ retract two articles that were highly critical of statins. Although TheBMJ issued a correction for both papers for inaccurately citing an earlier publication and therefore overstating the incidence of adverse effects of statins, this response did not satisfy Collins. He repeatedly demanded that the journal issue a full retraction of the articles, prompting TheBMJ’s editor-in-chief, Fiona Godlee, to convene an outside panel of experts to review the problem.

The report of the independent statins review panel exonerates TheBMJ from wrongdoing and said the controversial articles should not be retracted:

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

BMJ Articles Critical Of Statins Provoke Kerfuffle Reply

The authors of two BMJ articles have withdrawn statements about the adverse effects of statins. The two papers inaccurately cite an earlier publication and therefore overstate the incidence of adverse effects of statins. As a result, the two papers have drawn much criticism and set off a kerfuffle involving the editor of BMJ and a prominent British trialist who is demanding a full retraction of the articles. But the controversy probably won’t be resolved any time soon, since an independent panel, which will be asked to decide the issue, is still in the process of being assembled.

Click here to read the entire post on Forbes.

 

Circulation Retracts Paper By Stem Cell Pioneer And Its Own Editor Reply

Following an investigation by Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital a 2012 paper published in Circulation has been retracted. The “institutional review… determined that the data are sufficiently compromised that a retraction is warranted.” The two senior authors of the paper are Piero Anversa, a pioneering researcher in cardiac stem cells, and Joseph Loscalzo, the editor-in-chief of Circulation and the chairman of the department of medicine at the Brigham.

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

3 More Retractions For Emory Cardiology Group Reply

Three more articles from R. Wayne Alexander’s research group at Emory have been retracted in the last two months. Three papers were retracted in 2011, bringing the group’s current total to 6. (News about the recent retractions was first reported on Retraction Watch.)

Click here to read the full post on Forbes.

 

R Wayne Alexander
R Wayne Alexander

 

Scrutiny Of Sodium Meta-Analysis In Heart Uncovers Duplicated And Missing Data Reply

A meta-analysis published in the journal Heart has been retracted. As Adam Marcus writes in Retraction Watch, the retraction occurred when the journal editors learned “that two of the six studies included in the review contained duplicated data.  Those studies, it so happens, were conducted by one of the co-authors [of the meta-analysis].”

The article, “Low sodium versus normal sodium diets in systolic heart failure: systematic review and meta-analysis,” was published online in August 2012. In their attempt to investigate the duplicate data, the Heart editors reported “that the raw data are no longer available having been lost as a result of computer failure.”

The authors of the meta-analysis were James J DiNicolantonio (Wegmans Pharmacy, Ithaca, NY), Pietro Di Pasquale (Chief Division of Cardiology, “Paolo Borsellino”, G.F. Ingrassia Hospital, Palermo, Italy),  Rod S Taylor (Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK), and Daniel G Hackam (University of Western Ontario and the London Health Sciences Centre, London, Ontario, Canada).

It was the second author, De Pasquale, who was the co-author of the duplicated papers that also contained the missing data.

You can read the entire story in Retraction Watch. Don’t miss the comments. Here’s one:

“computer failure” is the scientist’s version of “the dog ate my homework”

 

heart cover may13

A Closer Look At A Case Of Duplicate Publication In JACC 2

English: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linda_an...

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology has published a Notice of Duplication about a review article written by a respected European cardiology researcher who has played a central role in the development of fractional flow reserve (FFR). The brief statement from JACC provides few details and could lead to various interpretations, but a further investigation suggests that the story may be fairly simple.

The notice states that a 2012 review article by Nico H.J. Pijls and Jan-Willem E.M. Sels, Functional Measurement of Coronary Stenosis, “duplicates to a considerable extent both the text and figures of a prior article,” Fractional flow reserve: a review” published in 2008 in Heart, by two different authors, Bernard De Bruyne and J. Sarma. Here is the JACC editors explanation:

Dr. Piljs attributes this duplication to the close collaboration that he has had over many years with Dr. De Bruyne, and the fact that both authors drew text and figures for these reviews from the same repository of material used for a joint educational program. He acknowledges his lack of care in the preparation of the manuscript and apologizes for the duplication. While the Editors accept this apology, we lament the replication of information that prevented the pages devoted to Dr. Piljs’ article from being filled with new material.

De Buyne and Pijls are longtime colleagues who have played a central role in the development of fractional flow reserve, serving as principal investigators of the seminal FAME and FAME II clinical trials. I asked them for a response to this situation. Here is their statement:

The cryptical phrasing “repository of……..” is not ours, but made by JACC.

The “repository” they mean is a keynote lecture from the bi-annual Aalst-Eindhoven-Course on Coronary Physiology, which we organize once or twice a year in Brussels since 2001. The Course is endorsed by the European Society of Cardiology and has been organized by us already 17 times.

The opening lecture of that course (keynote lecture) is always entitled: “Practice and advanced applications of Coronary Pressure Measurement” and alternatively given by Dr de Bruyne and Dr Pijls.

That lecture has been built up by us and developed carefully over the years and has been streamlined for optimum educational content and benefit, including phrasing and slides.Not a single word is not ours.

The slides are always distributed among the participants and used by many of them for their own lectures or presentations or any educational purposes. In fact , they are public domain. Consequently, we have seen (parts of) our text and slides been used by others a myriad of times and are proud to have contributed to the dissemination of valuable medical knowledge.

When Dr De Bruyne wrote his review for HEART in 2008 , he used that keynote lecture as the basis of his paper.

When Dr Pijls wrote his State-of-the-Art paper ( i.e also a review) on the invitation of JACC in 2012, he also used text and slides of that keynote lecture (extended in the meantime) without realizing that Dr De Bruyne had done the same some years earlier. As a result, the first part of Dr Pijls paper is very close to Dr De Bruyne’s review, wheras the second part of Dr Pijls paper reflects the new data and insights obtained in those last 4 years.

So, there is nothing mysterious about that “repository” and we explained this to JACC in a similar way as we do now to you.

And by the way, when Dr Pijls submitted his paper to JACC, he mentioned explicitely in the submission letter that – as the nature of this paper was a State-of-the-Art paper – it was a concise reflection of the knowledge in the field and not original data.

Answering your last question: Neither Dr De Bruyne nor Dr Pijls ever received any financial or other compensation from whoever or in whatsoever way for writing any of these papers.

Writing these papers was on the strict invitation of the editors of Heart and JACC respectively and except the authors and staff of the Journals, nobody was even aware of it before they were published.

And as stated above: any single word or figure in any of these papers is completely our own work to which we equally contributed.

Comment: When I first read the notice it seemed to me like the case was an indication of a larger wrongdoing. I’m glad my initial suspicions were proven wrong. This is a great example of why editor’s notes should be much more detailed. The truth needs to come out no matter which way it falls.

Two Retractions For Embattled Chief Investigator Of Kyoto Heart Study Reply

Hiroaki Matsubara

The editor of Circulation Journal, the official journal of the Japanese Circulation Society (and not to be confused with the American Heart Association’s better known Circulation) has announced the retraction of two substudies from the Kyoto Heart Study. The papers, according to the editor, “contain a number of serious errors in data analysis.”

Read my entire story on Forbes.

Plagiarism Of Hypertension Article In Korean Journal Results In Retraction 2

In response to evidence of plagiarism in a review article in the Korean Circulation Journal, the article has now been retracted by the journal. Here is the notice:

On July 31, 2011, Korean Circulation Journal (KCJ) published a review article by Park et al.1)regarding the J-curve in hypertension and coronary artery diseases. However, a possibility of plagiarism has been raised in this article.

The Editorial Board of KCJ has examined the review article and has requested the Committee for Publication Ethics of Korean Association of Medical Journal Editors (KAMJE) to provide an adequate conclusion. After thorough investigation, the Committee for Publication Ethics of KAMJE and the Editorial Board of KCJ have concluded that the article is seriously plagiarizing from an article by Messeri et al.2)

In this regard, on May 8, 2012, the Executive Committee of the Korean Society of Cardiology has finally decided to retract the article completely. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

References

1. Park CG, Lee JY. The Significance of the J-Curve in Hypertension and Coronary Artery Diseases. Korean Circ J. 2011;41:349–353. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

2. Messerli FH, Panjrath GS. The J-Curve Between Blood Pressure and Coronary Artery Disease or Essential Hypertension. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009;54:1827–1834. [PubMed]
By way of background, earlier this year I first reported that the KCJ article was suspiciously similar to a JACC article by Franz Messerli and Gurusher Panjrath. Shortly thereafter the editor-in-chief of the KCJ wrote me to say that an investigation into the matter had been initiated.

News of the retraction was first reported by Marilyn Mann. On the Retraction Watch blog, meanwhile, Ivan Oransky duly reported the retraction and then found another retraction in the same journalthis time for duplication of a case report of aortic dissection in an 11-year-old child.

 

Guest Post: After an Unprecedented Request for a Retraction, A Close Look at the Data 3

Editor’s Note: The following guest post is published with the permission of its author,  Edward J. Schloss, MD, (Twitter ID @EJSMD) the medical director of cardiac electrophysiology at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, OH.

After an Unprecedented Request for a Retraction, A Close Look at the Data

by Edward J Schloss MD

Last week, St. Jude Medical took the unusual step of requesting a retraction of an article accepted for publication in Heart Rhythm Journal.  In this article Deaths Caused by the Failure of Riata and Riata ST Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Leads, Dr. Robert Hauser et al analyzed patient deaths in the FDA MAUDE database associated with St. Jude Medical and Medtronic ICD leads.  This week, Dr. Douglas Zipes, Heart Rhythm editor, declined that request. (Please see my previous Cardiobrief coverage of Hauser’s article.)

In a company news release, St. Jude accused Hauser’s group of “inaccurate facts and biased analysis.”  The sub-headline reads:  “Research undercounted and excluded MAUDE data reports for Medtronic resulting in substantial factual errors.”

St. Jude’s most prominent concern revolves around the number of reported deaths in the analysis of Riata/Riata ST leads and the comparison lead, Medtronic Quattro Secure.  St. Jude wrote: “using the same search criteria outlined in the manuscript, the company has identified that Dr. Hauser’s research substantially undercounted total deaths in the MAUDE database for Quattro Secure.”  St. Jude counts 377 deaths compared to Hauser’s 62.

In an effort to clarify the reasons for this discrepancy, I undertook an independent analysis of the facts available.  My sources are the original Hauser article and the PDF file from St. Jude listing the details of their database search.  I then examined the methodology of both database searches to compare consistency of data entry.  Finally, I performed an independent review of all MAUDE database entries supplied by St. Jude and attempted to classify the 377 deaths Quattro Secure deaths identified by St. Jude into Hauser’s defined categories:  lead-related, indeterminate, and not lead-related, using the methods he described in his paper.

I hypothesized that differences in search methodology may explain the large discrepancy in numbers of deaths found by Hauser and St. Jude.

Results

The Hauser study queried the MAUDE data using the “simple search feature” entering term “Quattro Secure death.”  Results were “refined” to include only model 6947 leads.  Finally, “Reports were excluded from the study if there was no known lead problem or allegation of lead malfunction, and if a returned product analysis found no anomalies that were not caused by the explant procedure.”  With this methodology, the query returned 62 Medtronic Quattro Secure deaths.

The St. Jude data collection methodology is discussed on page one of the PDF document.  The “simple search” function specified by Hauser is not used.  Rather in the standard search fields, individual entries are made for Brand:  Quattro, Manufacturer:  Medtronic, and Event:  Death.  Results were then refined to model 6947 excluding duplicates.  Also in contrast to the Hauser data, no pre-specified exclusions were indicated. This query listed 377 Medtronic Quattro Secure deaths.

Hauser categorized his 62 deaths as 5 (8%) lead-related, 25 (40%) indeterminate, and 32 (52%) not lead-related.

St. Jude did not categorize the 377 deaths. My individual analysis found 7 (2%) lead-related, 129 (34%) indeterminate, and 241 (64%) not lead-related. (Lead-related death MDR Identifiers were 71402, 1438305, 1523151, 1760409, 1944512, 2016463, and 2025526.) I have asked St. Jude for their own analysis of the data into these categories, but have not received a reply.

Discussion

My review confirmed significant methodological differences in the database query specified by Hauser and St. Jude that may explain the differences in the numbers of deaths reported.  This stands in contrast to St. Jude’s assertion that they used “the same search criteria outlined in the manuscript.”
Click to continue reading…

Prominent Japanese Cardiologist Accused of Scientific Misconduct 3

Following accusations by independent bloggers in Japan and Germany, the American Heart Association (AHA) has issued an Expression of Concern about five papers published in AHA journals co-authored by Hiroaki Matsubara, a prominent cardiologist and researcher at Kyoto Prefectural University in Japan. In addition to his many papers exploring the basic science of the renin-angiotensin system, Matsubara was the chief investigator of the KYOTO HEART Study, a randomized, open-labeled study studying the add-on effect of valsartan to conventional therapy in high-risk hypertension.

Questions about Matsubara’s work were initially raised last year on a Japanese blog and then pursued in three English language posts (herehere and here) on a German site, the Abnormal Science Blog. Abnormal Science reported evidence of serious scientific misconduct in 12 papers in which Matsubara was the only common co-author. The AHA posted its Expression of Concern on Monday, which was subsequently reported by Retraction Watch.

The three posts on Abnormal Science demonstrate repeated examples of  image manipulation and copying, as well as self-plagiarism. The non-AHA journals cited by Abnormal Science include Kidney InternationalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, and Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. At least one paper, in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, has been  retracted “due to a mistake of duplicating the publication of original data” that already had appeared in Circulation Research. Here is how Abnormal Science summarized its initial findings in several of the papers:

It is apparent that band images from ‘real’ blots may have been digitally reassembled into new blot images pretending to be derived from distinct experimental settings. Since ‘reconfigured blots’ have been densimetrically scanned and the results illustrated in tables and figures, we are presumably confronted with a case of severe data fabrication.

These are the five papers cited by the AHA, including the number of citations as reported by Retraction Watch:

Japanese Researcher With Harvard Connections Retracts 3 Articles in AHA Journals 1

Akio Kawakami, a well published lipid researcher at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, has retracted 3 papers from AHA journals, including one article in AHA’s flagship journal Circulation. News of the retractions was first reported on Retraction Watch.

Two of Kawakami’s co-authors are well known researchers affiliated with Harvard University and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Peter Libby and Frank Sacks. Prior to his position in Tokyo, Kawakami had been at the Harvard School of Public Health in the Department of Nutrition, where Sacks also works. Sacks is a co-author on all three of the retracted papers, while Peter Libby is a co-author on one of the retracted papers. Kawakami was also the first author of 4 other papers on which Libby and Sacks were co-authors, including two papers published in 2006 in Circulation (here and here).

Donna Arnett, the incoming president of the AHA, told CardioBrief that the retractions were requested by Kawakami himself. She said he initially contacted each of the individual journals, which then informed the AHA’s scientific publishing committee. (Arnett is a former chair of the committee.) “In this case it was the author himself coming forward, so it was fairly straightforward,” said Arnett. The retraction was then coordinated with the three journals.

Here are the 3 retractions:
Click to continue reading…