Corruption Is Destroying Basic Science

Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine are the two most prestigious medical journals in the world.

It is therefore striking that their chief editors have both publicly written that corruption is undermining science.

The editor in chief of Lancet, Richard Horton, wrote last month:

Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”. The Academy of Medical Sciences, Medical Research Council, and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council have now put their reputational weight behind an investigation into these questionable research practices. The apparent endemicity [i.e. pervasiveness within the scientific culture] of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.

***

Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right.

Similarly, the editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Marcia Angell, wrote in 2009:

It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.

In her must-read essay, Dr. Angell skewers drug companies, university medical departments, and medical groups which set the criteria for diagnosis and treatment as being rotten with corruption and conflicts of interest.

And we’ve previously documented that the government sometimes uses raw power to cover up corruption in the medical and scientific fields.

Postscript: Corruption is not limited to the medical or scientific fields. Instead, corruption has become systemic throughout every profession … and is so pervasive that it is destroying the very fabric of America.


As it turns out, roughly half of the published research shows that cell phone usage is safe and not linked to brain tumors. the other half?:

We reviewed 23 case-control studies that examined tumor risk due to cell phone use. Although as a whole the data varied, among the 10 higher quality studies, we found a harmful association between phone use and tumor risk. The lower quality studies, which failed to meet scientific best practices, were primarily industry funded.

The 13 studies that investigated cell phone use for 10 or more years found a significant harmful association with tumor risk, especially for brain tumors, giving us ample reason for concern about long-term use.

(from sf gate)

if i were a parent, i’d yank my kid’s phones, laptops, tablets. keep them connected, absolutely. just use desktops / cat5. facebook now or brain tumor tomorrow? it can wait.

Epidemiological evidence for an association between use of wireless phones and tumor diseases

Concerning age, highest risk was found in the age group <20 years at time of first use of wireless phones in the studies from the Hardell group.

In summary our review yielded a consistent pattern of an increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma after >10 year mobile phone use. We conclude that current standard for exposure to microwaves during mobile phone use is not safe for long-term exposure and needs to be revised.

    Leave a Reply

    %d bloggers like this: