Some interesting tidbits from the scientific community


Pioneer Founding member in a nutshell

The Office of Research Integrity hasn?t had a director since the spring of 2009, according to the Report on Research Compliance, a monthly newsletter from Atlantic Information Services. Despite his retirement in September 2009 after being on leave since March 2009, Chris Pascal was still listed as director in July 2010, they report. A spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, of which ORI is part, issued a short statement in response to the RRC inquiry, saying ?a search is underway to name a new director soon,? but would not specify a timeline.

Harvard misconduct confirmed

Speaking of integrity, on Friday a Harvard University dean confirmed that a faculty investigation committee has found Marc Hauser responsible for eight counts of scientific misconduct. One of Hauser?s papers, published in Cognition, has already been retracted, and others may follow. Because some of the research in question is supported by federal funds, the case has been submitted to the ORI, according to a letter emailed to Harvard faculty on Friday. The letter can be read in its entirety on Science?s website , and share your own take on the investigation here.

Hold the references

A few weeks ago, a study of 53,000 Science articles seemed to demonstrate that the longer a paper?s reference list, the more citations it receives, in a kind of tit-for-tat exchange. But don?t start piling on references yet ? the association is purely spurious, argues a blogger at the Scholarly Kitchen . The finding is similar to studies that show ice cream sales are highly correlated with the U.S. murder rate ? both are associations with no theoretical basis, the critique argues.

Scientists: Some COI changes too strict

Last May, the National Institutes of Health suggested new conflict of interest regulation , including reducing the minimum financial conflict that must be disclosed from $10,000 to $5,000. Now, prior to last Thursday?s comment deadline for the proposed changes, scientists and universities have responded with a flood of comments. Researchers urged the NIH to relax some of the proposed rules, such as requiring only income related to research to be reported. Universities also asked for a national database where the public can view conflicts rather than posting them on individual university websites, ScienceInsider reports. Read a summary of the comments compiled by four university organizations here.

Troubled stem cell clinic still in operation

For two years, the Food and Drug Administration has been battling with a Colorado stem cell clinic, trying to get the company to submit its treatment for formal approval. After the company filed a lawsuit against the government in June, the FDA struck back this month, issuing an injunction against the company, Regenerative Sciences, for violating federal standards. The clinic has halted some treatments, but continues to offer same-day stem cell injections, a Denver television station reports.,0,5670632.story

Hungry for Gulf delicacies?

You may not be eager to guzzle down crabmeat from the Gulf, but there?s no reason why you shouldn?t, reports the Daily Beast. An independent lab found that seafood samples, tested from both the Gulf and the Atlantic, contained either undetectable or minute levels of oil and dispersants.

2 Responses to ?News in a nutshell?

Dr J Mehrishi, PhD, FRCPath says:
23 August 2010 at 14:52
Because of advances in technology, ?older? work has become important for todays problems of great theoretical interest and practical clinical value. During the preparation of MSS, always cautious to check the original publications, looking for some values of parameters, to my horror, I have found grave errors, non-existent data quoted from one paper in others, fictitious values out of nowhere, not in the refs. quoted, no significant difference discovered on inspection, but dramatic claims:
The editors/ referees were thoroughly hoodwinked in ?publishing? an attractive dramatic result taking decision on their own or by reports on MSS evaluated by referees being buddies of the authors.
I wonder, how such fraudulent data should be dealt with short of not including in the MSS or saying the data look suspicious and hence not quoted.

Barbara Hanson says:
23 August 2010 at 15:59
Regenerative Sciences welcomes the lawsuit the FDA has brought against them. As a terminally ill patient, I do too. The court must step in and decide if the FDA has overstepped its regulatory powers by declaring our own stem cells to be drugs. They have no legal authority to interfere with the practice of medicine. This lawsuit will have enormous consequences for doctors and the way they treat patients if the FDA wins. I do not want a regulatory agency deciding on my medical treatment. I want safe autologous stem cell therapy available in the U.S. NOW. I have had to go offshore to save my life. Others may not be able to do that. Autologous stem cell therapy is in use successfully all over the world. The U.S. has allowed itself to fall behind in the advancement of medicine by allowing the FDA to use its regulatory powers in a way that was never intended. I honestly don?t believe that anyone realizes how many terminally and chronically ill patients are being denied treatment with their own stem cells in this country. I also don?t believe that doctors are understanding the major implications this will have on their own practices whether they use stem cell therapy or not.