Getting it wrong: Overdiagnosis and research fraud

Prostate cancer overdiagnosed? MGH docs Michael J. Barry and Albert J. Mulley Jr. of the Medical Practices Evaluation Center comment on study in a Journal of the National Cancer Institute. This from the AP story in the NY Times.

Why is overdiagnosis such a concern? Because finding an early tumor forces men to choose among contested treatments — ”watchful waiting,” surgery, hormone therapy, radiation. And because some treatments can cause incontinence and impotence, men whose tumors wouldn’t have been a threat can suffer serious side effects for no gain.

Springfield doc made up research? From the Globe:

Dr. Scott S. Reuben, who works at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, has published dozens of articles on “multimodal analgesia,” an important and emerging area of anesthesiology involving use of more than one type of drug to relieve post-surgical pain and foster faster recovery.

Last May, during a routine review of research summaries that were to be presented at the hospital’s research week, physicians discovered that the research Reuben intended to present had not been approved by an internal hospital review board that oversees research on patients, Dr. Hal Jenson, Baystate’s chief academic officer, said yesterday.

That discovery led to a full-scale investigation by the hospital, which was completed in January. The investigation uncovered 21 published papers over 13 years in which Reuben made up some or all of the data, Jenson said.

 For more on this topic, check out the HHS Office of Research Integrity. There, I found a recent decision involving a Luk Van Parijs, the MIT professor fired in 2005 research fraud.

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