Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kentucky Fried Cardiovascular Research

The Scientist: A Decade of Misconduct

A senior cardiovascular disease and diabetes researcher at the University of Kentucky has been found guilty of falsifying data over the past 10 years.

Federal investigators have censured a former University of Kentucky (UK) senior biomedical researcher for serial scientific misconduct over a 10-year period, including the falsification of data in grant applications, progress reports, and published papers. The US Office of Research Integrity (ORI) announced the findings last week (November 20) with a notice in the Federal Register.

A joint investigation carried out over the course of 2 years by the ORI and the UK found that Eric Smart, who studied the molecular mechanisms behind cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, had falsified or fabricated a total of 45 figures—mostly images of Western blots, a technique used to identify proteins—in seven grant applications, three progress reports, and 10 published papers, some of which were cited more than 100 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge. The notice says that Smart also reported experimental data from knockout mice that did not exist.

“This is surprising and disappointing news to me,” said Philippe Frank of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. “Dr. Smart's papers were highly cited in the specific caveolae/cardiovascular research field.” William Sessa of the Yale University School of Medicine told The Scientist by email that he was “shocked at the extent of misconduct,” and that the reporting of data for knockout mice that did not exist in grant applications “is very problematic indeed.” But, he added, “since I do not know what aspects of the figures were incorrect or misrepresented, it is difficult to assess the impact on the field.”
Retration Watch has this to report:
Specifically, ORI finds that Respondent:

Falsely reported in Figure 14 and associated text in NIH grant applications R01 HL07897601 and -01A1 that experiments were performed to determine if endothelial-specific caveolin-1 null mice were protected from saturated fatty acid-induced atherosclerosis, when these mutant mice did not exist in the laboratory at the time; Dr. Smart also falsely reported the use of these mice in related progress reports R01 HL078976-02, -03, and -04 and in three (3) additional NIH grant applications: Figure 11 in R01 HL088150-01, Figure 11 in U54 CA116853, and Figure 9 in DK063025-01A2
So nothing to see here.

Continue to avoid saturated fat, and take your statins – as the good doctor said.

And while some people may actually and genuinely be surprised (and may actually and genuinely believe that saturated fat is the nutritional anti-christ), I am not the the slightest bit surprised that one needs to fake studies to come to the faulty paradigm which is en vogue now for decades in cardiovascular research. I guess if you work with a faulty paradigm, there is no other way but to fake results to uphold that faulty paradigm.

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