Posts Tagged ‘scientific integrity’

Magical Measures from BMJ to Prevent COVID-19

April 22, 2021 — Call us quaint. But we believe medical journals should publish research grounded in facts and evidence. Not speculation. Especially in the midst of a pandemic that has taken the lives of more than three million people around the world. BMJ, though, has a different approach. This week the BMJ group has a paper promoting magical […]

Eat More Chocolate, Lose More Fat?

April 18, 2021 — Penn State earns an award this week for Most Fanciful Research Press Release. It was all about how chocolate might help with the health effects of excess fat. Of course, it was based on a study in mice. But the press release tells us that this research is relevant for humans because the dose used […]

An Odd Case Shows the Need to Register a Protocol

April 7, 2021 — As Alice discovered in Wonderland, it helps to have a plan. For clinical research it’s especially important to know where one is going with research. This is precisely why medical journals require that clinical researchers register a protocol for their studies before they start. If a study lacks that, a reputable journal will not publish […]

Data Thugs, Pajamas, and Ultra-Processed Food

January 30, 2021 — Nevermind. As far as we can tell, that’s the bottom line on a convoluted story about data thugs, pajamas, and a provocative study of ultra-processed food. It starts with the study by Kevin Hall et al that found ultra-processed food can cause people to eat more and gain weight. All by itself, that finding was […]

The Vital Link Between Trust, Science, and Healing

January 19, 2021 — It’s hard to miss that we’re having a crisis of trust. That’s because it’s playing out very loudly in American politics. You might have heard about the riot in Washington, DC – a horrid spectacle fueled by mistrust. But the crisis of trust reaches much further than politics. In fact, trust is essential for science […]

Retraction: A Difficult Measure of Integrity

January 13, 2021 — Mistakes can be hard to admit. We see vivid examples. Someone makes a grievous error and yet claims their actions were “totally appropriate.” Even though they’re obviously wrong. Likewise, when a journal makes a mistake by publishing a flawed paper, a retraction can be quite difficult. But that’s precisely what Scientific Reports did yesterday. The […]

A Tale of Two Retractions – It’s Complicated

December 26, 2020 — Some mistakes are hard to correct. Sometimes, it’s even hard to figure out where the mistake lies. Thus, retractions can be quite messy when a problem arises with a scientific publication. Two recent examples illustrate just how complicated retractions can become. Do Women Need Male Mentors? Back in November, a paper in Nature Communications started […]

Exercise for Weight Loss: The Lie That Won’t Die

December 12, 2020 — Sometimes an idea firmly plants itself in the popular imagination. Once there, it takes root and persists like a weed. It simply will not die. So it is with the idea that exercise is an excellent tool for weight loss. This is a lie that won’t die. A Nice Little Study Gretchen Reynolds at the […]

Serious Concerns About Multiple Vitamin D Studies

November 16, 2020 — The term of art for this is an expression of concern. It sounds very restrained, but it is quite serious. Four papers about the effects of Vitamin D in the Journal of Nutrition recently earned this dubious distinction. Add that to a paper in PLOS ONE that is getting the same sort of scrutiny. In […]

What Do We Do When Lies Are Quite Appealing?

November 15, 2020 — Perhaps you have noticed that people will believe what they want. Objective truth often seems to be a scarce commodity. Right now, arguments about misinformation and disinformation are dominating much of our political discourse. So this seems like a good time to consider that sometimes lies are quite appealing. Because we face daily decisions about […]