Memory Hole (19 October): A collection of bloody shreds

Scientific Misconduct Blog Memory Hole: Events of October the 19th

Quote of the day

O Lord, our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sport of the sun-flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it - for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the source of love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
Mark Twain

What else happened today?

34 years ago on 19 October 1973 President Richard Nixon rejects an Appeals Court demand to turn over the Watergate tapes. The concept of tape recording in cases of scientific misconduct is of interest, hence this entry. Fortunately US Presidents now have less power to behave illegally.

22 years ago on 19 October 1984 the Journal Science reported the outcome of the NIMH "study" suggesting that 20% of Americans are mentally ill ("some recognizable disorder"). Taurus excreta cerebrum vincit.

7 years ago on 19 October 2000 the journal Nature reported that historians found greater ties between German race scientists and the Hitler regime than previously thought. Scientists exploited scientific opportunities "beyond all morally acceptable limits for the benefit of their own research." They set the criteria for the castration of criminals, the forcible sterilization of "inferior" women, particularly those with "psychological" problems, and "an objective scientific background" for racism. The report also discussed the likely role of Nobel laureate Adolf Butenandt (later professor at the University of Munich) in the analysis of samples from Auschwitz experiments.

7 years ago on 19 October 2000 a panel of scientists recommended that the FDA ban the drug ingredient phenylpropanolamine (PPA), a common ingredient in decongestants (see cover-up and delay discussed in 13 October Memory Hole).

7 years ago on 19 October 200 a spate of people having seizures while taking the new anti-smoking drug Zyban (Bupropion) raised concern about its safety. Critics also claim "cold turkey" is twice as effective as Zyban in the real world, that clinical trials were fatally flawed because the majority of patients were able to guess their randomization correctly (drug or placebo), and both studies and followup were too short. However, patients were provided with extremely detailed information about the risk of convulsions in the Bupropion leaflet. That allows smokers to make proper informed decisions, and is far better than the meaningless non-quantitative risk information usually supplied. I personally would not be inclined to take the drug in a million years. Patients were not misled (presuming the information about risk and efficacy is honest) and I wish we would see more of this. Risks were stated as follows:
Bupropion is associated with seizures in approximately 0.4% (4/1000) of patients treated at doses up to 450 mg/day. The estimate seizure incidence for bupropion increases almost tenfold between 450 and 600 mg/day, which is twice the usually required daily dose (300 mg) and one and one-third the maximum recommended daily dose (450 mg). Given the wide variability among individuals and their capacity to metabolize and eliminate drugs, this disproportionate increase in seizure incidence with dose incrementation calls for caution in dosing. During the initial development, 25 among approximately 2400 patients treated with bupropion experienced seizures. At the time of seizure, seven patients were receiving daily doses of 450 mg or below for an incidence of 0.33% (3/1000) within the recommended dose range. Twelve patients experienced seizures at 600 mg per day (2.3% incidence); six additional patients has seizures at daily doses between 600 and 900 mg (2.8% incidence). A separate, prospective study was conducted to determine the incidence of seizure during an 8-week treatment exposure in approximately 3200 additional patients who received daily doses of up to 450 mg. Patients were permitted to continue treatment beyond 8 weeks if clinically indicated. Eight seizures occurred during the initial 8-week treatment period and five seizures were reported in patients continuing treatment beyond 8 weeks, resulting in a total seizure incidence of 0.4%.
5 years ago on 19 October 2002 presidents of the US National Academies accused the Bush administration of going too far in preventing publication of some research on the basis of national security.

2 years ago on 19 October 2005 the WSJ discussed Bunny Greenhouse, a top procurement official in the U.S. Army fired after questioning contracts awarded to Halliburton before the Iraq war. "If prison inmates don't like the warden who keeps them from breaking out," Greenhouse says, "do you replace the warden?" A heady mix of race, gender and war money.

2 years ago on 19 October 2006 President Bush proposed a $7.1 billion plan to protect the nation against a potential bird-flu pandemic (someone remind the man why there was bedlam in New Orleans).

1 year ago on 19 October 2006 a suppressed publication about cancer epidemiology in IBM semiconductor workers was finally published following extensive legal and editorial bullying (Clapp et al., Environ Health. 2006;5:30). See IBM's approach to scientific integrity.

Sources:
Richard M Nixon
"NIMH Finds One in Five Have Disorders," Science 226 (19 Oct 1984) p. 324
"Deep Roots of Nazi Science Revealed" Nature 407 (19 Oct 2000) p. 823
"Researchers Say Science Is Hurt By Secrecy Policy Set Up By the White House," NY Times,19 Oct 02
The Independent (London), Oct 19, 2000 "Spate of seizures among users of anti-smoking wonder drug"
"Whistle-Blower or Troublemaker, Bunny Greenhouse Isn't Backing Down", Wash. Post,Oct 19 05
Elsevier , IBM, Academic freedom and public health

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Comments on: Memory Hole (19 October): A collection of bloody shreds

 

Anonymous Pippa said ... (October 21, 2007) : 

Thank you for discussing Bunny Greenhouse. Please see the BUNNY GREENHOUSE DEFENSE PAGE,
http://www.whistleblowers.org/html/greenhouse.html

 

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