It’s inevitable that true scientific ethos…

… is going to collide more and more dramatically with this administration. The people who run the country are getting desperate, while their scientific advisors – like Tony Fauci – stubbornly do the only thing they can do: hang tough on behalf of empirical method. Utterly random figures like trade advisers can throw all of the enthusiastic hydroxychloroquine newspaper articles they want at Fauci; Fauci will never do anything other than point out the way science works and hope this will get through to most of the people in the room.

‘Countries including Japan and South Korea, which have managed to control the disease, have universal BCG vaccine policies.’

Trials of BCG, which UD‘s father championed in the 1970’s to treat early stage bladder cancer (‘BCG remains the gold standard treatment for patients with intermediate- and high-risk [non-muscle invasive bladder cancer.]’), are now ongoing in several countries.

Among Possible Immune System Strengtheners Against Coronavirus, UD is rooting for BCG…

… for family reasons. Her father, Herbert Rapp, spent most of his career (Branch Chief, Immunology, NIH) working with BCG as a possible treatment for some cancers; now, AAAS, Science Magazine, and Foreign Policy announce that clinical trials of BCG’s effectiveness against coronavirus will soon begin. (Here’s a 1972 New York Times article on cancer immunology and my father’s work. You need a subscription to read it.) Researchers will investigate whether it “can rev up the human immune system in a broad way, allowing it to better fight the virus that causes coronavirus disease and, perhaps, prevent infection with it altogether.”

It would be very gratifying to UD if her father’s decades-long faith in the significant immunogenic properties of BCG were confirmed in this globally powerful way. (“This was the heyday of immune therapy with bacteria called BCG Bacillus Calmette–Guérin,” recalls one of his colleagues. “Herbert J. Rapp deserves the credit for leading our laboratory’s efforts that led to successful immunotherapy in people with early stages of bladder cancer.”) But she’s her father’s daughter – she figures the chances of this are slim.

People are always learning the importance of skepticism the hard way, as in the current case of medical fraud Gregory Rigano, who has already seduced Fox News and the huckster in chief. Keep calm, and listen to Fauci.

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UPDATE: An allusion to UD‘s father’s work in today’s Bloomberg News:

[BCG is] a common immunotherapy for early-stage bladder cancer…

‘Price-fixing lawsuit deals another blow to already fragile Teva…’

Fragile. Fragile. Such a pretty, gentle word… Not really a word UD would instinctively apply to a massive, criminally insane pharma company, but okay, fragile. Teva is fragile. Fragile Teva.

When I say insane, I mean crazy like a fox… If your bottom line’s looking shitty, you illegally and conspiratorially increase the price of your drugs by… oh… a fragile one thousand percent or so. Yes, you might in doing so attract the attention of attorneys general all over the United States and some fragile shit could hit the fan and make things even worse for you… But… maybe you’ll get away with it!

Meanwhile, the rest of the big strong world whose only fragility is advanced MS or ALS wonders how it will pay for its medicine because fragile Teva keeps increasing the price..

It takes guts to attack your tribe…

… but when lives are on the line, principled people are willing to do it. This orthodox Jew for instance, took to the pages of the New York Times to denounce his people for ignorant and destructive anti-vax beliefs among some of them. And now the sister, brother, and niece of anti-vaxer Robert Kennedy Jr have denounced his dangerous opposition to immunization.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.—Joe and Kathleen’s brother and Maeve’s uncle—is part of this campaign to attack the institutions committed to reducing the tragedy of preventable infectious diseases. He has helped to spread dangerous misinformation over social media and is complicit in sowing distrust of the science behind vaccines.

She was the 2017-2018 Faculty Assessment Mentor for the Entire University of Rhode Island School of Pharmacy.

[Michelle] Caetano has been on an alternative work assignment outside the [URI] classroom since the legal process began, URI has said. She moved from NECC to URI in August 2012, according to her attorney, just before the outbreak was discovered. URI did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday after the verdict.

So Caetano, now convicted of a felony for her part in writing bogus prescriptions for the drug compounding firm [New England Compounding Center] responsible for the meningitis deaths of 76 people in 2012, remains on the University of Rhode Island faculty. Is she still giving out advice on assessing the behavior of her faculty colleagues?

You can’t make this shit up.

Score One for the Enlightenment

The fanatics refusing to vaccinate their children suffer a setback from a judge.

“A fireman need not obtain the informed consent of the owner before extinguishing a house fire,” [Lawrence] Knipel wrote in his ruling. “Vaccination is known to extinguish the fire of contagion.”

‘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.

**********

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.

***********

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.

**************

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??

***************

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.

***************

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.

*************

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.

************

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 …







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