Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Top 5 scandals in medicine and chemistry

1) Henk Buck/Jaap Goudsmit

Using the antisense method with phosphate-methylated DNA, Buck and Goudsmit claimed to have found a cure for AIDS and published their findings in a Science article. They held a press conference for the media to present their findings. The massive media attention made the scandal only worse. Colleagues discovered errors in their research, and it turned out that the phosphate-methylated DNA was not a stable compound, and the used samples could not have been pure.

It is said that Buck was a stubborn man who did not tolerate any resistance. His university did not immediately investigate the allegations of Buck’s colleagues, so the colleagues decided to go to the media with the supposed fraud in order to diminish the public optimism in the fight against AIDS. After this media attention the whole case was investigated. Buck was fired and Goudsmit rebuked.

2) Elias A. K. Alsabti

An Iraqi cancer specialist who published about 60 plagiarized papers in obscure journals with probably non-existing colleagues in order to boost his CV. While working in the USA it became clear that he had no real scientific knowledge. Eventually it seemed to be that his whole career was falsified.

3) Vijay Soman/Philip Felig

As peer reviewers for ‘The New England Journal of Medicine’ they rejected an article by Helena Wachslicht-Rodbard. They copied the paper with their own names on it and submitted it for publication in ‘The American Journal of Medicine’. Unfortunately for them, Helena Wachslicht-Rodbard was asked to peer review her own (stolen) article.

4) Jacques Benveniste

Benveniste published a paper in Nature that a homeopathically diluted solution of antibodies could activate white blood cells by the so-called ‘memory of water’. Benveniste failed in reproducing the results when John Maddox and James Randi investigated the work in Benveniste's lab.

Benveniste also claimed that the information that is stored by the ‘memory water’ could be transmitted over the internet or telephone lines. Benveniste was awarded the IgNobel prize twice.

5) Guido Zadel

He published a paper 'Enantioselective Reactions in a Static Magnetic Field‘ in Angewandte Chemie in 1994. It turned out that his results were falsified. Even results of his colleagues were falsified by replacement of samples. The results were part of his dissertation, and his PhD was eventually withdrawn.

1 comment:

Luke said...

Is IgNobel short for Ignoramus Nobel?