Monday, July 09, 2007

JAACAP Strikes Again

Aubrey Blumsohn has detailed how the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP) is standing behind its work, despite some huge questions -- See Chapter 2 below.

Chapter 1: Paxil 329. You might recall my hissy-fit over JAACAP editor in chief Mina Duncan's declaration regarding Paxil Study 329:
I don’t have any regrets about publishing [the study] at all – it generated all sorts of useful discussion which is the purpose of a scholarly journal.
This comment was especially interesting given that the published study had the following issues:
  • Renamed suicidality as "lability" and overt aggression as "hostility."
  • Declared superiority over placebo in treating depression when, in fact, the study data did not support such an assertion
  • Determined (by magic?) that a placebo can make you suicidal while Paxil could not. The folks who became suicidal on Paxil -- it was not because of Paxil, but the one patient who became suicidal on placebo became suicidal due to the placebo. How does that work?
  • Study was ghostwritten
  • Lead author Marty Keller appears not to have read the study data
Read more about all of the above here. Despite the study being somewhat of a joke, which was noted to some extent by reviewers, Dr. Duncan published it anyway and said she had no regrets about it.

Chapter 2: The Gillberg Affair

To make a long story short, another study that was published in JAACAP has come under a pile of scrutiny. The study claimed that a syndrome called DAMP (Deficits in Attention, Motor control and Perception) was quite common. There was concern that the data was fraudulent, as can be seen by following this link. My point is not to discuss whether the data were or were not cooked -- I have not given this enough investigation to weigh in.

The point is that the lead researcher Christopher Gillberg refused to provide the data to defend against charges that the data were fraudulent. Mind you, no identifying information was being requested. Just the numbers. The plot thickens substantially from there, but one key point worthy of mention here is that a Swedish court insisted that the DAMP study data be provided to investigators. The data were then destroyed. That would be a no-no in science. If nobody can see the numbers, how do we know they weren't cooked?

Aubrey Blumsohn has engaged in email correspondence with JAACAP staff that I found illuminating. JAACAP's point seems to be that they don't care if the study data were destroyed -- it's not their problem.

No, journals, which serve as the official scientific record, don't need to hold study authors accountable to making sure their study data are accurate. That would be just too much to ask, apparently.

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