Monday, October 30, 2017

Study claims vaccines-autism link; scientists find fake data, have rage stroke

A recent study linking a component of vaccines to signs of autism in mice is set for retraction after scientists thoroughly demolished the study’s design, methods, and analysis—and then, for good measure, spotted faked data.

Scientists had similar complaints about the researchers' new mouse study, which was published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. In a series of blogs and forum posts, scientists pointed out flaws and weaknesses throughout the study, including, but not limited to:
  • Injecting aluminum under the rodent’s skin, rather than into muscles, which is how vaccines are delivered
  • Using dosing regimens that make incorrect assumptions about the development of mice and do not mimic vaccine schedules in children
  • Studying genes based on outdated literature
  • Using an outdated and inaccurate method to assess gene activity
  • Using inappropriate statistical tests
  • “Clear and deliberate” removal of control data
  • Being funded by private foundations that question the safety of vaccines, which is noted in the study. (A report in 2015 noted that it had received nearly $900,000 in grants from the foundations).
An online journal club, PubPeer, hosted a discussion where scientists quickly spotted that data on gene activity (semi-quantitative RT-PCR results) and protein amounts (Western blots) had been manipulated, duplicated, and re-labeled.