Saturday, October 20, 2012

Don't accept everything called a scientific paper as truthful! - Groves

Fraud In Published Scientific Papers Rises Dramatically

Barry Groves Date: 02 Oct 2012

Fraud, suspected fraud, plagiarism and duplicate publications are the main reasons why scientific papers are retracted today, researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine reported in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) today.

Misconduct occurs at ten times the rate it used to in 1975 among scientific papers - scientific papers refers to articles that are published in academic journals. Two thirds of all retractions today are due to misconduct.

Senior author Arturo Casadevall, M.D., Ph.D., the Leo and Julia Forchheimer Chair and professor of microbiology & immunology and professor of medicine at Einstein, and also editor-in-chief of mBio said:
"Biomedical research has become a winner-take-all game-one with perverse incentives that entice scientists to cut corners and, in some instances, falsify data or commit other acts of misconduct."
A survey carried out by the BMJ (British Medical Journal) in January 2012 revealed that 13% of doctors and scientists had seen colleagues deliberately fabricate or change data during their research to make sure that it was published.

The authors examined 2,047 articles that had been retracted from biomedical literature up to the end of May 2012. They had set out to find out why retractions occur. They consulted several secondary sources, including the NIH (National Institutes of Health, the Office of Research Integrity, as well as Retractionwatch.com.

The authors found that:
21% of retractions were due to mistakes (error)

67% of retractions were due to misconduct, which was broken down as:
- fraud or suspected fraud 43%
- duplicate publication 14%
- plagiarism 10%
- unknown or "miscellaneous" reasons 12%

The problem with very skillful fraud, Dr. Casadevall said, is that it is hard to discover. There are probably several fraudulent papers still published and not retracted because misconduct has not yet been detected.

The authors explained that previous studies that underestimated the extent of scientific misconduct had relied completely on notices of retraction issued by the journal, which are written by the authors of the papers themselves.

Dr. Casadevall said:
"Many of those notices are wrong. Authors commonly write, 'We regret we have to retract our paper because the work is not reproducible,' which is not exactly a lie. The work indeed was not reproducible - because it was fraudulent. Researchers try to protect their labs and their reputations, and these retractions are written in such a way that you often don't know what really happened."
The report showed that higher-impact factor journals seem to have especially high retraction rates. Dr. Casadevall said that today scientists are disproportionately rewarded for publishing lots of papers, which should ideally appear in prestigious journals - most likely this kind of pressure has contributed to the growing number of retractions.

Dr. Casadevall said:
"Particularly if you get your papers accepted in certain journals, you're much more likely to get recognition, grants, prizes and better jobs or promotions. Scientists are human, and some of them will succumb to this pressure, especially when there's so much competition for funding. Perhaps our most telling finding is what happened after 2005, which is when the number of retractions began to skyrocket. That's exactly when NIH funding began to get very tight."
Dr. Casadevall had put forward a number of solutions to address the problem of scientific misconduct in the journal Infection and Immunity, which included:
  • There should be more emphasis on the quality of publications rather than how many are published
  • When rating journals, there should not be so much emphasis on impact measures
  • The research community should aim for more cooperation and collaboration
  • More sustainable, stable and reliable resources for research funding should be developed
  • Career pathways should offer scientists more flexibility to make sure talented professionals are not loss due to poor funding
Retractions come from very few laboratories

The authors stressed that not all is gloom and doom. Dr. Casadevall explained that 38 laboratories accounted for 43% of all retractions last year. There are thousands and thousands of labs whose scientists publish articles in academic journals.

Dr. Casadevall said:
"So while we're not looking at a systemic disease, so to speak, in the scientific community, our findings do indicate a significant problem that needs to be addressed."
Read full article here.
Another view of the same phenomenon by Dr Mercola:
Misdeeds, Not Mistakes, Behind Most Scientific Retractions     
October 17 2012 
By Dr. Mercola
The medical and health fields are absolutely riddled with dogmatic beliefs that defy both commonsense and scientific truth. And yet they prevail because they are supposedly backed by "science."

But what if that science was not actually trustworthy, but rather a carefully orchestrated product... the result of massive conflict of interest, perpetuated by self-interested groups and industries that push unfavorable research findings under the proverbial rug, or even tweak their studies to have the "right" results?

Would it change the way you feel about your diet, your lifestyle and even your medical decisions if it turned out the research upon which your prior choices were made was actually not science at all, but fraud?

67 Percent of Research Retractions Made for "Misconduct," Including Fraud

Much like a potentially dangerous product can be recalled from the market, journals have the right to retract research papers if they turn out to be seriously flawed.

You might assume that most of those flaws would be due to simple human errors, but a review of over 2,000 biomedical and life-science research papers that have been retracted through May 2012 found that only 21 percent were retracted due to errors.1 Instead, the most common reason, in over 67 percent of cases, was misconduct, including fraud or suspected fraud (43.4%), duplicate publication (14.2%), and plagiarism (9.8%).

...And the more respected or influential the journal was, the more likely its retractions were to be attributed to fraud or suspected fraud! The study reveals a disturbing epidemic of deception going on in the research world, which has largely been downplayed, according to the researchers. In reality, scientific fraud has been on the rise for decades:
"Incomplete, uninformative or misleading retraction announcements have led to a previous underestimation of the role of fraud in the ongoing retraction epidemic. The percentage of scientific articles retracted because of fraud has increased ~10-fold since 1975." 2
While previous studies have looked into this issue, they typically used the study's retraction notice to determine the cause of the retraction. This is problematic in and of itself, however, because the study authors often write the announcements, and they're certainly not going to say they fabricated the data!

NPR pointed out the case of a 1993 study in Science,3 in which the data was found to have been falsified. But the retraction notice said only that "some experiments have not been reproducible."4 To get around these misleading announcements, the researchers for the current study independently verified the retraction reasons using information from the Federal Office of Research Integrity and independent media reports – and their results speak for themselves.

I wish I could say this is not a widespread issue... but a survey published in the BMJ earlier this year revealed that 13 percent of scientists or doctors had actually witnessed colleagues intentionally changing or fabricating research data in order to get a study published, while another 6 percent said they are aware of possible research misconduct at their institution that was never properly investigated...5

Drug Research May be Even Worse

The study above focused on retracted biomedical and life-science research papers, whereas a study earlier this year reviewed retracted studies in the drug and biomedical literature.6 The highest number of incidents of misconduct occurred in the drug literature, as compared to general biomedical literature. Nearly 75 percent of the retracted drug studies were attributed to scientific misconduct, which includes:
  • Data falsification or fabrication
  • Questionable veracity
  • Unethical author conduct
  • Plagiarism
The most unfortunate thing about this is that these are the types of studies many health care professionals rely on to make treatment recommendations. Large numbers of patients – potentially millions – can be affected when false findings are published, as the average lag time between publication of the study and the issuing of a retraction is 39 months. And that's if it's ever caught at all.

It's important to understand that our current medical system has been masterfully orchestrated by the drug companies to create a system that gives the perception of science when in reality it is a heavily manipulated process designed to deceive you into using expensive and potentially toxic drugs that benefit the drug companies more than it benefits your health. Across the board, drugmakers do an excellent job of publicizing the findings they want you to know, while keeping very quiet about the rest.

You see, all research is NOT published. And it should come as no surprise that drug studies funded by a pharmaceutical company that reaches a negative conclusion will rarely ever see the light of day... What this means is that even if you scour the medical literature to determine what the consensus is on any given medical topic, what you'll find is an overwhelming preponderance of data in favor of the drug approach that in no way, shape or form reflects the reality of the scientific investigation that went into that specific drug.

Ex-FDA Chief Says J&J Broke the Law Promoting Risperdal

Of course, it's not only in the research realm that drugs are fraudulently promoted; it occurs all the time in the marketing realm, too. Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) antipsychotic Risperdal was heavily promoted for unproven off-label uses for more than a decade, even after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued warnings against the misleading claims. Doctors are well within their legal rights to prescribe a drug for off-label use; it's actually a common, albeit sometimes dangerous, practice. However, drug companies may not promote them for uses other than those that are FDA-approved.
Research has shown that up to two-thirds of prescriptions for Risperdal were for unapproved uses that had little or no scientific support.

How did this happen? Simple – J&J's Janssen unit sent out an army of salespeople to doctor's offices, nursing homes, Veteran's Administration facilities, and jails to tout Risperdal as a proverbial miracle drug for mental illness and dementia in the elderly, as well as for unapproved uses in children and adolescents. Former FDA Commissioner David Kessler, a pediatrician, said in an October trial report that the companies were in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act when they promoted Risperdal for non-approved uses in children and adolescents. He noted:7
"The promotion of non-approved uses by a manufacturer, because it undercuts the system and safeguards of drug regulation, is concerning... The promotion of non-approved uses by a manufacturer of powerful drugs is more concerning... The promotion of non-approved uses in the most vulnerable children of powerful drugs is most concerning. Janssen's promotion of Risperdal, a powerful drug, for non-approved uses in the most vulnerable children is deeply troubling."

Drugs in Search of a Disease: Pharma Targets Women

And if they're not promoting a drug for unapproved uses, the drug companies are actively developing drugs based on entirely questionable – some might even say fictional – diseases. Women are often the targets for these drugs, as statistics show U.S. women use nearly 65 percent more drugs, on average, than men8– making them a more lucrative market for the drug companies. Drug and biotech companies are currently testing or awaiting FDA approval for more than 850 different drugs for diseases that "disproportionately affect American women."9

Writing in Scientific American, Judy Stone, MD, recently highlighted the almost comical pursuit to classify what were once ordinary feelings into unique woman-centered diseases:10
" ...women still are the primary targets for pharmaceutical advertising, in part because they can be captured for multiple products – if not quite from the cradle, at least from puberty, through pregnancy, to menopause and to grave. What are some of the consequences of this relentless focus on women's hormones and common symptoms? For one, it seems to promote a nation of hypochondriacs. It is extremely profitable for pharmaceutical companies, but it is not so good for the target of this attention, women... be wary of innocent sounding offers of drugs to relieve all of your discomforts."
Among some of the more curious diseases she included are:
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): "In my day, it was moodiness at 'that time of the month,' more typically known as bitchiness. We didn't have an ICD-9 or DSM code. We had uncomfortable days but knew that this, too, would pass. Now cyclical hormones are a disease," Stone writes. Now women are being treated with antidepressant drugs, which might increase the risk of suicide, to avoid these symptoms.
  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD): Otherwise known as lack of libido, various pills and "female Viagras" are clamoring to get to the market. Interestingly, lack of libido is often a side effect of antidepressant use.

The Solution is Within Your Hands...

The take-home message here is that even if a drug or treatment is "backed by science" or marketed as the miracle cure you've been waiting for, this in no way guarantees it is safe or effective. Likewise, if an alternative treatment has not been published in a medical journal, it does not mean it is unsafe or ineffective.

You've got to use all the resources available to you, including your own sense of common sense and reason, true experts' advice and other's experiences, to determine what medical treatment or advice will be best for you in any given situation. I advise you to remain skeptical but open – even if it is something I'm saying, you need to realize that YOU are responsible for your and your family's health, not me, and certainly not drug companies trying to sell their wares and convince you to take dangerous "symptom-cover-ups" disguised as science-based solutions.

If you're facing a health challenge it is best to identify a qualified natural health consultant – someone who really understands health at a foundational level and has had extensive experience in helping others resolve their health care challenges. Just make sure to see a competent regular physician to make certain any serious disorders like cancer are ruled out as well. In the meantime, do all you can to take control of your health so you stay healthy, and drug-free, in the first place.
Read the complete article here.
A good video on "Why most published scientific research is probably false"


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