‘This conference also allowed an opportunity to recognize and honor the singular contributions and achievements of Dr. Piero Anversa on the occasion of his 70th birthday. We celebrated research advances made possible by “The Professor”, who established the concept of the heart as a regenerative organ, and through his research and passionate commitment has revolutionized the field of cardiac biology.’

They love him at San Diego State; they loved him, for years, at Harvard. And Harvard still seems ambivalent about Piero Anversa; it doesn’t want to comment at all on the decade or so during which it did nothing and during which plenty of people knew Anversa was faking his research. It has nothing to say about why it took Harvard years and years and years to call for the retraction of essentially his entire body of work.

Officials at Harvard declined to comment on why it took so long to take action on Dr. Anversa’s published work. Dr. Anversa could not be reached for comment.

Through arrogance and bluster ol’ Piero has, since 2001, been peddling pretty obvious bullshit about how the heart can regenerate itself. Lots of legitimate scientists said he was a fraud, over and over again, but too much money was at stake. Harvard would do well to apologize for having given this person legitimacy for so long.

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And what country’s university system would be so farcically shabby as to welcome Piero and one of his, uh, associates to take up new prestigious positions?

ITALY’s, of course.

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Best part of this story: Anversa a few years back sued Harvard cuz pointing out that he was a fraud was hurting business. (He lost the suit.)

What’s the Italian for Da guy’s got balls?

Un uomo ha i coglioni … ?

His bullshit claims about endless bowls of soup won a 2007 IgNobel …

which he proudly lists on his web page, but neither that long-ago spoof award nor many bright red flags since then have attracted the attention of serious scientists to his methods (Fold six retractions into seven retractions; mix briskly.).

Now, as the Cornell paper reports, things are on the boil for Professor Wansink. Once Cornell has concluded its review of his research, it will call a … Wansink Conference, announcing its results.

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Mix all thirteen retractions together and… voila!

Retraite Forcé avec Urgence.

‘Pharma Exec Says he had “Moral Requirement” to Raise Drug Price 400%’

When can his glory fade?
O the wild charge he made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge he made!
Death to the FDA!
Noble four hundred!

Native Russian Overteased Hair Threatened by Influx of Non-native Genes

Everyone’s talking about Duma member Tamara Pletnyova’s warning about World Cup miscegenation. Of all the coverage, UD‘s favorite is this Nigerian paper, which has the best picture of Pletnyova and the best bad English.

I promised to let you know this as soon as I heard.

[T]ime and “the beginning” of the universe arose holographically from an unknowable state outside the Big Bang.

As you were.

After covering scads of research misconduct stories over the long life of this blog, UD’s gotta say that this article about a disgraced Ohio State cancer scientist really…

stinks. Something in here really stinks.

First, he’s one of the biggest bigshots at Ohio State, and he’s been faking important – and at times clinically implemented! – cancer research for twenty years.

Ching-Shih Chen, a former professor in the College of Pharmacy and the Lucius A. Wing Chair of Cancer Research and Therapy, [and 2010 winner of OSU’s innovator of the year award,] was found to have committed research fraud beginning in 2001 throughout his almost 20-year career at Ohio State.

Of course he tried blaming everything on his research assistants (virtually all research fraudsters try that as their opening gambit), but a look at his laptop cleared that up.

According to the investigation, Chen often blamed any issues with the data on postdoctoral researchers or other lab workers, but the findings proved Chen was solely responsible for research misconduct relating to the manipulation of 14 different studies

So – how do you remain a very highly compensated superstar OSU researcher while lying and stealing and making false accusations and putting patients at serious risk for twenty years??

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OSU would really rather not talk about it. They would really rather not talk about it. As in: The guy resigned last year, but we’re only now getting a peep about any of this. So that’s a scandal on top of a scandal.

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As to why you might want to keep your trap shut about Chen: Well, say you’re president of the United States and you had Russian prostitutes pee on each other in front of you in a Moscow hotel room. You’d want to keep it quiet because it’s embarrassing. The OSU thing is kind of like that.

Another possibility: Chen had friends in high places. People who might have had their doubts about the dude, but he was a buddy, and he was a big grant-getter. Let him be.

If you don’t find this hilarious…

… you’re probably not on UD‘s wavelength.

It’s not all hilarious, but her riffs on dentists and colonoscopies are truly worth the price of admission.

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UD is intrigued, amused, and inspired by America’s Barbara Ehrenreichs and Zeke Emanuels. It’s a reassuring sign of a free and advanced culture that we generate people willing to press hard philosophically – but also in very personal and practical terms – on ultimate questions of value and meaning.

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I happened to read the excerpts from Ehrenreich’s book at the same time I read, in a recent New York Times, about the scandal of doctors widely prescribing antidepressants while knowing virtually nothing about how difficult withdrawal from them might be. The language in the article – about blithe assumptions and subsequent nightmares – could be lifted verbatim from any article about opioids.

“Nothing in the academy bylaws allowed for ousting a member who had committed scientific misconduct.”

In the current case of Eric Noji, it’s odd that no one ever considered his self-description on his academic web page… odd.

Professor Eric K. Noji is a medical doctor, skilled wildlife biologist, passionate environmentalist and iconic figure in the humanitarian community whose medical work and travels to the most austere and hostile of environments on earth are both mythic in their epic sweep and inspirational in their chronology of self-sacrifice on behalf of children who are homeless, abused, starving, or left destitute by disasters, violence or war.

The phrase mythic in their epic sweep didn’t … seem… odd to anyone?

No one wondered why under skills and expertise he listed over one hundred specializations?

I mean, yes, after decades of alleged plagiarism and lies, Noji has been removed to Disgraced Rogue Central: Saudi Arabia. But no one seems able to convince the Institute of Medicine that they should rescind his membership.

After much anguishing, the IOM has decided that, okay,

membership [can] be rescinded if an individual provided false information before becoming a member.

Falsification, plagiarism or fabrication after a doctor becomes a member of the elite organization isn’t grounds for removal…

This sort of approach explains why Bernie Madoff maintained his country club memberships through much of his … unpleasantness. These places are private organizations and they’re a mite on the stodgy side and they like to do things their own way.

Once Bernie was carted off to prison for life because he stole $65 billion, his clubs apparently decided to take another look at his membership status…

And UD is going to guess that the big splashy New York Times article that just came out about the IOM and its highest-profile member might get its expulsion machinery cranking …

“When one of [Professor Alexander Neumeister’s] supervisors at [NYU’s medical school] questioned him in connection with an audit of his P-Card charges, [he] … asked that the audit findings not be disclosed to others because it would jeopardize his job and his children’s ability to attend [NYU] without having to pay tuition.”

The guy’s got balls. When it comes to freeloading, the guy has major balls.

And look at his research! This is from 2016.

Yale might want to take this down.

Big award-winner.

‘So, it was a successful procedure, if you consider paralysis, lack of consciousness and a lifespan of less than a day as indicators of “success”.’

UD laughed, years ago, when her friend Paul Laffoley assured her that head transplants were just around the corner. She felt guilty for laughing, because Paul sincerely believed in things like that.

And now in his visionary way he turns out to have anticipated Sergio Canavero.

Although the procedure isn’t quite there yet. The procedure described in my title was on a monkey.

Here’s the same writer, for The Guardian, on Canavero’s latest one, using a human.

[T]his recent successful human head transplant? It was on corpses! Call me a perfectionist if you must, but I genuinely think that any surgical procedure where the patients or subjects die before it even starts is really stretching the definition of “success” to breaking point.

Opioid Diversion at Yale

The Yale Daily News takes note of the … awkward friendship between Yale and the company that made and marketed all those opioids that fucked everyone up.

[T]he Drug Enforcement Administration found that [Sackler company] Purdue Pharma had used “excessive and inappropriate” marketing that “very much exacerbated” OxyContin abuse. In 2007, Purdue Pharma and three of its executives pled guilty to federal charges of misbranding the drugs, collectively paying more than $600 million in fines… Mundipharma, a company associated with Purdue Pharma and owned by members of the Sackler family, has continued to push [OxyContin] in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. A Los Angeles Times investigation found that Mundipharma had paid doctors to give presentations abroad on the benefits of the drug. In 2015, the company saw a $100 million increase in sales from China — a jump of 45 percent — compared to the previous year, although Mundipharma did not disclose the portion of its revenue that came from OxyContin sales alone. There, the company used cartoon videos that understated the likelihood of addiction in a campaign for opioid pain relievers.

The YDN asked various friends and beneficiaries of the Sacklers on campus to comment, and … well… what do you expect?

“These are gifts that different family members made as individual family gifts. These were not gifts from the company — these were individual family gifts, so in that sense, these individuals have wealth that they gave to us, so it’s no more complicated than that when they made these gifts a number of years ago,” said Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill.

God knows how they got all that money… But for sure in the process of converting that money from corporate earnings to individual assets, they… uh… It’s no more complicated than that it all became … laundered?… And anyway, it was so long ago…

“While it is now clear that these drugs have been abused and there is certainly an addiction problem in our country, responsibility for it cannot be attributed to a single cause.”

You’d think the dean of Yale’s med school would be able to distinguish between a problem and an epidemic which the President of the United States has declared a public health emergency. As to his larger capacity for argumentation: Who said there was one cause? He’s correcting a straw man, ain’t he? All we’re talking about is one of the very biggest, and one of the most unconscionable, ongoing, causes.

Anyway. It’ll all settle down. Most opioid addiction occurs in no-‘count places like West Virginia, and why should a place like Yale give a shit about that?

Johns Hopkins University Med School’s Highest-Profile Grad, Jumana Nagarwala…

… is in great company.

Right now [a Michigan attorney’s] short list of clients includes Dr. Larry Nassar, the ex-Michigan State University doctor facing charges related to his alleged sexual assault of nine young women; Josh King, the ex-MSU football player facing sexual assault charges stemming from a Jan. 16 incident at a campus party; and Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, the Detroit-area doctor accused of female genital mutilation.

JHU: Educating America’s most highly-skilled clitoris-slashers.

Hiroshima, Mon Kapoor

Unlike benighted Yeshiva University which, when stories of the arrest of their esteemed trustee/treasurer Bernie Madoff broke, went into full silence, denial, web-erasure, Bernie who?, we’re a victim mode, the University at Buffalo, on receiving today’s atomic bomb about mega-donor and (wait for it) pharmacy school namesake John Kapoor, quickly and admirably issued a statement.

That’s the way you’re supposed to go when something grand and consequent and deeply embarrassing happens to your university: spit it out. Acknowledge it. And then when – inevitably – you have to blast the Kapoor name off of the building his massive fatal peddling of fentanyl has turned into a sick joke, you have as it were laid the groundwork for the blasting.

There’s a long description of the Kapoor caper here. To save time, here’s UD‘s paraphrase of it, a sentiment out of Norman Mailer:

THE SHITS ARE KILLING US.

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Thanks, dmf.

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Inaugurating the building soon to be renamed the Kermit West Virginia Memorial Hall.

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[Kapoor’s] Insys even made a video featuring a sales rep dressed as a giant fentanyl spray bottle, rapping and dancing to a song that pushed the idea of getting doctors to prescribe higher doses…

Executive Function Disorder: They’ve All Got It…

… and we’ve got squads of psychologists, armed with the multimegaton DSM-5, to pick our presidents off one by one: George Bush ran into this guy (and not that I wanna do any armchair psychoanalysis, but the guy is a colleague, and we sat on an examining committee together once, and he spent his round of questioning listing his academic degrees and honors); and now our current leader has run into this guy.

UD‘s blogpal, Allen Frances, tries to introduce some sanity:

Among [John] Gartner’s most notable critics is psychiatrist Allen Frances, who wrote the guidelines for diagnosing narcissistic personality disorder — and who rejects any claim that Trump has it.

To meet the criteria for a narcissistic personality disorder, Frances said, Trump would have to display distress or impairment himself. One could argue he’s caused distress, Frances said, but he doesn’t appear to experience it.

“I think that this guy and other people like him mean well and are sincere and believe that somehow they have a professional responsibility to warn America about the horrors of Trump,” said Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University. “But I don’t see them as knowing much about diagnoses.”

… The effort to apply a diagnosis to Trump, Frances said, “confuses bad behavior for mental illness.”

UD is exceedingly unfond of whatzisface, but rampant diagnosis-dumping is itself bad behavior.

Well, the new dean met with USC medical students. Turns out they’re pissed.

One of them had the audacity to suggest that the president of the University of Southern California should resign, given how incredibly badly he dealt – continues to deal – with his beyond-disgraced million-dollar med school dean (Is the now ex-dean on leave? The school seems to say that he is. Is that leave with pay?).

“If this is true, if it turns out that it is a cultural problem with the university, with President Nikias, will you [She’s addressing Carmen Puliafito’s replacement as dean.] fight for President Nikias to be let go, so we can bring in another president who wouldn’t let this happen?” the student asked.

Because it sure looks as though the prez knew a lot was wrong with Puliafito, and that he therefore knew this worst of outcomes – a big national scandal – was possible… After all:

At the meeting on the Keck campus, students — some wearing hospital scrubs — said university administrators should have known more about Puliafito’s troubling behavior, including reports that he appeared drunk or otherwise intoxicated at campus events. One woman said that it “seems shocking that no one has been able to figure anything out in the last 10 years. … People are now going to be questioning our professionalism.”

So that’s a new but not surprising thing – he appeared drunk or otherwise intoxicated at campus events.. In earlier Pugliafito posts, I’ve anticipated that we’ll be getting reports of his having exhibited signs of trouble at public USC events. You don’t reach this guy’s depth of squalor without revealing it in various ways. But, as the student’s comment suggests, the thing that needs explaining here is why the university kept the guy in his position for years. Achieving his degree of debauchery is not the work of a day. What sort of university president lets his medical school dean – his $1.1 million man – slide down the long slide and not do something about it? Especially given the simultaneous meltdown of his football coach, Steve Sarkisian?

Or was that in itself the problem? Was the president simply overwhelmed with a pretty amazing set of events – the alcohol/drug breakdowns at the same time of a dean and a coach? A 2015 Newsweek opinion piece is titled:


USC IGNORED THE WARNING SIGNS ABOUT STEVE SARKISIAN’S DRINKING

And the writer asks:

[W]here were the real adults — [USC Athletic Director Pat] Haden, university president C.L. Max Nikias and chief operating officer Steve Lopes —

when Sarkisian showed up drunk at one USC event after another?

For sure the university should ask itself whether a president who mishandled both of these crises – Sarkisian and Puliafito – is fit for the office.

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