What pushes scientists to lie? The disturbing but familiar story of Haruko Obokata. The spectacular fall of the Japanese scientist who claimed to have triggered stem cell abilities in regular body cells is not uncommon in the scientific community. The culprit: carelessness and hubris in the drive to make a historic discovery.
Could depression be an infectious disease? Might hallucinogenic mushrooms be an effective treatment for depression (New York Times link)? Do antipsychotic drugs hinder long-term recovery from episodes of schizophrenia?
‘Free 10 Day Autumn or Winter Break: You may not win a Nobel Prize, but you could help find a cure for the common cold.’
What do you do if your child has a condition that is new to science? After describing the effects of his blog post, he told the crowd that it was inevitable that parents of children with other newly discovered diseases would form proactive communities, much as he, Cristina, and the Wilseys had done. Vandana Shashi believes that such communities represent a new paradigm for conducting medical research. “It’s kind of a shift in the scientific world that we have to recognize—that, in this day of social media, dedicated, educated, and well-informed families have the ability to make a huge impact,” she told me. “Gone are the days when we could just say, ‘We’re a cloistered community of researchers, and we alone know how to do this.’ ” [more inside]
Allegations of flawed research techniques at an NIH-funded medical lab at Johns Hopkins get notice in a Washington Post article. Interesting piece on a scientific dispute, the accuser's loss of his job at Hopkins, and the suicide of one researcher from the lab whose analysis, published in Nature, came into question.
What we currently call breast cancer should be thought of as 10 completely separate diseases, according to an international study which has been described as a "landmark". The categories could improve treatment by tailoring drugs for a patient's exact type of breast cancer and help predict survival more accurately. The study in Nature analysed breast cancers from 2,000 women [Abstract] . It will take at least three years for the findings to be used in hospitals. [more inside]
'Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong.' Dr. John P. A. Ioannidis, adjunct professor at Tufts University School of Medicine is a meta-researcher. 'He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences.' [more inside]
Producing sperm on the backs of mice. Well, the back of a laboratory mouse doesn't do anything - it just sits back there. Might as well put it to good use.
Sounds like progress to me... The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that children of same-sex parents do as well as opposite-sex parents, and despite some teasing, cope well. Seems that it's more important for two people to be in a loving relationship than what their sex is. I think it's a pretty big deal for a professional organization to produce this report. You?